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      I’m off for a cruise to south Brittany this summer – first time ever!!!! and was wondering if anyone had any useful advice to push my way? Any tips and traps? I need to get there pretty quickly say 5 days if I can. Any suggested routes, places to stop off – places not to stop off? I’m hoping to get as far as the Gulf of Morbihan. Also interested in getting the right pilot books/charts/c – maps etc. If anyone has this trip under their belt I would love to hear from you. Also if you have any c – maps of the area or old charts you might be interested in parting with I would also be very interested.

      Many thanks

      Ken Kirby


        Hi Ken

        I’ve done the trip twice now. In 2008 we went as far as La Rochelle, effectively by-passing the Morbihan both ways so in 2009 we only went as far as the Morbihan and stayed in the area for a couple of weeks.

        The ‘delivery’ trip? Well, it depends where you are starting from and whether you want any overnight passages. From the Solent area the route we used in 2008 (day sailing only) was St Peter Port (100nm), Trebeurden (65nm), L’Aberwrach (50nm), Camaret (40nm), Loctudy (55nm), L’Orient – Port Louis (35nm).From there I suggest Croesty (35nm) and into the Morbihan. In 2009 we went west to Salcombe and then crossed direct to L’Aberwrach (120nm – overnight with dense fog!). There are several other interesting stops on the way e.g. Benodet, Port La Foret and Concarneau round from Loctudy, Port Haliguen, Port Tudy, Belle Ile, La Trinite etc. If you like anchoring there are several other good stops en route (but we tend to ‘marina hop’ on passage).

        Timing is important all the way to Loctudy to get through the various tidal gates (and to get most push from the tide). Once south of the Raz, timing is less important. Weather is also important (more than usual, to get a comfortable run ’round the corner’. There can be a big SW to W swell from L’Aberwrach round to Loctudy so it’s worth looking at swell forecasts as well as wind.

        Places on the must see list, once in the Morbihan region, include Vannes, Roche Bernard and Piriac. There is also a pontoon in the Morbihan, just N of Ile aux Moines with water and power, plus a free taxi ride to the shore.

        Regarding Pilot Books there are only 2 covering Southern Brittany and none covering just the Morbihan AFAIK. It is worth checking the publication date before buying – get the most recent. I can’t remember which one we’ve got as it’s on the boat

        Regarding charts, I use Maptech on a laptop so bought the DVD for the Baltic down to Gibraltar – excellent with almost 1000 charts (including lots of detailed French charts as well as all the relevant UKHO ones). As back up we bought the Imray C series charts covering the route (I think it was 6 sheets). As you probably know, these include several detailed chartlets for the main ports and places of interest.

        If you can do at least part of the trip in June or September, then you will save some marina fees – the French increase their charges by 50% or more in July and August!

        If you want any more detailed info, please let me know.

        Have a great trip.



          Hi Ken,
          We moved to S Brittany last autumn and are presently laid up in the Villiane River. We took out time crossing to Cherbourg and coast hopping.
          With your schedule Alderney, L’Aberwach, Cameret are the obvious stops. Once you get to Camaret you have lots of options. The Rade du Brest if the weathers not great or south thro the Raz, to Auderne or Benodet. We really enjoyed Auderne – brill walk or bike ride up the river & very friendly HM. The Odet River has lots of nice anchorages & there’s usually vacant bouys you can use. The Belon River has free visitors bouys on which you raft – it’s a beautiful place, which good walks. Plenty of anchorges in the Morbihon and Auray R and the islands to the west. Le Palais (inner harbour) is fantastic, even if the bearthing arrangments appear chaotic- it works and is great fun.

          Good luck,


            Thanks very much Roger and John,

            I can feel my confidence welling already! All very useful stuff! With Morbihan its the depth and tide that seems to worry me – what’s it like getting in, around and “parking up” in there with a 1.85M keel?

            Also I was just wondering what you would recommend for accurate weather (and swell!) forecasts when you get across the channel and “round the corner” – not having a Navtex?

            Regards Ken


              Hi Ken

              You certainly have to get your timings right to navigate into, out of and within the Morbihan, as there are very strong currents, particularly in the entrance. However, with careful planning it is all pretty straightforward. Depths in the main channel, all the way to Vannes, are not a problem; you go in with the rising tide and time your arrival at the lifting bridge for opening time (although they always seem to be 5 or 10 minutes later than advertised). There is a waiting pontoon and the Capitainerie sometimes come down in a dory and allocate berths before you pass the lifting bridge. If you like old cities, Vannes (old town) is well worth a visit.

              There are lots of places to moor on a buoy or anchor, plus the pontoon at Iles aux Moines I mentioned above. Again, depths are not a problem if you are careful. We draw 1.95.

              For swell, Magicseaweed is one useful site (http://magicseaweed.com/France-MSW-Surf-Charts/2/). Another is http://www.surf-forecast.com/weather_maps/France. We have found at 2m it starts to get uncomfortable. Below 1m is good!

              One tip for the Raz – try to avoid wind over tide and particularly wind plus swell against tide. In 2008 we were half an hour past slack water with a NW wind( 3-4 only) and a 2m NW swell against as we were heading north and the there were 15 foot waves in the Raz. Last year, though, we arrived early, more or less at peak flow but with wind, tide and swell all going our way and the ride was fine.

              Do your planning carefully and you should have no problems.

              Best wishes



                Hi Ken,

                All Marina’s post weather forecast’s as in UK. There are VHF broadcasts in French – you need pretty fluent French to understand them. We use http://www.windfinder.com which gives detailed inshore forecasts, swell etc. We’ve found several HM use this in preference to Meteo France. http://www.passageweather.com is another useful tool.
                If you follow the advice in the S Brittany Pilot you won’t go far wrong with the Morbihan. You move very fast so it’s worth having all your waypoints plotted in advance. Hundreds of boat enter/ leave every day, but it does demand respect. Where possible we picked up vacant mooring buoys (the french are quite relaxed about this), because the currents are unbelievably strong, but where you can tuck in out of the tide anchoring is fine. Holding is generally good in mud.



                  I’ve just noticed that there is a new version of one of the Pilot books just been released that might be of some interest.




                    We have been in the Morbihan a couple of times in different boats large and small and have found the french Navicarte charts very useful (full of pictures and allow you to enjoy the scenery as well as navigating). Come in a road map style format and are on a waxy type of paper so very resistant. Much easier than being glued to the plotter.



                      Hi Choupette,

                      We cruised with Rog (Playtime) both years in our B37 which is almost identical to yours. I did write up last years cruise in the mag. which I guess you have seen. Can’t add much except Vannes accepted a booking which we needed as we drove all the way to Calais to exchange Domino (dog) for Harry (grand daughter). Anything with more beam than the 37 doesn’t seem to be allowed on the finger berths. Our grand daughter, aged 9 at the time, loved the trip out of Vannes as she counted over 50 cars just one side of the lifting bridge (actually twisting bridge) which had to wait for us (and lots of others) to exit. Your kids will love it. We left our boats in Port La Foret for several weeks, this was fine and again they accepted a booking. Good beeches at Port La Foret, Benodet, Kerneval, Port Haliguen, Trebeurden and more. The first year we went to Port Louis and loved it. It was closed for development last year but is probably worth a visit in addition to Kerneval. I am sure if the weather is half decent and you have done enuff miles when you get to the Benodet area you will be ‘well happy’. And finally the first year we left the boats in La Rochelle and the journey home seemed long and a bit of a delivery, not a holiday. Last year we returned part of the way to Port La Foret before leaving our boats and the journey home was much better as we ‘rounded’ the corner quickly. In addition as we had crossed directly to L’Aberwrac’h on the way south we were not retracing our steps along the north coast and through the Channel Islands. Have a great holiday, I’ll look forward to reading about it.

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