Cruise to Bénodet in 1998


Odet marina
"Odet Marina"

Cruise to Bénodet

Friday 24th July 1998

The plan was developed by Dave England after a fleet of 5 boats came to the TMSC from Yacht Club de l'Odet. It came to pass that with including Catamarans and Motor boats, a Fleet of 22 Boats and 75 Sailors, planed to go to Bénodet!

I had Kurt my eldest son who was 16 year's old, up the mast to change a pulley the day before we left. When I set sail Friday with Kurt as crew, it was with all my boating bits in two sacks, that went down below. This did not stop me having the outboard a 8hp Yamaha, seizing as we passed the Battery Buoy!

What shall I do? This year I was Commodore and felt I should make the effort. We were in our little Hurley 22 "PennCirrus", the engine had been seizing when pressed hard. Well, we are a sailing boat and we went ahead.

The Radio (12w max) was not up to the job as we were not able to raise any of the boats unless they were within 1000 yards. As we passed the Eddystone Lighthouse there was a small group of boats still in sight but we couldn't get any one to reply. So Tony Symes who was keeping tabs on a number of us, we were allocated a leader for a group of boats, never raised me on VHF Radio all the way over. It soon developed a wind behind us and we sailed into the night, The shipping lanes at night, for me it was my first time in charge, it was frightening. The Lights came so fast, that some times, when you were looking up at them you were not sure which was front or back, we were tossed in the wake of one large ship but were never sure how close we came!

In the morning Saturday the wind fell away and we motored at half power! towards ile Vierge


Light house the sky was blue but not much visibility, then we meet up with some of our fellow sailors getting lead in by Dave England, left hand turn around the light house along the channel around the small island and into Correjou Bay ! A large shallow bay open to the North and Club Nautique de Plouguerneau.

We went ashore to a welcome by Plouguerneau Sailing Club. The following morning Sunday Kurt and I had a walk ashore but didn't go far enough to see the town Plouguerneau. That night I put waypoints into my Garmin GPS for our next leg. The next morning we were off to Camaret-sur-Mer.

Monday 27th July 1998 we went out early, ahead of the fleet, and as they caught us up, we had a polite and firm advice from the "Lady Grey" on VHF radio that we were much to close to the rocks. We had Garmin GPS which put us on a safe course, or so I thought as after Camaret-sur-Mer we also had a similar problem. Echo sounder was confirming we had plenty of water under us; It was nice to see that they were concerned and willing to give advice. This is a very rocky area and water one minute, might disappear if we were not plotting well on the chart and were poor at pilotage!

Now we sailed passed the entrance to L'aber wrac'h and on to the Chenal du Four, with its very fast tides, over the ground we achieved 10kts. with lots of boats in company it was a pleasant afternoon. Past the entrance to Brest we arrived in the port of Camaret-sur-Mer

and moored in the Marina.

Tuesday was to have been a sail to Audierne past the Pointe du Raz


but the weather was unfavorable, and as a fleet we were not experienced enough to tackle it with this forecast.

Wednesday we were to arrive in Bénodet and they were most insistent as they had put on a marquee and reception. They were a little put out when we arrived "But where are your Bateau le voile" We came by coach and had a lovely welcome from the Bénodet Twinning Association. and left after midnight back to Camaret-sur-Mer.

The next morning Thursday about 07:00hrs was a good forecast and we set off about one hour before every one else. First we went in between two Islands, which were not plotted on our chart, following a large yacht, the Garmin was telling us we were well in track, I found we had the Lane set to very large so that going over the Channel we didn't have to go off the calculated heading because of the tide offset. so we could have went over these Islands and Garmin would have still been in track!

Before Pointe du Raz we were being overtaken by yachts from Torpoint and they didn't go into Audierne but were going to do the whole trip to Bénodet in one, even Pleione was not going in, so we put the spinnaker up and tried to overtake her. We had small dolphins playing on the bow wave and it was a delightful afternoon.

Pointe de Pemmarc'h et phare d'Eckhm
"Pointe de Pemmarc'h et phare d'Eckhm?"

We came around Pointe de Pemmarc'h et phare d'Eckhm?l and after a while had to take in the Spinnaker and with a fresh wind it was a great reach to Lesconil then had to harden up, and at the mouth of O'det river we dropped sails. And we motored up past the beaches of Bénodet to the Yacht club just before the Bridge. We were the last in but every one was most welcoming this time it was Yacht Club de l'Odet which was hosting us.

Yacht Club de l'Odet
"Yacht Club de l'Odet"

The Yacht Club de l'Odet had welcomed our fleet, it was a grand sight to see all the yellow Mosquito cruising flags flying, but also a very large racing fleet from the "Obelix Trophy", about three hundred sailors in a enormous Marquee and the Torpoint Fleet about seventy five sailors in a smaller attached Marquee. We were dined magnificently, Kurt insisted I was not to have all that wine and helped me by consuming it. We were not over whelmed by the hard French racing crews and were were soon doing the conger round all the tables and then singing as lustily as any Cornish fisherman or miner.


Saturday August 1st 1998 The Yacht Club de l'Odet organized a bar-bee-q in the Glénan Islands (Îles de Glénan) we set out 09:15hrs our motor was still working at half power but getting hotter all the time as we motored out to the Islands about 8 miles from Bénodet. Choosing a anchorage easy to get out, to the North of St Nicolas island.


We anchored and went ashore, for the Bar-bee-q. The reason that we were careful in our chose of anchorage was that Kurt was sure I said the Cruise was to finish Sunday but I neglected to mention that it was here in the Les Glénan was the end of the cruise. Kurt had only just got a summer job in Plympton with a Computer Software company and had organized a week off.

Kurt wanted to start work again Monday morning, sorry we took all week getting here so in the middle of the night we up anchored and started off back Sunday August 1st 1998.

Very early in the pitch black going North to clear the Islands. Then of towards Penmarc'h. had intended to go through the Pointe du Raz that lunch time, but after the engine seized again and was now going slower and slower.  I tried the small 2hp from the inflatable but the pitch of the prop was too coarse and was no more effective than the main outboard. We not able to make progress on the engine and the wind was too light to manage sailing through the Raz before the tide turned. So Audierne
was where we found our selves that afternoon. The benefit of a outboard was now apparent as I lifted it again out of the well, and fitted it to the cabin steps. the Engine was separated from the Leg and we saw what was wrong, a block of salt had choked of the exhaust. as the engine had run too hot the sea water had turned to salt. I knocked this away and was now in need of some gasket cement, this is an advantage of going in a group as in the Marina another of our boats had arrived and was able to help.

Ray Day in Daz
"Ray Day in Daz"

Leaving for Camaret-sur-Mer Monday, It was again lunch time when we were able to motor past the Pointe du Raz and across the bay to Camaret-sur-Mer, The engine had run well and I was happy with it. But I now needed to make sure I had enough petrol if I had to motor across the Channel? The Marina was very helpful and took me in a van to the garage where I was able to fill all my cans with fuel a total of 110lts.

Tuesday 3rd August 1998 we left to go North it was again in the middle of the day that we were able to use the tide to go through Chenal du Four This time we had quite strong winds against us. This made the waves, like giant staircases as we tacked up the channel we were never traveling the way we were facing and after some hours we were left at the Phare du Four and a dropping wind. So again the outboard had to work again, all went well and by evening we were back in Correjou Bay. That night it was very noisy as Plouguerneau Sailing Club had a Celtic festival with a Pipe band and fireworks.
Kurt and I turned in as the plan was an early start and sail directly north and start crossing the Shipping Lanes in day light.
Wednesday with blue sky, misty and no wind we set out about 04:30hrs. Yes again the outboard had to do the work, it was running much better now with lots of water in the relief exhaust pipe, which was fitted coming from the top of the leg. By lunch time we were crossing the shipping lanes, and now we had good visibility, I still was not totally confident on the outboard motor to cross the path of ships in the traffic lane and would alter my course so not to go across their bows, when it looked like a converging course. No it's not in the rules but when I see such a large ship bearing down on me I'm chicken and self preservation is a strong emotion.

By evening we were clear of shipping lanes and still had light winds. Tried to use the sails but our ETA would leap 8hrs and Kurt was on tender hooks to arrive and go to work as he was three days late! Through the night we saw large fishing fleets and altered course to avoid them. With day light we were insight of the Eddystone Lighthouse but the wind was so light that it was the outboard that had got us across the Channel we arrived about 07:00hrs Thursday 5th August 1998.
Kurt had his Mother drive him to work in Plympton, I crashed out asleep in bed. I imagine that Kurt's head hit the computer screen more than once that day. Later that week I checked the fuel and found we had about 20lts. of fuel left.