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Old 19-02-2013, 05:51   #1
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Sailing from Falmouth to Bordeaux

Hi,

New to forum, today. I depart from Falmouth to sail my 45ft Jeannue Flybridge motor Cruiser to the West coast of France this spring. I am hoping to reach the Garronne River and find a suitable mooring for the summer and beyond. My craft has a draft of 1.4m and her props need to be 'wet' at all times. I was wondering if any one had any tips an a) navigating to here,(although Yachtmaster qualified, I lack experience!) pitfalls to avoiod etc.. and b) recommend a good value / quality option for a long term mooring once there. I hear Port Medoc is a good option>?

Any advice would be greatly welcome.

Roy
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Old 19-02-2013, 15:03   #2
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Re: Sailing from Falmouth to Bordeaux

Welcome to CruisersForum, Roy
Sailing from Falmouth to Bordeaux, you must decide between going offshore or inshore. When going offshore, you just need a good weather window for the Bay of Biscay.

If going inshore, meaning between Ushant/Ouessant and the mainland (chenal du Four), then between Sein and the mainland (raz de Sein), you have to pay attention to the timing of tides with respect to the direction of swell. The reason is, the tidal streams sometimes exceed 6kts. You don't want to have them against your progress and you must avoid tide against swell. Sometimes, there is only a very narrow window for passing, 1/2hr at slack water.

You must at all cost avoid trying to enter the Gironde in a gale, for the channel is narrow and fairly shallow, and the ebbing tidal stream is strong. The sandbank there is named "banc de la Mauvaise" (Bad bank) for a very good reason.

The last time I was in Port Médoc (2007), it was half empty. One good reason is, it is on the left (west) bank of the Garonne, in a sparsely populated area. Another reason is, it is silting up... I don't think there are moorings there, only berths in the marina. Anyway, it could be a good choice for you, depending on your needs for transportation. There is a railway station at Le Verdon, not far from the marina but there are not so many trains/buses to Bordeaux.

The marina prices are there: Port-Médoc : nos tarifs

Alain
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Old 19-02-2013, 16:03   #3
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pirate Re: Sailing from Falmouth to Bordeaux

Try timing your run through inside Ushant for slack tide before it starts ebbing... I went through 2hrs late once and there were 6ft standing waves the other end waiting for me..
If you go round the outside stand well off... quite a few nets and crab pots upto a couple or four mile out... in a motorboat your going to have to time all your stops to arrive at the approaches around 2hrs after LW as many dry out to much to navigate upto the locks... and some locks like La Roche Bernard's are a long way in..
I'm not too familiar with much further S as most Biscay trips I've done have been straight across... make sure you pick a good secondary port around halfway in case the weather turns.. which it can quite quickly.
Likely Goboatingnow will pop in with more and better info..
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Old 20-02-2013, 02:55   #4
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Re: Sailing from Falmouth to Bordeaux

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I was wondering if any one had any tips an a) navigating to here,(although Yachtmaster qualified, I lack experience!) pitfalls to avoiod etc.. and b) recommend a good value / quality option for a long term mooring once there.
Roy,

Welcome aboard!

If you have time on your hands, make this trip slowly. It's a tremendous experience to gently cruise from port to port along the French coasts, including those on the north coast, to see such a wide variety of different places, each with their own charm, and each with their own challenges - usually tidal challenges. Choose good visibility and good weather for your passages while you build your confidence.

En route you'll find a favourite place. Fine. carry on south until you reach the Gironde, then look back over the trip and decide which of those delightful places would be a good spot to base the boat for a season. Go back to it!

Before you take the boat overseas, make sure you know the paperwork you'll need and the occasional traps you may run into if you're spending a lot of time on board.
For a broad brush comparison of the cruise areas and places to visit en route, see:



Some really convenient places to leave the boat for a period while you go back to UK (if you have to) are St Malo, Jersey, Morlaix, Roscoff, Brest, Vannes. Good shelter, Rail or ferry connections, and nearby airfields are the criteria I've used here.


Now, if you've already done all the homework for the trip, and this is all old hat, I apologise. And if you think those pages can be improved, let me know - ideally by adding comments to the existing pages.
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Old 28-03-2013, 12:14   #5
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Re: Sailing from Falmouth to Bordeaux

I left Falmouth and went well outside Ille D'Ouessant and the Raz before turning left for Audierne the September before last. I'd do the same again - there are no critical tidal timings and Audierne has protected moorings in the bay and pontoons up the river, you can take one of the former if you arrive in the lower half of the tide.
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Old 28-03-2013, 13:24   #6
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Re: Sailing from Falmouth to Bordeaux

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Originally Posted by Hydra View Post

If going inshore, meaning between Ushant/Ouessant and the mainland (chenal du Four), then between Sein and the mainland (raz de Sein), you have to pay attention to the timing of tides with respect to the direction of swell. The reason is, the tidal streams sometimes exceed 6kts. You don't want to have them against your progress and you must avoid tide against swell. Sometimes, there is only a very narrow window for passing, 1/2hr at slack water.
In a motor vessel capable of 20+ knots, you may decide to motor against an adverse tide if it means you can avoid wind against tide, which is too awful to think about in those parts. In a boat like that, the sea state is critical, and a wind against tide situation in even relatively benign conditions can become unnavigable.

Pick your weather carefully, and plan carefully to get across or around tidal races at the right moment. Those are very challenging waters, especially in a motor cruiser of that size. The good news is that with that kind of speed, you can wait for the perfect tide/weather window then just shoot through any given tough bit.
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Old 28-03-2013, 19:41   #7
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Nothing much to add, Brest is a good stop off , with a major Jeaneau dealer there. The Jeanneau flybridge is a good sea boat , but obviously you'll need to plan diesel carefully. I've little experience of long sea trips with motor cruisers , so I'd be loath to get too specific.

Dave
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Old 29-03-2013, 02:56   #8
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By the way have you looked at the cost of diesel for this trip , I helped a friend do this last year and everytime we looked, it was cheaper to truck it to the cruising grounds. Diesel is very expensive in French marinas too.

We looked at Dublin to Brest , it was a good bit cheaper to truck it there. Is the Plymouth Santander ferry still running ,that might be an option.

Dave
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