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Old 26-04-2013, 13:13   #16
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Re: What about anchoring on the French Atlantic coast?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
In France, the main thing you have to be careful of is to have up to date flares (they take a dim view of sailing with expired ones), and have your documents in order. This last causes a lot of friction with British sailors because many of them haven't registered their boats at all -- in the UK you are not even required to register a boat or have even a single scrap of paper. Some of them insist that if their flag state don't require it, then the French have no right to demand it. They lose this argument and have to pay fines if caught.
The RYA site highlights that boating abroad is regulated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Beside flares, the French regulations don't require much special gear. Here is the list for offshore (more than 6 NM from shelter) cruising:
One lifejacket per person on board Luminous tracking device (eg. handheld light)
One tracking and assistance device for person overboard (eg. a lifebuoy with light)
A means for a person overboard to get back on board (eg. a ladder)
One harness per person on board a sailing craft; 1 harness per non-sailing craft
Safety device to cut the ignition or gas should the pilot be ejected (if outboard engine > 4.5 kW with tiller)
1 signalling mirror
3 automatic hand-held red flares
3 parachute flares, or one VHF/DSC radio installation
2 buoyant smoke signals, or one VHF/DSC radio installation
Life raft
Fixed or mobile draining device (eg. a water pump)
Fire extinguishing system
Suitable anchoring gear
Towing strong point and towing line
Device for receiving marine weather forecasts on board (eg. a radio)
National flag
Magnetic compass
Navigational chart(s)
Material for fixing one’s position, trace and follow a route (eg. GPS or hand-bearing compass, plotter, etc.)
International regulations for preventing collisions at sea (IRPCS)
Document describing the buoyage system
List of lights
Tide tables or equivalent (except in the Mediterranean)
Logbook
First-aid kit
Alain
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Old 26-04-2013, 14:49   #17
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Re: What about anchoring on the French Atlantic coast?

Hi everybody,

Here is our feedback for mooring in the area(s):

Channel and West Brittany area : long scope of mooring (1/3 of chain, 2/3 of rope ideally) is advised, although 100m+ seems to be oversized for most of the cases. 60 meters will cover 90% of the moorings. Alternative solution is to go adry with lateral support (pardon my lack of English and maritime vocabulary, I am talking about the poles some boats are equiped with to stay standing up when it dries, stanchions?) or to moor alongside quay when it goes dry (in that case you'll perform specific mooring with lines and will have to monitor the boat setting and movment).

South Britanny and Atlantic coast: same advise, you may be equiped with a little less (40 to 50 meters) and will cover most of the case.

The 2 above areas are significantly different in term of heights and current speed values encountered, the South britanny and Atlantic coast is easier on that point of view, although it has some specific dangers as well, as the lack of 24/7 port (weather permiting mostly)access between La Rochelle and the Spanish coast (to make it short).. due to sand bars most of the time.

Some basic rules will have to be strictly followed to have a safe and secure mooring:

Proper areas for mooring are clearly identified on the charts, if you are not familiar with the area, just use these ones to avoid any surprising / dangerous situation, a proper choice of the location is paramount for the safety and success...regardless and above all other parameters.

The 5:1 ratio is a minimum and is another basic rule to always follow.

Weather forecast is another one basic rule, nautical guides and instructions are not to be forgotten...some "obviously safe and protected morrings" may become dangerous although all "visible" condition were met to have a safe and quiet place (coast line and water reflection can be dangerous although it seems not)...so read and catch as much info as you can in case of doubt.

It is sensible in strong tide condition to monitor and ensure that your mooring is holding well (alignment checks) after you drop the Anchor, do not drop it and immediately leave the boat to go onshore, wait that the boat stands still and make sure it is ok...in case you doubt it, just leave a watch aboard (1 person that can handle the boat alone in case it goes adrift) while the crew is going onshore. this last rule applies specially when you are in a river mouth in the area of Channel Island, Paimpol and the like where the current turns 180° betwen high and low tide, try to ALWAYS be onboard at this moment when anchored.

Check your mooring gear 100%, do not trust the morring buoys 100%...In bad weather and strong tides, all of this will face severe stress and weak / weared Equipment will fail very quickly...

Chain loop for mooring buoys are highly advised, not to say mandatory, in case you do not have one just put several lines and monitor them each 4 or 5 hours in bad condition (you'll adjust the parameters depending on conditions, diameter of the lines, roughness of the tie in point...).

These are simple rules to follow (mostly it is to pay attention to what you have and what is happening around you), get a full documentation and mooring practices guidance (RYA...) and you'll enjoy a very nice experience in one of the richest and most various area to sail in France.

I am sure that you are already aware of the above statement, the areas and mooring in these condition are just giving much less marging and forgiving in case things are going wrong.

Hope this will help.
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Old 27-04-2013, 09:31   #18
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Re: What about anchoring on the French Atlantic coast?

Quote:
Alternative solution is to go adry with lateral support (pardon my lack of English and maritime vocabulary, I am talking about the poles some boats are equiped with to stay standing up when it dries, stanchions?) or to moor alongside quay when it goes dry (in that case you'll perform specific mooring with lines and will have to monitor the boat setting and movment).
Drying with beaching legs is to be done only in sheltered areas: even if the place you select is calm when you take the ground, you can't be sure that waves wil not come with the rising tide. It's very unpleasant to be waiting for the tide to rise enough, while the keel bumps on the bottom after each passing wave.

Of course, you need to be sure that the ground is flat and clean: no rocks, stones or debris where the keel or a leg might land.

Alain
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