Waiting in Brittany, even in winter...

March 2021

Hello NVequipment readers!

It has been a long winter for you, and for us too. We are well aware that we have chosen this way of life, and that we are lucky in this period of health crisis, where exchange and travel are rare. We too miss giving our our children, parents, and friends a hug and especially not being able to sail away towards new horizons. But we are lucky to live in a bubble, with the ebb and flow of the tide, along our beautiful, long French coastline.  Another confirmation - if one were needed - of our chosen way of life since 2012... almost 10 years. At the moment, our rare visitors’ eyes shine even brighter at the mention of our decision to sell our house in 2012, and enjoy our boat to the full. We might as well dream of far off places and projects. During these uncertain times, many like us are dreaming of adventure and new experiences.  So we will share With you. 
The last time we wrote, we were in Spain. After a beautiful summer spent between the Vendée, the Charente, and Brittany, with work on Cybèle, and some sailing with family. A storm while in the charming harbour of Castro Urdiales was the final straw for our faithful dinghy. We discovered the magnificent northern Spanish coast. Well worth a visit but at anchor, as the port fees are prohibitive. 

But do do so, a good tender is essential. Without it, we nevertheless took advantage of the new weather window to sail quickly back to La Rochelle, less than 36 hours away. 
Two weeks to see our children and grandchildren and receive delivery of a new tender, which thankfully weighs only 18kg, compared to the previous one which weighed more than 50!!! Enough to make us feel better. 
In mid-October, there was a nice period of southerly winds. So we headed towards Brittany, where other grandchildren were waiting for us. 3 days of wonderful sailing, interspersed with moorings on the island of Yeu and in the port of Sauzon on Belle-Ile. A hop, skip and a jump takes us to Port La Forêt where reality catches up with us. The virus is very active here, and between self-isolating and lockdown we barely see our children and friends. With a non-existant social life, at least we can enjoy the beautiful surroundings of this port within the legal one-kilometre radius. 
After the holidays, the strict minimum, and 2 months of immobility, we couldn’t wait to get back to sea. The good weather of the last days of the year encouraged us to spend a first night in the Glénan archipelago. December 30th. We were THE ONLY ONES there! The light was beautiful, the weather favourable. On the 31st we headed on to Groix. Port Tudy was pretty full on New Year's Eveso there was no room on the pontoons for Cybele. We made the leap into 2021 on a buoy, without even setting foot on land. And on January 1st, we arrived in Port Louis, behind the citadel which steadfastly guards the entrance to the bay of Lorient. 
The town centre and its friendly shops made our stay more pleasant, and we were able to meet up with other children and grandchildren - alas, always too occasionally. Yes indeed, we have a big family! 6 children, and 11 grandchildren, from Brest to Toulouse. Plus our parents, in two other towns in Brittany. 
January was a long month this year. We are so used to sailing and discovering new horizons, but also to making regular forays into the places we visit, and especially in winter, meeting up with NV at the boat shows. Obviously this year, everything was cancelled. We don’t have a car and are used to renting from other people or using public transport. This year, our enthusiasm to head for the snow in the mountains was stopped dead in its tracks. We didn't feel like taking the train, we didn't have a car equipped for the snow to rent, and the repeated red zones along our route were discouraging. But we hope that our choice will contribute to the nation’s effort to return to better times more quickly. 

Fortunately to do away with the greyness and just in time to celebrate my big birthday, the snow fell in Brittany! A little taste of the North, to make us want to leave again... 

Appointments in Brest. The maritime routes were safer than the routes over land that week. 
So off we go to Sainte Marine, under the snow, and the next day, sailed through the Raz-de-Sein. Like a knife through butter. A perfect weather window with an easterly wind, just strong enough to push us, not too much sea as it was an onshore wind, and above all, a tide reversal in the Raz de Sein at midday, which enabled us to catch the rising tide as if on a conveyor belt, 8 knots of speed plus 4 knots of current: off we sped at 12 knots, towards Camaret, where we arrived before the curfew! Indeed, sailing is also governed by the rules that apply on land. We are not limited in distance, but in time outspent sailing per day. As for the speed of the boat, to give you an idea of comparison, we do all our route planning at an average of 5 knots, and therefore 5 nautical miles per hour. You can imagine our speed that day... 

For interested readers, here is a link to the article written by the Captain, who shares his experience of the Raz de Sein.

With information on the tools available today to pass through safely. 

Our desire to be on the move again, after 2 weeks in Brest filled with lovely encounters, brings us through the Raz de Sein again heading South. We sailed gently along the coast of Brittany and the Vendée, meeting up with the kids, to arrive in La Rochelle once again, and stay here until the end of March. Then, we should head back slowly, towards North Brittany, from where we can - perhaps - leave again, when we get vaccinated. 
This year, we might have to revise our conditionals. Like everyone else, we are still sailing blind, with no fixed plans. But with hope and optimism. 

Our optimism is strengthened by the fact that we can still receive a few visitors on board, thanks to our cockpit enclosure. While we don't receive visitors in the saloon, which is not spacious enough to comply with current rules, and even less crew for multi-day sailing, we can share a lunch in the enclosure, with up to 2 other people, in a space that remains airy. Another good reason to adopt it! The first few days when the sun was high, we took it off to enjoy the fresh air, but we felt the difference in degrees in the saloon in the morning. Thus confirming its role as an insulator, which is very pleasant during the winter. Just 10 minutes later, it was back up, before the first drops fell! Stopover time is much longer than sailing time at the moment. As a result, comfort on board is essential, so that these periods of rest are beneficial to everyone. 
As usual, you can follow our journey on our blog: Les voyages de Cybèle, ou plus réactif - or on the group of the same name on Facebook
We look forward to hearing from you - or even meeting you - if you find us at one of our ports of call.
​You can find us through our AIS on MarineTraffic.

See you soon!
March 2021
45 years Séparateur of Experience
1st Séparateur Hood and Bimini Top 
Pioneer and Designer
100 % Séparateur Made
in France
600 Séparateur New Products Every Year
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