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Falmouth to.... where?

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James Chew View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote James Chew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Falmouth to.... where?
    Posted: 12 May 2013 at 8:04pm
Hello everyone. I live in Falmouth and have owned my Contessa for 1 year and I want to sail to France this summer. I've been sailing dinghies my whole life but am a newbie in the big-boat offshore side to sailing, and I will have an all-novice crew, so my question is 'where in France should I sail to? I'm looking for somewhere picturesque to visit, but most importantly without very strong tides, lots of rocks, lots of shipping etc. Any advice much appreciated. Thanks.
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moongirl View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moongirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2013 at 9:50pm
A boat based in Falmouth would most naturally head straight across to North Brittany but there you pretty much find all the things you are seeking to avoid ie strong tides, rocks etc. the same goes for the Channel Islands! Depending on how much time you have you could head for Cherbourg or Alderney and from there go to St Vaast, Courseulles or Deauville - all require careful tide planning as the entrances dry out. From the aforementioned you could nip into Le Havre & from there venture up to Honfleur up the Seine.
It strikes me that a trip to the East would avoid rocks/strong tides but could involve a long hack back against the prevailing wind which an inexperienced Crew might not like - better perhaps to brush up the Nav & consider some of the N.Brittany spots eg Treguier & Lezardrieux via Alderney or Guernsey.
Any route to France does of course involve crossing the Traffic Separation Lanes - this can be a little scary even with AIS but as long as you don't try to cut across the bows of a nearby Ship it's OK - I have had to heave to for 15 minutes waiting for a gap!
Hope this helps!
Oh by the way my first adventure into the rocky zone was when asked to deliver a boat back from St Peter Port & I arrived at the Marina at dead low tide OMG! I knew I was going to be leaving @ 1 in the morning & negotiating those rocky bits but it was actually very easy. I have been back several times and apart from getting the tides right for the Alderney Race there was nothing much to it.

Regards


COLIN
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waratah912 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waratah912 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2013 at 10:56pm
I agree with Colin, it's not as scary as you might think, especially if you have a plotter or sat nav. Given good visibility, the French buoys and marks are easy to spot. My first trip to N. Brittany was in a Folkboat from Brighton with only a compass and a Seafix RDF for position fixing. We found and went into Lezardrieux at night quite happily, but were more apprehensive coming out at low tide in daylight when you could see the teeth down either side of the channel! For my first season, I'd be less ambitious with a novice crew, there's some great cruising just to the east of Falmouth, and you run less risk of turning off your crew with a long, wet, lumpy passage across the channel. Once you have them hooked, then go to France next year. After one unforgettable return crossing, one of my daughters leaped on to the pontoon saying "I'm never going on the B*%!! boat again, she was 16 and had been sailing  from 6 months old - took me 12 years to get her back aboard! If you do go, consider somewhere like Ploumanach that's not up a river, and you don't have the tidal stream issues, but the approach does dry out. If you go to Treguier, make sure you arrive and leave at slack water. The tide through the marina there is rather exciting.
You could also consider joining the CO32 cruise to Paimpol if you don't mind coming east first, or maybe a local cruise in company which gives you some backup if needed.
Whatever you do, I hope you have fair winds and an enjoyable cruise!  
Paul Smith
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moongirl View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moongirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 2013 at 7:25pm
It occurs to me that another option would be Ireland. Obviously one doesn't want to be crossing that bit of sea in bad weather but once there you have Cork/Crosshaven, Kinsale etc all of which are not too bad in tidal/rock terms plus the crack is legendary.
My first sail 'in command' offshore was to Crosshaven for Cork Week & I had to motor a lot of the way! All went well until a bank of fog descended off the Harbour Entrance! I decided not to hang around the Waypoint as I thought that everybody would be doing that.
Fair Winds

Regards
COLIN
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moongirl View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moongirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 2013 at 8:56pm
A trip to Ireland could start with a short hop to the Scillies. Never been but as lots of people do it I guess it's not too difficult. I considered a slight alteration to my course on route to Cork but ran out of time and instead threaded my way between the Longships & Lands End!

Regards
COLIN
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doug View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote doug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2013 at 9:01pm
I think Moongirl's suggestion of Guernsey is a good un.
 
You can generally get a fair breeze for a day passage to Salcombe.   From there it is a daylight sail, about 60 miles, to St Peter Port.   Decide which way to tackle the island when about 20 miles out.  Westabout is dead easy, and not much more complex if you have to go down the Little Russel.  Don't try to buck the tide.   You might like to go on neaps
 
There will be a fair amount of shipping, in the usual bands, on the crossing but it is very light south of the Islands.   Once in Guernsey the whole of Islands and the Bay of St Malo is at your mercy.   You could spend 5 summers there and only see a part of it.
 
There will be plenty of rocks and tides but play it safe at first and you will be fine.
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moongirl View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moongirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2013 at 8:07pm
60 miles is about 2 tides worth. Not too difficult to plan a trip to arrive at the Alderney Race @ slack water just before it turns towards Guernsey. Avoid the Race when it's really running as the over falls can be quite tricky.
As often as not one has to moor on a waiting pontoon as the St Peter Port Marina has a cill. When the Marina opens it can be bit of a scum but the wait is worth it - no VAT!

Regards
COLIN
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