Biscay on a budget..

GHA

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Solo. How would you do it? Trying to avoid spending oodles of cash in marinas.

Leaving Burnham soon.

The very loose plan so far:
Across the Thames , anchor up behind the breakwater in Ramsgate.
Little hop round to Dover, anchor up inside.
Longish hop to Brighton, maybe Newhaven if the tide turns.
Couple days seeing friends in Brighton, most likely damaging to the budget, schedule and liver :)
Long hop overnighter to Alderney, anchor up.
Another long day/night/day to somewhere round Brest. Or maybe stop off at Roscoff, pick up a visitors buoy?

Then where to wait for the weather - Camaret anchorage OK?

Just to muddy the waters further, La Rochelle marina looks like it might be 50 quid a week off season, if there are cheap options down the coast then having a look might be tempting. Though if there's a window to get across then it would be silly to not make use of it..

Hmm..

thoughts?
 

Sybarite

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Solo. How would you do it? Trying to avoid spending oodles of cash in marinas.

Leaving Burnham soon.

The very loose plan so far:
Across the Thames , anchor up behind the breakwater in Ramsgate.
Little hop round to Dover, anchor up inside.
Longish hop to Brighton, maybe Newhaven if the tide turns.
Couple days seeing friends in Brighton, most likely damaging to the budget, schedule and liver :)
Long hop overnighter to Alderney, anchor up.
Another long day/night/day to somewhere round Brest. Or maybe stop off at Roscoff, pick up a visitors buoy?

Then where to wait for the weather - Camaret anchorage OK?

Just to muddy the waters further, La Rochelle marina looks like it might be 50 quid a week off season, if there are cheap options down the coast then having a look might be tempting. Though if there's a window to get across then it would be silly to not make use of it..

Hmm..

thoughts?

If I were contemplating crossing Biscay I wouldn't go around S. Brittany. South of La Rochelle there are very few safe havens so the more offing you have the better.

I would also hole up South of the Raz de Sein so as not to have that to contemplate when I want to get away quickly. Depending on how long you need to stay you could choose an appropriate port such as Le Guilvinec , Loctudy or Bénodet. If it's just overnight, a mooring at Audierne would be good.

There are plenty of boats making their way South at this period in preparation for a transat but it is also a time of unstable weather and so it would be useful to have a good window and to be confident in your boat's seakeeping abilities.
 

LadyInBed

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Solo. How would you do it? Trying to avoid spending oodles of cash in marinas.

Long hop overnighter to Alderney, anchor up.
Or Havlet bay Guernsey
Another long day/night/day to somewhere round Brest.
That's a long hop with tide gate down Le Four. If you go into L Arber Wrac'h, go past marina and up the river a tad and borrow a buoy ;)
Or maybe stop off at Roscoff, pick up a visitors buoy?
Roscoff has a couple of buoys off Ill de Bats but quite open. There is Penn Lann in Rade de Morlaix, anchorage. Have a look at Primel, 24hr access, V buoys just inside harbour, no charge. Or if you can't make that far West, then Port Blanc, also 24hr, V buoy, no charge.
Then where to wait for the weather - Camaret anchorage OK?
Yes, good anchorage. If the wind is in the wrong direction you can go on down Raz and anchor off Audierne. Either are good jump off points.

Just to muddy the waters further, La Rochelle marina looks like it might be 50 quid a week off season, if there are cheap options down the coast then having a look might be tempting. Though if there's a window to get across then it would be silly to not make use of it..?
I go straight across, to La Coruna if poss. Going round the bay takes time and added expence.
Have a look on my website.
 
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macd

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Yes, good anchorage. If the wind is in the wrong direction you can go on down Raz and anchor off Audierne. Either are good jump off points.

I go straight across, to La Coruna if poss. Going round the bay takes time and added expence.

+1 re Audierne (or St. Evette, about a mile to the W, which often gets called 'Audierne'). As said, saves waiting for that window at the Raz. You can anchor or take a mooring, which may well be free at this time of year.

If looking for a safe (and free) haven just short of La Corunna, consider Cedeira: big, safe anchorage with an attractive town nearby. Entrance is straightforward in daylight.
 

Robin

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Camaret is a good anchorage and with good shopping and restaurants nearby, the visitor buoys are not expensive either. There is no need to go through Le Raz De Sein from Camaret in order to cross Biscay directly, only if coast hopping which, as others have said already, is not the best option as you will be forced well offshore down south anyway not least to avoid the missile firing ranges.
 

Wansworth

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Well to day in Galicia is nice and warm with an anticyclone out to the west, perfect if your coming down from the north.... but we are promised rain soon and thru weather chart shows various lows waiting to push the high out of the way.Apparently the forecast for the autumn is for rain so my be a series of low s ,,,not god for a Biscay trip.
 

Goldie

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Another strategy, depending on the wind forecast when you're ready to go, might be to stay UK side of the channel for longer. There are plenty of anchorages on the way West - the Solent, Studland, Portland, East of Start Point, Plymouth Sound, St Austell Bay, Carrick Roads etc, and then you might have a better wind angle for the hop across to NW Brittany or Ushant. Ater a cold front has gone through, the wind often veers far enough into the NW to make this a quick trip and if you work the tidal gates and time your stops for when the tide is foul, potentially an easy one. Being that far West then, you have a good chance of a better wind angle for the Channel crossing too. You'll find plenty of like minded sailors in Falmouth at this time of year too.

Re Biscay, I'd echo what others have said about going direct. By hugging the Biscay coast, you're making things harder for yourself in terms of distance and wind angles but going straight across, DO wait for a weather window. My worst crossing was a July one - it was a race so no flexibility on departure. Equally, I've had a great crossing in December! Fair winds and good luck.

Another advantage is that it give's you a good shakedown to start with, whilst there's still the security blanket of UK chandlers/boatyards/engineers etc . close at hand. If you're a French speaker of course, this might not be an issue.
 

theoldsalt

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As others have said - go straight across Biscay. However you had better get a move on as Biscay should be avoided in autumn and many insurers will not cover you if you cross late in the season.
 

laika

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thoughts?

You don't get as many euros to the pound as you did a few months ago but it's still pretty good. La Rochelle has everything to fettle a yacht you could possibly want. If I had a pocket full of Tenge from the summer's work burning a hole in my trousers I might well be tempted to stay there a while and fit out with new toys before heading further afield. They do make those nice hydrogenerators there after all :)
 

Birdseye

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As others have said - go straight across Biscay. .

I disagree. The reliability of weather forecasts goes down rapidly with the length of the forecast and autumn like spring is the peak of the gale season. If you coast hop you can keep the risk of gales down to a minimum.
 

GHA

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You don't get as many euros to the pound as you did a few months ago but it's still pretty good. La Rochelle has everything to fettle a yacht you could possibly want. If I had a pocket full of Tenge from the summer's work burning a hole in my trousers I might well be tempted to stay there a while and fit out with new toys before heading further afield. They do make those nice hydrogenerators there after all :)
That's tempting indeed, and just hang out in French France for a while. But somehow it doesn't seem quite right, if the weather's fairly settled then getting the other side of finisterre will probably trump everything. Assuming I don't get stuck in Brighton for a month, usually if i just stop off for a pint of milk it's a week :)
 

GHA

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I disagree. The reliability of weather forecasts goes down rapidly with the length of the forecast and autumn like spring is the peak of the gale season. If you coast hop you can keep the risk of gales down to a minimum.
Don't agree completely with that, if it's one low after another then you need to watch your step but if it's fairly settled with a high then 3 days can easily be accurate enough.
 

Birdseye

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That's tempting indeed, and just hang out in French France for a while. But somehow it doesn't seem quite right, if the weather's fairly settled then getting the other side of finisterre will probably trump everything. Assuming I don't get stuck in Brighton for a month, usually if i just stop off for a pint of milk it's a week :)

Lets be real here. The last thing the weather is this far north in autumn is "settled". You are single handing and if you are worried about cost its likely that you are in an older boat with kit that is well used and maybe even tired. Lets not be macho about it - your best plan is to cross Biscay in sensible sized bites with a good forecast each time you set sail. The coast of France is very pleasant down to the gironde after which you need to do the crossing to Bilbao an all tide all weather port and a fine city. Thats 36 hours for which you can have a reliable forecast.

Do you really fancy 48 hours in a Biscay gale trying to operate safely single handed?
 

GHA

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Well to day in Galicia is nice and warm with an anticyclone out to the west, perfect if your coming down from the north.... but we are promised rain soon and thru weather chart shows various lows waiting to push the high out of the way.Apparently the forecast for the autumn is for rain so my be a series of low s ,,,not god for a Biscay trip.
Simon says, ..... maybe a nice big high for a while. :cool: hope so.
 

GHA

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Lets be real here. ..........

Do you really fancy 48 hours in a Biscay gale trying to operate safely single handed?
Nope, but I've been to the Scillies on this boat single handed. Via Europe, Africa, South America, Caribbean and azores. I know it well, ebbtide 33 steel, tough as old boots and just had a major refit, completely renovated Aries windvane, spare halyards, cutter rigged so sail plan is right down low in a blow.
Let's be real here, the boat can take a gale, it ain't a big deal. I find reading in nasty conditions brings on a little sea sickness so the Kindle gets turned off and i get bored, that's the worst bit :)
 

Sybarite

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Lets be real here. The last thing the weather is this far north in autumn is "settled". You are single handing and if you are worried about cost its likely that you are in an older boat with kit that is well used and maybe even tired. Lets not be macho about it - your best plan is to cross Biscay in sensible sized bites with a good forecast each time you set sail. The coast of France is very pleasant down to the gironde after which you need to do the crossing to Bilbao an all tide all weather port and a fine city. Thats 36 hours for which you can have a reliable forecast.

Do you really fancy 48 hours in a Biscay gale trying to operate safely single handed?

The problem South of the Gironde is that there are few accessible harbours. Under the previous rating scheme for boats in France several categories were prohibited from sailing there because they would have been too far away from a safe haven.

Also, on the Northern Spanish coast you can have sudden and very violent katabatic winds.

This said I have crossed from La Rochelle in early May and ran into some heavy weather around the NW corner of Spain and on down the Portugese coast.
 

Wansworth

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Nope, but I've been to the Scillies on this boat single handed. Via Europe, Africa, South America, Caribbean and azores. I know it well, ebbtide 33 steel, tough as old boots and just had a major refit, completely renovated Aries windvane, spare halyards, cutter rigged so sail plan is right down low in a blow.
Let's be real here, the boat can take a gale, it ain't a big deal. I find reading in nasty conditions brings on a little sea sickness so the Kindle gets turned off and i get bored, that's the worst bit :)

......you should have said so before we started.... just come ,whatever the weather
 
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