Cruiser Reports


All of Brittany offers a delightful coast line and lovely places to visit. The July cross Channel Rally had intended to visit the Pink Granite Coast, but, being flexible, we actually ended up just alongside it, but still in the lovely Cotes-d’Armor.

Deciding to miss a crowded Cherbourg on Bastille Day, we instead sailed first to Studland. After a motor through the Solent, Christchurch Bay was at its best with a blue sky, flat sea and wind that allowed us to lay our destination. The evening anchored in Studland was equally memorable.

Next day the predicted westerly force 4-5 had arrived, and an early morning start saw us heading due south in a somewhat confused sea. Our destination was St Peter Port, actually the same distance from Studland as Cherbourg is from Itchenor. An hour out, Nikita experienced problems with her babystay and, with only a 4-5 day “pass”, Peter Porter decided that it was prudent to turn back. We were sorry to lose him, but he arrived back at Itchenor safely that evening after logging 75 miles.

Conditions became more comfortable as we got further south and the sun came out. Alderney looked great as we passed down the Race, and so 5 boats arrived in St Peter Port around 18.00hours. A good crossing. After a day off and some serious socialising, we had to say goodbye to Dick Hoare and all on Parity as they were only out for 7 days and needed to turn back. The following morning, after a delayed start waiting for fog to clear, Fairwind (Sue and Barrie Pearson), Opus 4 (Jane and Peter Matthews), Mandalay (Sarah and Martin Greenhalgh) and Niobe (Bill Greening and crew) set off on the 45 mile sail to St Quay Pontrieux, one of the few all tide harbours on the coast we were heading for and which none of us had explored before.

Of course the fog came down again as soon as we were a few miles south of Guernsey! However these are quiet waters and we were all AIS equipped. Six hours out we were in bright sunshine and by late afternoon we were all moored together in St Quay.  A day there exploring showed it to be an attractive seaside town that somehow lacks vibrancy, but is was friendly and offered all the services we needed.

St Quay set us up nicely to visit Paimpol, 12 miles up the coast but highly tidal. In fact we were initially concerned that Fairwind with her 1.6 metre draft would only get in at the very top of the neap tide which prevailed. However a Brit we met in St Quay keeps his 2 metre draft boat there and assured us there would not be a problem between HW plus or minus 1 hour. He was absolutely right! After an interesting sail between the rocks through shallow water, we all locked in with plenty of water to spare. Although it was busy, the harbour master cheerfully found us berths and we could explore. Only Bill had been there before, and that some 20 years ago.

We all thoroughly enjoyed Paimpol. Money has been spent tastefully modernising the centre, which is right around the harbour. It is busy, very vibrant and full of flowers. Street concerts and specialist markets seemed to be happening most days. The coastal walks were excellent, and the weather was very kind to us.

After 2 nights we locked out and took the inshore passage to Lezardrieux. Another interesting piece of pilotage through very rocky waters – in fact it looks as if rocks are everywhere. The final approach through the Trieux River is easy and extremely scenic – very like the River dart. Lezardrieux is an old favourite, peaceful and beautiful. The only sadness was that the Hotel du Port, our favourite restaurant, had closed down since we last visited. However, I am pleased to report that the “Yacht Club Bar” (there is no yacht club!) is a worthy successor.

In the end we spent 3 nights in Lezardrieux. We had intended 2, and then a move to Treguier, but the weather dictated that we stay put and then take the opportunity to return to St Peter Port at the start of the journey home. We obeyed what the winds were saying and spent another day there in beautiful but breezy weather (who needs the Mediterranean when we have coastlines like this to walk) and had then hoped to spend a day on Alderney or possibly Cherbourg. Again the weather dictated, although this time with minimum warning. The forecast the evening before we left had changed and suggested that we had 1 day to get home in comfort before a period of very unsettled weather came in.

So 3 boats made another 0600 hrs start to catch the tide through the Alderney Race. It was springs and we all recorded up to 13 knots over the ground. With this helpful push, we arrived at West Pole just under 15 hours later after an easy motor sail. Unfortunately Mandalay had to wait in St Peter Port for a new crew to arrive. Although they managed a quick visit to Alderney, it was another 5 days before they could cross the Channel to reach home.

So ended another enjoyable cruise. Flexibility was the key to easy passage making and overall the weather was not bad. It just had to be watched (as usual).

Bill Greening


The approach to Paimpol

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Lezardrieux village centre

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Home again!

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Bembridge 2017


STARTER FOR TEN – Bembridge Rally Tuesday 11 – Wednesday 12 April 2017



What a splendid start to the 2017 season! Ten boats and twenty two crew enjoyed perfect sailing conditions across to Bembridge on Tuesday 11 April making good speed on a reach in a westerly F3 to 4 and glorious sunshine.  A deviation to the east from the straight-line route was required to avoid the 350 competitors taking part in the RYA Youth Championship in Hayling Bay.

Gordon Wight (Berthing Master) had set aside an area of the alongside pontoon at The Duver for us all and we were welcomed by Sarah Simmonds and all comfortably accommodated with step ashore berths either side of the pontoon.



Fairwind of Dell Quay, Mandalay, Frith, Harami, Cantata, Niobe, Opus IV, Snoopy, Keldy and White Magic alongside The Duver pontoon.


After an afternoon spent catching up with friends, making a few essential purchases, repairs or simply relaxing in the sunshine, sixteen crew boarded Fairwind of Dell Quay for drinks and nibbles and the crew of Cantata enjoyed hospitality aboard Harami.  We welcomed first time ralliers and new members Derek Margison and Richard Hancock who had made the trip aboard Derek’s Sadler 26 Kendy.

Nineteen crew walked up to The Vine in St Helens for a pub meal and a very convivial evening. All safely returned by the light of the silvery moon (or torchlight), some via the Mill Wall, others downhill on the footpath through the woods.

Wednesday morning was rather more bracing with a stronger wind and cloudier conditions. Boats departed once there was sufficient depth over the bar as indicated by the analogue display on the post on the pontoon or the electronic digital display up by the office.  Frith (Martin Watson) and Niobe (Bill Greening) left a little later once the Solent tide had turned to head west, Frith back to her mooring at Gosport, Niobe to Cowes for an extra night out. The rest had a brisk broad reach back into the harbour, some under genoa only, others trying out their mainsail reefing gear. Good speeds were recorded in F5 gusting 6 with flattish seas and freshly antifouled bottoms.

The next rally is to Yarmouth on Tuesday 9 May with Tim Applewhite as rally leader closely followed by a rally to Cowes on Saturday 13 May, led by Dick Cole.

Register in the usual way from the link on the club website.

Sue Pearson



Dell Quay cruisers had another successful rally season with only 3 rallies cancelled due to strong winds and rain.  A total of 22 boats enjoyed cruising to a variety of harbours and anchorages in the Solent, Dorset, France and the circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight.  Cantata (Westerly Storm), Niobe (Westerly Konsort) and Parity (Moody 31) were the most regular ralliers attending 6 rallies each and the most popular rally was to Cowes and West Solent attended by 11 cruisers ranging in size from 22 to 35 feet.

Tuesday 12th April saw perfect conditions for the first rally of the season, a shake down sail led by Sue Pearson to Bembridge attended by Cantata, Fairwind of Dell Quay (Moody 30), Frith (Parker 27) and Niobe. All points of sailing and berthing skills were tested and engines too. Crews not daunted by the walk enjoyed a good evening meal at The Vine in St Helens. The Duver staff were as helpful as ever.

Alongside at The Duver, BembridgeAlongside at The Duver, Bembridge


Wed 11th May saw rather different weather conditions for the rally to Yarmouth led by Tim Applewhite.  Cantata, Niobe and Parity set out a day early but due to fog they abandoned plans to reach Cowes and turned in to Gosport Marina. The following day a further 3 boats departed from Chichester Harbour bound for Yarmouth but a call on VHF Ch 8 from Bill Greening advised that those in Gosport were concerned about poor visibility and were making for Port Solent instead so Harami (Nab 35), Moody Maid (Moody 27) and Pegasus (Hunter Horizon) changed their plans and joined them. About 15 crew were enjoying a meal in a restaurant in Port Solent when Opus IV (Westerly Centaur) made contact with Tim via mobile to advise he had radio problems but had made his way to Yarmouth in the thick fog and where was everyone? Most returned to Chichester the following day in better visibility.

The May Cross Channel rally was beset by strong winds and conditions were unfavourable for crossing. Instead an alternative cruise was agreed upon and Bill Greening aboard Niobe led Fairwind and Sandpiper (Westerly Centaur) to Newtown.

River, Studland Bay and Pottery Pier on Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour.  Delightful walks and peaceful anchorages were enjoyed by all making a pleasant change from marina pontoons. Good breezes made for fast passages although Sandpiper’s progress across Christchurch Bay was slowed somewhat when the towed dinghy shipped some water and began to act as a drogue.

Saturday 18 June saw three of the smaller boats enjoy a harbour cruise to Thorney Island Sailing Club. David Jardine-Smith made the arrangements and reports ‘Scandal (Tamarisk 22) Cariad, (Newbridge Voyager) and Lalep-La (Hurley 22) left Dell Quay on the ebb, to explore around East Head and beyond before heading up to Thorney on the flood. Three visitor moorings were available to us just up from TISC's long jetty and our hosts had kindly given us permission to use their brick-built barbecue ashore which we did, enjoying a very peaceful evening and a new perspective of the harbour. A calm and relaxing rally, all in all - and we learned why Lalep-la is called Lalep-la... (DQ cruisers please note that prior permission from the military authorities, via TISC, is required to visit Thorney Island.)’ The short harbour cruise appealed to crews not too
keen on long passages and another harbour cruise has been included in the 2017 programme.

Bucklers Hard on the lovely Beaulieu River was the destination for the mid week rally on Tuesday 21st June.  Cantata and Parity joined single handers Frith and Sandpiper mooring up alongside the mid river pontoon opposite the marina. It is a short dinghy trip ashore to The Master Builders for a meal in the evening and there is plenty to do and see in Bucklers Hard and further upstream in Beaulieu itself if you wish to spend longer in this delightful location.

The winds and sea state were too much for a channel crossing on Wednesday 13 July so Cantata, Fairwind, Moody Maid, Niobe and Opus IV made for Bembridge and enjoyed excellent curry night at Brading Haven Sailing Club. A good passage was made on Thursday motor sailing to Cherbourg in moderating seas. Fairwind picked up something on her prop en-route and had to proceed under reduced revs into the marina with Bill Greening in Niobe standing by. Tom and Ros Cunliffe joined us for drinks aboard Niobe and later a very impressive Bastille Day firework display was enjoyed. The marina was busy with the Tour des Portes de La Manche race boats. A good sail around Cap de La Hague and onto Dielette where the remaining plastic wrapping was removed from Fairwind's prop by Barrie diving in Roy’s wet suit. Good moules and frites were enjoyed in L’Escale. Cantata and Moody Maid then returned via Guernsey and Alderney whilst Opus IV, Niobe and Fairwind went on to St Helier, Jersey, staying overnight on he outside waiting pontoon ready for an early start next day. The weather remained warm and sunny for the passage south to Bas Sablons marina, St Malo. After a day spent exploring the delightful surroundings the rally locked through the EDF barrage and into the scenic and peaceful River Rance.

Fairwind and Opus IV locking through the barrageFairwind and Opus IV locking through the barrage


La Richardais, R Rance

La Richardais, R Rance


Picturesque village of St Suiliac

Picturesque village of St Suiliac


Two nights were spent exploring St Suiliac, the river and Plouer marina further upstream before reconvening in the lock and making passage west to St Cast-Le- Guildo with its splendid beaches. The rally returned north to St Peter Port, stopping over on the outside pontoons that are walk ashore in the summer, then onto Braye Harbour, Alderney for a BBQ on the beach.


BBQ in the sand dunes in Braye Harbour, Alderney

BBQ in the sand dunes in Braye Harbour, Alderney


Next day a good breeze made for a quick passage across the channel with Fairwind and Opus IV heading into Studland Bay whilst Niobe went on into Poole Harbour. Niobe and Opus IV returned to Chichester and Fairwind sailed back to Bembridge in a good breeze. We enjoyed glorious summer weather, new destinations and it was a first time crossing for Opus IV.

Dick Hoare who led the Lymington rally writes ‘The Lymington rally was scheduled to start on Wednesday the 20th July, followed closely by a rally to Bucklers Hard up the Beaulieu river on the following weekend.  With no boats registered for the Beaulieu rally, I decided to ignore the trip up to Bucklers Hard and go on from Lymington to the Newtown river on the Isle of Wight and then make our way east, calling into Bembridge on Saturday.

We left our berth in Chichester marina and quickly spotted Nikita as she left her mooring off Longmore. White Magic followed having come out of Birdham Pool a little later. Nikita unfortunately was called back home during our passage past Hayling Island. The weather was forecast to deteriorate later in the day, reaching W or SW 6 or 7, so the decision was made to divert into Gosport marina in Portsmouth Harbour, where we arrived around 3:00pm. When in Gosport, there is only one place to eat – the Great Wall Chinese restaurant. Eat all you can for £16.95!

Thursday morning dawned fine with SW 3-4 forecast. Yes, it was on the nose, so we motored west past Cowes and the Gurnard buoy, when the wind allowed us to sail for a short time up to the entrance to Lymington. Our passage took us through a classic yacht race which included one of the old J-class boats and a Bristol pilot cutter. The entrance to the river is very well marked with red and green posts; the first one is called ‘Jack in the Basket’. The story goes that the fishermen’s lunches would be placed in the basket for them to collect on their way past. However, the pilot book tells a different story. Apparently, those who offended the good people of the town were left in the basket to have fish and some other unmentionables thrown at them by passing sailors. I think I know which account I prefer.

Berths had been booked for us in Berthon Lymington marina, which is the second marina as you motor up towards the town. It’s a very well appointed marina (sporting probably the swankiest loos in the south) with the widest pontoons I have every seen. The staff made us all very welcome and were most helpful in every way. Local knowledge indicated that the Ship Inn, next to Town Key was not the place to eat. So we walked a short way up the cobbled street to the Kings Head and enjoyed an excellent meal and good beer.

We left Lymington quite early next day to be sure of getting a buoy in Newtown River. White Magic had to get back home, so Frith and Parity rafted together in the main river and enjoyed an idyllic afternoon watching the wildlife and other boats. We slipped our moorings the next day for the trip down the Solent to Bembridge with a strong tide to help us on our way. Frith departed for her home berth in Gosport.

Imagine our surprise, when as we turned into the harbour, we were greeted by a forest of masts, many dressed overall, all rafted along the Duver pontoon. We had inadvertently joined the annual Family Fun weekend. However, the marina staff worked wonders to get everybody safely secured, but had to turn boats away as the total reached 170 craft moored! The following morning, they again worked their magic and organised departures for all those wanting to leave on the tide. And so it was, we sailed all the way back to Chichester harbour under just our genoa in a south-westerly Force 4 breeze to bring to close a wonderful few days sailing in the Solent’. (Dick Hoare  PARITY)

Newtown River tranquillity

Newtown River tranquillity


Family fun weekend in Bembridge

Family fun weekend in Bembridge

Tuesday 23rd August bought fair weather and calm seas for the Round the Wight rally led by Dick Cole. Cantata, Harami, Frith and Moody Maid headed for Yarmouth (best to reserve a berth).  A drink in The Royal Solent Yacht Club was followed by a meal for the crews in The Bugle. After a good trip around the southern coast of the Isle of Wight, the rally arrived in Bembridge in time for another excellent Wednesday curry night at Brading Haven Sailing Club.

Tuesday 13th September, Cowes and West Solent. This was the best attended rally with 11 cruisers taking part. It was led by Phil Slader who writes ‘Niobe, Opus IV, Zephyr, (Jeanneau 281) Frith, Cantata, Parity, Sandpiper, Pegasus, Harami, Kekeno (Seal 22) and Sunbeam (Newbridge Venturer) all travelled to Cowes on Tuesday. The 23 crew members went to the Island Sailing Club where they had kindly let us use the conservatory for a hatch supper and we stayed on for a talk on ‘Winston’s Island’.
The rally was to Cowes and West, so on Wednesday:  Opus IV went west towards Studland Bay; Zephyr, Kekeno and Sunbeam went NNW to Hythe and enjoyed a meal in La Vista Italian restaurant taking advantage of their mid-week offer; Frith, Cantata, Parity and Sandpiper went to Gosport where Sandpiper reported ’Superb Chinese cuisine and good Dell Quay banter’, Niobe went to Bembridge whilst Pegasus and Harami returned to Chichester’.

On Tuesday 4th October the last rally of the season was led by Bill Greening who reports: ‘7 boats signed up for the Lay Up Rally. Of these Parity cancelled at the last moment as her alternator died during the Hardway Rally a few days before, Harami cancelled as her crew unavailable and it was too windy for single handing. Cantata’s “elderly crew” decided to wait for better weather. With an inshore forecast giving F5-7’s for Tuesday and Wednesday Moody Maid, Niobe, Mandalay (Moody 31) and Friday’s Child had a great sail across to Bembridge in SE 18 - 25 knots. Bay Watch on The Beach was only doing evening meals at weekends during October and Brading Haven S.C. does not open on Tuesday and was not doing evening meals on that Wednesday (as it was the first Wednesday in the month) so we ate very well in the Vine. On Wednesday at 08:30 we thought the wind was OK to go to Gosport, but by the time we could leave (11:30) Chimet was reporting a full east F7 and the sea outside Bembridge looked horrible. Fridays Child came home, the rest of us stayed in Bembridge! But the sun was out! A lull in the early hours of Thursday morning dropped the sea state down and although we had a fairly consistent F6 for the NE to come home with, it was a fairly easy motor sail back.  Quite fun really!

The weather was perfect for lift out on Saturday 15th October with Piers Chamberlain leading a well organised team. The start was delayed because high pressure in preceding days reduced the expected water level so the boats could not get close enough for the usual 7am start. Once everyone was in position, the huge crane and its skilful driver made the task of lifting 26 boats onto the Quay for the winter look easy.





DQSC Cruiser Rally reaches Roscoff

What a welcome to the Pink Granite Coast!

(Photo's below)

The day had begun in Jersey’s St Helier Marina with an 07.30 hours start to catch the tide for the 40 mile trip to Lezardrieu. After a day off walking the coast to Gory, we were well rested following the 2 days trip out via Cherbourg. Eight hours later we had passed the Isle de Brehat, motored up the beautiful Trieux River and were amazed to find that all three boats could moor on fingers alongside one another at the north end of the marina. We then realised that it was Bastille Day (14th July) but fortunately the local restaurant that we have favoured in the past could still fit all eight of us in.

Now the crews of Fairwind (Sue and Barrie Pearson) and Niobe (Bill Greening with Kip Moore and John Wharf) were sitting in Cantata’s (Esmond Pope, Harry Loewe and Roy Dyton) cockpit drinking a laced coffee and enjoying the late night fireworks being set off on the gravel wharf just down river from us. And what an excellent display it was!

We had made the relatively new marina at Bloscon (Roscoff) the objective of our trip as none of us had been there before. The next day we motored along the Pink Granite coast, inside the Sept Isles and across the Baie de Morlaix to find the marina tucked under the small Bloscon commercial port which is just big enough for 1 ferry to either Plymouth or Ireland and a few fishing boats. The marina houses some 600 boats and has all the usual facilities including a surprisingly useful general store. It is about 1 kilometre from Roscoff Old Port, but during the peak holiday period (which we were in) a free shuttle bus runs every 15 minutes. The French are really trying!!

Roscoff itself has an interesting drying port and plenty of restaurants and shops for tourists. We spent a pleasant day exploring and on our second day caught the passenger ferry to the Isle de Batz which is 3 miles long by 1 mile wide and about 1 mile offshore. I have sailed through that channel a couple of times with a friend and can report very strong tides and masses of rocks. It was much more relaxing to let the locals take the strain! Niobe’s crew hired bicycles to explore the Island – very “Last of the Summer Wine” as my wife insisted. There is very little motorised traffic with a pleasant mixture of small cliffs and sandy beaches. It also boasts a surprisingly good small supermarket – much better than Roscoff where the main supermarket has closed.

We enjoyed a leisurely sail back across the Baie of Morlaix to Trebeurden for a walk and a night in its marina before heading to Ploumanac’h, surely the heart of the Pink Granite coast. Its lovely entrance is through an area of impressive rocks until crossing the sill leads into an enclosed harbour where you moor on trots of dumbell buoys. Fortunately the harbour master was there to assist so we did not have to figure them out for ourselves!

Although Lezardrieu, Trebeurden and Ploumanac’h are old favourites, none of us had been to Port Blanc before, so that was our next night’s stopover. It was only 7 miles along the coast. We picked up 3 of the 5 visitors’ moorings in mid-morning and headed ashore to explore. Imagine beaches looking offshore into a multitude of rocks and plenty of moored boats, backed by the odd hotel and other facilities. Again, it is very attractive. However the moorings are open to the north, and as a w.n.w. wind increased to all of 10 knots we experienced moderate rolling during the night. We all complained of lack of sleep.

The next day it was time to start heading for home. As strengthening north easterlies were forecast for the end of the week, we only lingered for 1 night in St Peter Port (which has upgraded its outside pontoons to walk ashore), stopped for a night in Cherbourg as we would then have a daytime Channel crossing and arrived at the Bar Beacon after a 12.5 hour motor sail and before the north easterlies had strengthened. We prefer to do our cruising in comfort!

The weather had been excellent, we had some pure sailing, although as always not enough, and of course the company had made it. It is some years since we have been to the Pink Granite coast, and I, for one, hope it will not be so long before we return.

Bill Greening



Port Blanc

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Bastille Day Fireworks

Bastille Day Fireworks

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The Tale of two Dickies, or Jeckles at Hythe

What a difference the weather makes to a rally. The forecast for the 1st July had looked pretty gloomy for most of the previous week but on Tuesday 1st July it was bright and breezy. There were six boats registered for the rally but we were joined by Esmond Pope and his team in Cantata for the first leg to Bembridge. Esmond had set up third attempt at a helicopter rescue exercise. It was not to be, Esmond felt his three-man crew was too light, so we still look forward to an uplifting exercise.

Seven boats, including Wild Heron from Haslar, were soon safely berthed in friendly Bembridge. It had been a lumpy passage up the twisty channel into Brading Haven and it must have been a testing time for our single handers Peter Elford and Martin Watson.

Facilities in Bembridge are improving all the time and we were able to group together on either side of the long pontoon and enjoy Bill's hospitality on board "Niobi". It was a merry gang that climbed the hill to St Helen's and good pub meal in the "Vine". 

One of the good things about Bembridge is that you can't leave until the tide rises enough for you to get over the bar. That meant that we could have a lie-in. Esmond left first, brave fellow! The main fleet followed and turned north towards Southampton Water. The promised easterly 4 never arrived but it was a good sail up past Deans Elbow ( fl r ) and to the well marked channel up to the Hythe Marina lock.

We were in, in two batches and soon sent off, by the friendly and the helpful lady lock-keeper, to berths in this surprisingly attractive setting. Boat moorings are grouped together in clusters that are themselves overlooked by flats, houses and gardens. The effect is vaguely reminiscent of some Dutch harbours. Facilities ashore are  good too. Drinks on board "Parity" where followed by a stroll to an anticipated meal ashore but we were disappointed by the on-site Italian restaurant; fortunately the surly service there encouraged us to find an excellent Thai restaurant in Hythe village. Great food good company. 

A bright Thursday morning and reasonable water over the cill into the lock encouraged us to make an earlier than planning start down Southampton Water. 

Westerly winds were forecast so Dick prepared "Parity" for her cruising shute and a brisk down wind sail to the Bar. Much to the disappointment of the remainder of the fleet it proved to be a reach and we all enjoyed one of the best sails of the year. 

Our pleasure on "Parity" was only spoiled by being rapidly overhauled by "Harami" *. We were later compensated a little by managing to edge past "Niobi". All in all it was a great day's sail rounding off a really enjoyable rally to an old favourite and a visit to a new venue.

Dick Cole July 2014

*(photo) by Tim Applewhite
Parity 4 copy 2

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