France

Submitted by jono on 16 Jul 2018.

In my last video highlighting plastic in the Med, I promised some pictures from the French Mediterranean coast. Here they are. I'd been fearing that this coast would be a continuous line of urban sprawl, but the development is - compared to Spain - well zoned and natural spaces are frequent too.

Submitted by jono on 12 Jul 2018.

Have noted a reduction in the amount of plastic in the water in recent weeks. North Spain and the west part of the French Mediterranean: no plastic slicks to report. On land there's plastic to find if you're on the look out, but what there is isn't necessarily recent. Maybe just a south Med problem? Someone else's problem?

Nope. Sigh. The Cote D'Azur is stunning - and I'll pull together some of the nicer pictures and post those too, another time - but for today a dose of sad reality: water borne plastic the last two days sailed has been at depressing levels.

Submitted by jono on 06 Jul 2018.

Current location is Marseille. I arrived yesterday in a moderate Mistral wind. Today it is blowing too strong to sail, allowing time to write this overdue letter:

Submitted by jono on 05 Nov 2017.

Staying with good friends Ian, Solenne and Lily-Rose at La Rochelle and taking the opportunity to inspect / reinforce / repair / replace gear that has worn, which is basically everything!

Very necessary to do this as only 1/3 distance completed means 2/3 still to go, and the gear needs TLC to keep it going. While I try to be gentle on kit, sometimes conditions means that the going is quite brutal. And the number of hours sailed accounts for premature ageing of all gear (and probably myself too - but hey, no point saving yourself for a tomorrow that is never guaranteed...).

Submitted by jono on 23 Oct 2017.

You never know what the day will bring. Today was good miles, a small problem, a quick repair, and an unforeseen barrier...

Submitted by jono on 20 Oct 2017.

There hadn't been a decision to make a prolonged stop, it's just worked out that I haven't got far this week. On Sunday I reached Etel estuary just before the Quiberon peninsular, and linked up with an old Swansea University friend Charlie Drakeford. Storm Ophelia blew through before I headed back out through the swells to get round to the protected side of Quiberon, and then into the Gulf of Morbihan, where I linked up with Charlie again. Calm conditions, storms forecast for the weekend, and an open house offer to stay until conditions improve now account for the stationary tracker.

Submitted by jono on 15 Oct 2017.

Sailing from Le Fort Bloque, more headwinds but enough for OK progress. Then the fog came. And a foghorn was sounding, encouraging me to stay close inshore. Some miles later and out of the white mist appears a regatta committee boat. I sail towards it and then a beach that becomes visible, make an inelegant landing, and am helped ashore by this friendly crowd, of windsurfers!

Photo montage by regatta organiser Patrick Le Lay, who had let me know about the event, but in typically disorganised fashion I'd not fully registered when or where...

Submitted by jono on 11 Oct 2017.

Today sailed through the Raz de Sein, which has the most notorious current and overfalls on the French coast. A small gap next to the Pointe du Raz allowed a passage through on flat water. Then a long haul in open water, a few zigzags to get through the rocks off La Point de La Torche, and finally into the calmer waters of south Brittany. Good to get here! Video clip is of the current yesterday just after leaving Le Conquet, where it also burbles through quick.

Submitted by jono on 07 Oct 2017.

North Brittany. A truly beautiful coastline with many well protected bays. At low tide, rocks are everywhere. They form barriers that block or hide the route to the beaches. Navigationally confusing. The marked channels to get inside are welcome finds.

The currents - further out - tear east, then west, with a half-hour period of indecision in between. There's little point attempting to sail against them if the wind is light.

Submitted by jono on 05 Oct 2017.

Wind and rain for most of the day. Flat water, but too windy for comfort before the Héaux de Bréhat lighthouse. The lighthouse itself sits on a reef, so inside is protected. Beyond, the sea should have been a cauldron, but big tides - full moon tonight - turned the sea into a eastward flowing river, robbing the waves of their strength. Being lucky, still. 40nm nearer to Spain!

Exciting sailing.