Semaine de Hatseflats
This year, Rene and I went to the Semaine du Golfe.
It was the first opportunity after the Covid pandemic so it was now or never.
We didn't want to miss anything so we left Dokkum early on Thursday 11 May and reached Honfleur at the end of the afternoon.
On Friday morning we left the camping Le Phare and continued to Vannes.
All was going well until the clutch broke 40km from our destination.
After a long wait we were towed off to a garage in nearby Questembert.
A taxi brought us and all our camping gear to Camping du Moulin de Cantizac where we put up our tent for the night.
The next morning things were looking up once we collected a rental car (without towing hitch) and the keys to our mobilhome.
On Sunday we met up with other Dutch sailors at Larmor Baden and met Carl, our room-mate during the Semaine.
On Monday evening we retrieved Hatseflats and the trailer from the garage after learning that the clutch had to be replaced.
Wednesday 17 May
Our first fleet sail of the week took us from Port Anna to Larmor Baden for lunch and then back to Port Blanc.
I had been anxious to have Hatseflats ready and attend the briefing but with 270 boats around I should not have worried.
Many boats in Flotilla 2 were slower than ourselves and most of the briefing was light banter and a singalong.
We launched Hatseflats and gently drifted westwards with the fleet.
At Arradon we got our first taste of the strong current. We were suddenly pulled sideways and it took a while before we thought we were back in control.
We lunched with Carl, Ineke and Ronald at Larmor Baden.
After the briefing Carl and ourselves decided to take the easy option of rounding the Ile Berder instead of the 'passage du gois' with the 9-knots current.
In hindsight we might have taken the 'passage du gois' because there were rescue boats and divers all around.
During our 'easy' trip around the Ile Berder the wind piped up to a good force 4.
We got caught out by the current once and should probably have reefed but we managed to keep Hatseflat upright
We made good progress towards Port Blanc.
Having rowed the last 200m we were one of the earliest boats to arrive and make fast at the pontoon. Job well done!
Thursday 18 May
We were up early to catch the coach to Port Blanc.
The route was towards the Ile Aux Moines for lunch and then on to Saint Armel on the eastern shore of the Morbihan.
We got away well but ran aground several times while avoiding the oyster beds.
Then we were squeezed into the melee towards Arradon.
I rowed to get into clear air so that we could be boss over our destiny.
Once free we found that we were sailing backwards.
I started to row again while Rene tried to steer us out of the fleet.
For a while we were doing ok until we got close to the Pointe d'Arradon and were towed away as a precaution.
We learned the hard way that it is better to cross the main current until you find an alternative current in a more favourable direction.
The arrival at Ile aux Moines was spectacular with hundreds of boats on the beach.
We met up with Emmanuel, Ans, Marco, Pierre and other familiar faces from our autumn trips to the Lac du Der.
During lunch we found out that the tide was rising quicker than we thought.
Then we joined the fleet towards St-Armel.
Compared with the morning trip this was plain sailing.
Outside St-Armel we were made to wait until the tide was sufficiently high.
On arrival we joined a mooring with Carl and a couple of French boats.
Once we were ferried to shore we joined Carl, Ineke, Ronald and met Frank and Clara for drinks.
Since it was his last day at the Semaine, Carl treated Rene and myself to a real dinner at Ar Gouelenn.
We had a very enjoyable evening!
Friday 19 May
At St-Armel all crews were given baguettes because we would have to lunch while sailing.
We left the mooring on the ebb tide with ideal sailing conditions.
Hatseflats did very well and soon we found ourselves near the front of the fleet.
We were hailed by a RIB who told us to wait for the rest of the fleet so we turned and went back and zipped again to the front.
This was to be the pattern for the day.
As the wind increased, Rene and I hiked out to keep Hatseflats level.
Hiking out added about 10% more speed and helped us get to the first 10-15 boats every time.
We passed Roger Barnes several times and also sailed faster than the big Seils.
The day went slowly because each time we had to wait for the slowest boats before we could move on.
But it was brilliant sailing and Rene admitted that this one of his best sailing days ever.
As we went up the Auray river the wind increased to a Force 5 and I took two reefs.
We passed Port Espagnol, Le Bono and finally arrived at Plougoumelen where we beached Hatseflats.
There were hundreds of picnic tables between the trees. Bands were playing and well over a thousand crews who were eating, drinking and dancing.
A magical place.
We met up again with Ronald and Ineke who gave us a ride to our camping afterwards.
A fitting end to a wonderful week.
On Saturday we collected the car, returned the rental car and went to Plougoumelen to collect Hatseflats.
While the tide was still out we went to visit the picturesque town of Le Bono and killed the time.
Then we got Hatseflats onto the trailer, returned to the campsite and dined at Ar Gouelenn to celebrate the past week.
On Sunday we started our trip back to the Netherlands.
Once we passed the Pont de Normandie we took the smaller roads towards Boulogne.
We overnighted at the Ste-Claire campsite in Neufchatel-en-Bray.
The next morning we switched back to the main roads because we were on a mission.
We passed Antwerp without real problems and collected Klarie in Gorinchem.
At 2130 we finally arrived back in Dokkum after our trip of 12 days!
Lunch at Larmor Baden
Ile aux Moines
Ideal sailing conditions
Waiting for the tide.
All is well that ends well.