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Old 02 December 2002, 13:57   #1
Country: UK - England
Town: Salisbury
Length: 5m +
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 459
Anyone had experience of taking rib to Brittany on holiday ?

I mean taking boat over to Brittany on the ferry, not ribbing across !

Might be able to pursuade family to take RIB with us on holiday this year to Brittany, has anybody got any knowledge of which ports / harbours are picturesque and have good launching facilities ?

I have heard that this area has lovely beaches and some islands to explore ?

Anybody else done this or has knowledge of the area ?

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Old 02 December 2002, 14:38   #2
Country: Other
Make: FB 55
Length: 10m +
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 1,711

Brittany is indeed a wonderful place to cruise and discover.You have a number of options afforded to you. Brittany Ferries sail between Portsmouth and St.Malo and you can trailer a rib/boat under 6 m - which according to your profile you have. From here, the ferry terminal, there are two slips immediately adjacent where you can launch your rib. Now, depending on the time available and what you consider to be your idea of fun, one possibility is clearing the barrage ('round the corner) and entering the Rance which you can cruise, well, as far as the Med if you like. You can also continue on until the canal splits, take a right and come out in the Vanne area. Wonderful huge waterways - much like the Solent - this would be a week or possibly even two to make it really worthwhile.

Another option is to catch the Condor Ferry from either Poole, Portsmouth or Weymouth to either Jersey or Guernsey and start your trip here? If you have elected to go directly to St.Malo this is also possible with Condor. Maybe, once having launched in the St.Malo area you can explore Mont St.Michel, Chausey and Granville - all pretty close in a rib.

You can head west to S-Brieuc, St. Quay Portrieux, Binic and then Paimpol.

I might even join you. I know Geoff Campbell was thinking of a similar thing to do. Let me know if this helps.

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Old 02 December 2002, 18:10   #3
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Country: UK - England
Town: Berkshire and Devon
Make: Lodestar
Length: under 3m
Engine: Mercury 5hp
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 5,015

Brittany and boats go together perfectly! I bought my SIB with the intention of packing it into the car boot and taking it over, but haven't achieved that yet If you don't take your RIB over, you will regret it! We have taken holidays there for the last ten years, and every one's been fantastic. There are four things you need to start planning - Michelin 230 (Bretagne), the two Yachting Monthly Pilot books ("North Brittany & Channel Islands" and "West France"), and of course a chart - the Imray water resistant charts cover the area well, but depends on which area you intend to visit.

The character of the coast changes as you go aroung the Brittany peninsula. From the Channel Islands, nestling in the corner of Normandy and Brittany, as you travel west, there is the Emerald coast (St Malo-St Brieuc) and the Rose Granite Coast (St Brieuc - Morlaix) - I've not visited these two areas, but they look good in the books. Then as you head further westwards, you're out into Finisterre - like Cornwall but even more remote! The Abers are spectacular (Aber Wrac'h, Aber Benoit, Aber Ildut) and the Ile D'Ouessant is like the Scillies. The seas out here get quite rough though, even in mid-summer. You can take a day trip by fast launch (60' planing hull!) from Le Conquet to Ile D'Ouessant if you don't get a weather window. Rade de Brest is a huge expanse of water (French Nuclear subs based up here) and I'll be holidaying up here (at Port Launay, up the river from Chataulin) for part of next summer if plans come to fruition.

The Crozon Peninsula is arguably the most beautiful part of Brittany. Huge white cliffs rise out of the Atlantic, but leave beautiful beaches at low tide. Avoid Douarnanez - smelly commercial port (sardine canning factory) and then it gets rough and rugged as you head out around the Pointe du Raz.

Southwards it's a bit flat for a while until you get to one of the best windsurfing beaches in the area at Pointe de la Torche - and it certainly catches the weather out here! Then at pointe de Penmarch it starts to change (Eckmul lighthouse is a major local landmark). As you go Eastwards along the south facing coast, you'll notice the weather getting kinder by the mile. Loctudy is a commercial fishing port, but the next place is Benodet (busy and touristy) opposite Ste Marine (quaint, picture-post-card place) and the river Odet is amazing - no mud banks - just granite boulders on both sides. And incredible for fishing - there's a huge bass population. This is my favorite coastline from here eastwards - Isles de Glenan are my goal for one day (a bit like Keith's Orkney goal!). Beg Meil is a tourist resort. Fouesnant is a major marina and cider capital of Brittany. Concarneau is a historic walled old town, commercial fishing port and marina. Pointe de Trevignon has superb beaches, a harbour, weekly fish market and a popular slipway. Port Manech is one of my favorite places - a tiny harbour at the mouth of the tidal river Aven (like Salcombe a hundred years ago). Then further eastwards there are more islands - Ils de Groix and Belle Isle - both perfect for RIB expeditions.

From memory there are lots of launch sites (and Geoff's boatlaunch site covers some french slipways) but their attitude to boating is different. I don't think you'll find slipway fees, but of course you need an ICC, and the correct home&courtesty flags. And if you wonder why French boats all seem to have auxiliary engines - that's because their government run their equivalent of the RNLI, which IS NOT FREE! In fact they're likely to claim salvage

French launching technique also interesting - they don't like getting the wheel bearings wet, so lots of people use break-back trailers (using the Dave Mallet demonstrated technique of "over the side" - so you may find some launch sites, esp. along rivers, are just a low quay without slipway) or some people just bang on the brakes reversing down a steep slipway (like Pte de la Trevignon) and the boat flies off backwards. Great to watch!

However, you'll probably find that all the imfamous French bureaucracy is invisible because they actually love tourists - as there's hardly any industry in Brittany, it's their major income source.

And of course, the other good things are crepes, cider, and good wine for 2.50 a bottle

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Old 03 December 2002, 07:25   #4
Country: UK - N Ireland
Town: Bangor
Make: Shakespeare
Length: 7m +
Engine: O/b 225
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 188
We have towed various sibs and ribs to Normandy, Brittany, Vendee and Charente Maritime over the last 15 years, all with no problems (apart from trailer welding etc.). I have never had any problems with burocracy and the local ribsters are many and helpful. I have never been asked anything about ICC or SSR numbers (inland non tidal rivers and canals very different). Slipways are almost always free although there are many that suddenly stop with a sheer drop off the end at low-ish tide.
The atlantic swell is usually ok for ribs, there are lots of rivers and islands to explore and the sea temp is much better than here!
Two places stand out:
CONCARNEAU (the walled city) and surrounding district. You can circumnavigate the walled city in a rib and I recommend it - big marina, lots of free slips, plus the river Aven (leading to Pont Aven) is close by. We stay in a Haven campsite close by.
LA PALMYRE (close to Royan) and surrounding area. This is at the entrance of a large estuary leading to Bordeaux. Again loads of free slips and a variety of sheltered or coastal rib cruising waters. There is a lovely enclosed lagoon which is brill for watersports - all pure sand with no rocks.
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Old 03 December 2002, 13:47   #5
Country: UK - England
Town: Salisbury
Length: 5m +
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 459

pepper / alan

thanks for such a comprehensive responce

Alan we too would be staying at a french campsite in a mobile home, last year went to vendee but probably going to try Brittany this year

I would be looking for somewhere that is picturesque with an inlet / long river to explore as in reality with such young kids 4 & 7 I rarely take them out to sea for obvious reasons

Of course it would need a public slipway

I guess more interested in just being able to muck around in the boat up a river sunbathing, than bombing across anywhere rough which I could get kids into trouble.

This is why I end up spending so much time pottering up the Hamble as the solent can get bumpy even in a force 3 / 4.

The chap I bought the my boat from had a holiday home in Brittany and therefore boat appears to be SSR registered already which may help

I am sure many other people would consider this option as Brittany is so close to travel to that this could become a good source of info for others

Keep ideas coming and I'll get the map out !
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Old 03 December 2002, 14:28   #6
Country: UK - England
Town: Portsmouth
Boat name: Not sure
Make: ABC/Priddy
Length: 10m +
Engine: 2 x 500 FPT
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 926
If you need any books or charts let me know and I will let you borrow them

Alan P.

-- He who does not use charts anymore but has spent a fortune on them in the past and has more than he cares to think about
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Old 03 December 2002, 14:40   #7
Country: UK - England
Town: Salisbury
Length: 5m +
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 459

I wonder if I went onto a motorsport website forum for some info, would Michael Schumaker post a reply offering to let me borrow his tools for the weekend

Probably not, just shows what a usefull and generous forum Ribnet is

Cheers for the offer Alan
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Old 03 December 2002, 16:45   #8
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Country: UK - England
Town: West Sussex
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Posts: 3,290
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If by any chance you find yourself in St.Malo and you are low on fluel and if you haven't got a French credit card then forget about refuelling in the marina. Down there they just forget that we Brits may just cruise in and want to pay with our own plastic. What is wrong with our plastic anyway ?
This happened to us on the St. Malo cruise

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Old 04 December 2002, 02:34   #9
Country: UK - England
Town: winchester
Boat name: Pilchard
Make: Ribcraft
Engine: Merc 90 4s
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 62
Working in France, and having my home in the UK, I am up against this credit card problem all the time. In a nutshell, France in the last ten years has gone over entirely to the use of the cards with a 'puce' (The little gold microchip). This 'smart' technology enables any purchase to be made exactly as if using a UK cashpoint machine - ie by typing in a 4-digit code. So convenient and widespread is this technology that many retail outlets which do not do much business with non French customers (altho' St Malo fuel dock would not seem to be in this category!) no longer have the means / interest / competence to 'swipe' a UK card and produce a ticket for signature, which all seems to them terribly old-fashioned and complicated. I have to say, this does seem to be an area (along with motorway maintenance and rail transport) where our neighbours have got ahead of us in a big way! Further confusion arises because my UK cards are now equipped with a 'puce', which does not seem to be usable in their card readers... I daresay in time we shall catch up with this technology - probably round about the time when we go into the Euro!
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Old 04 December 2002, 09:17   #10
Country: UK - England
Town: London
Make: Humber Ocean Extreme
Length: 8m
Engine: Optimax 225
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 313
Les Sables D'Olonne is a good place further down the coast -easy launch and Rochelle ,D'Oleron etc within easy cruising distance;

I've been twice and found no trouble with the French sea cops;when they did pull me over in their 40 foot launch they were almost apologetic on realising I was a tourist;we had a chat and the amazing thing was that they were totally unfamiliar with the ICC certificate - they told me that in France you must carry a boat and engine manual;I had an engine manual but there is so little by way of "systems " on most RIBS that I had not bothered to bring the booklet telling me how to inflate and clean the tubes.

I'm thinking of leaving the boat in St.Malo for a couple of months next year to fully explore the Brittany region and the CI's -both beautiful and challenging I hope

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