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I avais un plan…

Yes, yes I know I said my journey was the “no plan” plan. But underneath the absence of a plan, there is in fact a myriad of plans, the sum of which, since they all negate each other, is no plan of any worth whatsoever. One of these underlying plans just got torched and as  a result has put the entire “no plan” strategy in jeopardy. There is only one answer, make an equal and opposite plan so that overall I still have no plan, fromage frais!

The plan that got torched was to leave Monday morning or lets say 5 hours before high water Brest – to travel the 20 miles or so to the start line for the infamous Raz de Sein. This notorious stretch of water must be negotiated at slack water – high water slack that is – so that the ebb will then rush you southwards through the narrow strait at Pointe du Raz, before it joins the general rush westwards as the water tumbles away across to our distant cousins in the New World.


This was all looking fine, and even seemed to herald a following week of fine southerly winds that could easily shepherd a wanderer south, as far as Spain. Until this morning. The latest weather models now show a heap of trouble for anyone going south through the Raz de Sein.

Weather window

All the pilot books have the same opinion about sailing south through the Raz with the tidal flow, with winds blowing against you from the south or anything approaching south. The advice is – “Don’t even think about it”. Its the old “wind against tide” issue again.

Tevennec lighthouse waves

The lighthouse of Tévennec has a dark and haunting reputation. Guarding the entrance to the Raz de Seine, the haunted lighthouse has had its share of people going insane, suspicious deaths, including children and people falling on knives, and ghost sightings.

Wind against tide against granite – non merci !


So, after mulling this all over and realising eventually that the sum of all my mulling was that none of the data had changed. I decided to wander over to the bureau de port and pay up for 3 more nights, taking me to Thursday morning. The strangely sympathetic officer of the port (he was sporting some fine epaulettes ) decided that since I had already stayed for two nights, I should be entitled to the weekly rate but since I had already paid for 2 nights, I couldn’t have the weekly rate. He added with a cheery smile, in perfect Frangalis “because this is Europe n’est-ce pas, et règles étaient les règles”..I felt like adding “mange tout.” but I just thought it and kept my mouth shut. Upon tendering cash however, this seemed to change the règles  and he said he could stamp my docket for three night while only taking 2 nights money. I did not query his wisdom.

As Sir John H-J put it “..”Planning is an unnatural process; it is much more fun to do something. And the nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression…”

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The sandy beach at Camaret Keeping a manly distance away from a car boot sale..
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Lunch time distractions..
(beer out of frame..)
Neighbouring yacht rafted up to me – and having serious surgery on their steering – they used an angle grinder to cut off the cowling on the pedastal..

5 comments to I avais un plan…

  • Gary

    Well done Russ,invaded France,taught the Frogs how to negotiate (hope Cameron was watching),managed to jettison a plan that wasn’t a plan and can now happily do nothing but scoff food and ale for a few days.Duck a L’Orange my son,duck a l’orange

  • Paul

    great blog Russ. Love the stuff about planning – ‘course that’s my area!

    • Ahem, One day I hope you will say it “was” my area… 🙂

      • Paul

        New MD started today – so I have vacated the chair. 2 weeks handover and then finished! Then on the bike simply point it South and dial in the horses. Then hopefully when I am back (5 or 6 weeks) I can be invited aboard for a few days teaching you some advanced nautical manoeuvres! (however gotta be somewhere warm and above all flat calm…)

  • Stuart

    Well make God laugh – tell him or her your plans.
    Lunch looked very nice. Just have a few more of them.

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