Across the English Channel and up the river Rance to Dinan

Early May and it was time for an early voyage! Eventually 3 boats set off from Starcross Yacht Club in company. The original plan was to sail to Brixham and leave the following morning for a daylight crossing. However with stronger winds forecast we made a late decision to go overnight.

Resting before the crossing!

Sailing singlehanded overnight including across the shipping lanes (Traffic Separation Scheme – TSS) was a challenge. Through the night it became choppy with swell. All skippers suffered some level of seasickness; fortunately for me I was just a bit queazy – others needed buckets! Interestingly, crossing the TSS adds something to focus on and prevent boredom during a 13-14 hour nighttime passage!

An episode not covered in any depth on the video which is linked below was the taking down of the mast on one of the yachts. “Willow” was going to be taken through the canals in Brittany and helping its owner lower the mast to store it at head height to get under all the bridges was part of our reason to choose to come to Saint Malo and Dinan again. We paid for an hours use of a DIY crane in Saint Malo marina. It was not enough time and our lack of proficiency showed! Fortunately we were helped out eventually by some very friendly French people and a marina official!

Anyway – enough of the introduction. I have prepared a short (20min) video which I have posted on YouTube. After a short section on Guernsey, Sark and Jersey it focuses particularly on the trip through the hydroelectric “Barrage de La Rance” and up the river Rance which becomes a canal and can be navigated by yacht up to Dinan. From here the bridges are low hence the need to lower the mast on Willow.

Here is the link – I hope you enjoy it!

Published by Derek

Having started sailing later in life I have migrated from a 14ft dinghy via a Sadler 26 to a 32ft Westerly Fulmar. I sail mostly single handed in the South West from the Solent to the Scillies or across to the Channel Islands and ajacent French coast. In 2020 I planned to sail mostly single handed around Britain. Due to Covid-19 this was unfortunately not possible. I finally completed that challenge starting in April 2021: finishing in early July. You can check out my journey and experiences, good and not so good in the blog posts below or my YouTube channel - search for “voyages of Thalmia” -

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