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Camaret via the Raz de Sein


Everyone in yachting circles knows that one of the most fearsome places is the Raz de Sein. So we had been stuck around the corner when we had intended to be making our way back to the UK. The series of storms brought about by the incorrectly positioned jet stream put us the wrong side or the Raz and the Chenel de Four. Friday was a window as there was a widely forecast storm due on Saturday afternoon, so this counted as the lull before the storm. At 7am (it is dark until about then) we were off. We sailed out of the harbour about a mile ahead of Ayaya heading for Camaret.

The wind was from the south west so the initial part of the journey was an easy sail but to make progress up the Raz we would need to go out quite a long way before we could tack. Soon Ayaya was ahead, they could point ten degrees higher this means that we are traveling further away from our direction of travel on each tack. I soon calculated that I would need to go seven miles off shore to make the tack and then we would risk missing the tide at the Raz. I decided to use the engine to get around the corner at Penmarch with the plan to continue sailing as soon as we could.

We were just past the point when we went through a clump of sea weed and the engine thumped and slowed. I was below at the time and I ran up on deck. Fearing that there was a rope or discarded fishing net I tried putting the boat into reverse carefully but the sound was awful. I then tried forward and again the hole drive train felt out of balance. Sea Crusader has a Gori propeller which folds. It felt as if something was preventing one of the blades from deploying properly and there was nothing I could do about it so we had to sail the rest of the way. It was always our intention to sail but the tacking and the weed on the bottom of our boat meant we were further behind our schedule.

As we approached the Raz we were sailing really well, it was a spring tide and we were late, we had missed slack water and not the tide was running at 5 knots and the wind was against tide! We passed the pinch pint and in front of us about a mile south was nothing but a sea of white water. "Linda get the clips" I called and she shot down and in a flash we were both clipped on and before we knew it we were in it and my goodness me we found all about the reputation of the Raz. The boat was dropping off the huge waves into holes on the sea and then the bow was buried under the water but oddly the water did not run back down the deck to the cockpit which is normal instead it seemed to spill over the sides. This was a different action than we have seen before. I can't say for how long we were in these huge waves it felt like fifteen minutes but it was probably only four to six. Then everything settled down again and we were able to change our point of sail and go the rest of the way on one tack.

Once we were tied up I attached a GoPro camera to a boat hook and put it down under the boat to check the propeller (the water is reasonable clear) and … nothing, nothing at all. Whatever it was had fallen off. We all went into Camaret for a meal no one wanted to cook after that journey.

The next day was the day of the storm it started right in cue at six am and continued until midnight, kerry invited us for dimmer on Ayaya and it was a very jerky meal! We had such fun the company was great. Matthew said that they were going to go to Aber-Benoit but we decided to go to L'Aberwrach which we missed ion the way in. Matthew and Kerry had been there so many times it wasn't for them. So tomorrow we will say our goodbyes as we will go our seperate ways.



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