This is the 4th time in 2 years that we have recorded an LA Diary from the Ile d’Yeu (IDY). Abemama is exactly where she is pictured in PBO Aug 2001, except that we are facing the other way, to put the persistent, cold N-NW wind on the front of the boat.

At the moment, this wind is the problem. Since the last posting, we did what we reckon to be the hard bit, ie getting out of the River Gironde and 70M up the barren coast to here. At 5 knots, we normally estimate 18 hrs but, this year, only managed 20 because 5 hrs of bad wind and tide drastically cut our speed. In some hours, we did a bare 4.8 M – as opposed to our many seasonal averages of 5.3.

We have been on IDY for a week waiting for a wind other than North. There is no point in slogging slowly and uncomfortably into a 4 – 5 head wind for 30 hrs. We have a good, all services berth, at a moderate price, in a place which we like. We have plenty of work to do and good mountain bikes. It could be worse. In the past, we have been weather-bound for 11 days in Royan and 12 days in Camaret.

We would prefer to be moving, but it sure beats hell out of commuting to the office each morning and we are not alone. There are 25 visiting boats in (It was 55 on Saturday) of which 4 are Brits, but we are the only one heading North. The Western Med is surely getting to be a crowded place. We must have talked to at least 50 Med bound Brits this Summer. When you compare climate and prices, with UK, these lemmings have much on their side.

We are also well served for wx info. On board there is the super NASA 518/490 Navtex and the harbour posts forecasts in text and chart form. I also like the thrice daily Fr vhf forecasts, which are much more local than own and split the period into day, following night and following day. We have also found them to be reasonably accurate.

It looks as though Thurs will be the moving day and instead of island hopping in what is a super cruising area, we shall shape a fall-back course N of Belle Ile (which only adds 5 M to the route) and go direct to the Raz de Sein (130 M/26 hrs) and Camaret – another 17 M. We have done this a number of times. It is long, but we have had so many delays this year that we have ceased to be tourists and are cruising more aggressively for home.

We could certainly spend a whole summer in S Brittany – Aberwrach to BDX. It is a navigator’s paradise of tides and passages and there are many places to anchor. In July/Aug it is crowded, but there are enough hidey holes and small harbours and rivers to let you find peace. There is also the attraction of prices. A 30′ boat will rarely pay more than ’10 a night and there are many easements for longer stays.

If they turned the thermostat up a bit here, Ireland and W Scotland would be better than many parts of the Med. I get of a lot of fun just looking at its pilotage books in winter and that sure beats hell out of east Enders.

Colin and Rita Jones on Abemama at Ile d’Yeu.