Sailing South Brittany: Anchorages

We sailed through the southern part of Brittany, from L’aber wrac’h to La Croisic, in June and July 2017. This side of the peninsula is beautiful and features green and light blue waters, as well as stunning islands.

We found the navigation here simpler than in the Isles of Scilly, but the strong tides dictated most passages, especially until Camaret-Sur-Mer. Nevertheless, the coastline is rocky and requires care. We found it a rewarding place to sail, and the islands especially beautiful.

Brittany Anchorages Map

This post summarises the places we stayed – mostly anchorages, but with a few mooring balls thrown in where there were no anchorages or the anchorage was exposed to swell. There are many other options in between these spots, but these suited the passages we made. We found all mooring balls to be between £10-20 with £17 being the average price for our eight metre catamaran.

L’aber Wrac’h

Anchorage looked exposed
Visitor buoys were comfortable and sheltered from all except west

We arrived into L’aber wrac’h from the UK and had a look at the anchorage listed in our trusty Reeds almanac. But it was deep at over 10m (a lot when you’re hand-hauling an oversized anchor) and not very well sheltered. It was also right next to the channel, so prone to wash of passing boats.

We went a bit further up river and picked up one of the plentiful mooring buoys, and at this time of year no one asked us to pay for it, but that may not be the case in peak season.

L'aber Warc'h

Shelter and facilities

The buoy was well sheltered and adjacent to the Comptoir De La Mer (a great fishing, chandlery, and nautical gift shop). The supermarket, which is rather well-stocked, is a good 20 minute walk away, but not all the walk was uphill, as the Almanac seems to suggest.

Argenton

Anchorage looked small
Visitor buoy ok in light winds, but not well sheltered from west

Argenton is a great stop off for timing the passage through the Chenal Du Four, especially if your boat is slow, like ours.

Argenton

The anchorage area listed in the Almanac looked tiny, with barely any room to swing between the rock walls on either side, so we picked up a visitor’s mooring buoy. There were only a couple of these, but there were no other visiting yachts when we were in the area. Again, no one came asking for payment on the day we stayed.

Shelter and facilities

The buoy wasn’t very well sheltered with winds from the west, but the location was stunning in the early morning calm. We almost wanted to jump in the green water, but the water was freezing.

The drying harbour would be another option, but it seems to dry quite high, so care would be required with the tides to time your entry and exit well. There are a couple of small supermarkets in town, a 15 minute walk away.

Camaret-sur-Mer

Anchorage exposed to north
Mooring buoys better sheltered

When we first arrived into Camaret, the wind was blowing from the north. We anchored off the beach to the north of the town, near the fishing boat graveyard, but found it uncomfortable with the wind blowing across the bay. So we picked up a mooring buoy next to the marina and were charged a very reasonable ten euros for our eight metre catamaran.

Camaret-Sur-Mer

Shelter and facilities

The next day we went back and anchored off the beach, and with the wind calmer this was a pleasant place to stay for a few days. We rowed into the marina to leave our dinghy for the day when we went to shore.

The anchorage was quite weedy in places, and we saw a couple of boats struggling to get their anchors set. It’s well worth taking the time to make sure it is well dug in. There is a small grocery store by the harbour, just after you pass all the restaurants and hotels. There is no dock here, so you need to land the dinghy on the beach.

St Evette

Open to south and southeast

The anchorage at St Evette is quite open to the south and southeast, however when we were there there was a light northwesterly breeze and it was calm and peaceful.

The holding seemed good but there was no dock to tie up the dinghy, so we landed it on the beach. St Evette seemed a nice little seaside town.

Saint Nicolas, Iles de Glenans

Saint Nicolas

Settled weather only

We pulled into the northern side of the St Nicolas sand bar, and what apparently used to be an anchorage was filled with mooring balls. So we picked one up for the night.

Shelter and facilities

The islands are low lying, and the anchorages and moorings didn’t seem like they’d be a great place to be in wind and swell but while we were there it was calm, and we had a decent night’s sleep.

There were boats anchored on the south side of the sand bar, and if we’d been staying longer we would have moved around here. Make sure you stock up on groceries before going to the islands, as there are no shops. You can however go for a meal in one of the two restaurants.

Sauzon, Belle Ile

Not well sheltered at anchorage / mooring buoys, inner harbour is well sheltered but busy

We went to Sauzon on Belle Ile and stayed on the mooring balls outside the harbour. We were charged 15 euros. The price included free showers, which are right in front of the dinghy dock.

Shelter and facilities

We’d intended to anchor, but the anchorage was exposed and rolly when we were there and inside the harbour was busy. We definitely had a rolly night on the mooring buoy. The town of Sauzon was picturesque and charming. There are a couple of small grocery stores just uphill of the harbour and two good dinghy docks where to land.

Sauzon

Morbihan

Anse de Baden
Kernoel, Ile d’Arz
Arradon

Excellent holding and well sheltered anchorages

The anchorages we used were excellent, with great holding in sandy mud. The tidal currents take careful planning for getting into, and around, the area.

The first anchorage we stayed at, Anse de Baden, was shallow but very well protected. It felt away from it all, and no other yachts seemed to come in here. We anchored just behind the mooring buoys.

Gulf of Morbihan

Ile d’Arz was less well sheltered, but with better facilities on the island – a restaurant and ferries to Vannes. There is good foraging here, with cockles being the best catch.

We stayed at Arradon in 30 knot winds, and it was a good choice with very good holding. However, off Arradon, the tide can be strong enough to hold the boat at an angle to the wind (sometimes a bit uncomfortable), and the boat rotates a lot with tide changes, so our anchor bridle got twisted up like a curly wurly.

Make sure you stock up on fuel and food before entering the gulf, as there is very limited food shopping close to the anchorages and nowhere in the whole gulf sells petrol – it’s prohibited.

Houat

Holding not great, but shelter can be found from most wind directions

There are two main anchorages on Houat and some smaller ones in bays dotted around the coastline. The two main ones are at the eastern end, and are (understandably) busy. The island is very beautiful, with clear water, sandy beaches, and rocky coastline – great for walking around. Don’t miss out on the beauty of the island and walk around on the sandy paths. Houat is one of our favourite places we cruised to to date.

Houat

On arrival, the winds were westerly, so we stayed at Treach Gourhed. The almanac had confusing information (or perhaps the naming is confusing) about this being a no-anchoring area, but when we arrived it was jam-packed full of yachts. So we found a free spot and tried to get our anchor in. The sand is soft, and we had to deploy two anchors to get a decent hold. The beach is lovely, as is the little village on the island.

When the winds turned northeasterly the anchorage became very exposed and uncomfortable, so we headed around  the corner to the Treach Salus side.

This combination of the two anchorages provide decent protection from most wind directions, but with less than great holding and a crowded anchorage, we would be concerned about yachts dragging into each other in strong winds.

Facilities

There is a well-stocked supermarket in the village, a good 15 minute walk from Treach Gourhed and a good 20 minute walk from Treach Salus. There is no petrol on the island.

Hoedic

Harbour wasn’t very well sheltered

We didn’t visit any of the anchorages, as we were only staying one night and the anchorages weren’t well protected, so we headed for the harbour to pick up a mooring ball.

The harbour was small, and the mooring arrangements seemed fiddly and awkward to us inexperienced with such things.

We went on one of the drying moorings on the northern side, but the harbour was a bit choppy and uncomfortable. The mooring fee was ten euros for our boat and it included the use of showers.

La Turballe

Exposed when wind has any west in it

La Tourballe

The anchorage here was terrible. We needed somewhere to get fuel and get ashore, but the swell rolled in and made it extremely uncomfortable. We asked in the marina how much it would be to stay the night, but it was too expensive for our small budget. We abandoned the anchorage and headed to Le Croisic, which was much better…

Facilities

The petrol station is a good 15 minute walk away form the harbour and there is a huge supermarket 20 minutes away from town. There is a good  slipway to land the dinghy just to the right of the western mole.

Le Croisic

Very well sheltered, except in westerly winds at high water

Although you can apparently anchor here, the current seems quite strong. We picked up a mooring ball on a Friday night and left on a Monday morning without anyone having asked for a fee for it.

The area was well sheltered, with only a little swell at high tide, when the sands to the west are covered. Other than that, it was very comfortable.

Facilities

Dinghying into town needs care with the tides, as the harbour dries and the gloopy harbour mud wouldn’t be much fun to carry a dinghy through. We tied up in the marina, where they were happy for us to take water and show us the nearest laundrette.


10 COMMENTS
  • Fred
    Reply

    Great stuff guys. The additions of maps make all the difference – most blogs are weak on that front – as otherwise it;s just a list of names with no connections for a reader not familiar with the locations.

    1. Sailing Kittiwake
      Reply

      Thanks a lot Fred!

  • Joseph Sacco
    Reply

    Hi Guys,
    I’m Joseph Sacco from Malta. I’ve following you for some time and really appreciate what you are doing. Hope to see you soon in Malta. I’ll give you my private number (in a private email) so you can contact me when you arrive. I’m looking forward to show you around our beautiful islands.
    Regards,
    Joe

    1. Sailing Kittiwake
      Reply

      Thanks so much Joe! We cannot wait to see Malta – we’ve never been. We’re hoping to get there next year, in the autumn, but you know how the plans of sailors go, especially in the Med 😉 We’re really excited about the amazing water, cliffs, paths and rock climbing 🙂 Elena and Ryan

  • Gu Bragh
    Reply

    Hi Elena, hi Ryan
    We spent a couple of years on our Arpège in Southern Britanny, so I’d like to complete your list with some of our favs.
    On the western coast of Belle Ile you got a lot of anchorages, we tried Porz (or Port) Kerel and Porz Goulphar. Never been to Ster Wraz-Ster Wen, looked challenging with the choppy sea we had the day we were there, but everybody says that once inside it’s incredibly peaceful. On the western coast some of the “Porz” (no harbour there) are good shelter except for strong westerlies. On the eastern coast there is a nice and well sheltered anchorage in Port Fouquet, but really small so you got to be there quite early. Watch the tiding tables, and watch some rocks hidden at high tide. Good shelter from westerlies along the “Grand Sables” beach, and a nice place on the southern part of the island, near Port an Dro and the Kerdonis Point, but holding might be bad, depends on what you find when droping the anchor (some rocky parts, and bizarre pebbles, but also sandy parts providing better holding).
    Near the entrance to the Vilaine Estuary, if willing to go find shelter in the river, if at the bad hour and tide against you, good shelter is to be found behind Ile Dumet, on the NW part of the little island. Only problem about that – at low tide, in summer, the mud smell… Otherwise fine place, the island is a bird reserve but excepting a small area you can walk quite everywhere. Better avoid the period 14 July to 15 August (like about every fine place in South Britanny 🙂 )
    Have a great time in Portugal.

    1. Sailing Kittiwake
      Reply

      Thanks so much Gu Bragh! Excellent list. We’re gutted we couldn’t see more of Brittany, but we needed to head South 🙂 One day! 🙂

      1. Gu Bragh
        Reply

        One day, for sure. Maybe a beer in Vigo, with Sofia & Jaime. Or if you stop in Morocco,we’ll probably pass some time on Roz Avel in Saïdia next spring… beer is more difficult to get in Morocco, but they got some good wines and excellent “tajines”

        1. Sailing Kittiwake
          Reply

          Ha! That would be amazing! We sadly don’t plan to stop in Morocco for now because we can’t afford staying in marinas 🙁 Where about are you now?
          Elena and Ryan

          1. Gu Bragh
            Reply

            We’re currently in Ivory Coast, I’m working there as an architect, trying to get some money in the basket. Roz Avel is in Saïdia Marina, Morocco, waiting for some work to be done. Think about starting to sail again next spring, maybe bringing the boat here. Frankly I didn’t appreciate sailing in the Med, after great sailing days in the Atlantic (Algarve was best, well, just after Galicia, but we loved sailing along the Atlantic Andaluzia – Cadiz – marvelous city, Barbate, and crossing the Gibraltar was quite fun). Where do you intend to winter ? Sofia asked me about some tips on Southern Portugal.

            1. Sailing Kittiwake
              Reply

              Nice plan! We’ll be wintering in Portimão – we got an amazing deal on a boat yard, so we’ll work on Kittiwake and then fly to Italy for Christmas, January and February to stay at Elena’s parents. We’ll cruise again from March, heading into the Med 🙂

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