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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Anse de Baden
Kernoel, Ile d’Arz
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Exposed when wind has any west in it
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…
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.
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.
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.