Sail to Houat island on board a traditional sailing ship
Why not try sailing in Brittany on board a traditional sailing ship with Jérôme? Discover an island paradise...
Ever dreamed of sailing in Brittany? Across the Gulf of Morbihan on board a traditional sailing ship, listening to the wind in the rigging and the waves beating against the hull... Board the Krog E Barz and, under the watchful eye of Jérôme, you will love learning to sail in Brittany !
The Krog E Barz hoists its colours
You’ll soon spot the Krog E Barz’s white hull with its green stripe and three majestic sails alongside the quay at Port Navalo. It’s early morning and there’s still a chill in the air but the day looks as if it will turn out hot – and what a day it will be, sailing in Brittany! We step on board this traditional sailing boat for a trip to the Isle of Houat in the company of Captain Olivier and the boat's owner, Jérôme. He comes from the department of Sarthe originally but fell in love with this replica of a 1910 lobster-boat. He had been sailing since he was a small child, so he renovated the boat and now spends every summer on board.
Ready to haul!
The minute we’ve left the harbour the adventure begins. Olivier and Jérôme persaude us to get involved and become their shipmates. Jérôme explains to Servane how to hoist the jib: you start by shouting to the captain that you’re “ready to haul”, and, when Olivier gives the order, hauling on the rigging as fast as you can. Heave ho! There’s even more effort involved when it comes to hoisting the mainsail. It takes no fewer than four people to get the job done. Once we’re in the open sea Jérôme, after preparing and serving coffee, uses this quiet interlude to teach us how to read a chart and tells us the story of his boat.
Take the helm, cabin-boy!
During the crossing the passengers can take the helm. I volunteer. “Aim at the easterly point of the island that you can see in front of you. To turn to port, push the helm to the right and to turn to starboard, pull it to the left”, Jérôme explains. Sounds easy but that’s before you start thinking about the wind and the waves that force you to keep correcting the course the whole time in order to stay on course. I suddenly realise that I’m steering a 30-ton sailing boat with a 100-square metre mainsail; we’re doing 7 knots – about 8 miles an hour – what a thrill!
Lazing about on deck
Late morning we arrive at Houat. The view is superb. Little white houses around a church seem to be perched right on the edge of the cliff. Below them sailors are working in the port of Saint-Gildas. We have four hours to explore the island and its large beaches. If you stand at the Pointe d’En Tal, surrounded by white sand, you could think you were on the edge of the world. By the time we’re back on board the wind has dropped and the sun is beating down. The plan for the voyage back is to crew the ship but, more importantly, to sunbathe on the deck!
Text: Julie Durand
Excursions to the Houat island every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from May to September
Boarding at 08:45, Port Navalo jetty; return 17:30
€ 48 per adult - € 28 per child
Other excursions: Hoëdic island, apéritifs on the Auray sea loch