Take a catamaran to one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe
A sunset fit for connoisseurs
A rocky strip of land with bright blue water and pretty, colourful little houses... Here on the Crozon peninsula, in the beautiful setting of Morgat, Erwan is waiting to take you out on a gourmet expedition aboard a catamaran at sunset. A treat for connoisseurs !
It’s 19:30. With the sun starting to sink slowly, we reach Morgat’s pretty harbour where Erwan, our captain for the evening, is waiting for us on his catamaran, the Faltazi. With Morgan, Mickaël, Karine and Noëllie all aboard, we cast off. Noëllie, with all the poise and energy of a thirteen-year-old, prepares to hoist the mainsail. “The boat must be facing straight into the wind and you must hold firm,” Erwan tells her with a smile. Erwan loves sailing and he especially loves catamarans. In fact he’s been sailing since he was tiny - when he was only six months old he started to go out with his parents in their dinghy. How about that!
The fine art of sailing
Once the blade jib has been unfurled, we can relax and admire the bay of Morgat. Then we change tack, luffing the sails – in other words, ensuring the wind is taken out of them – before gently moving to the other side. We’re heading for the Cap de la Chèvre headland, at the southern tip of the peninsula. We can feel the power of the sails as we enjoy our first taste of gliding along a sea that’s as calm as a millpond. Erwan teaches us how to ‘read’ the texture of the water so as to detect any increase in the wind-speed, and how to watch the angle of the wind-vane – when it’s horizontal it means we’re making the best possible use of the wind. Fancy taking a turn at the helm? No problem, Erwan is happy to let us handle the tiller and discover for ourselves just how easy it is to steer the Faltazi - it’s really nice and light!
A protected peninsula
As the minutes slip by, the rocks take on a bronze hue. “Look at all the caves eroded into these cliffs of schist and Armorican sandstone. Altogether there are more than 150 caves on the peninsula,” our skipper tells us. The Crozon peninsula’s coast has recently been decreed a ‘natural geological reserve’ and is also part of the Iroise Marine Park, which is the first of its kind in France. Noëllie, stretched out on the catamaran’s nets, is astonished by the spectacular dive of what she thinks is a seagull: “It’s a northern gannet,” Erwan corrects her, amused. Apart from a few cormorants and young gulls bobbing on the gentle swell, we’re completely on our own! “But you know, beneath the hull it’s teeming with life. Sole, turbot, sea bass... It’s a particularly fertile spawning ground. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, we even get to see some Risso’s dolphins.”
With a Mediterranean air
In the distance, Cap Sizun is silhouetted against a sky that’s flushed deep red, and off to starboard are the magnificent cliffs at Cap de la Chèvre. Suddenly the wind fills our sails and we pick up speed, intoxicated by the stiff breeze of salt air in our faces. It’s time to turn round and head for Île Vierge, which boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, according to various European listings. And we won’t argue with that! Clear water, steep cliffs scattered with maritime pines and the faint outline of an archway etched into the rocks... It’s like being in the south of France with the creeks and valleys of the Mediterranean ‘calanques’ - only without the tourists!
Gourmet heaven in a dream setting
On deck we open oysters from Pen Ar Bed, along with slices of bread and butter spread with smoked trout or fish rillettes from Les Viviers de Terenez, and organic gingerbread from La Miellerie d’Armorique … all washed down with cider and apple juice from the Cider Museum in Argol. “I like introducing people to the Crozon peninsula’s specialities.” We’ll second that! Savouring the different flavours, we crew-members drink to our skipper’s health and give him a vote of thanks for being such a good host. By now the sun’s setting behind the cliffs, adding a fiery glow to the few clouds that drift across the sky. We set off again towards Morgat. The silence is golden, and the sea is deserted... it’s all ours to enjoy!
Text: Julie Danet