Obstruction near Chateaulin. An costly warning from a fellow sailor.
Author: Wiley Nautical
This email came in recently from a reader of West France Cruising Companion. It warns of an obstruction near Chateaulin at position N 048 12.262, 004 04.938 W.
"I have a Jeanneau 36i with 1.94m draft. and hit an obstruction soon after leaving Chateaulin recently:
After spending 3 nights in Chateaulin, including an incident free journey up river from Guiley Glaz lock on the 6th of June 12, we left the Chateaulin pontoon at approximately 08:30 on the 9th of June 12 on my Jeanneau 36i yacht bound for Marina du Château, Brest.
The visibility was good with a variable wind of less than 2 knots & occasional light rain showers. We were motoring at 2 knots through the water, 3 to 4 knots over the ground as there was a downward flow from the river, in spite of HW Brest being 09:30.
One of my crew was at the bows, looking for potential obstacles & the best course, although the river was muddy. We were in the middle of the river with 0.9m to 1.5m under the keel at all times until 08:41, at position N 048 12.262, 004 04.938 W (soon after the Kayak centre), the depth suddenly reduced to 0.1m under the keel & we abruptly stopped as an underwater obstruction was hit. We managed to turn the boat around & off the obstruction, by pushing out the boom & judicial use of the throttle.
As we were getting off the obstruction, a local man stopped his van & gestured that deeper water was to the starboard side. He drove to the other side of the river & confirmed there was more water on the starboard side of the river. We checked for damage & water ingress as we proceeded down river to Guiley Glaz lock. He discovered that there were cracks around the stringers & the box area around the keel bolts. At first, we thought that there had been water ingress, but once the bilge area had been dried thoroughly, no further water has been seen. The repair quote is 17,100 euros.
My insurance company's local surveyor told me: "The only reliable information about navigation in this part of the river are in “Instructions Nautiques du SHOM”. It is said that the draft allowed in this part of the river is 3m, and from Châteaulin to Port Launay, down river, one must sail along the right bank of the river, at a distance of 10m and pass between the bank and a beacon encountered at 1000m of Port Launay." There was no such beacon on the 9th of June 12."
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