Our Malo 48, Nada, is anchored for the night in placid water on the edge of a muddy drying shoal between two rocky islets in the Golfe du Morbihan, on the west coast of France. The tidal range here in southern Brittany is around 15ft. The gulf is large—more than 40 square miles in area—with a narrow entrance from the Bay of Quiberon, which itself leads to the Bay of Biscay. At peak flood and ebb, the tidal stream pours in and out of the gulf at 8 knots. Less than a hundred yards behind us, the ebb tide is throwing up 3ft standing waves. Boats exiting the bay are rushing by at speeds they never dreamt of, while an incoming passenger ferry, forced by its schedule to fight the tide, is bouncing up and down, creeping into the current. We are tightly positioned between swinging out into the maelstrom or going aground on the shoal at low tide.

We have been driven to seek anchorage in this somewhat marginal spot by the unbelievable number of boats and mooring buoys in the gulf, with almost every decent anchorage crammed full. I knew the French are seriously into their sailing, but had

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