Approaches to st Malo
The approaches to St Malo, St Servan, Dinard and La Rance with such a scattering of rocks looks challenging, particularly when you factor in the large tidal range and frequent cross streams. But, dependent on conditions and your approach, you have a choice of seven channels. Chenal de la Petite Porte (8·6m), the main shipping channel, is well marked and is the most straightforward by day or night. This approach is made from NW via Atterage St Malo landfall buoy (Iso.4s). Try to identify key marks:
Ile de Cézembre (by day), Le Grand Jardin Lighthouse (Fl(2)r.10s2m15m), and Balue lighthouse (DIR.F.G.68M25M) on the skyline above St Servan.
A course of 130°, with Balue aligned with Grand Jardin, keeps you just north of Le Vieux Banc shoals, 1.5M NW of the landfall buoy, and then leaves to port;
Le Grande Hupée reef (0·7m) 0·9M NW of Grand Jardin
Le Bunel (dries 3·8m) 0·5M WNW of Cézembre, marked by W cardinal buoy (Q(9) 15s)
And, to starboard ;
Pierres des Portes reef (0·4m) which extends 200m NE of Les Courtis starboard light tower (FL.G.4S7M).
When Les Courtis is abaft the beam, adjust course to starboard to leave Le Grand Jardin 200m to port. Then follow the channel on 129° towards the head of the breakwater, Mole des Noires (VQ.R.11M.6M). Leave the ferry terminal (VQ.G) to starboard to continue in the dredged channel towards St Malo Lock (70° with F.R in alignment) for Port Vauban Marina. There are waiting buoys NW of the lock. Alternatively, leave the ferry terminal to port and if there is enough water over the sill, continue in to Les Bas Sablons Marina, St Servan, where the visitors’ berths are on pontoons A and B. Beware strong tidal streams.
The above is extracted from the revised first edition of RCC Pilotage Foundation Channel Islands, Cherbourg Peninsular and North Brittany published by Imray which came out in May 2018.