Monday, July 04, 2016

Ile d'Yeu

We stayed three nights in L'Herbaudière, not least because a regatta of 100 boats was in Port Joinville on the Ile d'Yeu on Sunday night so clearly it was a bad time to head down there. There's not much in the town but it was delightful to feel we were reaching the South, with terracotta roofs, white walls, and oh yes, grey skies and a bit of rain. Oh well. Robin and I both managed a swim on the beach which I thought was rather nice but Robin did not approve of, apart from the fact that the water was about 10 degrees more than in Guernsey.

Rob from Cyclone offered, bless him, to have a look at a couple of our leaks. No, he didn't offer to mop the dieselly water out of our bilges but he did put an extra jubilee clip on the leaking calorifier hose and manged to tighten a couple of screws on our water pump. Last time I looked neither was dripping so we'll see if they are permanent fixes. As a thank you we took him and Jo out to dinner in the town and had our moules frites at a pleasant brasserie overlooking the port. We ate ridiculously early, mainly because I wanted to ensure that Sam was on board before the tide, now approaching springs, got too low for him to manage the ramp.

Before dinner I took Sam for a shower. We have been impressed that almost every marina has offered a disabled shower of some kind but the space, and quality of fixtures and fittings,varies vastly. This one had shedloads of space but only one grabrail, by the loo, and when Sam used it, it came off the wall. The shower stool was broken and also coming away from the wall, and the pushbutton to operate the shower had to be pushed every five seconds. (I tried one in a non-disabled shower and it lasted 30 seconds). Also the water was distinctly lukewarm. I wonder how many of these facilities have actually been tested by a disabled user?

Incidentally I'm hoping I have traced the source of the diesel to the new sender, which, when mounted on the old gasket, should probably have been re-tightened after Guy fitted it. Brimming the tank and then going straight out and heeling in a bumpy sea with very little motoring, on the way to the Ile Noirmoutier, was obviously not the best idea. Grrr.

We left L'Herbaudière at 0800 today and motored almost all the way to the Ile D'Yeu, somewhat to Robin's disgust, but the winds varied from light to non-existent. We met the regatta of 100 yachts about four miles off Port Joinville at midday. Apparently the race had started at 10 am so they were obviously going to have a very long day.

This is quite a big marina and when we came in there was masses of space - not surprisingly as 100 boats had only just cleared off.  However as the day went on and the tide rose the berths filled up. Many CA members and others rate this as their favourite French Atlantic island. It's quite a walk into town although it's just across the harbour, but as there's the port de plaisance, a locked fishing basin, the ferry terminal and the old port to walk around, it all adds up. Anyway it all looks delightful and there's a lovely beach the other way.

The CA is much on our minds here. We are only here in the first place because last summer a CA member, Martin Deighton, wrote a delightful piece for Cruising about his unsuccessful attempt to to sail around Spain and Portugal last year. He didn't get there, but he did get to the Ile d'Yeu, which he described as the most beautiful island in the world. That was the inspiration for this year's voyage.

Martin's picture of the Ile d'Yeu which inspired this voyage

My picture of the beach beyond the marina this afternoon

We were also invited for drinks on board Mithril Aegis, whose drinks in Piriac we missed. Sam was filled with enthusiasm to climb aboard, possibly because Mithril Aegis is a 17-tonne steel 43-footer with jolly stout fixtures and fittings (apart from the ladder, which broke when Sam stepped on it) and it happened to be attached to a very wide pontoon. He climbed in through their side gate, along the narrow side deck, over the coaming and sat down in the cockpit. Hooray! Even better, after a glass or two of wine and innumerable delightful snacks, he climbed out again, and with the help of a supporting cast of dozens of English and French onlookers, managed to climb off Mithril Aegis and on to Kalessin again. It was a brilliant achievement.

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