Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A brief visit to Yeu

Ben arrived on Saturday afternoon by train as planned, and on Sunday we set off rather early (by his standards) for L'Herbaudière on the Île Normoutier. It was a bit unfair to face him with a 40-mile voyage straight away, but I felt we should make the most of the forecast NE4 on Sunday becuase Monday's wind looked like being bugger all. Which proved to be correct.

The 8am lock opening at Arzal finally disgorged us on to the river about 0845 and after that we sailed the majority of the way. We reefed south of Le Croisic - the entrance to the Loire always seems to produce funny and unhelpful weather (last time we passed that way it was thick fog). The wind indicator showed only around 12 knots but we were quite close to the wind and steering was getting to be quite hard work. At this point we discovered that my reefing lines tied on in slight haste in Camoël were rubbish; at least one wasn't long enough so must have been tied to the the wrong reefing point, and one of the bowlines came untied the minute we hauled down on it. Thank goodness for Ben who calmly tied it all back on again.

We were allocated a berth on pontoon L in L'Herbaudière with a wafer-thin finger pontoon. Still, the tides wouldn't have allowed us to get Sam off anyway as we arrived just before LW (neaps, so there was enough depth in the entrance). A paddle on the beach, a risotto and a West Wing were required before bed, and large drinks all round as a reward for doing so well.

Sam had appeared rather un-enchanted by the whole event until we started heeling and then surprisingly perked up and seemed to enjoy sailing more. He refused to stand up for most of the day though so unsurprisingly his feet were extremely swollen. I made him promise to stand up more on the passage to the Île d'Yeu.

Monday was another stonkingly hot day with very little wind, what there was of it again mainly NE. It was a motor all the way to Port Joinville. After some to-ing & fro-ing we were allocated berth C20 - a reasonable finger pontoon but not alongside a jetty. Having seen all the other yachts which have arrived since we did, that seems like a reasonable trade-off- the alongside yachts have at least two or three more yachts rafted up alongside while we are free to come & go. Anyway we had a pleasant afternoon & evening; Ben & I enjoyed a really lovely swim in the turquoise but slightly seaweedy waters of the nearest beach and we entertained Mark & Judith Grimwade to drinks on board..

The plan was to stay here until Thursday (22nd) or ideally even Friday (23rd) which would have allowed us to participate fully in the CA's Yeu rally. However, the winds are somewhat against us. Ben needs to be at Nantes airport on Sunday and our car is at Arzal. On Thursday the winds go firmly NW and stay that way for the forecastable future. We tried leaving Yeu in a NW last year and really didn't enjoy it at all. So tomorrow we will leave at the crack of 7am and motor to Piriac, hopefully, in very light to non-existent south-westerlies.

Knowing we were here for such a short time has focused our minds. We got out the folding bike, and I cycled to Super U at 9am while Ben jogged alongside. We got Sam off the boat at lunchtime and with considerable encouragement from Ben he climbed the companionway steps without assistance from ropes, hooray! and walked along the pontoon, more or less. We went into town for moules frites (and a burger for Ben) and a bit of an explore. Then Ben gave Sam a shower and we got him back on board. More pontoon walking. Then Ben & I went into town again so I could buy him one of the nice (but rather expensive) YE polo shirts. Then we got Sam of the boat again, twice in one day is a record, for the CA pontoon party. And finally back on board again for sausage sandwiches made by Ben, and bed. We'll have an early departure tomorrow so I must get to bed, but it's been a really good day with lots of achievement by Sam, a bit of exploration of Yeu, and an acceptance by all concerned that sometimes you can't stay for the whole rally, but that's sailing.

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