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Piers and Lin du Pré are the owners of the Fleming 55 Play d'eau, based in Beaucette Marina, Guernsey in the Channel Islands at N49° 30’.197 W002° 30’.350.

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Leg 9 – Île d’Yeu to Les Sables d’Olonne – 11 July 2013

The forecast was right. The NE’ly had reached F5 again. Looking over the harbour wall showed a mass of white. Masts of departing yachts were ‘bucking like broncos’ as they made headway with water cascading over their bows. I suspect that if I was a yachtsman, I’d be shouting, ‘Yee Ha!’ – or is that Dave of Yacht Akemi I hear?

Decision criteria

The chart of our planned SE’ly track to Les Sables d’Olonne
click to enlarge

We’d normally wait until the wind and seas died right down. I mean, why have an uncomfy ride?

So what was the pressure to leave? First, the forecast was continuing with NE’ly F5/F6 for the next five days; not good. Second, the national French swarm starts this weekend possibly precluding a future mooring; not good. Third, I want to take Lin to dinner on our (41st) wedding anniversary on 15 July and restaurants in Île d’Yeu leave everything to be desired. Fourth, we need to be in La Rochelle for the 26 July – a long time away, but still a pressure.

Looking afresh at the chart, our track would be SE meaning a beam sea, reducing the closer we inched (centimetred?) to the mainland. That would be OK given we have stabilisers. So the main ‘nasty’ would be the first 1.3nm as we left Port Joinville whilst heading NE straight into wind and swell to clear shallow ground before turning SE just south of the Basse Mayence NCM.

The SE corner of Ile d’Yeu. Why don’t photos ever show how rough it really is?
click to enlarge

Decision – if we were happy to take a head sea, we’d go providing we saw the wind drop to F4 by midday. We were, and it did.

The journey

By 1145 the wind had dropped to a mid-F4. Lin had rigged Play d’eau for ‘silent running’ (everything stowed and battened down) so we left.

Between the breakwaters we began to experience the head seas. Once out of the breakwaters and heading straight into the wind and swell, it become ‘exciting’ but in no way fearful. Play d’eau is just brilliant. Sea spray was flying everywhere!

Just to make the point, five of the yachts we’d seen leave earlier that morning had turned around and were returning….

Once we’d turned SE, the ride became manageable, and the more the journey progressed the more the seas quietened and the ride became enjoyable.

Port Garnier, Les Sables d’Olonne
click to enlarge

Arriving

Arriving at Les Sables d’Olonne was ease itself. Although the wind had risen to F6 it was from over the land so the sea was flat. We radioed Quai Garnier, were given a berth, and we moored up. Simples.

Play d’eau was covered in salt from the seas we’d taken. We’ll give her a good soapy bath in the morning.

The tecky details

1226 FST – Departed Port Joinville, Île d’Yeu
1646 FST – Arrived Les Sables d’Olonne
Planned distance – 29.7nm
Longest leg – 22.4nm – Basse Conche to the Petite Barge SCM
Tech issues – Stbd engine, small oil leak detected from the gearbox into the flywheel housing

Piers and Lin
from the Pilot House of
Play d’eau
Fleming 55

You can get in touch with us any time by using our Contact Form.

3 comments to Leg 9 – Île d’Yeu to Les Sables d’Olonne – 11 July 2013

  • Pip Flynn

    Make sure you join in the Bastille Day celebrations and perhaps you will dress accordingly with stripey shirts and plain berets?
    I have a suggestion of how you could blend in even better. You act very nonchalantly, giving a “Gallic shrug”, raising your shoulders slightly whilst dipping your head slightly to one side, remembering to you turn your hands so the palms are facing upwards, whilst “pfffing” through your lips.
    I always love doing that!
    Pxx

  • Pip Flynn

    Look forward to seeing your “Gallic shrug” either in photos or when you come over to the UK next year!!!
    Pete’s impression is first class!
    Pxx

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