About this site

Piers and Lin du Pré bought their new Fleming 55 / 129, Play d'eau, in 2003.

She was berthed in Beaucette Marina, Guernsey in the Channel Islands at N49° 30’.197 W002° 30’.350 until she was sold in October 2021.

This site charts the thrilling adventures they had in her.

You can contact us here.

Where’s Play d’eau?

If the new owners have the AIS on, you can find where Play d'eau is right now.

Click here.

Zoom in and our position will be shown on a map.

Recent Posts

Leg 15 (2015) – Les Sables d’Olonne to Pornichet

The day we left, the sunrise was setting the town on fire
click to enlarge

The decision was taken to make as much headway north as reasonably possible.

Northwards Ho!

After nine days in Les Sables d’Olonne of wintry cold, windy and rainy days, we had an ETD of 0700. We knew the westerly swell would be a short and steep 1½m for the first two hours but it would gradually diminish as we passed between Île d’Yeu and the mainland, destination Pornichet.

With a gentle NW2, at 0707 we quietly singled the warps, removed shore power, started Play d’eau’s Cummins engines, edged out of the Olona marina and into the fairway with a glorious sunrise and her early morning light warm on our backs.

Olona marina

Given the negative comments we’d heard about the Olona marina, we’d always chosen to stay at Quai Garnier. This time, we visited Olona simply because of our previous experience of excessive and endless noise and copious quantities of dirt at Quai Garnier, earlier this trip.

Contrary to hearsay, we found Olona peaceful and clean. We had an excellent berth (A46) and the Super U was only a five minutes walk away.

It’s sad, since Quai Garnier’s Harbour Master, Wesley, and his assistant, Plaideau, were so helpful. So would we return to Quai Garnier? Yes, but we’d have to say provided noise levels had dropped and the dirt from offloading cargo vessels had significantly decreased.

En Route

The modern, smart Olona Marina Capitainerie
click to enlarge

Almost as soon as we exited the pierheads and turned west and north west to round the town of Les Sables, the swell made its presence known. Play d’eau and her crew nodded up and down in a somewhat exuberant manner for the next two hours until we were running up the coast between Île d’Yeu and the mainland.

Knowing this is where we almost hooked a net two years ago, we doubled our watch. True to form, we spotted a net just below the surface with only two white markers some 500m apart.

Play d’eau performed a tight pirouette of which the London Ballet would have been proud, missed the net and plotted her way around it whilst we breathed a sigh of relief.

Grand Rade de La Loire

By the time we came to the Grand Rade there was only the slightest breath of wind and the swell was exhausted. It was calm. For a bit of excitement, our track took us through 14 anchored cargo vessels the largest of which was the SCF Valdai at 237m.


The final approach to Pornichet was through a yacht race which for some reason was being held tight across the marina and its S-bend entrance. Tough, Play d’eau was constrained by draught in the narrow channel and racing offers no additional rights of way.

Without incident, comment or raised voice, we entered the marina and settled into our berth.

Met data

We woke to find this cargo vessel on the other side of the marina. Was it capsized?
click to enlarge

Les Sables d’Olonne: NW2, clear, good
Sea state: 1½m steep westerly swell becoming smooth
Pornichet: Clear skies, NW1

Nav data

Times are FST.

Date: 30 July 2015
Departed Les Sables: 0707 (7 minutes late – call of nature)
Arrived Pornichet: 1432
Pinchpoint: None
Longest leg: 21.7nm
Time en route: 7hr 25min
Planned distance: 61.6nm

Tech issues: Nil

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

(click on the photos below to enlarge, and use the left/right arrows)

2 comments to Leg 15 (2015) – Les Sables d’Olonne to Pornichet

  • Hil

    I am rather glad you have left there-it did not sound such fun for you-not a pretty place no friends and beastly weather. But some the photos are beautiful and it looks as though you had a tight track between the cargo vessels! Any good meals?

    Lol Hil x x x

    • There were very few near places to eat which would have been necessary given the weather. But I have to say that Lin’s cooking puts so many places to shame do eating on board remains a treat!

      Our plans are now dictated by the weather, so we leave for Sainte Marina tomorrow (Weds), then Camaret (Thurs), then L’Aber Wrac’h (Fri). Then we can relax since we’ll be past the worst of the Finistère Peninsula. Next stop after that will be Roscoff.

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