Ile D'Yeu to Les Sables D'Olonne
17 June 2012 | West Coast of France
So it got to about lunchtime and we'd looked up weather forecasts - 'to go or not to go' that was the question. The wind was pretty strong still but in the right direction but we knew the swell would still be running quite high - many of the Halberg Rassies were staying put and we'd been invited to a pontoon party that eve. We were both keen to leave Ile D'Yeu to be honest as the marina feels cramped and the place is not to our liking so much - i'd explored a nearby beach with Bells and we'd found a nice place to eat but other than that, not totally struck with the place. So Kim said - lets get out of here - okay the boat would be ready in about an hour (get water, tidy up, put bimini down, sort out the usual). Simple berth to get out and then winded our way slowly out of the harbour. The sun was out and we hoisted the main next to the south cardinal mark just by the anchorage. Put two reefs in it asfelt the rig had taken a bit of a battering recently and if anything the genoa would do most of the flying today. Set the course (aprox 125 degrees true) and it's about 31 miles to Les Sables. All was nice and sedate until we came out of the lea of the island and as Kim rightly said 'we'll cop it in a min). Yep the swell was still big but the wind was good and with full genoa out the boat was yet again charging along at about 6 knots - engine off (saving fuel again - we're clocking up some serious miles under sail now). Music on - all is good. The dogs don't like the swell - Bells was not happy so Kim took them down below where camp was set up on the aft cabin bed. Poor little Whistle who's usually fine was poorly and Kim was not feeling 100% either. We made it to the big lighthouses marking the point the harbour lies just next to in great time - having a bit of a race with a yacht going the same way. Bit tricky getting the sails in again with big swell and fresh following wind but we're pretty used to those conditions now. Our approach to the harbour needs to avoid some rocks marked by a South and North Cardinal buoys plus there's an isolated danger mark for a wreck and a v narrow entrance with ferries moving about. We were glad to get in the shelter of the breakwater -although it's hollow (more cut backs Kim joked). We decided to go for the smaller of the two marinas as had been told it's nicer, good wash block, and right in the middle of town (the other is a bit of a trek). Got shown a space which was easy to get into port side to with a finger pontoon. We were greeted by a couple with a Scanmar who had recognised us from Ile D'Yeu (well everyone remembers the dogs!). John told us the code for the gatesand offered us a drink and we spent an chatting in their cockpit (v nice boats those Scanmars). Then food was required so we went hunting for somewhere nearby....As I write this the sun is out and very happy. Looking forward to exploring and might even spend a day or two here! Pics to follow....