Petrella European Tour

Sailing adventure

09 October 2013 | Bristol and Illogan
28 November 2012 | Illogan
13 November 2012 | Gallery
28 September 2012
26 September 2012 | Roscoff
02 September 2012 | L'aberwrac'h
02 September 2012 | St Evette
28 August 2012 | Benodet
25 August 2012 | St Gilles-Croix-De-Vie
18 August 2012
18 August 2012 | La Rochelle
12 August 2012 | St Jean de Luz
31 July 2012 | Guetaria
27 July 2012 | Hondarribia
25 July 2012 | Hondarribia
19 July 2012 | Hondarribia
13 July 2012 | St Jean de Luz

22nd Aug 2012 - La Rochelle to St Gilles-Croix-De-Vie

25 August 2012 | St Gilles-Croix-De-Vie
Michael Wilson
Caught up with our friends Bruce and Caroline from Distant Drummer the day before we had to leave - was great to see them and have a good ol' catch up on how things were (great news btw Bruce!) as we had been able to keep in touch but not actually seen each other since Dartmouth. We got the bottle of champagne out which we had been kindly given by the man in the speed boat at St Jean De Luz had given me for helping him. I wish we had been able to stay longer to catch up properly but we still had plenty of distance to cover and not a very big weather window. Up nice and early and the strong winds of yesterday had reduced so we were good to go - always the way when you want to stay somewhere a little longer! I could see that there was another low pressure system coming towards the end of the week so we had to cover the ground (or water in this case) whilst things were okay with the high holding out. We had fuelled up the day before when we were asked to move berth (after berthing about 5 times until it was decided 'we've got a space and this will do - I'm not moving again!' It must be said that the marina at Les Minimes at La Rochelle is vast and the people are nice - but it could be run a little better to be honest (as warned in our pilot book) with the lady I gave payment to not being aware that the space we were allocated / paid for would be needed - plus we were running aground each night with LW, and the girl on the reception pontoon giving us directions to a new space which whilst I would enjoy crushing about 3 speed boats probably not wise, half the marina with plenty of spaces but no clue where those boats are and when back, oh and the chap in his launch parading around but always turning up too late to be of any help - saying that the first younger chap in the launch when we arrived was excellent - guess it depends on who you get). Anyway, rant / observations over. There are positives: very impressed with the availability of 'yellow' bikes to hire, a nice little park to take the dogs close by the marina (v dog friendly unlike some places), and the water bus to the town was solar powered / electric so v quiet and no wash (it was a modern cat) even though we were right next to where it landed / departed. Also - please see the pics taken when are of the very impressive port entrance (old port).
So off we set at about 0930 at about high tide with several other yachts. We cut the corner towards the bridge and hoisted the sails as soon as we were the other side of the impressive construction. The wind was good and it was like the start of a race as us and another yacht passed under the bridge at the same time. For the next few hours we were neck and neck - I like to think that our old Moody with her 'stumpy mast' as Kim puts it surprised the French boat (with their huge Breton flag) as the looked about 40ft and much more modern! Then the wind died and we reduced from 6.5 knots to about 4 knots and they got away - time to take some pics as the sun was out and water flat in the lea of Ile de Re. Great sailing this was with Bob Marley on the stereo! A few fishing boats to keep an eye on but otherwise all was pleasant - for now at least.....
Wind had dropped so started motor sailing - the wind was starting to go around to the nose a little too. Then it got up gradually, and the sea started increasing too. By the end of the afternoon we were crashing through it - the Volvo D2 55hp in Petrella which we had put in a couple of years ago has really helped us cover the ground in these conditions. By the time we got passed Les Sables it was fair blowing - v envious of the yachts doing about 7 knots with the wind behind them going the other way, but us and a few others had a hard beat to windward. Not helped by the winch for the main halyard deciding to stop working and I could really have done with some more tension on the luff of the main. I decided to reef the main and again our 'old style' round the boom roller system impressed greatly - I really would not change it as on a cruiser so easy to use with no ropes to worry about - and used correctly with a well cut sail like ours from Kemps Performance Cruiser Main it sets really well. I use a preventer to a block forward when down with to stop the boom lifting (can't use a kicker) which is sensible anyway, and there's no boom sag which some people complain they suffer from (?!).
We pressed on with only about 7 miles to go - the dogs not looking too happy now (Bells had been prancing about the foredeck earlier) and Whistle decided to deposit her lunch on my shorts! We found the entrance for St Gilles and went in with the tide under us - it's a bit narrow with soooooo many lobster pots nearby (someone should really do something about that - bit rubbish and I thought to myself I really wouldn't go in at night with so many pots to catch on your prop - plus rocks nearby so wouldn't have time to do much about it!) A speed boat charged past us determined to just make it in between us and the breakwater - at least the chubby guy with the big tattoo waved and smiled at us - then decided to go down to about 2 knots in front of us (?!) With a fishing boat and the ferry queing behind us we were sucked in by the tide - I couldn't get passed the said motor boat and the fleet of little day fishing / motor boats in front swerving about in the narrow channel - grrrrrr get out the way! (much to the annoyance of the fishing boat wanting to land his catch and the ferry who also wanted to get in to port!). Kim asked - are you sure we can go in here?? as we winded our way up the river towards the marina. A nice chap came out in his launch and asked us the usual questions about how long we were, how long staying etc - I never know what to say about how long we're staying as it really depends on the weather forecast. We were told to follow him to pontoon 8 where he would help us. Needed to turn Petrella in the strong tide which we managed fine (thought better do before we got pushed too far past the pontoon into what looked like a place of no return! Oh and another little motor boat decided to get in the way just at a critical point - might had right at that point as otherwise would not make the turn and he would just have to move out the way!). Moored up nicely with Bells and Whistle making the usual sound signals and the whole place knowing we had arrived - aahhhhh 'blanc chien' etc. Went and signed in at the Capitainerie and the usual - then to grab a bite to eat before bed. I had a pizza and a beer and Kim her usual Moules Frites. Went back to the boat and serviced the Main Halyard winch which now works fine, and realised the piece of plastic that came from the mast was from the steaming light - would need to be fixed on a later date - too tired and we'd probably need to move on tomorrow whilst weather holds before low pressure comes in.......
Vessel Name: Petrella
Vessel Make/Model: Moody 36
Hailing Port: Mylor (Falmouth)
Crew: Michael Wilson, Kimberley Cook, Bells, and Whistle
About: Petrella is a Moody 36 owned by Kim and Michael, with Kim's dogs Bells and Whistle providing assistance as they sail around Europe on a sailing adventure!

Petrella European Tour

Who: Michael Wilson, Kimberley Cook, Bells, and Whistle
Port: Mylor (Falmouth)