Delivery to La Rochelle
I set off from Lorient at 22:45 on Friday, 2 June with one of my wife’s cousins (Clothilde) aboard for the delivery. She has been doing a lot of sailing in Pornichet this year and was happy to accompany me on the trip down to La Rochelle.
I had thought about doing the trip alone, as a final practice solo sail – and I would have done if Clothilde hadn’t been available – but I was happy to have someone aboard. The cost has a lot of fishing boats and other traffic, and the last thing I needed was to hit a trawler and damage the boat just before the start.
So we set off into a dark but dry night, and reached out of Lorient on starboard tack before bearing away down the coast and setting the small kite in 20 knots of wind. If I were racing I would have put up the big kite, but as this was just a delivery I decided to take it easy. As the wind eased a bit later we went to the masthed spinnaker.
The course was dead downwind, so rather than gybe through the night and then deal with all the navigation and fishing boats inside Belle Isle, we just kept heading offshore until about 7:30 am when the wind faded away. Fortnately I had kept the motor and lots of fuel, for just this reason. We ended up motoring for about 5 hours at between 3 and 4 knots before the wind came back and we hoisted the big kite again and continued towards La Rochelle.
The wind was perfect to take us round the outside of Ile de Ré, so we just kept sailing on starboard tack all the way down. As midnight passed and Saturday changed to Sunday, we were just off Ile de Ré. When we got towards the southern tip we had to gybe in towards the harbour – the first time on port tack for the whole trip!
I was a bit worried about the depth of the water as we entered the harbour – it was low tide and at times we had only 20 cm under the keel, but we arrived and tied up without any drama managed to get about 3 hours sleep. We were up again early to have a shower and then deliver the boat to the inner harbour in the center of the town, where she will stay until the start.
Clothilde took an early train back to Paris and her family, and I spent the rest of the day doing small jobs and organising the boat a bit.
There were about 10 other minis in the “Bassin des Chalutiers” – I’m sure there will be a lot more when I return on the 13th or 14th!
A link to the track of the delivery:
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