24th to 26th of June 2018 - A close Haul
|Crew :||Andy and Helen|
|Destinations :||At sea and Ile D'Aix.|
|Distance :||170 miles|
We slipped our berth at 0720 and made our way out of the river with a few small fishing boats. The sun was shining but there was no wind. We took it in turns to lie down below so we would be fit for a night sail. It was pretty warm so we only needed one blanket to keep our feet warm even at night. For the best part of the day the wind was coming from the north west but not quite westerly enough for the sails to work. We ended up motor sailing with the sails sheeted tight until well in to the afternoon when the wind very slowly started to shift northerly and then north easterly. By the evening we were able to sail close hauled up the coast aiming roughly for south west England. We had great hopes that it would continue to veer, which it did a little but not enough for us to bear away onto a more comfortable course. Fortunately there was little swell. It was a beautiful evening and we past Archachon before dark so were able to get great views of the huge (by European standards) sand dunes at the entrance.
Overnight we alternated between sailing and motor sailing to keep our speed up. We didn't want to get stuck in the firing range, even though the information we had was that the Monday activity would be taking place in the southern part. We divided the night into 2 watches of 4 hours, agreeing to wake the other earlier if we were unable to keep our eyes open. I took 2200 to 0200 and Andy from 0200 to 0600. We both actually slept much better the following day than during the night. By late afternoon of the second day we were heading around the north point of Ile D'Oleron and making our way towards Ile D'Aix with Fort Boyard in the distance. There was a perfect anchorage in the lee of the island inside 3 mooring buoys. We were anchored not far from the beach by 1815. The skies were blue and the sun was shining, we were in South Brittany!
The following day we rowed the tender ashore. It was a little windy but Andy managed to get us to the beach in no time despite rowing into the wind. We had our first meal of moules frites and some local vin de pays before walking around the beautiful island with its numerous forts, flowers, coves, cottages and oyster beds. Despite what Abba said, this is where Napoleon did surrender to the British before his exile to the Island of St Helena. I had a swim off the beach before returning to the boat for a quiet evening.
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