We have experienced the first big storm of the trip, “Storm Miguel”. Thankfully it was well forecast and we were safely in Pornic marina for the storm.

Unfortunately, we were reminded of the seas force and the need to respect its power. A lifeboat had launched from Les Sables-d’Olonne (some 40 miles south of Pornic) to rescue a fisherman who had gone out to sea in spite of the storm. The lifeboat capsized and three of the crew lost their lives, the fisherman is still missing although a body was recovered from the sea on the 16th June and is still to be identified.

This impacted the whole community on this coast and an SNSM flag was flying at half mast in Pornic. (SNSM is the French lifeboat service). We reminded of the bravery and dedication to duty lifeboat crew demonstrate worldwide.

We are in Les Sables-d’Olonne currently and have witnessed some of the tributes.

Pornic

When we last updated our blog we had just arrived in Pornic, we intended to stay there for around three days but with the storm we stayed five nights. It was a good place to be for the storm as our berth was well protected and away from the breakwaters. The boat was still moving around and it was noisy, we watched a film on Friday and the TV was turned up to max just so we could hear the sound track. Boats moored closer to the entrance of the marina were really pitching up and down and it must have been very uncomfortable for those on board.

Pornic has an old fishing harbour and has long been a holiday destination for the French as evidenced by the large number of holiday homes.

Whilst we there we meet up with some friends from Chippenham who were cycling in the area and just happened to be in Pornic. We look forward to meeting others along the way.

 

Ile D’Yeu

From Pornic we sailed to an Island about 14 miles off the coast. There is something special about sailing to an island and we spent 4 nights there. We had a day of rain so stayed longer so we could walk some of the coastline of the island. The island is a popular holiday destination and many of the houses were holiday homes as in Pornic. The island has around 5000 inhabitants and most holidaymakers arrive by ferry as foot passengers so the island is quiet and has many bikes for rent. It is also an island of contrasts, rugged west coast and long sandy beaches on the east coast.

 

Les Sables-d’Olonne

We arrived in Les Sables-d’Olonne Friday and this is a major sailing centre in France. The town is very proud of the Vendée Globe, a single-handed non-stop yacht race around the world without assistance. It is celebrated all around the town and in street names near our marina.

This Sunday (16th June) was the Ironman Triathalon, Competitors swam for 1.9 km, cycled for 90km and then ran for 21 km. The winners did this in under 4 hours. The slowest competitors took 8 hours but just finishing must be a real achievement. (We were tired after walking around town and watching.)

 

We will be here a while as we are waiting for an Amazon order to arrive ( Judith’s Kindle broke and Graham wants some new Pilot Guides for Spain and Portugal ). We are also catching up on a few items of boat maintenance and this is a good place for that. We had a gate wire fall off whilst in Ile D’Yeu and end up in the sea, we managed to get one made up here for 40 Euros. Graham also had to check our electricity system as we were tripping the supply on the pontoon. In the end, it turned out that the supply has reverse polarity so we needed an adaptor to correct this. Graham is also taking the opportunity to catch up with a few other tasks, the reefing lines are jamming so we are sorting this out and the winches all need a service.

One of the interesting things with the journey has been meeting up with fellow sailors as we make our way along the coast, we were even given a book on weather by a chap named Frank Singleton who we have seen in Roscoff, l’Aber Wrac’h, Ile D’Yeu and now Les Sables D’Olonna. Frank is a weather expert and had authored the book. He is 86 and still sailing his Hallberg Rassy.

 

8 Comments

  • Carole

    Goodness me…. It’s certainly an action packed adventure… Absolutely fascinating! Hope your Kindle etc arrived safely and you’ve stopped shorting everyone’s electronics! 😅 Stay safe though Mr & Mrs E! X

  • Judith Linnell

    Wow, where to start! Your photos are wonderful & give us a taste of the diverse coast you’re exploring . All those bikes!!!! The news about the storm, loss of lifeboat & life, was a sobering reminder of the power of nature. An encouragement to continue pray for you to make wise decisions about sailing or staying put. Hope you enjoy this respite & get the boat ship shape again. Glad you were able to meet up with friends too. 🙂 xx

  • Ruthie C

    Great update, can’t wait for the book-! We’ve visited the places you write of and know them to be lovely, mind you we did it the boring way. Glad you were safe during the storm.

  • Chris L.

    Great to have seen you in Pornic. We too were glad not to be on the road during the storm, good chance for a rest day. Your pics show that you are doing so much more than just moving from one port to another which makes the whole thing more satisfying. Will be praying for your well-being as you cross the B. of B. Hope to visit you again in months ahead but not by bike!

  • Martin haywood

    Great to hear your progress. Sad about the lives lost. Did you realise LPO (spring harvest holiday village) is only 5 miles inland from st Gilles crops de vie ?

    • graham

      Yes had remembered that the Spring Harvest center is near this coast. We did not stop at St Gilles, the most difficult part of this trip is deciding where to stop and we know that we have sailed past many nice places, we will be able to stop at some of them on the way back

  • Michael Bench

    Thanks once again for your news and the pictures. We have French friends with a holiday home in Pornic and now we know what they can see when they are there. Such sad news of the loss of the fisherman and the lifeboat. The weather forecasters here ad talked of bad weather brewing in the Bay of Biscay some days before your post. We have seen how dangerous it turned out to be. Still praying for your protection as you make the next stage. |Mike and Anne

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