29 Jul 2022 New log entry: Revisiting Les Sables ↙ Report?
Despite the light winds, we had a fantastic sail to Les Sables, spinnaker flying and whizzing Exeat along at a steady 7 knots.
We’d last been to Les Sables in 2009 to meet a friend returning from the legendary solo yacht race, the Vendée Globe. Our kids had been tiny then – the youngest still in a pushchair – so didn’t remember much of the place, other than making sandcastles on the beach. In truth, I can’t say I remembered the town very well either – it looked so different when it had been full of Vendée supporters, the press, and all the different sailing teams taking part. On the evening we arrived in Exeat, Les Sables looked more like Venice, with lights from all the riverside bars and bistros shimmering over the still water, and water taxis the only nocturnal traffic.
Before entering the marina, all visitors are required to stop at the waiting pontoon and go to the harbour-master in person. This meant only a small delay to berthing, and we were soon settled in Port Olona in the Port de Plaisance (marina). Better still, the Capitain traded five bottles of our (now defrosted) fridge water for newly iced bottles – only sailors with a broken fridge in the height of summer will know the joy this brought to us! Another joy for me was the automated lavarie (washing machines + tumble dryer, open 24/7) a short walk away, near a Carrefour supermarket – enabling me to kill two birds with one stone, and put a 10kg wash on while I shopped for a few fresh ingredients. I realise it must sound like I’m obsessed with laundrettes but, honestly, with four of us on board full-time, in hot weather, the laundry bag is never empty!
Tempting though the town’s many lively restaurants looked, we had tasty supplies from Port Joinville to barbecue, so ate on board while we planned the final leg of our journey. It’s strange to think our destination is now almost in sight, and that once we reach it we won’t be sailing any further south…on this adventure anyway.