To Ars-en-Ré – 6 to 9 July, 39, 66, 44 miles

LeCroisic (24K) Yamcat1 (29K)
Le Croisic from the mooring With Jean and Alan in Le Croisic
P7240032 (25K) Guerande (43K)
Salt pools on the way to Guérande Guérande
We agreed to sail in company with Yamcat to Le Croisic. This was not a race, of course, but I was delighted that we won a glorious sail in a following F5 by about 15 minutes, because Yamcat had daggerboards, whereas we had converted ours to fixed keels. We enjoyed dinner together ashore, then went cycling together next day to Guérande across the salt flats, because we didn’t fancy bouncing around in the F6 outside.

Ars (20K)
Workboats in the Fier d'Ars, and the shadow of our mast
We set out from Le Croisic next day bound for Île de Yeu, while Yamcat was aiming at Sables d’Olonne. The first 6 miles round the headland were to windward in a F5, and we tucked in a reef for comfort. Yamcat followed with full main but no jib. Once round the point we set a small spinnaker – Mr Lion – rather than unreef, and found this rig very controllable; and we pulled away from Yamcat very nicely!! At Île de Yeu, we sailed through the rocky passage between the main island and the rocks at the Point de But, making good use of our large scale Navicartes, then along the south coast to the Plage des Vieilles, which is usually a good anchorage in northerly winds. However, there was a big swell coming in, and it looked uncomfortable, so we upped sail again and continued to St St Gilles-Croix-de-Vie to enjoy some very expensive rafting up, but also an excellent market with a stall selling long (and therefore half-price) oysters next morning. From St Giles we sped to Ré, arriving off the entrance to Ars doing 10 to 12 knots. The town of Ars is up a channel – le Fier de d'Ars - about 2 miles long between drying sand banks and mussel beds. Just at the entrance is a bank of extra soft sand, specially designed for multihulls, and after some messing about as we ran onto the bank too early on the tide, we anchored bang in the middle.