Page 0046

Sail away

with me...James Williamson explains the rules and regulations on sailing a boat in

France and picks some of the best spots on the south west coast to visit

owner, whether you are sailing

a fifty foot Halberg-Rassy or a

small bath tub.

The popular port of Les Minimes in La Rochelle

is one of

the largest pleasure boat ports

in Europe and holds over four

thousand boats. The facilities

are very well maintained with

all boats on their own pontoons,

with electricity and fresh water.

It seems to be very good value

indeed compared to your chum

who keeps his boat on the south

coast of England and who may

well splutter an expletive if they

T

HERE ARE TWO GREAT

days in a man's life,

when he buys his

first boat and when

he manages to sell

the bloody thing, or so the old

adage goes. This might well

ring true in the UK where boat

ownership costs can be very restrictive

and your average boat

owner comes with well rounded

vowels.

Not so in more egalitarian

France, where the enjoyment of

having one's own boat and the

freedom of sailing can be surprisingly accessible

on a modest

income.

The south west coast of

France offers some of the most

enjoyable sailing in Europe.

From the famous deep water

ports of Sables-d'Olonne, home

to the Vendée globe, and the

fabulously lovely La Rochelle,

or to the chic little market towns

on the Ile de Ré you will find

friendly sailing folk from all

walks of life.

The sailing community tends

to be fantastically friendly and

will be ready to share a yarn and

a glass or two with a fellow boat

knew that two thousand euros a

year is about the annual fee for

an eight metre sailing boat.

Being France there are a few

rules and regulations that are

best adhered to, however they

are designed more for your own

safety than to squeeze a few

more euros from your purse.

A sailing qualification is required

for insurance purposes

and also a VHF radio certificate,

should your boat have one. Fortunately British

RYA qualifications are

recognized in France

and are not too hard to obtain.

BELOW

The stunning port

of La Rochelle at

night.

FACING PAGE

James and partner

Helen on their boat

'Cirrhosis of the

river'. They moved

to the Dordogne in

1993.

WORDS:: JAMES WILLIAMSON I PHOTOS: TONY TERROT www.terrotphotographie.com

46 LEGGETTFRANCE.COM

46

SAILING IN FRANCE LEGGETT MAGAZINE

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