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Ramblings from Port du Masque Obligatoire

No, it’s not a new place, but certainly a strange one we find ourselves in. I write on the last day of August 2020. We are in St Martin, Ile de Ré . It’s sunny, its warm and hardly a breath of wind. The holiday season has come to an end. It’s unusually quiet on the water and in the port.

Covid-19 has something to do with it:

Everyone, and I mean just about everyone, has to wear a mask in busy public places as well as everywhere indoors. It’s probably similar in the UK.

people wearing masks at the old port in La Rochelle
Yours truly, about to rob a bank.

There are very few boats on the water and hardly any British boats. Covid-19, the threat of another lockdown and 14 day quarantine for those (including us) returning to the UK has meant that so far, after nearly 3 weeks we’ve only come across 3 other Brit cruisers to talk to.


Has been cool, but we’ve done a lot of sailing: of the 137nm covered so far 80% has been under sail. Nice. Cheap.

It could be worse. Meteo France included this report of the dire weather afflicting Ireland this year:

With its second storm in less than a week (Francis after Ellen), Ireland ends a well-watered, cool and little sunny summer of 2020.
The resort of Valentia, in the southwest of the island, received 53mm of rain in 24 hours, bringing the July / August total to 415mm (double the already high normal).
It has certainly rained less in Dublin, but the only hot day of the whole summer was observed on June 2 with 25 ° C and, since the beginning of July, the sun has been shining there on average only 3 hours a day, i.e. a deficit of more than 40%, while in May, it had shone 9:30 a day.

And that’s why we came to sail in France.

Belgians, Dogs and Stinkpots

So, has there been an upside to compensate for the downside? Well in a gross generalisation we have noted the following:

  • There are many more Belgian boats than previous (this may be linked to travel restrictions for Belgians heading to Scandinavia).
  • Stinkpots (liveabord motor cruisers): definitely more of these around. And from far away places (for example our neighbour in La Rochelle had a boat from Nice.
  • Dogs. Too many. Of the ugly sort. We think this might be related to the point above

Les Minimes – even bigger Mega Marina

We’ve just arrived from the now expanded les Minimes: with over 60 pontoons capable of accommodating over 4500 boats it is huge.

This aerial photo is a tad old. The pontoons at the lower part of the shot are now fully filled. Filibuster was on the third one up. Following are some shots of our own
Panorama from the centre looking South. Filibuster is in there somewhere
Panorama from the South East looking North
Panorama from the Eastern side looking west
Panorama of the new Northern section

Captain Slog

1st / 2nd September. SaintMartinde

It’s warm, sunny and nice here. A section of the Tour de France finishes a few hundred yards away on the 8th. We might want to see it, masques et al.

The long range forecast shows weather remaining warm, sunny and nice here. It shows something very different for home.

Our original plan was to return home on 17th September, which would mean being quarantined until going on holiday on 26th. And on return another 14 days of quarantine. That’s the best part of a month locked up. We can think of better ways to spend our time.

Our thoughts turn to thinking about staying out here in the nice, sunny warm for another week. mmmm. it’s a tough one.

I wonder what might help with that decision?

Or could it be the drinking problem?

Or possibly all of these – so we have indeed delayed our return from France by a week.

Weather and Covid-19 progress permitting.

La Grande Migration

I write from Bourgenay (pron Bor-jen-ay by the locals) on 19th August 2019

It’s warm (low20’s ) and with light following winds so we motored the whole 33 miles from Ile De Yeu.

But of the title “La Grande Migration”? This week is the last full week of the holidays. Schools go back on the 1st Sep and many French businesses resume normal operations next Monday.

Many tourist dependent restaurants & shops simply close down on the 31st August.

So, in short, boats that have been on holiday make their way home. With more than a dozen large marinas containing thousands of berths within a few days to the north the northward migration is well under way. To the south there are 1500 in Les Sables D’Olonne (1 day away) and Europe’s largest marina in La Rochelle with over 4500 berths and boats heading for these 2 ports tend to peak toward the end of the week.

And there are a few places that are so “en route” that they become natural watering holes for those on the Grande Migration.

Port Joinville on Ile D’Yeu is one. We’ve just done 4 nights there.

Each morning the marina empties.

Each morning the marina empties. Shot taken from the back of Filibuster toward the pile where the next shot was taken

And then fills again with transiting boats.

And by the evening the marina fills to full. Boats on the left rafted up to 6 deep.

The busiest migratory nights will be around Tuesday & Wednesday. Sometimes the marina is so full, later arrivals are denied access and parked on the fishing boat quays.

We had arrived on the 15th just before 3pm and went straight into an empty pontoon berth. Each day after that the marina filled completely and no pontoon berths were left empty.

Moral: if you want a place during La Grand Migration week, get there early.

Back to Muros, On to Santiago

Here we are back in Muros. It’s just after 1 o’clock on a warm Saturday 24th June . We went to bed 12 hours ago after Pedro Snr (marina boss) invited us and a few other yachties (French, Irish and English) to a street BBQ last night.

We’ve surfaced. Most of Muros, some of which partied until dawn, has not. it was a good night, there is a distinct air of quietness about…. but from leaving Sanxenxo to here:

Islas Cies

Rapidly departing Sanxenxo we headed 15m across to Isla Ons, the largest of the Islas Cies group off Vigo.

To stay you need to register at the National Parks office and then apply for a permit with date of stay: all done, all done efficiently. In our case at the office in Vigo followed by online permit application.

To ensure the area is not overwhelmed by visiting boats.

We anchored, went ashore, walked up to the lighthouse:

From the lighthouse on Isla O Faro looking SE ish at San Martino. The outskirts of Vigo faintly visible on the left through the haze

it’s a long and winding road to the top

Autonomous Boats

There’s a lot of talk about autonomous cars these days: I can confirm that it has already happened in the boat world

Self driving boats

The dinghy in the foreground had autonomously decided to head to Vigo, away from it’s Irish owners.

The more distant yacht was doing the same.

Out of shot, stage right, are 2 Belgians, previously enjoying the beach until that “oh firkit” moment when the realised their boat was off on its own… now very determinedly paddling as fast as their blow up beach dinghy would allow…..and yet to come was the 45ft Irish yacht at speed…

Both caught their respective runaways.

Soft white sands, turquoise water. Nice.

And finally, our most distant point south:

Taken from our most Southerly point, looking at both of the lighthouses on Isla O Faro . At this point we are 693 miles from home (as the seagull flies)

Beautiful as it was, the Islas were uncomfortable at anchor. Besides the now re-parked Belgian, a Swedish boat came by at night. He dropped hook about 100yds away. By morning he had autonomously dragged his anchor to about 20yds away. We upped and left for Porto Novo.

Porto Novo (Ria Pontevedra)

Not much to say. Nice marina, with nice beach, nice bar overlooking the nice marina and nice beach. Very little left of the old town and much given way to modern buildings with restaurants.

So exciting we didn’t take any photos.

Portosin (Ria Muros y Noia)

Friendly, well run marina spoilt by adjacent fishing port working all hours.  We went for a walk in the town but gave up due to lack of anything interesting and turned back.

More autonomous boats: We stayed 1 night. On the next hammerhead seagulls decided to congregate and were doing well when we crashed out around 11pm.

The next morning an autonomous boat had snuck in and sunk itself. We heard nothing. The seagulls said nothing. The marina night watchman saw nothing.

Inspection of the hull revealed a rectangular hole about 30x45cm. Now how did that get there?

And back to Muros

One night in Portosin was sufficient: 5 miles away lay our final destination – Muros. It was a tough decision but we set off late and arrived before mid day.

Pedro Snr warned us about yet another noisy night to come: Mid Summers night / Festival of the Witches: bonfires everywhere: beach, streets, gardens. A little evidence of religious artillery to be expected…

Invited to a BBQ by Pedro in the small main square starting at 2130 we ate and drank along with a few other crews until 0100.

The knockout blow being the Witches Brew. it goes like this:

  • take one cauldron, apply a load of coffee beans, lemons, oranges and a few other flavourings
  • sling in a flammable spirit and set fire
  • add a few bottles of wine and keep alight
  • serve hot, very hot

All this done on Muro’s genuine celtic / pagan statue

The French are coming…

And still haven’t worked out how to arrive at port: just now a very nice Jeaneau 42  DS arrived, winds gusting to F6. 2 people on board. No lines ready!! Takes 2 attempts to land, crunch neighbour a bit, 3  people ashore to hold them whilst they get lines out and ready attached…Incroyable…

And then a French HR42…expensive boat…medium winds…missed his pontoon despite having bow thruster and a powerful enough engine.

Ah well.

And that’s the end of boating until August.  Filibuster is being looked after by Pedro. I’m back at home.

The rain in Spain falls, quite often on the coast.

Santiago de Compostella

I’m now officially “an old git”. Hooray – I can be grumpy without being guilty. This change of seniority happened whilst in Spain. Family came out to ensure the transition happened smoothly, stayed on the boat and in these 2 incredible locations:

Paradores Hotel des Reis Catholicos (Hotel of the Catholic Kings)

The front door. Note gargoyles gargoyling. It’s raining. Note lack of tourists outside.

Some superlatives to describe this incredible hotel:

  • Built in 1499, claimed to be the oldest hotel in the world (??)
  • On the main square of old Santiago de Compostella, next to the Cathedral and envrions
  • Has a 79 point historic tour inside the building
  • Has sufficient space for a full size church within its’ walls

We stayed for one night to celebrate my birthday. It’s a true 5 star. It’s not cheap. It’s worth it.

More about the hotel on their website. Paradores is a range of superb hotels, largely using old building and is state run. Well run from our experience.

BTW A key reason for choosing Spain to celebrate my 60th was to avoid the problem encountered on my 50th whence it rained cats and dogs and the outdoor events were all cancelled. Spain had to warmer, drier didn’t it? Well no. It rained, as some of the pics above show 🙁

Never mind, Santiago is a great place to visit, Easyjet and Ryanair both fly there, it’s €3 by bus to the airport and you can easily fill a weekend. We filled our boots with a multi course tapas meal for 4, 2 bottles of wine and some beer all for less than €60!

Casa Grande de Bachoa

The only reason we stayed in the hotel was after seeing it in a TV Programme by Alex Polizzi. “Spectacular Spain, Episode 5 on Ch 5”. I had fancied a villa in the mountains with a swimming pool.

My prayers were answered on our last night at Casa Grande de Bachoa . Only half an hour from Santiago airport. Spectacular again.

Our room – just €70

The view from the balcony including mountains and swimming pool

Main building

Panorama showing pools and annex. Our suite up on the right.



And the sailing Martin?

You may have noted that this blog has become a bit of a travelogue. Sailing has not featured much. Neither in the blog or reality. Our log shows 660nm covered. Sailed proper about 60nm. Have consumed about 225l of diesel, which is about the same as the 2 past years combined…. not good.

But that’s it for part 1 in Spain. Let’s hope for better sailing in part 2 starting in August.

St Martin, Ile de Re

Well I’ve already written plenty about St Martin and this year it looks like the turning point of the journey again so I’ll write a bit more.

Already we are in Port Joinville, heading North. Dodging bad weather (again) so the 4 fine days Zoe was with us become a memory.

But First: And the crowd applauded

So we arrive in St Martin. A slightly longer journey via half way to St Dennis, Ile D’Oleron, re routed due to slightly tender nature of daughter’s stomach when subjected to windier than expected windy sailing.

The harbour is a bit full, but not full. The harbour master asks how long we want to stay: 1 semaine. Hmmm he goes. He wants us nicely parked and not having to move every day to let other boats out. He wants us alongside the pontoon and we want to be there as well.

He looks at the options: V1 has 3 boats rafted. V2 has 1 boat. V3 has 3 boats rafted. No other solutions. He parks us temporarily on raft V1, 4th out.

But V2 boat is leaving later and he tells them to shove off to another part of the marina, thereby creating the desired pontoon space.

Great, you might think. Except that the now ex V2 boat wasn’t that big and the space left doesn’t look Filibuster sized.

Harbour Master asks our size: 12.5m. He paces out the gap: 14 paces.  “Ici – c’est bon pour vous”. Glug thinks me on the basis that his measurement device isn’t very accurate and even if it was, that leaves me with placing Filibuster sideways into a canyon, 3 boats rafted either side.

Leaving 3/4 of a pace fore and aft. Did I mention it’s windy? Have I ever mentioned we don’t have a bow thruster? And I probably don’t need to remind anyone that sailing yachts can be particularly truculent beasts when made to go sideways slowly.

We get one chance at this. It’s High Noon at the OK Chapparal. The crews on the boats lining the canyon are armed and ready. We make ready. The wind blows. Tumbleweed rolls down the fairway. The wind whistles. etc.

All eyes on us because this could go so badly wrong. We commit.

Now before I come to the outcome let me tell you about a fantastic French word called “doucement”.  I learnt it in L’Aberwrach. It’s a lovely word and pertains to the art of doing things “lightly”. In L’Aberwrach it was used by a French lady against a gung ho incompetent trying to park his boat in a tight spot. He failed. Using everything his engine had he went backward and forward, crunching French lady’s boat and eventually running aground. He was not Mr Doucement.

We are committed. Filibuster is in the canyon. No way back now. With less than 2ft space either end to play with a lot of doucement is used. Forward a bit, backward a bit, let the wind take her in a bit. Repeat.

Then a line goes ashore and is made fast. We are in. Touchdown. A perfect landing: 10/10.

I really can’t remember much about it, except that at the end the crowd applauded. “Un belle manoeuvre” a new neighbour says.

Palps stop palpitating, Palms stop sweating. I take a bow. Brit Honour upheld.

The rest of the canyon filled so quickly I didn’t even get time to get a photo.

And the rest of the stay?

Was delightful.

We cycled up to the unfortunately named Ars. If someone were to ask where we were going I could have replied “the ars end of the island” and be perfectly correct.

We had a party with our new neighbours, one of whom owns his own vineyard and contributed wine from his special selection


Special Selection. See bottom right, reads limited release, bottle number is 5. mmm.

And on the final day we made Zoe eat Oysters in the afternoon, drink some fine wine and finish with Lobster Thermidor for dinner.

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Zoe’s facebook compilation. A perfect day.

The lobster came from the market 200m away. He was hiding in the tank trying not to make eye contact….

Gullible Guillame and the No Parking Sign


Writing from Port Joinville on Ile D’Yeu, its the 30th August. To mark bank holiday Sunday the weather has put on a typical show: a F5 thundery rainstorm just rattled through.

If there were one of those holiday type signposts here it would say 70 miles South East to La Rochelle, 280 North to Salisbury and 350 North West to Lawrenny.

Avid and not so avid readers will have already seen the sad episode regarding Forgetful Francois and the fate of Pierre the Peugeot.

Port Joinville, Ile D’Yeu is the next stop South from L’Herbaudiere,  One of our favourite places with its very sheltered (=quiet) marina, the fun attitude of the holidaymakers, the great bars for people watching around the the harbourside and so on.

What we didn’t know at the time of Francois is that he has a cousin on Ile D’Yeu. We’ll call him Gullible Guillame for the sake of alliterative allusion.

The harbourside in Port Joinville is a busy place, frequent ferries do what ferries do: namely disgorge then load up with holiday makers. The majority on foot for Ile D’Yeu is a place where cycling is very popular and bikes of all types can be hired around the port.

Around the ferry terminal it can get very busy, with people collecting and delivering holidaymakers. Parking is in short supply.

Guillame arrives in Jerry the Jeep

To drop off holidaymakers. No parking spaces immediately by the ferry terminal, but he sees his mate Antoine who waves him over.

Antoine tells Guilliame – don’t worry – I’ll park my car over there on the no parking zone and you can have my place here. I’m not staying long and there aren’t any no parking signs on your spot so you will be OK

Cars move. Antoine parks on the no parking zone. but then they decide to go off for a beer…or two…..



The No Parking Zone. Signs clearly visible. Under the surface. Can you guess what’s happened to Jerry the Jeep?


Yep, you guessed it.


For Sale.

And some time later. Guillame had not come back, or was too embarrassed to show himself in front of the large crowd of holidaymakers taking photos.


And Jerry the Jeep had disappeared by the following morning.



Holed up in Pornic

We’re in Pornic. (more about Pornic)

It’s late. Sunday the 23rd August 2015

1950 UTC (the time zone the boat’s nav works on). 2050 BST. 2150 FST.

It’s dark.

A storm is brewing.

We’ve known it was coming for a few days.

The forecast had it peaking at F9 or F8.

Right now the wind is mid teens in knots. Roughly on the bow. That’s OK. The bow points to a huge wall about 70m away. To our left is the entrance to the marina, a substantial pontoon is between us the outside.


A nice view in nicer times almost a year ago is here:

View from rear of boat

View from rear of boat

Same spot

But tonight it’s not so nice.

Filibuster, contra to normal pontoon positioning now has 7 lines ashore. We’re expecting trouble.

This sort of trouble:



Orange is bad. Any wind speed beginning with 3 is not good. Things beginning with 4 are really bad.The forecast last night had something I’d never seen on this coast : beginning with a 5…..a different symbol appears because they’ve run out of toothbrushes.

Wind speed at 50kn+ is a Force 10. Officially not a Gale, nor a Strong Gale, but true sail ripping Storm.

So we’re holed up in Pornic. As I write the wind shrieks and howls around, the mooring lines creak and groan. it’s not nice out there. It’s not that nice in here either.

And it’s raining. Big time. Actually the sort of time where we feel smug that our full cockpit cover designed for Ireland and now working 100% in France, makes a lot of sense.

The storm.

It peaked a bit later than expected – stretching through a unpleasant Sunday night into a downright nasty Monday morning.50kn+

A recording of windspeed shows the accuracy of the forecast.Over this 10 minute period the wind speed was mainly in the 30kn range, often above 40kn and on 5 occasions 50kn or more.

The wind had come around to the beam – side on.  the boat was heeled over against the pontoon and fenders with a nominal diameter of 30cm were squashed to 5cm thick.


The previously pleasant view became not so pleasant;


No one came in.

No one went out.

The storm blew all day.



A good day at the office?

If you have one, I’m sure it’s a nice dry place. But wouldn’t you be rather out and about in the fresh air on a Monday? Yes of course you would, who wouldn’t.

Now consider these pics of the waves breaking at the other end of the marina. There’s a test coming:


Did you spot the guys not having a good Monday? Click on the first pic: they are by the silver van and about to get what’s coming.

The weather didn’t improve much on Tuesday so we got on with all those exciting jobs that you do when stuck in port, like cleaning the cooker, cleaning the heads, writing blogs and so on 🙁

And finally – it looks like tomorrow there is a “window of opportunity” to push on to Ile D’Yeu. It’s not going to be that nice, but if we don’t take it then the next one isn’t until Friday, 2 more days hence.

PS (29 Aug)

We tried the window of opportunity. The wind blew It shut: a nice sail rapidly became a rough sail with 20+kn on the beam and rising. Boat speed 7-8kn with 2 reefs.

Exciting, but….

Prudence was heard saying “one accident and this could be dangerous” so we headed straight into L’Herbaudiere for 2 days (it rained most of the time) and we then motored all the way to Ile D’Yeu in zero wind ….you can’t win sometimes….

‘eau tels for Liz

yes, it’s me again. Groan I hear, not again……

Back in Arzal ready for another session on Filibuster, heading down south to La Rochelle and environs.

Hotels for Liz

On our travels we occasionally come across superb hotels that, were it not for our own floating accommodation, we might well stay at.

I’ve started a collection on the new Hotels for Liz page. Feel free to contribute further ideas that have a maritime connection.

Liz, to whom the page is dedicated, is not a boaty type and has asked me to comment on the en suite facilities to be found on Filibuster, in the hope of confirming a hotel bedroom will always be superior.


shower, looking forward

Here we go:

For a 40ft boat Filibuster is quite generous in the space allocated to most functions. Only sleeping 6 with single heads means there is more space for everything (compared to say a 40ft boat with 8 berths and 2 heads).


The heads consist of a generous shower area, hot & cold of course with thermostatic mixer. Measuring 4ft x 2ft 3″ door access at one end and shower curtain at the other. Nothing wrong there: I’ve certainly used smaller shower cubicles ashore.

In colder times, warm air can pumped in using the central heating system.



The heads themselves: IMG_36594ft x 3ft 4″ consisting of basin with mixer tap and the loo. Same curtain as in the shower area and another door rearward to the master cabin.

For landlubbers a word of explanation about the curious world of marine loos is in order.

They are a bit different to hotel loos.

The “deposit” part remains the same. Except when heeled over at 30 degrees under sail in a lumpy sea..

For males in particular it can be a game of true target practice: you are moving (in all 3 dimensions) …. likewise your target is moving, not always at the same rate, the challenge is to hit the centre. No wonder, contra to RNLI advice, so many men prefer to pee over the side. Downwind of course.



Unlike landside loos, boats do not have cisterns of fresh water to flush – but they do have a lot of water outside.

Loo: note control know and pump

Loo: note control knob and pump

Business finished, this is the procedure:

  • open seawater seacock
  • turn the loo control knob to “extract”
  • pump the hand pump vigorously until extraction complete
  • turn the loo control knob to “fill”
  • repeat pumping, until loo fills with water
  • repeat the extract process
  • turn off the seawater seacock

On Filibuster all that pumping ends up in the “holding tank”. I need describe it no more. Opening its outlet valve at sea results in a distinctive & satisfying “whoosh” that confirms the process is complete.

Easy peasy. Wouldn’t put anyone off, would it?

And finally….

Perhaps you are thinking of buying a boat? Perhaps you wonder why we ended up with Filibuster, a Bavaria Ocean 40?

This pic of the master cabin might help. It certainly helped to convince Michele.



Master Cabin. Full size double bed with easy access both sides. Complemented by 2 wardrobes, shelving cupboard, 2 side seats and 4 storage lockers. Access via 2 doors. Ventilated via 3 large portholes and 1 hatch. Comfy.

The costs and benefits of keeping a boat in France

Do I hear you yawn? If you don’t have a boat, don’t intend to get one and aren’t interested in the cost analysis of UK vs France then skip this part. But not all of it.

You might want to check out the post I made last year when contemplating leaving Filibuster in foreign climes. It’s here, under Relief at Last.

Arzal vs UK

To summarize, last year we found ourselves too far South, in the warm pleasant envroins around St Martin / La Rochelle. Getting Filibuster back to Wales would have been a  2 week slog with the dreadful Bristol Channel at the end.

We found a place at Arzal and I reckoned it would not only extend our holiday in the warm pleasant environs but might also save a few squids as well – in fact estimated at around one thousand squids.

Did it work out?

Well actually, yes, quite a big YES in Fact.

My estimate for a repeat of the 2013 season but taking the boat back to the UK came to just under £4,600. This includes annual mooring & storage cost, delivery trip to and for France and associated travel costs, cost of berths during the holiday and diesel to get the boat around when it couldn’t be sailed.

Our actual costs for 2014 look like coming in at a tad under £3,300. This figure includes the same items as UK and also costs of ferries to and fro.

And in this year, we spent all of our nights cruising in France (a total of 7 weeks), whereas the UK version has 2 weeks of delivery nights (which can be fun as well)

So, plus ou moins, we saved £1300 on the year. Certainly worth doing.


Other benefits

  • Kitting out and prepping the boat in April and May were a delight – warm weather.
  • No dead flies in the hood
  • Boat was dry as a bone – no condensation inside at all
  • Marina berth compared to swinging mooring at Lawrenny
  • Lots of professional services (sail making, life raft service that seem to be less expensive than the UK)
  • Free holidays in France
  • Lots of French wine at much lower prices than UK/ And Malt Whisky at 50% of UK prices


Not interested in owning your own boat?

Well I admit it, you’ve got to be a bit loopy to campaign a 40ft sailing boat. To  the reduced costs at Arzal you need to add insurance (£500), annual repairs and maintenance (£500-£1000) and the lost opportunity cost of the money sunk into the boat itself (….let’s not even think about that…).


For the less loopy there are other ways to get your sailing fix. We came across one towards the end of our stay in France:

Tops’l Sailing Club 

In Piriac sur Mer and again at La Roche Bernard we came across a British boat (Dufour 385) owned by the Tops’l Sailing Club. Notionally based near Portsmouth.

The club is a really interesting proposition: they own 3 boats: Dufour 385, Southerly 110 and a Halberg Rassey 36.

Members are shareholders and shares entitle you to money off their already very reasonable “charter” rates. Interestingly the value of shares can actually increase and they are redeemable.


Worked Example for a shareholding of £10,000

You can check out the details on the costs page of the Tops’l web site

Let’s assume you have £10,000 to invest and as a couple you want to sail for 4 weeks in a year.

Number of shares = £10,000/£2.58 = 3,876

Cost Per person per day = £49 x 2 =£98 x 28 days= £2,744

Less discount at £13 per 100 shares owned: = 38 * £13 = £494 (equates to a 5% yield)

Gives a total cost of £2744 – £494 = £2,250 for 28 days on board. Incroyable.

Plus your share of engine hours/berthing. Min 3 persons abord.

I have left this post open in case any of the folk from Tops’l wish to add a comment.


(And by way of comparison, a 7 night Sunsail Med charter in mid 2015 costs around £2,800 plus options for just 7 nights!)


Heck, what’s not to like about such a proposition. We spent quite a bit of time and a couple of dinners with the folk aboard the club’s Dufour 38 and can only heartily recommend what we discovered.


We’re still loopy enough to want to continue campaigning Filubuster on our own, but one day we might not be so and Tops’l is certainly something we would look at.





Join an exclusive mooring sharing club – FREE!

Whichever way you look at it, sailing can be a pricey business.


The kind folk at Arzal have come up with a clever solution that’s absolutely free! Let’s call it the Eco-Skint contract.

The key features of Eco-Skint are:

  • You simply park your boat at their place
  • Don’t pay them any money

– and in return get an exclusive pontoon berth alongside other like minded boats.


What could be better?


Arzal 015

Arzal’s exclusive Eco-Skint pontoon


….And that folks, really is the last word for the season.. See you next year.





Fun in St Martin

I’d forgotten about this ….


First: read this post from last year, all about the fun of lots of boats leaving the small harbour at St Marten en Re


Then watch the timelapse video:



Taken by James using Laurie’s Go Pro camera over a period of about 90 minutes.


Try to spot James (red cap), Michele, Zoe (grey cardy), Martin (stripey shirt) and Filibuster (reverses out then back in again at about 12 seconds in).

See photo below: the camera was mounted on the white boat crane to the left, beyond which is the entrance/exit. Filibuster is 2nd from right on the nearest row. Not going anywhere quick. And we didn’t: stayed there for a whole week

St Martin 001

Caption Competition 2014

Well that’s all folks. Well almost.

We’re back in Arzal. Remeber these words from the first post: “Perishingly hot at 28 degrees in the day and not a lot of air around. The water temperature is the same! Yuk. The evening temperature as I write at 930pm is 24. Double yuk. The water is still 28…triple yuk…”

Not much has changed except it’s a bit warmer in the day (30+) and a bit cooler in the evening (20+)

Last post?

I had just one more post in the pipeline,discussing the costs and merits of keeping a boat in France.

That’s going to be rather a dry affair and by great fortune some material for a bit of fun came our way on our last day out of Arzal. .


Caption Competition 2014

Same rules as before: any decent and printable captions welcome. And the best wins the Bottle of Bubbly.

For 2014 we have a choice:

1) along side us in La Roche Bernard, a craft of uncompromising genius, made, almost totally from aluminium. Housing man, wife and dog.

LRB 002

caption please

side on:LRB 003


2) Us boaters are often considered to be mere users of unstable floating caravans. This looks like a better solution, photographed up river at Foleux, it a has a certain “Je ne sais quoi”. I don’t know what it is either.


Quoi? caption please


Over to you…..

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