Home Sailing La Rochelle The Boat Shop Directing ALZHEIMER'S BROKEN PEOPLE Actor Links Contact Sailing info la Rochelle Who is Michael Briant IN PRAISE OF SPAIN

And of course Sailing into La Rochelle  

 Coordinates: 01° 09' 00" W, 46° 09' 37" N

 

With some 3300 places in Les Minimes, 320 in the Vieux Port, 115 in Bassin du Havre, 65 in Port Neuf & 90 in the Bassin des Yachts -

In 2010 les Minimes will be extended with a further 1000 places .

La Rochelle 

has one of, if not the largest, Yacht Marina in Europe.

 

This year the marina is being extended to accommodate another 1200 boats!

This will wipe out 90% of the La Rochelle waiting list but as, on the west coast of France, the lists for permanent berths are very long it remains to be seen what real impact on availability of marina berths,

1 – Planning the voyage

2 –South coast to Chenal du Four

3 - Chenal du Four to La Rochelle

4 - La Rochelle to Spain overview

5 - La Rochelle to Coruña

6 - Coruña to Gibraltar

Why not take your boat to La Rochelle on your way to the Mediterranean?

The first part of the book has all the day sail stops down to La Rochelle then onto the Med.

GENTLE SAILING ROUTE TO THE

MEDITERRANEAN

 There are several ways of getting your boat to the Mediterranean. On the back of a lorry, via the French canals, four or five day’s non stop across the Bay of Biscay then down the Portuguese coast or spend the summer or two, gently coasting southwards, enjoying the harbours, cities, towns and villages of France Spain and Portugal.

 

This is not a pilot book, rather a passage plan and guide to the nicer places between the South Coast of the UK to the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.  It can all be done in easy stages, to suit a lightly crewed boat, with perhaps only a couple of people on board who are without ‘offshore’ experience.  Actually, it is a lovely way to explore a lot of delightful foreign places.

 The Ebook version is available here £4.50

 Specially drawn charts of:

Cherbourg to L’Aber-Wrac’h.

Chenal du Four to La Rochelle

La Rochelle to Spain

La Rochelle to Coruña

Coruna to Gibraltar

+illustrations, pictures, paintings

 

LA ROCHELLE STORM DAMAGE 1ST MARCH 2010 HERE

At 03.00 on Sunday 28th February 2010, a deep low tracking up Biscay from Spain and Portugal veered off to the East and came ashore some miles north of La Rochelle causing devastating flooding to the Charante Maritime area and drowning some 50 plus people before moderating and heading off towards Belgium and the Netherlands

SOME PICTURES OF THE MARINA DAMAGE

 Les Minimes 

(which is the main marina close to the university and all the boat yards)

is well lit and available at all states of the tide except possibly low water very big springs. 

The Capitainerie is open 24/7 - In summer go alongside the arrivals pontoon directly opposite the entrance to be allocated a berth from the little office. Other times go alongside and walk up to the main Capitainerie.  There is a fuel dock if you leave the visitors pontoon to port, just below the Capitainerie but it works, self service, with French/UK credit/bankers cards but you may need to seek help from the Capitainerie.

Les Minimes has more facilities than anywhere else in Europe, 4 travel lifts, 4 cranes, a dozen or so chandleries, engine repairs, sail lofts, marine electronics, life raft servicing etc etc... Many prices are better from UK cut price shops even with delivery charges!

You can have your mast or boat transported to the Med or to UK by lorry from here -

 

This link is to the official website http://www.portlarochelle.com/  but it is all in French - quite useful for the Tarif - Prices- The latest extension should be finished in 2015

 

The wifi link in la Rochelle marinas and the Vieux port is pretty dreadful!  Unlike the excellent Vendee wifi you have to go into the Capitainerie in order to purchase daily credits and in lots of places the connection is so bad it crawls like a snail!.

La Rochelle

has more yacht refit/repairs facilities in one place than anywhere else in Europe and most are very good and professional.

All repair and service facilities from an Optimist to a super yacht are available in the ports and marinas

Les Minimes has local cafes and restaurants, multi screen cinema and some shops but is a long walk, a bus ride or a water bus ride, to the wonderful restaurants, shops, bars and cafes of La Rochelle. 

A more convenient place for visiting yachts is

The Vieux Port

 right in the centre of town. You can walk to the supermarket, shops, fish market from the Visitors Pontoons situated on the left, as you enter by boat, between the twin towers. Christian is the Vieux Port HM and he speaks English. Just park up on the visitors pontoon and he will come and find you to 'book' you in. The cafes and restaurants are all around. Possibly the best sea food is at Andre's and most sailing folk end up in Fitzpatrick's just opposite, on the front.

VIEUX PORT APPROACHES

 

Except at Low Water springs, you can get into the Vieux Port by following the channel. Do not 'hug' the port hand buoys, around low water, as they are laid on the 'top' of the slope of the channel. 

Use the transit, day or night, of the two lighthouses lined up. Very simple and safe entrance in almost any conditions. 

As you pass between the two Richelieu towers you will see the water bus and tourists boats on the left and just past them pontoons, two of which are marked visitors. Tie up or raft up, plug into the mains and go ashore and enjoy the the fruits of the sea and the wines of the district in the vast range of cafes and restaurants all around!

 

If you intend staying longer than a few days or a week, speak to Christian the port captain and he may find you a place in the 'Bassin a Flot' which you can lock in and out of 2 hours either side of high water. The Vieux Port office is just past the footbridge over the bassin a flot lock gates. Showers, loos etc are next door to the Aquarium and Christian will give you the entry code.

Larger or deep draft yachts can turn to starboard just before the two towers and head towards the Lock Gates to the Basin de Chalutiers and Lifting bridge. VHF channel 9

 

Bigger vessels will want to go into the Bassin De Chalutiers which has places for yachts between 12 & 90 metres LOA  toghether with it's own 150 ton travel lift- it also accommodates some smaller yachts and catamarans. This far end of this basin faces some of the best boatyards in La Rochelle who can build you a super-yacht or make repairs to more modest vessels.  These yards have a reputation for very high quality work and have all the facilities for lifting or storing racing and cruising yachts. Probably the most highly regarded is NAVEL FORCE 3 run by Samuel and his brother.  They can store your boat over winter, antifoul it and have it launched for your arrival in the spring so you just step aboard and sail away..

The Lock Gates and bridges can open 2 hours before HW and close 45 minutes after HW.

 

Contents

1 – Planning the voyage

2 – South coast to Chenal du Four

3 - Chenal du Four to La Rochelle

4 - La Rochelle to Spain overview

5 - La Rochelle to Coruña

6 - Coruña to Gibraltar

Why not take your boat to the Mediterranean next summer?

 

GENTLE SAILING ROUTE

 TO THE

MEDITERRANEAN

 There are several ways of getting your boat to the Mediterranean. On the back of a lorry, via the French canals, four or five day’s non stop across the Bay of Biscay then down the Portuguese coast or spend the summer or two, gently coasting southwards, enjoying the harbours, cities, towns and villages of France Spain and Portugal.

 

This is not a pilot book, rather a passage plan and guide to the nicer places between the South Coast of the UK to the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.  It can all be done in easy stages, to suit a lightly crewed boat, with perhaps only a couple of people on board who are without ‘offshore’ experience.  Actually, it is a lovely way to explore a lot of delightful foreign places.

More Here

The Ebook version is available now £4.50

 Specially drawn charts of:

 

Cherbourg to L’Aber-Wrac’h.

Chenal du Four to La Rochelle

La Rochelle to Spain

La Rochelle to Coruña

Coruna to Gibraltar

+illustrations, pictures, paintings

Le Taste Vin

in the main Market of La Rochelle

  which is certainly  the best 'Wine Stall' in the Market of La Rochelle - a vast selection of fine wines - you can taste wine in the market and select bottles priced from 3 Euro to 350 euro. You can also sample fresh oysters as you sip a glass or two of white wine

Mention this web site for a free glass!

free delivery to your boat or hotel. Just tell Louis your berth number or hotel in La Rochelle

Louis is a keen sailor and offers are a wonderful selection of  wine which can be sent anywhere in Europe. .

                                          

THE YACHTIE BAR, IN LA ROCHELLE VIEUX PORT, IS THE POPULAR

fitzpatricks Irish Pub

opposite the Vieux Port at 14, Rue Quai Duperre.

This is where all the liveaboards and visiting yachts crews gather both British & French, local and visiting.

Kevin and Mary are the hosts and say hello from Michael for a special Irish welcome.

You don't have to talk boats but the quiz nights include nautical questions!

www.fitzpatricks-irish-pub.com

CHANDLERS

There are some excellent and inexpensive chandlers in the lift out area of Les Minimes. I use them all but have found that the most helpful and reasonably priced is

ACCASTILLAGE DIFFUSION

05 46 44 74 82

Just across the road from where the Les Minimes travel lifts are. They speak English and are very helpful.

It is a 'franchise' operation so the prices are very competitive because of bulk buying. They can make up splices or sort electrical problems, service your outboard and lots more.. Really nice people and extremely knowledgeable. They have excellent 'free' catalogues and tide tables. If you want something special that's not in stock or part of the regular range they can normally get it in within 48 hours. If they do not have it or the facility they will tell you where you can get it.

I recommend these people - they have a yard in the travel lift area and are equipped to do all boat work including launching - hauling - in the owners absence, their workmanship is excellent, and most reasonably priced

They speak English

LOOKING FOR AN ENGLISH SURVEYOR IN FRANCE?

Max  Surveying & Security Ltd

                                 

 Lt Cdr Keith Oulds B Eng(Hons), Dip Mar Sur (Y&SC)MCGI, MIIMS RN

La Keimax

Longre

Charente, 16240

France

Tel/fax: 0033(0) 545 311 869  

Tel: 0032 (0) 65886897

Email: MaxSurveying@aol.com

BERTHS

The charges are exactly the same in Les Minimes and the Vieux Port and the Basin a Flot. All are owned and run by the town.

 http://www.portlarochelle.com/ and look under Tarif for latest prices

The prices in winter months are half that of the high Summer for visitors.

Try not to get too excited about the prices - there is a minimum of a 4 year waiting list for a permanent berth for your boat in La Rochelle.  Also consider the fact the waiting list is pretty corrupt and not in any way transparent!

When you apply to go on the list for either or both the Vieux Port or Les Minimes you pay a annual charge of €15. The Port Office will invoice you.

 

That is fine except they keep the list a secret.

 

There is a list and when a berth becomes free they look at the list and decide what boat will be allocated the berth - theoretically it is because there are so many different shapes and sizes of boat it would be impossible to list them properly!!!

In reality the  port captain allocates the berths, as they become vacant, to people they like, boats they like, friends and relations. 

When you ask what your position is 'on the list' you will be told it does not work like that! 

!

There is an extension being built for a further 1,000 to 1.200 places for boats boats in the Les Minimes complex.

  The present waiting list is over 1,000.

Other ports in proximity are:-

Les Sables d’Olonne 35
Ars-en-Ré 17
Saint-Martin-de-Ré 12
La Flotte-en-Ré 10
Ile d’Aix 9
Saint-Denis d’Oléron 12
Le Douhet 11
Boyardville 11
Royan 40

 

 

WINTERING

There is no problem with wintering in either the Vieux Port or Les Minimes. You are bound to find a place in one or the other. There are also winter places in Rochefort and possibly St Martin.

The wifi link in la Rochelle marinas and the Vieux port is pretty dreadful!  Unlike the excellent Vendee wifi you have to go into the Capitainerie in order to purchase daily credits and in lots of places the connection is so bad it crawls like a snail!. WIFI does not extend to the Vieux Port so if you want to be on the 'net' via the Port system for €18 per month or €1 per day then Les Minimes is the place to be. Sometimes you will be placed in the berth of a boat that has hauled or gone away for the winter and sometimes you will be on the visitors pontoon.

Once the summer has ended you begin to have a problem. In the Vieux Port you would not be allowed to occupy a visitors berth during the summer even if you paid the very high 'daily rate'. Simply not allowed. If you are in one of the two basins you might just get away with it if you are living on board but no guarantee.  In Les Minimes you can stay, paying the monthly rate, on the visitors pontoon except during the 'Grande Pavois' boat show when you MUST vacate it. The bad news is you pay monthly in arrears so if you go out for a sail or leave the berth for any reason and somebody else comes along - tough.. There may no longer be a place for you that day/week/month if the place is busy. Not going to happen in the winter but during the summer they are rafted out 4 deep and frequently 'there is no room in the inn' on a hot sunny weekend...

There are no easy solutions to the berthing problems except to say if you are there with the boat then you have a better chance. No point in trying to book ahead by telephone/fax or email unless you are a super-yacht. The Vieux Port is working hard to encourage super luxury yachts to use the facilities and if you are lucky enough to own one you will get a berth - for certain. Winter and Summer.

Lift out facilities

There are 3 travel lifts in the Les Minimes lift out area, where all the chandlers and commercial offices are. In order to get lifted out go round to the office and fix a date. They will of course want to know the weight, beam and LOA of your boat in order to allocate the correct travel lift. They will place the boat on the hard standing for up to a week beside an electricity and water outlet. You can hire 'jet washers' from the the chandlers in the 'lift out' area. In theory you are limited to 8 days but in winter you can stay much longer provided there is not too much going on. You cannot stay all winter on this hard standing. For that you need to find a place in one of the commercial lay up areas.

There are excellent storage areas in the Big Boat work area beside the  Bassin De Chalutiers, Near the Maritime museum - opposite the Aquarium.

There is not a lot of winter storage space in Les Minimes commercial yards and the cost is very similar to the monthly charges in winter to be in the water. The expensive bit is getting the boat in and out. You have to pay both for the travel lift, then the tractor and trailer and then for the cradle that works with the particular towing rig...

The yards, workshops and storage facilities in the Bassin de Chalutiers area have a reputation for very high quality work at very reasonable prices. Several friends have used them and they are to be recommended. Like the storage facilities in Les Minimes the travel lift gets the boat out of the water but then a trailer and tractor belonging to the 'yard' comes along and your boat is transfered to the trailer and is towed to the storage facility or workshop where it is placed in a cradle. Some are very good at this and there is no problem others are less so... 

If you were interested in the above you might want to look at WEST COAST FRANCE which lists some of the marinas and ports we have visited.

If you are heading further south to Spain this could be of interest North Spain

NAVEL FORCE 3

RUE SENAC DE MEILHAN

int 33 - 5 46 45 04 15

Samuel is 'the man' at this excellent and inexpensive boat yard beside opposite the Les Chalutiers Basin and the big 50ton travel lift

I think they are the most professional boat yard, 'Chantier Naval', in the area.  If you want work done or simply to lay up ashore this is probably the best bet.

There are also lift out facilities and storage at Rochefort. I had my boat out there and it was a good experience. They do not have a travel lift and bring in a local crane to lift the boat onto a trailer. You can then either store to boat in one of the chandlers yards or in the areas owned by the port. Only problem is the secure lockup does not have water. There are electricity points but water is a problem! The prices do reflect these shortcomings. There is a pleasant liveaboard community and the harbour staff are very nice and welcoming. you need to go and chat to the port captain and look at the arrangements before making a decision.

La Rochelle Guide Book

This excellent guide book is perfect for planning your visit to La Rochelle, booking hotels, site seeing or even thinking about living in this special West Atlantic French Town. All the information is up to date and written for the discriminating Francophile and those who just enjoy beautiful towns, superb eating and laid back café society and the sea!

 

A Brief History of La Rochelle, What to do in La Rochelle, Where to eat and drink, Historical site seeing around town, Modern site seeing in town, Site seeing out of town, Annual Events in La Rochelle, How to get to La Rochelle, Hotels, Restaurants, Port de Plaisance etc etc etc

Is now available for you to download

 

buy it as an Ebook for £2 and print it out - CLICK HERE

THE FRENCH CANAL ROUTES

TO THE MEDITERRANEAN

If you are thinking about using the French canals to passage between the UK and the Mediterranean then this booklet contains all the information you need.

 It describes the Routes, the regulations the paperwork - How where and when to get the qualifications and license, the depths, air heights, locks and a whole lot more.

 There are 'charts/maps' throughout, the distances, dimensions & main stopping places and is the only publication to list ALL the possible stopping places on the Rhone River!

FOR FULL INFORMATION GO TO

FRENCH CANAL ROUTES

£15.95   

Or you can buy it as an Ebook for £10 and download it instantly  Click here

It is possible and very reasonable to winter afloat in the Basins or Les Minimes at half the summer prices!

 Wintering hauled out is possible via the various yacht sales/management companies in the commercial area where the travel lifts are.

Christian, the Vieux Port captain, speaks excellent English as do many of the chandler and yacht management companies.

      

Fort Boyard - home of the game shows, is just across the bay

 

If the canals of France interest you and perhaps using them to move your boat to or from the Mediterranean then these links may be useful

Lorry option.

UK to Med Routes

Biscay Log Book

Sailing information

The Les Minimes Marina site in French is at:-

:www.portlarochelle.com

 

The La Rochelle Boat Show (2nd only to Paris but with the more boats afloat) is at:- The Grand pavois :

www.grand-pavois.com

If you were interested in the above you might want to look at WEST COAST FRANCE which lists some of the marinas and ports we have visited.

If you are heading further south to Spain this could be of interest North Spain

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