Boating in La Rochelle – you’re in for a real treat!
You’re sure to be seized by a yearning to cast off and set sail upon the ocean blue as soon as you see the water in the Port of La Rochelle sparkle in the sunlight. However, we’re talking about the Atlantic here – this is the real deal, there’s no room for superyacht showboating! Sailing in La Rochelle is about respecting the sea and the crew. The over-riding vibe is about chillaxing and enjoying the outdoors – it’s less ‘play hard, live life in the fast lane’ and more ‘don’t worry, be happy’. Bertrand will welcome you onboard his cruising yacht Kelone, and offer you his best tips to ensure you wring the very last drop of freedom from this trip.
Before boarding the boat, you can expect to have your taste-buds pampered. Soft drinks, sweets, dried fruit…for once, it’s ok to give into temptation!
Onboard, lie back and relax
During the journey, take it easy and relax to the gentle rocking of the waves. A few hours of taking in the ocean is like a week’s holiday! We may not have the scientific data to back this assertion, but that’s the effect it seems to have on people…
You’ll be kitted out with all you need, from head to toe
Onboard, it’s wise to equip yourself with category 3 or 4 sunglasses, sunblock, a hat or cap. You won’t want to get caught out by the cold either, so don’t forget a jumper and waterproof clothing. In terms of footwear, the best choice is white-soled shoes.
One of the best sailing experiences you can have in La Rochelle is a stay on ‘Kelone’. The vessel’s name means ‘turtle’ in Greek, referring to an animal in Greek mythology that lives in the water but has its house on its back. This large sailboat is designed for living on and is very stable. On day trips, it can take 1 to 11 people. It’s got something of the ocean wanderer about it with its wooden hull. Modernized to the nth degree to deliver the ultimate in safety and comfort, this mini floating home-from-home boasts its own sleeping, cooking and eating spaces as well as room to play cards, listen to music etc. In short, you can live there quite happily for several days at a time. Featuring 4 cabins, Kelone can accommodate up to 8 people on overnight journeys.
The wind and the sun are all you need
The boat is powered entirely by the sun (Kelone produces its own electricity by means of solar panels) and propelled exclusively by the wind, the renewable energy par excellence. The motor is only used to get the boat out of the harbour and only uses 3 litres of fuel an hour. The captain – your skipper – is a product of the merchant navy, an extremely passionate advocate for sailing and a natural teacher. He’ll show you the nautical chart and will explain your route (which is never the same twice). Sometimes he’ll even let you take the helm if you feel like it.
A range of boat trips
What do you want to do? A 4-hour trip on the ocean during the morning or the afternoon? A day trip with friends with a little tubing, weather permitting? A longer excursion with a stop-over on an island or a night onboard? A week-long cruise? Or maybe ‘just’ drinks and nibbles at sunset for a moment you’ll never forget? Whether you’re on your own, in a couple or a small group, regardless of the option you choose, this experience is something very special, no matter if it’s to get together to mark a particular event or just to enjoy the unadulterated natural beauty of the ocean.
What about setting off for more distant shores?
Trips onboard Kelone generally start at La Rochelle, but arrangements can be made to depart from Saint-Martin-de-Ré or Saint-Denis d’Oléron. You’ll be surprised at how reasonably-priced the trips are.
So, where are we off to? From La Rochelle, Aix, Oléron, Ré, Yeu, Hoëdic, Houat and Belle-Île await! Maybe you’d rather go upstream, or even set a course for Spain! Everything is possible…