Arriving from the Rhône we stayed in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône for a couple of days to get the mast up again, install all the rigging and make the other necessary preparations before going to sea. We also had to digest the inland waterways and get used to the idea of sailing again. When staying in Port-Saint-Louis, it’s possible to go to the company Navy Service to get your mast up, or to use the services of a local French association which is what we did. We had a lot of preparation to do before the mast could go on the crane (a few days before the actual day the mast went up and also in the morning when the mast was taken out of the boat and lying flat on the ground). In the end it went fairly well and a few hours after lifting the mast we had a sailing yacht again. We spent the rest of the day installing the boom and getting the standing rigging to the right tension, and the following days installing the running rigging and making our sailing yacht seaworthy again.
In the meantime we got to know the other people who were also coming from the canals and waiting for their mast to go up / preparing for sea sailing. There was Louis and Mirjam, a Dutch couple sailing a Trintella named Thresoor; an Australian family, Simon and Kelly and their son Jasper sailing a 28 ft catamaran named Catkin; Geoffrey an English gentleman sailing a Bavaria 34 named Merv; Hans and Karin, a Danish couple on their way back to Denmark and their beautiful wooden sailing yacht Mahogny; Michel and Sabine, a Belgian couple on their way to Spain (they also left from the Netherlands) and a German (we think) guy whose name we never discovered but who actually wrote a book. In contrast to the harbors we’ve been to in the inland waters, in Port-Saint-Louis we were surrounded by many other sailing yachts and in particular by people on their way to cruise the Med. It was a change of scenery for us. A nice little community of people formed, helping each other out. It was clearly noticeable we arrived in the Med as we were surrounded by palm trees, white sailing yachts and salt water.
The day before we planned to leave Port-Saint-Louis and start our sea sailing adventures, we noticed a crack on the rudder from the pontoon (a souvenir from the shallow canals, we strongly suspect a non-indicated submerged rock in northern France). Thijs dived under the boat to have a better look and after looking twice declared: “it’s not good”. We really wanted to go but it would have been pretty unwise and unsafe not to repair the rudder. It could crack open completely at sea and that would mean we would lose the rudder and subsequently the boat. Dismounting the rudder while the boat is in the water was not an option: the rudder is very well attached to the boat and kind of heavy. So we did what had to be done: go to Navy Service after all and take the boat out of the water for a proper repair. To be continued…
Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône – some numbers:
- Distance covered: 1 km (up and down to the supermarket)
- Number of locks: 0 (thank God!)
- Number of mosquito bites: 156
- Average temperature inside the boat: 35 degC (real feel: 50 degC)