Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sailing in the Atlantic Ocean

Last week I spent the week sailing on a Yacht in the Atlantic ocean. We started in La Rochelle on the west coast of France. We visited some islands called Isle de Ré, Isle de Yeu and somewhere you might just recognise from the pictures at the end of this article...

The first day we sailed out of port I was steering the boat - this is called taking the barr. There is compass that helps to navigate the direction you want to go and this is called the Cap.

On the boat with me there was a French boy called Thomas, and he was 12; and James from year 3 at IST. The skipper was called François, and James' dad was called John and the only woman on the boat was called Elisabeth, she was Thomas's Mum. My dad was there too. So altogether there were 7 on board 'Biclou' - that was the name of the boat.

We had to take knives on this trip, and I was the only one that used it for cutting some ropes. In the picture you can see me cutting a rope that was used to tie the boat to the key. It was called a 'marr'. On a boat you don't actually say rope, because each one has a name. I bought the knife in Spain, and it was an Opinel knife. Somehow we bought exactly the right knife for the boat even though I bought it some months before. It was a real co-incidence, and at the crew meting before the trip the Skipper said that it was 'perfecto'.

The sails on the boat have names too. The front sail was called the foque and the bigger sail was called the grand voile, which just means big sail.

On the first day Thomas and I went to a beach at La Rochelle, and we went exploring on the rocks before the first day's sailing.

This is a Castle on Isle de Yeu which we all cycled to on bikes which we hired for the day when we didn't sail that day. There was a cannon inside, but you couldn't actually go inside the castle on the day we were there. On the way to this island we actually saw dolphins swimming in the sea, but sadly we don't have any pictures.

In this video the waves were really big, and the fastest speed in the whole week was 6.9 knots. This video is when we were on the way to a place called Fort Boyard, where they now do TV shows, and I have watched some of them on TV. The show is Fort Boyard ultimate challenge where people have to do challenges and at the end they put stones with pictures on a map and release gold coins. The team with the most gold wins !

We sailed around Fort Boyard and we discovered just how people now arrive and leave the fort.

If you look at this picture you can see people in a net that they hang on to and they get lowered down on to a boat. This was the last day of sailing, so the last part of the trip was from Fort Boyard back to La Rochelle, and I couldn't believe that I actually saw Fort Boyard in real life !!


  1. What a fantastic thing to do in your holiday. You are very knowledgeable about sailing terms. I really enjoyed reading your blog entry Tobias.

  2. What a brilliant holiday, and thank you Tobias for documenting it so well!