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Mediterranean Tales

This update comes to you from Canet en Roussillon on the Golfe du Lion, and at long last we are now in the Mediterranean Sea. We left the canal du Midi at port Agde where a very helpful and efficient staff re- stepped the mast on Gee Bee Jay for a very reasonable sum of only 25 Euros which included three free nights mooring as the very strong winds of the tramontane prevented us putting to sea.

For anybody considering a passage across France from the Atlantic to the Med via the Canal du Midi I would wholeheartedly recommend it. The countryside is most beautiful and because of the slow pace you are going you get to make lots of friends along the way. There are some small marinas at larger towns which charge modest fees but the rest of the time you just moor up where you want free of charge. A lifting keel would be just perfect as with my 1.1 metre draft there were a few occasions I was touching bottom. A particular nuisance was the fact that my keels are spread very wide at the bottom and this meant coming alongside a bank was often meet with a abrupt halt leaving me hard aground and a four foot leap to take lines ashore. Engine and gearbox take a lot of wear & tear and I put a total of 92 hours on the engine. As I was only pottering along at a sedate 4 knots fuel consumption was very good and I returned almost 1 litre per hour. (Wine consumption went off the scale but I thought it would be rude not to sample each region as I passed through)

The Golfe du Lion is reputed to be the windiest part of the Med with the Tramontane which blows at force 6 and over for nearly 60 per cent of observations. Fortunately it comes from the NW so by keeping close inshore minimises the fetch on the waves. With all the time in the world I can pick which days when its best to go to sea but all the same I shall be I little happier 100 miles south of here. I have been told by many seasoned local sailors that the winds in the Med are either all or nothing so I will be training Bob how to help put a fast reef in.

Best regards from Les & Bob the dog.

Date Published 22nd Jul 2011