DAY 71. CAP D'AGDE. SUN & wind


The miracles of comms technology still amaze me …… I can put the impressive Elonex PC and a tiny Nokia phone on the saloon table and send this report to PBO HQ in less than one minute of air time.

Having said that, we also recognise the our Forum is a bit slow and unfriendly, so I hope to try to answer all future queries in this main body text, where it will be more easily viewed and save on reader phone time.

My Internet buddy Charles Reed has been asking about Canal du Midi depth ( there are no problems in Paris route) and mast length. He has a 16m mast on a 10.75m boat. The mast would be close to the height limit for the small Pauillac crane and the overhang would be worrying in the curved locks after Toulouse.. It would be best handled at Royan, where there might be a lorry link to the many taking boats South from La Rochelle. Few of them seem to go to Agde or Sete. On this route road transport of masts is a problem. Anybody solved it?

Abemama’s long keel draws 1.40m under the heel. We touch the mud from time to time and inevitably hit the odd sunken branch/supermarket trolley etc, but nothing terminal. We have never grounded when we pull well over when passing other boats. This year at Toulouse, there were signs warning only 1.40m in the centre of the canal. We did not touch at any of these places. There is plenty of dredging going on. We often get a mulch of dead leaves outside a lock, but this is removed by reversing the prop.

For sailboats, roots coming out from the bank create a mooring hazard, so I reiterate our offer to mark up the guide book for anybody doing the transit in 2001. We can do this at London Boat Show, or by post in Winter.

Enough of canals until we come back in August – the concern of the moment is getting SW to Palamos and then out to Menorca. The problem is unsettled weather and a confusion of forecasts, giving everything from 1 gusting 2 to 6s and 7s. I makes planning impossible, so the only thing to do is not to plan, but to sit here and enjoy the sun and the fleshpots of this holiday hotspot at Le Cap d’Agde until the wx pattern settles into Med normality.

Our Navtex is not sharing the pleasure. We are within 20yds of ice cream making compressors, neon lights, 3 phase electrics and 1500 masts – all good signal wreckers, so he poor new machine is struggling to cope. We’ll get there.

Here is a cautionary tale. We have been helping a French skipper with a non functioning B & G wind machine. After a long delay and a hot drive, he collected a new display head from the local concessionaire – and it still does not work. This means that it is probably the transducer. We’ll put a meter on it later today. However, a wind instrument is in 2 parts. If it goes down, why assume that it must be the display, when the transducer is the more vulnerable bit?