Toulon to La Grande-Motte

We had a nice sail from Toulon to Marseille with very light winds in the morning so we had to motor for a while. Then the wind built to 20+ knots from the NW in the afternoon, which seems to be the standard weather pattern here. We were hoping to stop in Port du Frioul for the night, but being Bastille day, the marina was packed, and so were all the anchorages on the lee side of the island of Frioul. We didn’t bother trying the Vieux Port of Marseille since there is only one or two places free at the best of times, and continued east to find an anchorage for the night. We ended up anchoring outside the port of Corbieres, just east of Marseille. We were the only boat there, and it was quite rolly. Another intrepid cruising sailboat joined us during the night.

We left early the next morning because we needed to be back in La Grande Motte by Wednesday afternoon, so we have enough time to clean Wildling, wash and dry all our towels and linens and go over a few repairs that needed to be done with the after-sales service team at Outremer, before we return to Brisbane on Saturday.

There was hardly any wind on our final leg, so I had to motor until 1pm when we finally got some wind from the SE, which was on our stern quarter. As soon as we had 5 knots, of wind, I unfurled the code-0 and cut the motor, and we pulled the apparent wind forward of the beam which we maintained as the wind built up to around 10 knots. Wildling really likes this point of sail, and we were cruising along easily at 1 to 1-1/2 knots less than the true wind speed (between 6.5 and 8.5 knots). Although the wind was light, it was quite steady and the sea was perfectly flat, so it gave me a good opportunity to experiment with mainsail trim and I spent an hour or so tweaking the traveler position and mainsheet tension to find an extra few tenths of a knot. I was so engrossed in my tweaking that I didn’t see one of the little fishing buoys that we have been dodging the past few weeks, and it went between the hulls! No harm done, but Robin suggested I spend a little less time staring at our mainsail shape and pay a bit more attention to what’s in front of us! Fair enough.

We arrived “home” at 6:30pm and returned Wildling to her mooring location in the marina, then we to Le Quai restaurant for some Italian food and Stella Artois beer for dinner. Beer always tastes especially great after a few days at sea!

Today we did our laundry and went over the repair list with Stephane, who manages Outremer after sales support. Like everyone we have met and worked with at Outremer, Stephane was very helpful and went over all the details that we noticed on our shake down cruise. It was a pretty short list, and nothing serious. A few little gelcoat spots to repair, a couple of plumbing leaks that need fixing, and a water level gauge not working correctly. We also had the mysterious problem with the B&G wind angle sensor which locked up on 4 separate occasions on our journey west, but worked perfectly on our return voyage, so not sure what’s going on there. And another strange B&G issue with the main chartplotter not recognizing the chart data memory card when I turn it on each day. I have to remove the card and reinsert it before the chart information is displayed on the plotter. We also have our MMSI number now, so we need to get it programmed into our EPIRB and AIS systems.

There are also two modifications that I asked Stephane to quote for us.

1. We found the salon lighting to be excellent, but I forgot to ask for the lights to be put on dimmer circuits so we could adjust the levels at night time. The cockpit bimini lighting is on a dimmer, and we used this a lot, so adding dimming inside the salon will be a nice addition.

2. I would like to be able to use the electric winch at the port helm station to raise the gennaker halyards. The halyard lines are led to the winch beside the mast, which is good, and I don’t want to change that, but it’s a very simple matter to also be able to route them back to the electric winch to make raising these sails even easier.

I should have thought of both of these details when I ordered the boat, but I didn’t realize it until after sailing Wildling for a while.

It’s worked out well that we decided to base Wildling in La Grande Motte for the first year, because Outremer can take care of our post shakedown items directly, so we are sure to have everything done properly and ready for us when we come back for our next trip in a couple of months.

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