A possible short cruise from Pornichet to La Rochelle
Pornichet is a good starting base because it is a modern, fairly sophisticated resort with plenty of shops to stock up on the essentials such as beer for the week.
This is the channel which goes inland to the nearly drying harbour. It makes a very nice walk from the marina which is virtually all tide just to the right of this picture. Pornic is a reasonable sized town with all shops and facilities, if you want more choice than the marina’s many restaurants.
1. The first stop could be Pornic described above or L’Herbaudiere featured on the Pornichet week, or as shown here around to Port Joinville on Ile d’Yeu.
2. From there to Les Sables d’Olonne a yachting centre which features in long distance races. It also has the best choice of restaurants along the street, just 100m from the smaller marina with a special visitor’s area in the old fish dock. If you want to take time out it has a good (and sophisticated) shopping centre between the old fish dock and the beach and some historical defences along the river.
3. Your next stop could be Ile de Re, a good place to hire a bike to explore the island or just walk around the historic little town. Quartette has been there before. It is about half-tide access to the harbour, depending a little on the time of high water, since they do not open the cill at night.
4. Working the tides right from Ile de Re could take you to St Dennis on the Ile d’Oleron, which is a sleepy little town where the widest choice of restaurants is alongside the marina and nearby camp site. This is a harbour with access only around high water on neap tides, which broadens on springs.
5. Week 4 is a spring tide so there is an option for Rochefort an inland harbour which needs a spring high water in the La Charente river to ease the nerves whilst getting there, (and there is not enough water on HW neaps). It looks a beautiful French town
6. From your last choice of port is a short hop to La Rochelle a virtually all tide and most weather port. Access is not feasible at low water springs and with on-shore winds and swell more water should be allowed too. Once inside it is fully sheltered. Our handover port and most southern destination for the cruise Port des Minimes is one of Frances largest marinas.
The trip could also be done in one long hop, (it is only ~100nm) or 2 long days sails using Sables as the one night stop. Or you could take time out to explore near Pornichet and Pornic first or spend more time near La Rochelle.
As you can realise reading this potential cruise article it is as much about being a tourist and eating well as sailing and navigating.
The information in the cruising 2019 folder on Box is increasing. The charts have already been purchased for this area Imray C40 and C41 and can be posted to the skipper for forward planning. The Pilot book is the West France companion and is the current edition, though a few years old now.