Sailing at Ile de Re
The watersports centres and sailing schools on Île de Ré provide lessons and courses in stunning surroundings where you can go windsurfing or sail a dinghy or a catamaran. All levels are catered for.
Sailing on the Île de Ré
Keep one eye on the sky, the other on the barometer to check the atmospheric pressure, and take a swift glance at the tide tables to set the right departure and return times to the port or mooring… As for the wind, you can watch the way the clouds are moving, and experience will tell you what to expect! If everything’s in your favour, you can prepare your equipment for a sailing holiday on the Île de Ré. Whichever coast you choose, the Fier d’Ars side or on the Pertuis Breton and Pertuis d’Antioche side, the waters that surround the island enchant leisure sailors and salty sea dogs alike. Yachting and pleasure boating are now an integral part of life on the Île de Ré, much to the delight of holidaymakers.
For young and old
To pass on the right skills to the next generation, to teach them to how to steer a sailing dinghy, to tie a clove hitch, to tell the difference between a south-westerly and north-westerly wind, the island has several sailing schools. There’s one in each port, like the CNAR in Ars-en-Ré at the end of the channel or Île de Ré Nautisme in Saint-Martin, just a few minutes from La Baronnie Hôtel & Spa****. Other water sports centres are located on the beaches, such as Les Dauphins on Peu-Ragot Beach in La Couarde-sur-Mer under the experienced and kindly leadership of the Albeau family, or La Cabane Verte on Gros Jonc Beach at Le Bois-Plage. Le Goisil water sports centre welcomes young sailors to the calm waters of the salt marshes, ideal for the adventurous. A whole host of options to help future sailors get to know and respect the sea – a golden rule!
Every year, regattas are organised just about everywhere. The sea around the Île de Ré is then busy with a multitude of white sails on the blue waters. It is a true spectacle that pleasantly blends competition and informality. Among the boats in the running, you might see a Tofinou, a creation of the island’s Latitude 46 shipyard. With its very elegant and instantly recognisable lines, teak deck and colourful hull, this boat, nicknamed the gentleman of the seas, has become the symbol of sailing on the IÎe de Ré and is exported all over the world.
Water sports on the Île de Ré
Experienced sailors can hire catamarans and sailing dinghies on the various beaches. The thrills of the waters of the Atlantic Ocean are yours to enjoy – veering, tacking and making the most of the crosswind… The sails swell, the spray whips your face and you take the opportunity to admire the coastline of the Île de Ré from the sea. To the south, you can make out the Les Châteliers Abbey; in Saint-Martin, you can wonder at the amazing Vauban fortifications; further north, you can see the black and white bell tower of the church in Ars, a landmark for sailors in the shallow waters of the Fier d’Ars. An ever-changing but magical spectacle. If you prefer, you can hire a professional skipper, then all you have to do is enjoy the scenery and have fun with friends and family.
On larger sailing boats – monohulls or catamarans – you can sail to the ïle d’Aix for a day out – a little jewel of an island, fortified and unspoilt, reserved for pedestrians and cyclists only. You can see the governor’s house where Napoleon spent his last three days before his exile to Saint Helena. Before reaching the port, you’ll have sailed round the famous Fort Boyard, off the Fouras Peninsula in the Charente-Maritime. Although you can’t access it, the structure is still impressive for its sheer size and solitary position out at sea. As for sailing under the Pont de Ré which rises to a height 42 metres, it is still impressive even though it was completed thirty years ago!
The team at La Baronnie Hôtel & Spa**** will be able to answer your questions and advise you.