Every four years, the Olona Port in Les Sables d’Olonne is the starting point of the Vendee Globe. This international race sees competitors take on the challenges of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans including Cape Horn, Cape Leeuwin and the Cape of Good Hope, as they travel around the world. It is one of the greatest sea races.
The skilled sailors and their boats will be pushed to the limits as they circumnavigate the globe from west to east. Every year some competitors are forced out of the race due to unexpected circumstances, extreme weather conditions, irreparable damage to the boat or illness. For those that survive, the finish line is a return to Port Olona.
We have to wait until 2016 for the next Vendee Globe event, but a visit to Les Sables d’Olonne won’t disappoint keen sailors and spectators. Regular sailing events are held every year on the waters in and around Port Olona. The local tourist information provides details of events, so if you are heading to Vendee for a French holiday this year, you may want to go along to see an event for yourself.
Sailing is a unique opportunity to work in harmony with nature, to rise to a physical and mental challenge and to experience a complete escape from everyday life. If you’d like to get in on the action, Les Sables d’Olonne is also home to a couple of sailing schools; SNS Sailing School and Institut Sports Ocean.
SNS offers the opportunity to head out to sea with a qualified instructor and learn how to handle and manoeuver an 8 – 12 meter yacht. It’s possible for an enthusiastic beginner to pick up the basic techniques, along with an understanding of the riggings and on-board safety in a couple of hours. You can sign up for half day, day, weekend or week long courses at SNS where no previous experience is necessary.
This school offers the opportunity to get onto the water in a variety of vessels, from kayaks and dinghies to catamarans and yachts. There are courses and private lessons for 1-2 people on offer. The majority are suitable for people over the age of 12, but 5 – 12 year olds can sign up for lessons on the ‘Optimist’ boats.
If you’d love to experience the thrill of sailing, but are happy to sit back and let an experienced sailor take the helm, boat trips on the ‘Filloa’ schooner are also offered by the Institut Sports Ocean. A two hour trip will take you out on the ocean waves, so you can experience the sense of freedom and exhilaration that got the Vendee Globe competitors hooked.
Any views or opinions expressed in all articles under the title “Carisma News” are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Carisma Holidays Limited