A Busy Day at Cap d'Agde Boatyard
Yesterday we visited the busy port of Cap d'Agde
We arrived fairly early to find that the two giant boat hoists at the 'zone technique' were constantly busy. At this time of year they are working all day and every day, save of course for lunch time when everything comes to a halt, lifting boats out of the water and setting them down onto supports, as gently as you would put down a sleeping baby. The boatyard is full of vans, and people who are hosing, scraping, polishing, painting and buffing their motor boats and yachts . For this is the major time of year for cleaning the precious hulls of our boats before the new season begins. As one boat is placed onto trestles on dry land, the giant hoist trundles off to find another boat to put back in the water. For sure, this boat will have had a new coat of antifouling to ward off marine growth, and been cleaned and buffed, if not fully repainted. Two stout straps gently cradle the boat and slowly raise it into the air as the props are taken away. It remains poised, swinging slightly in the void, before the man who is operating the remote control, turns this giant machine towards the dock, like a child simply operating an electric car. Traffic and pedestrians judiciously move out of the way, as it slowly progresses. The new season is about to begin for yet another of the port's 3,800 boats.
We had arranged to meet an 'expert' whom we had engaged to survey our proposed new boat and accompany us on a sea trial, before the purchase was finally confirmed. Alas, not for us one of those sleek racing yachts that we envy. Just a little motor boat with a modest diesel engine. While we wish to be able to continue enjoying sea trips, we also plan to revisit the étang and the canals at a sedate pace, so this boat should be perfect. We found it propped up on the hard standing, ready for us to inspect, resplendent in its new coat of anti fouling. By afternoon the expert had assessed the boat and all we had to do was wait for the giant boat hoist to come along and put us back on the water, so that the sea test could begin.
Now for the sea trial
The expert's preliminary report was encouraging, but now he had to try it out at sea. This was what we had been eagerly anticipating. We were soon heading away from the 'zone technique.'
Our route took us past the 'ile de loisirs, ' between the red and green marker buoys , and towards the long stone jetties which mark the entrance to this enormous artificial port. It is at this point that my excitement always rises as I smell the sea air and feel the breeze picking up. Just beyond the port lies the tiny isle of Brescou , with its red topped lighthouse , and threatening jagged rocks. Best not come too close. Once in the open water it was full steam ahead, speeding down the coast towards Graud'Agde , while the expert examined the running engine. I am pleased to say that all went well , and hopefully a summer of boating pleasure lies ahead of us.