Jane and I travelled to Les Sables D’Olonne this month to collect the boat. I went over 4 days ahead of Jane, as our youngest son was completing A-levels and we didn’t want to abandon him until they were done. After 3 trains one bus and 11 hours from St. Malo (SNCF services disrupted by strike), I finally arrived at the boat tired and hot.
The following morning as I checked the boat it was apparent that a number of items, mostly quite small, which were identified on our commissioning visit two weeks earlier had not been resolved. So the next 4 days were spent chasing people as well as picking up the last pieces of kit and stowing everything. The biggest issue was the engine cooling system which showed a symptom of not heating the domestic hot water during commissioning, but turned out to be fundamentaly incorrectly plumbed-up restricting the flow of the engine cooling circuit. After a call to the engine manufacturer and excellent support from Peachment the UK Nanni agent the problem was resolved by the Alubat engineers. The UK Alubat Agent Stephen at North Sea Maritime was very supportive throughout these 4 days. I lost count of how many texts and calls we exchanged, and along with the great guys at Alubat and Robin Marine Electronics, he ensured that we got away on-time.
We spent our time in the Marina at Les Sables in an area which is reserved for professional service companies to work on boats. There are a number of major boat manufacturers in the area, and there is a whole industry around commissioning and supply/ fitting of equipment to newly launched boats. I was amazed by the volume of new boats passing through this area in these difficult economic times. Some of them destined for the charter market, but many going to private owners. The pontoon was like the league of Nations with new boats leaving for Spain, Czech Republic, UK, Norway, Dakar.
Jane joined me on the Friday night after a similar SNCF experience, and by Saturday morning it was our turn. With a forecast NW 4 we slipped out of Les Sables and headed towards Ile D’Yeu.