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Charente-Maritime (Department, France): Yacht clubs

Last modified: 2010-07-30 by
Keywords: charente-maritime | oleron | letters: yco (blue) | royan | anchor (black) | letters: rr (black) | ars-en-re | anchors: 2 (blue) | lighthouse (blue) |
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Cercle Nautique d'Ars-en-Ré

[CN Ars]

Burgee of CNA - Image by Ivan Sache, 20 December 2004

The island of Ré, aka the white island (l'île blanche) is located in the Atlantic Ocean, a few miles off the port of La Rochelle. A bridge is linking the island to the mainland. Ré is some 30 km long and less than 10 km width. From the Hundred Years' War to the fall of Napoléon's Empire, the island was disputed by France and Britain. In 1625, the island was besieged by Duke of Buckingham. The fort of Saint-Martin was assaulted on 6 November but the garrison commanded by Toiras resisted. King of France Louis XIII sent from La Rochelle fresh troops commanded by Marshal Schomberg. The Brits were defeated by Toiras and Schomberg, who captured six cannons and 46 flags.
Ré is today an extremely popular and crowded summer vacation place.

The port of Ars-en-Ré (1,083 inhabitants) is located on the south-western shore of the island. The streets of the old village are so narrow that the corners of the houses had to be trimmed to allow teams to turn. In the past, the port of Ars was used to export salt produced on the island to the Netherlands and Scandinavia. The narrow bell-tower of the St. Etienne church, painted in black and white, was used as a beacon.

Cercle Nautique d'Ars-en-Ré was founded in 1953. Its burgee is horizontally divided yellow-light blue-yellow (1:2:1). In the middle of the light blue stripe is shown the Whales' Lighthouse (phare des Baleines), flanked by two mirrored blue anchors.
The Whales' Lighthouse (phare des Baleines), built in 1854 on the westernmost point of the island to replace an older lighttower, is 55 m high and served by an helicoidal stair with 257 steps. The lighthouse is named for the Whales' Cove (conche des Baleines), located east of the lighthouse, where hundreds of whales are said to have beached in the Roman times.

Source: Yacht Club de France website (affiliated clubs)

Ivan Sache, 28 December 2004

Régates de Royan

[Regates de Royan]

Burgee of Régates de Royan - Image by Ivan Sache, 28 December 2004

Before the Second World War, Royan was one of the main French sea resorts, famous for its conches (sandy coves) and its mild weather. The Royan Pocket surrendered to the Allied troops only a few days before the German capitulation and the town, except the borough of Pontaillac, was completely destroyed by bombings.

Régates de Royan, founded in 1851, is the third oldest French yacht club after the Société des Régates du Havre (1838) and the Société Nautique de la Baie de Saint-Malo (1848).
Its burgee is vertically divided blue-white-red with a black anchor in the white stripe and a black "R" in the blue and red stripes.

Source: Yacht Club de France website (affiliated clubs)

Ivan Sache, 28 December 2004

Yacht Club de l'Océan

[YC Ocean]

Burgee of YCO - Image by Ivan Sache, 17 July 2002

Yacht Club de l'Océan is based in Saint-Denis-d'Oléron, a port located on the northern point of Oléron island.

Oléron (length 30 km; width 6 km) is the second largest French (European) island after Corsica. It is located very close to the Atlantic coast of the department of Charente-Maritime, from which it is separated by two dangerous straits, the Pertuis d'Antioche (north) and the Pertuis de Maubuisson (south). In 1966, a toll bridge (length 3,027 m; width 10.60 m) was built between the island and mainland.
The eastern coast of the island, facing mainland and protected from the storms, is called the Oyster Coast since the former salt marshes were transformed into oyster beds. The western coast, facing the Atlantic Ocean, is called the Wild Coast. The main fishing port of the island, La Cotinière, is specialized in fishing grey and pink shrimps (locally called bouquet d'Oléron). In the northern point of the island, a few traditional "fish locks" are still in use. Wine and fresh vegetables are also produced on the island.

Oléron is known in the maritime history because of the Oléron Roll (Rôles d'Oléron). In 1199, Duchess Aliénor (Eleonor) of Aquitaine stayed in her castle of Oléron before retiring into the abbey of Fontevraud where she died in 1204, atoning for her agitated life. At that time, the Wild Coast of the island was ruled by looters, who exerted what they called their "right of godsend". The Duchess suppressed this "right", stating that "they [the looters] shall be brought to the sea and immersed until half dead, then taken out from water, stoned and stunned, as prescribed for wolves and rabid dogs." In a more pacific way, she also prescribed the rules " concerning the sea, the vessels, the seamen and the merchants". This roll was the basis of all further maritime codes.

In 1372, the English definitively left the island. In 1666, following the building of the military port of Rochefort on the mainland, Louis XIV ordered engineer Vauban to build a "fire belt" in order to protect the port. The citadel of Château-d'Oléron was built on the south-eastern point of the island.
In 1804, the building of the Fort Boyard started off the eastern coast of Oléron. It took more than 50 years to achieve the building and the small city of Boyardville was created on the island to house the workers. The fort was achieved in 1859 and mainly used in 1870 to jail the Communards sentenced to deportation to New Caledonia. Fort Boyard became famous some ten years ago when a popular TV program, still coming back every summer, was made there.

Yacht Club de l'Océan was founded in 1959. Its burgee is a 1:2 blue triangle with a yellow triangle placed along the hoist and charged with the letters "YCO" in blue.

Source: YCO website.

Ivan Sache, 17 July 2002