Last modified: 2005-04-09 by ivan sache
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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by Ivan Sache
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. Its most famous tourist is the former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.
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 Holland and Scandinavia. The narrow
bell-tower of the St. Etienne's church, painted in black and white, was
used as a beacon.
Ars is located close to the Whales' lighthouse (phare des Baleines), built on the westernmost point of the island. The lighthouse was built in 1854 to replace an older lighttower; it is 55 m high and served by an helicoidal stair with 257 steps. The lighthouse was named after the Whales' cove (conche des Baleines), located east of the lighthouse, where hundreds of whales are said to have beached in the Roman times.
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, flanked by two mirrored blue anchors.P>Source: Yacht Club de France website (affiliated clubs)
Ivan Sache, 28 December 2004
by Ivan Sache
Royan is the capital city of the Côte de Beauté. 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 'pocket of Royan' surrendered to the Allied troops only a few days before the German capitulation and the city was completely destroyed by bombings. The borough of Pontaillac is the only part of the city which had not to be rebuilt after the liberation.
Régates de Royan was founded in 1851 and is
therefore the third oldest French yacht club after Société des Régates du Havre (1838) and Société Nautique de la Baie de
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
by Ivan Sache
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 OlÈron 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
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