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Old 09-01-2012, 12:13   #1
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Chartering in Toulon

Has anyone sailed this area in the summertime, before? We have chartered through Dream Yacht Charter for two weeks in the French Riviera. We've got some time before summer, but I am interested in the experiences and advice you guys may have to offer.

Thanks!
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:47   #2
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Re: Chartering in Toulon

You will be sailing in a beautiful area of the Med, hope the weather is good at your time. Watch out for Mistral winds!

In my view places to visit are

- Porquerolles and the islands next to it
- Cassis
- the Calanques inlets west of Cassis
- maybe St. Tropez if you are after ... crowds, fashion, action.

In most places I mentioned you can safely anchor (depending on the wind).

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old 11-01-2012, 15:38   #3
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Re: Chartering in Toulon

BWB
You will find some crowd on the water, in the marinas and even in the anchorages.

When mistral is forecast, even 2 days in advance, finding a berth becomes very difficult: there are many more yachts cruising than available berths in marinas. In that situation, you could be unable to get food and fresh water for 1-2 days (don't ask how I know).

In addition to multihullsailor's suggestions, I would mention:
- between Cavalaire and St Tropez, anchoring in bays just SW or NE of Cap Taillat (if it's still permitted, I haven't been there for 12 years)
- visiting Port Grimaud marina, the most pleasant in the area, IMO
- anchoring in îles de Lérins, off Cannes and visiting the abbey on St Honorat
- paying attention to the anchoring restrictions around Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Île du Levant (there are marine life reserves and a military underwater firing range)
- avoiding being in the gulf of St Tropez between 11am and 1pm, and again between 5 and 7pm, for it is invaded by speedboats going to Baie de Pampelonne and coming back

Alain
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:42   #4
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Re: Chartering in Toulon

Thank you for your excellent replies. I will heed your advice.

Any thoughts on Cruising Guides or other resources? I am aware of The Adlard Coles Book of Mediterranean Cruising and the Mediterranean France & Corsica Pilot, both by Rod Heikell. Ironically, an updated version of the Adlard Coles book will come out a few days before we depart (and to late for us to receive a copy since we are overseas).

Are these good resources? Are there others you recommend?

Thanks again,

BWB
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:58   #5
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Re: Chartering in Toulon

"Are these good resources? Are there others you recommend?"
It depends if you read french or not. If so I'll give you other recommendations.
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Old 05-03-2012, 13:17   #6
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Re: Chartering in Toulon

Hi - do look at our blog for 2008 and 2009 when we cruised that area a lot, and 2010 when we were in Corsica which is a 24 hour sail (max) from Toulon.

Lots of great places but buy your provisions at the excellent supermarket and market in Toulon or you will spend a lot of cash on basics along that coast. Also look hard at your anchoring gear as some charter boats are weak in that area and if you have good kit there are many wonderful spots to enjoy.

Are you in the UK - if so I am speaking at the CA Med Sec meeting on Sunday on this very topic!
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Old 05-03-2012, 14:28   #7
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Re: Chartering in Toulon

I have no opinion about English cruising guides for the Med. Like Jacques, I use French books for the French coast.

In preparation for the first time I sailed there, I bought the French Instructions Nautiques (Sailing Directions) "Du cap Croisette à la frontière italienne". This book is written for large ships but there is some good info on weather and oceanography.

Now, I would rather choose the "Pilote Côtier" (Coastal Pilot). There is one book covering the coast from Marseilles to Genoa and another for Corsica and North Sardinia. These are not *official* Sailing Directions but still better suited to a cruiser's needs.

Alain
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:23   #8
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Re: Chartering in Toulon

Alas, Roaring Girl, we are not in the UK. How exciting to present a lecture on the topic! I wish you the best!

As you suggest, I will look especially hard at our ground tackle with a view to spending most days on the hook. We are not looking for crowds, fashion, action, or their associated costs and demands.

I am surprised to learn that Corsica is typically no more than 24 hours sailing time. My first impression was that setting a specific destination as a goal would make the trip stressful. If it is feasible as you suggest, though, it might be a worthy project.

Jacques2 and Hydra, we do not speak French. We should likely study the language prior to departure - yet another example of how you can never learn to much when sailing!

Thanks again,

BWB75
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Old 23-04-2012, 02:55   #9
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Re: Chartering in Toulon

We got the Adlard Coles Book of Mediterranean Cruising and the Mediterranean France & Corsica Pilot, both by Rod Heikell. The Med Cruising Guide is more of a general introduction to cruising, with an emphasis on the patters and methods best suited to the area. An enjoyable read, but not targeted at the Charter Market.

The Pilot is, unsurprisingly, excellent and rich with detail. We are a little bit concerned about it's age and will look to local resources as much as possible when we arrive. We are hoping for paper charts on the boat, as that is how we learned to navigate.

There are several good websites with English language weather information for the area. Does anyone have a recommendation for obtaining weather information from the boat? My friend expects to bring an iPad with wifi capabilities, which should be fine at Marinas or coffee shops (until/unless the salt air kills it). Our concern is getting weather data in locations like Calvi or when anchored in the Porquerolles, for example.

-BWB
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Old 23-04-2012, 11:04   #10
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Re: Chartering in Toulon

To get weather forecasts in France, the best is Meteo France, but..., but it is in french, but you can can understand it when you know that "force 5" Means 5 Beaufort, etc...
By internet you can also get pasageweather.com, or metoemar.it (italian) and, of course zybrib.
By VHF (radio onboard) there are canals where you can listen to the forecasts at special time (Have a look to your Pilot Book, it is written)...
Here are some links :

[ MétéoFrance ]

Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers - PassageWeather
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Old 23-04-2012, 13:47   #11
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Re: Chartering in Toulon

Quote:
There are several good websites with English language weather information for the area. Does anyone have a recommendation for obtaining weather information from the boat? My friend expects to bring an iPad with wifi capabilities, which should be fine at Marinas or coffee shops (until/unless the salt air kills it). Our concern is getting weather data in locations like Calvi or when anchored in the Porquerolles, for example.
spent two summer around that area.

firstly you can provision in the big supermarkets, I didn't find france expensive to provision and during the summer , the seasonal stuff is excellent. Also there is a good market in Toulon, excellent produce. (I never knew there were so many varieties of potato).

Calvi on Corsica is easily doable in about 15 hours from Nice, ( i.e. a day sail in summer). Bit further from Toulon. As to the crowds , yes theres a lot of boats , I found to all worked out. I like the rade de villefranche. Note I found Heikeils stuff useful but somewhat out of depth , especially as he recommends anchorages that you can't actually approach as the swimming buoys were moved further out since he wrote the book.

I would agree with the comments re marina spaces. It a nightmare. I had a smaller boat ( 28 feet) and I found I could get overnights, but the 40 footers really struggled).

dave
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Old 23-04-2012, 14:51   #12
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Re: Chartering in Toulon

Sorry, I didn't understand well your question.
To get internet onboard, you need either a wifi connection, either a "clé 3G" (3G USB modem stick or dongle).
You will have a wifi connection onboard in some marinas and inland in a lot of "cafés" or publics spots, in Calvi for example. An iPad will work of course. BUT if you are in an anchorage, the best will be a "clé 3G" (3G USB modem stick or dongle). You can buy one in an ORANGE or SFR shop (Telecom and internet providers) easy to find everywhere in France. It will be the most convenient (it is what I use when I am not in Corsica at home like now, but onboard in Turkey or Greece like thousands of sailors...).
There are prepaid formulas for 1 months or for 5 Go, for example, it depends on the provider. You will be able to have internet wherever you want (or not far), and using free Skype for phoning will pay for the formula !
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Old 21-05-2012, 07:42   #13
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Re: Chartering in Toulon

Wow, guys, this is great information! I hope this thread proves useful to others who approach this interesting area for a charter or for cruising!
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Old 23-07-2012, 04:25   #14
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You were interested in learning French for your trip. If you have a Kindle you can buy audible French lessons that must be downloaded by wifi only. They are great because you hear French speakers and of course no Internet required once you download the content.

If you are thinking to buy a Kindle, get the 3G version. It is primitive but you can get weather reports and email anywhere. We use it on the boat when we get to a new country or one we are only in for a short while. 3G is FREE!
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Old 06-08-2012, 01:19   #15
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Re: Chartering in Toulon

Thanks again to everyone for your advice. It was very useful during our trip and we had a wonderful time.

You guys were right about the Mistral - the entire charter dock was pinned for 24 hours on the very first day! That was okay with us, since we don't go sailing to stress out. We just relaxed, made another grocery run at the excellent market (thanks!) and enjoyed the nice 1664 and Kronenberg.

The Rod Heikell pilot proved extremely valuable, with the harbor diagrams and phone numbers still up to date for the moorings and dockings we undertook.

Taking some time to study the beautiful French language paid off as well - I had enough to radio for a slip on the VHF after a couple of days on the hook. This was important because English was not an option at the marinas we visited!

We made the crossing to Corsica from the Frejus/St. Rafael area in about 20 hours. We returned the same way. We left a long return window in case of weather. Although the pilot said strong NW winds are rare in Calvi in summer, that's exactly what we got. We were grateful to have a sound anchorage and not be in a hurry.

The Porquerolles are in close competetion with Corsica for our favorite spot, and we wish we'd had more time to enjoy bustling but interesting St. Rafael.

Our big takeaways are the beauty of Southern France and Corsica and the graciousness of the people there. This is a magical area to explore.

I'll try and post some pictures.
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