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Sailing the Plateau

August 17, 2015

Last weekend was Assumption. Here in the Seychells it is just known as ‘The Fete’. Not being Catholic I venture to say it’s just an Italian invention so they could sit down and eat again. Not that I’m complaining. I could sit down and eat anytime but my cardiologist says that’s not a good idea and my wife likes me svelt. Well somewhere along the line I have to make someone happy.

Anyway, here in the Seychelles the real party is on an island called La Digue. It’s a small and quite touristy haven. Most people get around on bikes and there’s always a secluded beach not far away.

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We had been to La Digue several weeks prior to the Feast of the Assumption but the local yacht club was organizing a club race across to La Digue. However, they weren’t staying in La Digue as the harbour would have been chocker block full and with 7 bands scheduled to play within 4 blocks of each other it was decided to end the race in La Digue but anchor for the Friday and Saturday night in Praslin, a neighbouring island.

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Nives, our cruising guest, holding a coco de mer in the UNESCO world heritage site on Praslin Island.

The sail over from Victoria to La Digue was wild. Sailing out to the islands from Mahe is commonly called “sailing the plateau”. The reason for this is that the group of islands that make up the majority of the Seychelles are located on an almost circular plateau.

The screen grab below taken from our tablets navigation app by Navionics shows the underwater contours of the plateau. The plateau depth is generally 100-200 ft whereas the ocean around the plateau is upwards of 10,000 feet deep.

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This sharp rise in the plateau gives to wild seas on the plateau and we were not disappointed. We had a jolting 30 miles to cover which took us about 4 hours 15 minutes to get to La Digue but wild and wet it was.

Starting off out of Victoria harbour we thought we had a chance of winning when we saw this boat motoring out to the start line.

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Yes, we thought, a fighting chance and our spirits were lifted. However, they were soon dashed as we watched other boats arriving and saw what the competition was like.

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So what are we supposed to do to beat out this South African guy. It wasn’t only once she went screaming by us doing close to 20 knots but twice, once on the way and then of course once on the way back.

However, our spirits were buoyed by this pretty little boat sailed single-handedly by Peter. A real gem built, I think, in 1956 by Abeking and Rasmussen in Germany. Draws 50cm with the centreboard up and sails to windward beautifully but wet.

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As normal photos of an angry sea are hard to get to show what it’s like but below I can verify these guys were not dry once past the finish line.

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It was a great weekend. Meeting people, talking sailing of course and the prerequisite dinner and drinks. We owe a heartfelt thanks to the racing boats of the Seychelles Yacht Club and all the people who welcomed us foreigners and temporary intruders no matter how much we bragged about our fast boat!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. William McDowell (Bill) permalink
    August 17, 2015 22:43

    Hi Tony Great pictures of the Seychelles this area has a lot of naval history too with the UK naval influence there during the 1950-1960.
    Glad you had a great sailing week end in those warm and steady winds.
    Victoria Bill
    Dale
    Chandler sends regards to you both .
    Cheers for now ,enjoy your ditties of your trekking.

  2. Wayno permalink
    August 18, 2015 06:40

    Tony and ‘svelt’ in the same sentence…. hahaha!

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