43:07.101N 5:55.861E Mon 30th May 2016
Another cracking sail in strong winds - we’re doing well this year! The NW Mistral is well set in and gave us a good downwind sail, albeit in big rolling seas. Not much to report, other than the difficulties we had docking. The old harbour doesn’t have any shelter from this wind, which affects Toulon a lot of the time, and which gave us 20-25kt winds blowing us sideways across the direction of berthing. Normally we can cope, but the bowthruster really didn’t want to provide any oomph to give us steerage as we reversed in, and after half a dozen attempts we had to give up and come in bows to. I think the bowthruster is fouled up so I’ll have to find a clean and quiet spot to snorkel around and clean it out. The upshot of coming in forwards is that we had to find a way of rigging up the gangplank at the bows - never done before and quite a challenge to find a way of mounting it. We ended up with a precarious walk (sometimes crawl) to get on and off, so weren’t able show our Bristol friends Peter & Chris onboard. We owed them our hospitability but had to make do with a meal ashore.
We really liked Toulon when we were here five years ago, but this time it felt less appealing, somewhat less French than it used to be. Maybe we were just feeling miffed about waiting for the right winds yet again in a marina where prices are now quite high too. We did manage one enjoyable walk along the coast to the nearby resort of Mourillon which was mostly sheltered from the cool wind.
The wind didn’t stop the entire time which was very frustrating, keeping us below decks, worrying about how we were going to leave (same strong side wind, no steerage way in reverse again) and missing the perfect conditions for heading further east. After a couple of days we decided to get going anyway and caught a reasonable lull to get off the dock with no damage and head for Corsica..