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Posts Tagged ‘yachts’

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I have written about this little sailing club on the river Ebro a couple of times. It is open during the summer holidays a time of year when I am more content as I can sit by the river with a glass or two watching boats and people enjoying themselves. When we drive into town via the river road we pass the club, which for most of the year it is shut –  football takes over. But from the middle of July I start watching the square in front of it to see when the awnings go up, this means the members are getting ready to open.  So this year although we have not spent much time there, I was really happy to go and watch the Time Trials last Saturday.

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This is Pep. He has been a member of the club for around 45 years and is a man who loves his sailing.   I was pleased to find a kindred spirit, and learnt that Pep is a Yacht Captain, I’m a Yacht Master so it was good to talk to someone about sea, boats, sailing and the river. Pep was telling me the Oxford and Cambridge boats used to come here to train for the Boat Race, then a member from one of the boats died in an accident so they stopped training here.

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This river may look calm and placid especially when one man and his dog go sailing, but like most rivers it can also be a dangerous place. There is a strong current with underwater boulders to catch the unwary plus it flows around 5-6 knots perhaps more. However, it is a great place to fish and mess around in boats.

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Pep is the helm in one of the boats plus he is also one of the organisers and this year his boat was the committee boat.

So to the race day. Instead of me waffling on about things I will show you the pictures. First the teams and club photo – including the photographer who was very good at getting this lot into the correct position”

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The visiting contestants were from  Amposta, Cambrills, Tortosa, St Jaume and Delta Ebre. Each boat had two or three teams which raced against the Club Nautiques boats.  As each one set off to row down river to the bridge, where they came from and their names were announced over the speaker system.  Once the first boat had reached the bridge turned and was heading back the second one left the start. Pep’s boat was the first to go with a time of minutes 6 seconds.  The junior boats did especially well as the lap back to the finish was against the flow of the river and these juniors are juniors but they finished 1 minuet behind the older rowers.

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As you can see these boats are not like the English rowing skulls that are used by the Boat Race. These are traditional boats and quite sturdy, with fixed seats but no rowlocks, these oars are fixed to a small pole on the gunwale.  The same conditions apply to both the girls and the boys which makes it a certainty that the rowers must be fit.  And take it from me they are, they can make these boats fly and the return journey is a hard pull against the river but they do not slacken their speed.

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Now these are the two ladies boats that tied for 1st place so they had to have a ‘row off’. This was a two circuit race round two buoys at a set distance from the starter buoy, one up river the other down river.  The boats get to the starting buoy facing in opposite directions and then set off. The red boat was fast and really put a lot of effort into their final, but Nautique was that little bit better and won.  Then in the best naval tradition they stood up and raised their oars in salute to the loosing boat, wonderful!

Now in amongst these young people is a dark haired young lady who whilst going out to practice one evening gave us all a rendition of O Sole Mio accompanied by the other girls in her boat, truly a happy crew.  So here are more photos of the visitors and people generally enjoying themselves.

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And these are the two young ladies who look after everyone when they visit the Club many thanks to them for doing a good job. Each year two or three young people are in charge of the bar and for the past three years we have experienced a clean, tidy, well run happy place to sit and enjoy the river.

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Thanks to Club Nautique for a wonderful afternoon.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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We decided to have a morning out and go to the market at L’Hospitalet de l’Infant on the coast.  The day was sunny and warm around 21dgs which for March is wonderful.  As we drove through the Darmos mountains, my wife mentioned that the road was quite steep and was wondering  how lorries managed.  Now I am not saying anything, but from the time you turn onto the road you start to climb it is a mountain pass after all, bless.

We  like this market because it has a wide range of things for sale but more because it is just above the marina which is surrounded by beaches so you could go shopping then spend time on the beach.  After we had walked round the market and bought what we wanted, we drove a little further down the road to a beach we like.  Here we  parked had a coffee and enjoyed the sun.

The little restaurant we had coffee at is one we’ve visited before.  Today there were tables and chairs laid ready for lunch inside a tented area, and whilst we sat drinking our coffee’s the place began to fill up, so we decided to take a walk to the beach.

 

The town has a backdrop of dramatic scenic mountains which give the impression there is no way in land it is surprising how close they look from the beach.

This beach has soft sand and stretches round the bay towards the point and the resort of L’Ametlla de Mar beyond. Today the sand was warm, soft and golden, so we took our shoes off and strolled along, unlike when in full summer then you need sandles or else you get a hot foot.  

We strolled past palm trees which line the curbside giving some shade with a walkway on the edge of the sand which runs over a ‘run off’ dried river bed so when it rains the town does not get flooded

Whilst we walked along we noticed a speed boat leaving the marina passing the dredgers who were working in the marina entrance getting things ready for the summer, there are some large boats that go in and out of there so keeping the marina from silting up is always an on going job. 

 We watched for a while then took a last look at the scenery landscaped to perfection.

Then we returned home my fix of sea and boats taken for today, ‘Once a sailor always a sailor’, but I’m getting to old for all that now, I find it much easier being an author, or do I?

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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I had been promising my wife we would take a trip to the Delta to try for some photographs of birds and other things for a story I’m writing. So when we woke and found that although very windy the sun was shining and it was warm we decided to go. On the way we passed through an avenue of  Beech trees, it is, in my opinion, a typical continental thing. When they are in leaf  it looks very pretty.  We should have had a warning of what was to come as there were bits of tree’s in the road.  Further on as we neared one of the roundabouts the police were directing all the lorries into a side parking area, ah we thought they are doing a road inspection wrong…  Approaching  the road to go round Amposta, we found the traffic slowing, police and workmen were by the bridge that crosses it and there at the side of the road was the direction sign from the bridge – wind had blown it over the safety rail and down onto the road. 

Avenue of Beech Trees

The drive down there is pleasant. You follow the river Ebro to Tortosa, then on through some of the rice-growing finca’s untill turning right on to the road round Amposta. After this you travel the N340 to St Carles de la Rapita. This is a pleasant little seaside town with a marina, good beaches and some nice restaurants and bars.  We have a favourite Tapas bar and beach bar. So looking for a coffee we headed first to the beach bar which was shut and had also had some slight wind damage. So after watching the men cutting up the tree that had been blown over, we turned and headed along the water front to the Tapas bar, passing the marina and its occupants.

Go Find Your Own Bar

 

At the bar we had Patatas Bravas, Calamari Romanos, sausage’s, spiced and prawns.  Then we drove out to the Delta and the sea. The route we took was an arc, taking pictures as we went.  Driving along we saw the tractor that is used to plough the rice fields a strange contraption, a sort of military vehicle with slatted  wheels. But it travels over the paddy fields with no problem unlike a normal tractor which would soon get bogged down.  

Rice Tractor

My wife spent a lot of time trying to get a close up of a Marsh Harrier much to our glee it proved to be a real task.  When she crept towards it waited until she was close enough to get a good shot then took off, again and again.  She did get a few distance ones but not close up.

Marsh Harrier

 

We then came across  this water-mill. Instead of a windmill with sails to pump the water these are in the form of an Archimedes Screw, which pumps the water round the water beds and ditches.  With the little house painted white,  they are both cared for and in working order. It sits on the bank near to an observation hide where you can watch the various birds on the marshes.

Archimedes Screw

The wild life was fascinating.  The shots of waders, flamingos, ducks, heron and seagull were taken from the viewing hut. Several more were taken as we drove back towards the main road, so all in all it was a success.  I even managed to get a shot of the long-horned cattle that graze there.

You Really Wanted a Seagull

 

 All in all it was a pleasant if windy day.  The Sun was out it was warm 17c and relaxing. So when we reached the N340 we found the wind had picked up a little.  Well, that was an understatement, it had picked up a lot and we had not gone far when approaching a bridge saw just how much.  There on their side were two lorries, a small one and an articulated one. The articulated lorry was on the barrier of the bridge with its window screen smashed from the outside so I suppose they had to get the driver out that way.  I really hope he was ok.  We finished the journey on the flat using the El Perello pass, seeing all the windmills feathered against the wind.   

This brought home just how powerful nature is.

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