Mèze is located in the south of the France, very close to the city of Sète. Mèze is at the edge of the Etang de Thau, our navigation spot.
The All Saints’ Day, Easter and early May courses take place in Mèze. Accommodation is in “maisonnettes” (small houses) called apartments (sleeps 7 people per apartment). These accommodations are in a holiday village called “Village Club Thalassa”. In front of the apartments we have a beautiful lawn to store the equipment, to eat all together… Moreover, the safety boats we use are 100m away, in a small port managed by the Yacht Club de Mèze, FFV club with whom we have been working for many years. The launching beach for the boards is good, we can walk for a while. Only a few rocky dikes are in our way.
The Thau lagoon is about 10kms wide and 25kms long, so it is not small. The only restriction of the navigation zone is between the oyster beds, which are quite visible. The wind enters the lagoon according to two orientations: the tramontane blows in our back (West North-West wind) and pushes us towards the open sea (but it is a lagoon). It is a strong wind, there is no half measure. Beginners stay sheltered in front of the launching beach and the good ones will look for a more regular wind on the right. The sailor, wind from the East South-East is less violent and blows almost in front of us. It brings a nice swell (I can already see you laughing: swell on a pond…) and is often accompanied by bad weather.
The pre-internship meeting
If you are registered for an internship you will be invited to a mandatory briefing meeting. In this meeting, Lionel will explain the process of the internship. Schedule, what to bring and what not to bring, you will know everything and you will be able to ask your questions.
This is also the time when you will be assigned to your apartment (the place where you will sleep) and you will be assigned to a transport minibus according to your availability.
Preparation of trailers
Except for the beginners boards, we take all our equipment from Grenoble. Boards, sails, masts, wetsuits, safety zodiacs, we will travel loaded.
To ensure the transport of all the trainees, instructors and equipment we will use half a dozen mini buses and two large trailers. Their loading is a tedious job that is greatly accelerated by everyone’s contribution. This loading usually takes place on Thursday afternoon before the course.
Here we are at last. Most clinics start on a Friday night after school. Depending on everyone’s availability, minibus departures will be from 4pm to 7pm.
The appointment is fixed at our office on campus (see below). As the equipment is already loaded, you will only have to load your personal belongings and get on board. Let’s go for a 3h drive in the direction of Mèze!
Be careful to respect the appointment schedule, we won’t wait for you…
Arrival at the Thalassa
Arrival on site in the evening, you will leave your belongings in your respective apartments and then a collective briefing. Then each apartment meets to choose the list of groceries to buy for the 4 or 5 days of the course. A basic list is provided. It contains meals adapted to the course. These meals are quick and easy to prepare for lunch and are suitable for cooking in a group (>10 people). Each apartment is free to modify it and adapt the quantities or the content. Once the list is completed, you will designate 3 or 4 people who will go shopping for the apartment the next day.
Count about 40€ per person for the whole course. Bringing them in cash will make life easier for the people who will go shopping.
Morning wake-up and breakfast with what you will have brought collectively per apartment followed by a collective briefing.
The race managers of each apartment will go shopping with the minibuses while the rest of the trainees and instructors will unload and prepare the navigation equipment. For the beginners this step is very important in order to better understand how their equipment works.
Once the race managers are back, you will tidy up and prepare your lunch. This will allow you to start sailing in the afternoon.
A typical day
Wake up early to make the most of the sun. Each day starts with a collective briefing after breakfast. Be careful to be on time for the briefing!
As windsurfing is subject to weather conditions (wind, temperature, rain), it is difficult to define precise practice times. It is therefore possible that we sail in two sessions (morning + afternoon) or in one big session. In any case, we will always have to be ready to set sail quickly (equipment and meals prepared) in order to be able to take advantage of every sailing window.
Navigation stops at 5pm for the trainees, the instructors can continue if they wish. Until the evening meal you have free time (shower, volleyball, sunbathing in the grass, meal preparation, …). After the meal, we usually get together for a convivial moment to get to know all the participants of the course.
The last day is the final sprint and is therefore relatively busy. After an early wake-up (you’re used to it by now), you will have to collectively clean your apartment, put away your personal belongings and prepare lunch so that you can return the apartments quickly.
What happens next will depend on the wind conditions. Depending on the conditions it may or may not be possible to make a last sailing session. Then it will be necessary to rinse and tidy the equipment in order to prepare the trailers. These last tasks can be difficult with the accumulated fatigue but will be largely facilitated with the good will of everyone.
Once the trailers are ready, we will leave for Grenoble (about 3 or 4 hours). Once we arrive at the local, we will have one last mission left: unloading the minibuses. Once this last task is done, you will have earned the right to go home and sleep in your cozy bed!