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Gironde (Department, France): Watersports clubs

Last modified: 2020-01-20 by ivan sache
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Cercle de la Voile de Pyla-sur-Mer

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Flag of CVPM - Image by Ivan Sache, 27 July 2019

Pyla-sur-Mer is a sea resort established north of the Dune of Pilat, on the municipal territory of La Teste-sur-Buech (Arcachon Basin). It is separated from the dune by another sea resort also established in the 1920s, Pilat-Plage.
The dune is named for a Gascon word, pilot, meaning "a heap". When naming his new resort, Daniel Meller found "Pyla" more elegant and exotic than "Pilat", therefore potentially more attractive for tourists.

The flag of Cercle de la Voile de Pyla-sur-Mer (photo, photo) is white with the club's emblem, which, as expected, features the silhouette of the Dune of Pilat.

The Dune of Pilat (2.9 km in length, 616 m in width, and 110/115 m in height) is the highest sand dune in Europe. Part of the coastal dunes of Aquitaine that line the Atlantic Ocean, the Dune of Pilat is the only dune still active in the area. Blown by tide and winds, the dune moves every year 1 to 5 m eastwards, invading the pine forest that thrives at its base. Its volume is evaluated at 6O million m3. The dune is mostly composed of quartz grains of 0.3 mm in diameter.
As shown on the emblem of CVPM, the dune has a very asymmetrical shape. The slope facing the ocean, exposed to the wind, has a smooth slope, while the eastern side is very steep and unstable.

The Dune of Pilat is Aquitaine's most visited natural site. The ascension of the dune by a wooden stair is enjoyed every year by more than two million visitors. The effort - especially when not using the stair - is rewarded by a circular view on Arcachon Basin, Cape Ferret and Banc d'Arguin.
The forest, known as the Great Mountain, covers 3,800 ha of old dunes, which explains its hilly topography. As opposed to the pine woods planted in the 19th century in the Landes, this forest is of natural origin and harbors a rich biodiversity; it has been exploited since the Middle Ages under the "use status": all the inhabitants of the former feudal domain known as Captalat of Buch are allowed to cut wood for their private use: heating, building of houses and huts and of traditional wooden boats. These uses are prescribed by legal texts known as "baillettes et transaction", the oldest known dating back to 1468. Another main use of the forest was the extraction of resin, which declined in the 1960s.
Threatened by urbanization, the site (6,800 ha, the forest included) is protected by the Law on Natural Monuments and Sites, issued on 2 May 1930. The "Grand Site de la Dune du Pilat" (website) is managed by the Syndicat Mixte de la Grande Dune du Pilat, an administrative public establishment created in December 2007 by Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the Department of Gironde, and the Municipality of La Teste-sur-Buech.

Ivan Sache, 27 July 2019


Cercle Nautique du Verdon

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Burgee of CNV - Image by Ivan Sache, 22 May 2006

Le Verdon-sur-Mer (1,300 inhabitants) is located near the Pointe de Grave, which constitutes the northern end of the region of Médoc. Being located on the mouth of Gironde, the big estuary made by the confluence of rivers Garonne and Dordogne, Le Verdon is the outer harbour of Bordeaux, especially for oil products.

The burgee of CNV (website) is horizontally divided blue-red with the white letters "CNV" all over.

Ivan Sache, 22 May 2002


Club Nautique Bourquais

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Burgee of CNB - Image by Ivan Sache, 27 December 2005

The name of Bourg-sur-Gironde recalls that the village was in the past located on the Gironde, the big estuary made by the confluency of the Garonne and the Dordogne. It is today located on the right, northern bank of the Dordogne, 25 km north of Bordeaux and facing the Bec d'Ambès, the point of land separating the Garonne and the Dordogne.

Club Nautique Bourquais (CNB, website) was founded in 1936 by yachtmen and fishers from Bourg-sur-Gironde. CNB is one of the oldest yacht clubs in Aquitaine and the seventh oldest in the department of Gironde. It joined the French Federation of Yachting in 1948. The CNB is one of the only yacht clubs in France to own and manage its port.
The burgee of CNB is blue with a thin white horizontal stripe, a red star in canton and the red letters "CNB" in the white stripe.

Ivan Sache, 27 December 2005


Club Voile Hourtin Médoc

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Burgee of CVHM - Image by Ivan Sache, 17 May 2001

Hourtin is a town of ca. 3,600 inhabitants located on the eastern shore of the Lake of Hourtin-Carcans. Médoc is one of the most famous producing area of Bordeaux wines.
The burgee of CVHM (website) is white with a red-white-blue-border and the red letters "CVHM".

Ivan Sache, 17 May 2001


Voile et Cercle Nautique de Pauillac

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Burgee of VCNP - Image by Ivan Sache, 19 December 2009

The municipality of Paillac (5,291 inhabitants in 2006; 2,274 ha) is located in the wine-growing region of Médoc (Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour and Château Mouton Rothschild are located in Pauillac), on the left bank of the Gironde estuary, 50 km north of Bordeaux.
A stele in the port of Pauillac recalls that on 25 March 1777, Marquis of Lafayette left France on the Victoire to help the American insurgents. Subsequently, the transatlantic liners sailing to South America left France from Pauillac.

Voile et Cercle Nautique de Pauillac ( website) was registered on 18 January 1936 as the merger of Voiles de Pauillac, founded in 1872, and Cercle Nautique de Pauillac, founded in 1886.
At the end of the 19th century, Pauillac was a place of leisure for the wine aristocrats and the English colony of Bordeaux. The main event of the yachting season was the Whit Regatta, organized for 15-30 m cutters. On Saturday, the boats sailed on the failing tide from Bordeaux to Pauillac; on Sunday, they sailed to Pointe de Grave and overnighted in the port of Le Verdon, sailing back to Pauillac on Monday for a colourful closing ceremony. Among the famous yachtmen were the Johnstone, sailing on the Tourlinguet, who used to send their whole set of sails to Bristol for revamping after each regatta. The Pauillac regatta were so important locally that the parish priest used to announce the next Sundays as "the 2nd, ..., 7th, ..., 11th, ..., 13th Sunday after the regatta".
(After Bernard Ginestet, Pauillac, Nathan)

The burgee of VCNP is horizontally divided white-blue with a red disk in the center.