Ship Ahoy! 2012 Al Fresco Olympics – here we come! - Al Fresco Holidays

Another wonderful blog from our Jean, our Al Fresco Rep at La Garangeoire. Has anyone else taken part in this raft race? Please let us know how you went on!

Ahoy there land lubbers! Who would have thought that raft building could be so much fun? I do remember years ago doing it on a team building weekend in the Lake District and recall it being one of the funniest events both as a participant and as a spectator and the one event that cemented friendships. La Garangeoire have been doing their ‘Crossing the lake’ activity for many years but this is the first one I have witnessed and so couldn’t let this occasion pass without a few words.

I’ve been following the Rawson family who are staying with Al Fresco and their friends the Carroll family who are staying on La Garangeoire. Between the two families they have saved copious amounts of 5 litre water bottles and dedicated many hours ‘in build’; mid-week they could be seen marching their prototype raft to the lake for a test run.

To say that the ‘Crossing the lake’ race is competitive is an understatement for sure and that’s just the dads!! I caught up with the families today (penultimate race day) making some modifications and fine tuning their vessel ‘Space Kid-ets’. This will be their fourth year on the run and believe that this is their finest ship yet! They kindly … and confidently, posed for the photo below although it was pointed out to me that at this stage there were still many design features to be added ; laugh you may but this is serious business, ones holiday reputation is riding on this!!

Race day arrived and unfortunately storms in the Vendée were brewing and so the Raft race had to be postponed until the following day at 3:00pm due to safety issues. The problem was both families were leaving next day at 10.00am and were unable to race.

In the mobile next-door-but-one to the Rawson family another Al Fresco family, the Lewis’s, were holidaying and I asked Paul Rawson if rather than all their hard work go to waste he would consider letting the Lewis’s fly the flag on their behalf. He agreed, but not to disappoint the Rawson/Carroll kids…and dads, the kids donned their gear made the maiden voyage of Space Kid-ets in the morning prior to leaving La Garangeoire.

The Lewis’s looked on, took onboard rowing tips and tactics from the masters and went away to prepare; they had only four hours to psyche themselves up!!

3:00pm, and all crafts, around 20 in all, took to the water one at a time. Each one judged on originality, degree of technique and speed around the circuit.

Despite the Lewis’s efforts, they weren’t the fastest and the Space Kid-ets vessel did lose a little of its bottle buoyancy on the final stretch home. That said, the Lewis lads put up a fabulous fight given that they had had no trial run and were as it were “thrown in at the deep end”.

If you’re holidaying at La Garangeoire next year get your thinking caps on for ideas because trust me you’ll be up against serious competition!

Suffice it to say a lot of people had a lot of fun and made many new friends.

I haven’t laughed so much in a long while.

Quelle Regatta!!


La Garangeoire

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