The screech of terns, sea swallows, echoed in Lake Creteil. A couple of barnacle geese remind us that we’re on their territory. Sitting on a small catamaran, the sails flutter a little, and very quickly, the city-provincial noise disappears, with the crossroads of Pompadour and cars on the main roads.
“We tend to forget, but the area of water, Lake Creteil, is 40 hectares,” calculates Christophe Marguerite, qualified technical director, and state alumnus, for the Naval Base Creteil Island Recreational, which began its season with an opening this Saturday afternoon.
“Even with a small sail at the water level at 20 km/h, it feels like you’re driving at 80 km/h”
Even if the crowd didn’t move in number, the checkered-faced man from his stay at sea wore a wide grin. “Sailing is the number one mode of transportation that does not use animal power,” he recalls, before returning to the range of accessible activities at the Naval Base.
Thus, in the Family of Boats, students, young and old, have access to the Optimists and the Lasers, 420 as well as many 14- and 12-foot boats. “It’s a cross-generational activity,” recalls Christophe Marguerite. “You can start late and if you’re old but starting early, you can share your experience with the little ones. It’s better if you’re 8 and know how to swim.”
In the absence of wind, enthusiasts can undo their paddle or kayak and thus discover places differently. But if trade winds intervene, we can move forward quickly. “Believe me, even with a small sail, water level at 20 km/h, or roughly 12 knots, it feels like you’re driving at 80 km/h,” assures the Nautique base manager.
On the water, city buildings take on a whole new look
During the week, primary schoolchildren, aged 8-10, learn to sail in the lake. The weekend is for amateurs who want to take lessons, rent a paddle or boat if they know how to get around. Courses are also offered during holidays.
On the water, the tower of the town hall and county and other buildings in the city take on a completely different look. “On the one hand, it is very urban and on the other hand it is very natural, describes an amateur. It is really interesting.”
At his side, Carol already sees herself there. “I am from the West Indies, where we can paddle and boat: there, I just want to begin,” says the young woman, her eyes shining. Well, the water will be less salty but the fun of sailing will be there. Sulky friend next door. “I can’t even swim, so go boating!” The young man bursts into laughter. He can take lessons in the swimming pool near the naval base.
The Créteil Island Naval Base is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Information by phone at 01.48.98.44.56 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.