August 25, 2011

base de sous-marins kéroman, lorient, france

We left St. Quay on Sunday morning and arrived at the Base de Sous-marins Kéroman in Lorient on Monday night.  It was beautiful sailing around Brittany.  The flat seas inside the island channels were an unexpected treat, and we wished that Anasazi Girl had a lifting keel so we could do some further exploring.  We passed the Figaro boats racing and so many other sailboats that we lost count.  It reminded us how deep the sailing lifestyle is part of France's culture.  All of the old lighthouses shifted us backwards through time and I experienced one of the prettiest sunsets during a watch on deck with Raivo.

We have had an excellent experience with Olga + crew at the Port Captain's office.  They are efficient, super friendly and warm, knowledgeable, and set us up with a bicycle and bike trailer for the kids.  The docks are safe and in very good condition, clean showers without the damn tokens, grocery, bakery, restaurants, and the museums within easy walking distance of the boat.

Anasazi Girl feeling like a tiny little boat - surrounded by the giant superstar racing sailboats - Groupama 2, Groupama 70, Groupama 3, Foncia MOD70, Race for Water MOD70, Virbac Paprec Absolute Dreamer 3, Prince de Bretagne Multi50, and Banque Populaire's Trimaran V.  My little girl Tormentina is really tiny next to all the giant hulls.  What an amazing playground and classroom  for her, to take in the design and craftsmanship that goes into building and sailing these performance sailboats.

August 20, 2011

st. quay portrieux, france

On Wednesday, August 17, we were blown away that we had been in France for exactly one month.  Raivo was now 11 months old.  I was a month older.  James and Tormentina were too.  Time was marching forward, time to keep our lives in motion.

There was a good forecast for wind, so we planned to leave Caen that afternoon with the Avocet 50/Citoyens du Monde.  We were en route with them to St. Quay Portrieux for the Multi50 races scheduled to start on Friday morning.

When it came time to depart the dock at 3 pm in time for the bridges to open, the Avocet only had one working engine, and no ability to maneuver in the canal.  JFL asked James if we could tow them.  I thought he was kidding, but realized he was completely serious.  Fortunately Laurent Meyer was there with us to tie and throw the lines to the Avocet, while James drove Anasazi Girl, and I managed the kids.

Anasazi Girl towed (a first for her), slowly but steadily, the 50' cat behind her down the canal.  The Pegasus Bridge opened a second time to let us through, repairs were made while underway, and by the time we arrived at the lock in Ouistreham around 6 pm, both engines for the Avocet were back in business.   JFL is one lucky guy.  Thanks to Laurent for the baked goods, good humor in the canal, and his skill with making the tow lines happen.

The lock opened at 10:30.  It was dark, I was nervous about tying into the wall, and missing our friendly calvadosed fishermen who were there when we went through the first time.  We managed the wires just fine while the water inside the lock was drained and we were lowered.  With two more fenders, plus one borrowed from the Avocet, the concrete walls did not get the better of us.

Once the lock was re-opened, we were off and bound for Brittany.  Very bumpy, but excellent wind for the first half of the trip, then no wind and current against us for the second half of the trip.  Not my favorite conditions, but luckily the kids slept through most of it.

We arrived in St. Quay at the Port d'Armor Marina just under 24 hours after leaving Ouistreham.  It was before dark, and we side-tied to the Avocet.  Nice to not have to think about docking, tired and late at night.  Even nicer to have friends while in a foreign country.

We have been watching the races the last two days.  Tormentina says she wants one of the "big" boats when we are done with Anasazi Girl.

August 15, 2011

work list

Two weeks in Caen, finally rested and very thankful for the flat and wheels that JF Lilti hooked us up with.

We have been tied up at the Nouvea Bassin in Mondeville.  James has been on the boat every day:   New solar panel installed from Solara, touch-up paint thanks to Grand Largue Composites, new lazy jacks system, new plumbing lines, new seals for our through holes from Shakewell Seacock, new seals for the water ballast system from OzValves, service from Equiplite on our blocks, new pot grippers for the alcohol stove, some changes to the running lines, every nut + bolt checked, sealed and tightened, new foam for the flattened nav. station cushion,  and a better mounting system for the GoPro. Ordered a QWERT foldable keyboard too from Accastillage Diffusion in Ouistreham - spill-proof for a boat with the kids.  It is amazing how even after 30,000 miles there are still things that can be improved on the boat.

We re-provisioned at the Carrefour and Super-U and diesel tanks are filled.  Waiting for an easterly flow to get out of the Channel and around the corner to Brittany side where we can make an easy exit.

We met Joyon two years ago in La Trinité.  Super nice man and he has five kids, so super-dad too.  Unbelievably tall, strong, and he has huge hands - he looks like he was born to be a sailor.  We watched him pick up a Suzuki outboard with one hand.  James happy to meet another single-handed sailor, especially as they were in the Southern Ocean at the same time in 2008 - crowded place.  At that time, Joyon made the around the world record, which he still holds:   57 d 13 h 34 min 06 s.
Read more about Joyon at Challenge and Adventure:

Here's a link to Marshall Mattlock's blog, which feature three of my photos that were printed in the Patagonia, Inc. Early Fall 2011 catalog:

August 4, 2011

la solitaire du figaro

The 47 boats racing in La Solitaire du Figaro arrived in Caen this week:  Fabien Delahaye, a 27-year old local skipper from Caen, crossed the finish line in Ouistreham first, winning the first stage of the race.

We went yesterday evening to see our first French organized racing scene.  Tormentina cruised around on a green vintage skateboard that our friend Laurent let her borrow.  We listened to live jazz, checked out the booths, and of course looked at all the boats!  We've never seen so many of the same boats all in once place before.