‘Living the Dream’ video

I couldn’t resist giving you another taster of where I’ve been for the last two weeks…..

Log: Summer 2011 – En France – Part One

What an adventure I’m having. I’ve been towed to foreign lands to sail under a hot sun in a blue sky, and on strange water which didn’t taste of salt. It’s been fabulous.

I knew something was planned when I was taken back to the owner’s house and filled with bikes and other such paraphernalia. A new tow car was also a big clue. I had my SSR (small ships register) numbers affixed to my topsides and a GB sticker added to my transom. Then, at 3am on Thursday 4th August we all set off for somewhere. It was lashing down with rain. I recognised the route, and after a few hours we were on the M27 east bound heading to Portsmouth  – but I guessed we weren’t going to sail The Solent this time as we pulled into the Ferry Port and joined a queue behind a jumble of vehicles, some towing large white boxes on wheels.

I’d been on ships before. The longest trip on one was made packed away in a 20’ shipping container between Cape Town and Southampton. I’d also been from Holyhead to Dublin, and then last year my latest owner took me as freight from Belfast to Liverpool. The queue this time was marked as Caen, and with the white boxes on wheels we rolled through the heavy rain, up the steep ramps and into the hold. The owner and family took bags and headed elsewhere for the journey. The ferry ‘Normandie’ slipped her lines promptly at 8am, and not long later we were headed for France at 19kts with the Nab Tower off the port beam.

At 15:00 CET we arrived at the Ouistreham, spilled out of ‘Normandie’ in fifth place and made our way via Les Mans, Tours and Poitiers to a tiny hamlet called Chez Blanchard some 285 miles south. Our overnight accommodation was with Chris and Sid, friends of the owner’s parents. After catching up on sleep, and a leisurely morning admiring Chris and Sid’s home and grounds we were back on the road for another 135 miles to Sanguinet, just to the south of Bordeaux. I was due to spend two weeks sailing on Lac de Cazeau, and at 55 square kilometres it’s 11 times bigger than Lake Bala in North Wales. I have my own pontoon, but the owner had to buy and add some cleats to tie me up to.

I’ve also had some more modifications thanks to ‘Tony the Knees’. Gone is the lacing of the mainsail to the mast. It’s been replaced with parrel bead ‘necklaces’ which roll up and down the mast with ease. They work really well and haven’t snagged once! Here is one of them:-

And so the sailing commenced. I’ve been taken out every day bar one so far. With the exception of one day blowing 30kts it’s been a lovely 8 – 15kts under clear blue skies, with daytime temperatures in the high 20’s and low 30’s centigrade. I’ve had many guests on board and at times have been a very busy diving platform for the friends of the owner’s offspring. I’ve been sailed to the opposite shore a few times so that the crew can have idyllic lunches followed by swims in the warm shallow waters around the edge of the 20m deep Lac de Cazeau.

We’re all having a ball.

Rough crossing

In a few hours time I’m heading south for The Solent again, but this time I’ll be in the belly of a ferry heading for Caen; it’s the owner’s family holiday and we’re all heading for SW France for two weeks!

After a few days of hot and dry heatwave in the UK the day of departure is promising southerly gusts of 20kts and loads of rain. Typical. It’s still exciting though, as this will be my first Channel crossing – of sorts.

I’ll do what I can by way of blog updates, but if you’re interested in where I’m going check out this link – clicky