start of the season

Long time no update here although I had promised some news about moving the boat to Lorient.

So let’s start at the beginning, my original plans were to bring the boat to Lorient early February to be able to participate in Charles Euverte’s training group in Pornichet but unhappily that plan had to be abandoned due to business trips and interesting assignments in my job.
The plan was changed to get the boat to Lorient early March and to do some training by myself in the first two weeks of April. Unhappily the french authorities had still not approved my “transport exceptionnel” and this time I wanted to have all the right papers in place before doing the trip (unlike in 2008…).

In the end me and my girlfriend decided to tow the boat to Lorient when going to France for our vacation.

Going to France
On March 31st at 6am we left Bremen with the boat and started our journey towards France. We were surprised how well the new car handled the mass of the car (my A4 was struggling quite a bit back then) and made good progress, around lunchtime we crossed the border to Belgium and in the early afternoon we were already in France. We kept on going until the evening came and I got too tired to drive. We couldn’t find a hotel so we pulled onto a rest stop and decided to sleep in the boat – It had a nice 17°C so we should be good.
At 4 am I awoke, shivering from the cold wondering what was going on. So we got up and once back in the car noticed that the temperature had dropped to 2°C. We set off for Lorient once again and arrived around lunchtime at the Cité de la Voile where AOS (the training base) is located.

The next 4-5 days were a mix of vacation and trying to get things done from the seemingly endless ToDo-list.
Getting the boat ready took much longer than I anticipated and in the end it wasn’t before a week after arrival that we set sail for the first time for a quick run outside of Lorient towards the Île de Groix and back.

The Delivery
Soon the first two weeks had passed and it was time for my girlfriend to go back to Germany while I would stay another 1,5 weeks to participate in the Pornichet Select 6.50.
On Saturday the 14th me and Rafala (respectoceans.com) had planned to deliver our boats to Pornichet so we set off around lunchtime. The plan was to sail north for a couple of hours until the wind would shift north-westerly, then we would turn south and have some running conditions until Pornichet.
About 2 hours after leaving Lorient – we were beating north – I noticed a strong stench of fuel in my boat and discovered that my generator had not been entirely shut off and fuel had drained through the exhaust. Since it was stacked high on windward, the fuel had spread everywhere. After about 10 minutes trying to clean up the mess it became obvious that without large amounts of fresh water I would not be able to get this done.
I decided to head back to Lorient to clean up and then possibly meet up with Rafaela once she would be passing Lorient on her way back south.

Back at the AOS pontoon I started emptying the boat, wiping everything with dishwasher-water and then giving the whole boat a good scrub with fresh water – not with much success. There was still a stench of fuel in the boat and I feared lighting my JetBoil to cook something.
Then the final hit came: while taking down the Solent (my small foresail =”foc”) I noticed that the sail had delaminated badly at the rear. The sail is a composite sail with resin keeping fibres in place – in an area the size of a football however there were only fibres left without any resin. Since the damage was above the reefing point the sail would not be safe to be used in strong winds any more.

With a heavy heart I then decided to abandon the plan to do the Pornichet Select 6.50 and go back to Germany early.

New plans
Towards the end of may I will return to Lorient for some days of training and then head off to Douarnenez for the Trophée Marie Agnes Peron, a 220nm solo race. Incidences is busy making me a new Solent and the smell in the boat should have been gone by now.
Can’t wait to get back to the boat, only about one week left.

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