The holidays are over, happy new year! Now no more excuses, we must move forward, do what is necessary to complete these preparations which drag on forever and put Øya into service as quickly as possible. In this article, I will explain my daily life on the land of Brittany!

I live on Øya, of course, but next to the sea in a parking… It sucks!

As described on the project page which is currently the home page of the blog, I am still in step 3 “preparations before going onboard”. There are still a few things to do before proceeding to step 4 “on water testing phase”, and I can’t wait for it…

What I have to do is put the boat back into service. It has been wintered during the fall of 2018, so there are a thousand little things to do and check out here and there. That’s what I’m doing right now.

Back to work almost for real

To be effective I impose myself a certain discipline and pretend that I am at work. After all, this is my project.

The return of the routine

A daily routine therefore, as this word has pejorative sounds for me, I would call this routine the typical day of happiness just to give me courage. It simply consists in having a professional rhythm, but calm without pressure, in other words normal.

Nothing very extraordinary, but simply something like this:

Preparing breakfast before going to bed is a game-changer when the alarm rings!
  • Planning the tasks to be done the previous day makes things a lot easier, and it makes I want to get up. Throughout the day I take notes on what I do, everything and anything. By reading these notes afterwards I can plan more precisely the tasks to be done.
  • Make a list of meals for the next few days, it’s important to enjoy lunch and dinner. Above all, it spares me these long moments of hesitation to wonder what I could eat while looking at what I have in stock. No, with this organization I just do what I planed, and in a few minutes I have a hot dish and I must say not bad at all in general. The second positive effect is that from this meal planning a shopping list could not be more clear.
  • Get a break! It is important, the mornings and afternoons are intense, so I impose myself a moment of complete stop where any thought related to the project is prohibited.
  • Cooking during the evening, no ready-made dish. This is an opportunity to test the recipes that will suit me once on the water. This activity must be included in your daily life now because it is important, just like sleep. What is special in a boat is that you don’t have all equipement like in a house, so testing is the best way to realize things like “ho s*** I miss a bowl”
  • Evening activity, must be different from those of the day.
  • No screen after 9:30 p.m., to facilitate sleep, I read paper books.
  • Look at the weather, a lot of my work depends on it.
Find the mistake…

In fact it looks like a training period for my future life on board. It’s quite similar to the pace I have with my students at Les Glénans sailing school.

After a week of practice it looks like it works pretty well. I would evolve this typical day of happiness over time, depending on the circumstances.

Life on board

There is work to be done, of course, but it is necessary to feed and basically live in the middle of it all.

I hate putting away things I don’t know where to put away

My dear friend D-MEAT

Living on a boat in the middle of a shipyard is also an activity in itself, space is limited and there are many objects. Some of them are toxic, others flammable… It seems obvious that we should not drink acetone, but we put this bottle more easily next to the flame of the camper gas, since we do not know where to put it in the mess…

Moving in…

The water source is 20m away, it’s already very good because I can fill my two 20L cans. So I throw them overboard, I go down, get them back, fill them, attach the first one to the rope that I let hang from the boat, go back up, hoist the first container paying attention to my back, go down again, attach the second can, go up, hoist the second. We go up and down often, you just have to get used to it, but always be careful, it would be a shame to dislodge an ankle so stupidly

I am right in line with the runway of the naval air base at Lann Bihoué. From time to time there are a pair of Dassault Rafales that come to practice touch and go on the track. It is a splendid but noisy aircraft, with each pass the alarm of the car next door goes off. It’s okay, they don’t pass every day!

I found a public restroom not too far from the center at 3 minutes by car. I happen to go there at 9 p.m., passers-by look at me intrigued, me in my pajamas with my roll of toilet paper… So what?

You may have the impression that my situation does not please me, but in fact not at all. It’s been a long time since I had been as good, that I had not been at home in my shell.

The preparation of Øya

Exactly true, what should I do? The list of tasks is as follows (see the project page):

  • ✔️ Change of used anodes and repair of others
  • ⬜ Treatment of rust starts
  • ⬜ Restarting the engine
  • ✔️ Get the rest of Øya’s belongings from the former owner
  • ⬜ Rework the gas circuit
  • ⬜ Fitting-out (cf. Wikipedia)
  • ⬜ Preparation of the hull and application of anti-fouling paint

It seems little on paper, but in reality it is a certain amount of quite demanding and tiring work

Between two low pressures

During the winter in Brittany the weather is quite easy to understand because it’s the school case of depressions (low-pressures). When a first one has passed the weather is “nice” for one or two days and then the next arrives.

I need to treat small rust starts on the hull of the boat, and the epoxy treatment that I have to apply takes ten hours to be dry to the touch when the temperature is 10 Celsius degrees. I have to apply at least 4 coats plus a protection for the treatment itself which is photosensitive. Suffice to say that the slightest weather window is not to be missed.

Treating rust on the hull involves removing all of the rusty surface, sanding, then applying several epoxy coats. On this image we see in white the treatment after three layers. Only two left: one epoxy, one intermediate primer.

So, as soon as the weather forecast says it will be dry for more than 15 hours straight, I immediately interrupt what I am doing and apply a coat of epoxy.

I had planned to do nothing on Sunday except rest, like any self-respecting worker isn’t it? Well no, here we had a nice blue sky with 14 degrees all afternoon!
So I put on my gloves, took my brush, prepared the whole stuff and applied a coat of epoxy instead of writing this article!

The beautiful typical day of happiness remains dependent on the weather, with the advantages and disadvantages that it brings!


All this work requires expensive equipment that I have to get. It is also the first time that I have done this kind of operation myself on a boat, so I have absolutely everything to learn.

I am lucky to have my extremely kind cousin Maïlys who lend me her car. It simplifies things a lot! Whether it’s tools or kitchen utensils, I need everything. I almost start to meet the sellers of the DIY store because I go there almost daily.

Social life

Well at that level, not much!

Welcome to Brittany

In case you didn’t understand, this is Brittany. I say that because it is quite complicated not to realize it. Here, the “colors” of the country are black and white, meditate on it…
Everything is black and white: the bread, the coke, the domain names, everything is bzh and even the public toilets have a Breton flag.

Flags everywhere

On the road the signs speak Breton and I also listen to the radio in Breton! It’s a fairly special language that turns into ridiculous when you hear a blatant French accent behind it.

Ho… Local culture, heritage conservation, nostalgia for ancient times, the older is the better ! (non-violent sarcasm)

It’s beautiful to see a whole population as united behind its culture while remaining welcoming as I describe it later in this article.

It is however surprising, this region which votes rather on the left highlights while exposing all these identical signs in an exacerbated way!

On the road everything is peaceful, no horn, those who want to drive faster wait for the one in front to push himself. Unlike in Marseille, here flashing your lights are used to say “go ahead you can pass” rather than “Get outa my way you poor asshole”… Impressive!
And the icing on the cake, pedestrians can cross without risking their lives.

Indeed, they have reasons to claim their “colors”.

On the shipyard

Øya is standing at the entrance of the boat park, so passersby greet me, some stop and question me. One of them was looking for a boat to sell, I was struggling to hoist my things on the boat so I used him.
Then he wanted to go inside to see the inside of Øya and I said “no!” “. It’s my boat.

My shower

Bernard, the guy from whom I bought a splendid stainless steel kettle on leboncoin (a French classified ads website) came as a surprise visit with his wife on Saturday afternoon. It’s nice, we chatted for a few minutes on the boats.

I also have a neighbor, Eric, a rather “hippie”-like retired man, dressed in a ski suit with his long hair and his yellowish, wet beard under his nose. He’s been here since he bought his 8m sailboat six months ago. This boat was abandoned, he had it for 1000 € and since then it is scraping its hull to apply anti-osmosis treatment to it in the spring (see my article How to choose a yacht?).
This man seems rather happy, lonely but satisfied. He makes small objects that he sells in the village square, it pays for his equipment, he says.
Not my dream life anyway… I must not hang around here too long!

Outside the nautical bubble

I went into a pub where the students had just ordered 230 jager shooters. I took a coke while waiting to see them do it, it was joyful!

A guy by the way said to me “nice perfecto”, it’s true that everyone looks at me askance in fact, is leather perfecto not trendy anymore? In Norway it shocked nobody however! Or did they preferred to let me look stupid?
I have to put this cheesy thing as soon as possible in the “disguises” cupboard!

Building K3, “Deutsche qualität”

I took a quick tour to the submarine museum in the base built by the Nazis. What a tiny museum for such a large base… It’s frustrating, but the buildings are really worth a look! These indestructible submarine cells have enabled the maintenance of 40% of the approximately 1100 German u-boats, which have sunk no less than 2800 Allied ships if I remember correctly.

Good atmosphere in Lorient!

The K1 building from the bottom of Kéroman submarines. Built in 7 months by the Nazis from February 1941 to September 1, 1941.

In the end, I have lots of things to do on Øya, new things that I have been preparing for the past few months and which give me simple pleasure.

The work progresses in a natural way and without problem, in short life is beautiful so I just enjoy it.