Some news from a month of silence. Things have happened, but nothing really exciting but still some millestones are now behind…
I was finally able to get out of my river, Le Blavet, the day to make a first sailing trip with Øya has arrived! The serious things are approaching, I found myself a job to make myself a reasonable budget for travelling, but the Coronavirus like manby of us stopped me…
A long preparation
Even when everything seems ready, there is still “one more thing” to do. This is somewhat what happened before leaving Le Blavet. The list of tasks I had to do was not that long, but each item was time consuming, far too long.
Just to give you as an example: I put my stove back into service. It turned into an afternoon of disassembly, anti-rust paint here and there, a night in the smell of the solvent and a morning of reassembly.
Everything is like that.
Towards salt water!
One day, finally, everything is ready enough and I can get out of my river. For this occasion, I was lucky to have the presence of Arthur, the instructor who trained me during my instructor training. Going out for a first trip to test a boat that I don’t know would have been nice alone, but for two, it’s much simpler and more fun!
We therefore left the river to bring Øya to port du Kernével, in the harbor of Lorient. We used the engine to leave the river, and two surprises awaited me at the arrival: a good and a bad. The bad one is that I have a leak at the injector of the first cylinder, the second is that the Øya bottoms are very dry.
It was the next day, Friday that we had the right conditions to finally go out to do a few rounds on the sea.
It’s as usual
It is the first though that I got. Yes, Øya is a normal boat. I expected a feeling of heaviness and inertia quite strong. It is the case, but much less than what I expected.
During our outing, we did very little maneuvering. We left the harbor, hoisted the mainsail and the genoa and we went up the side of the island of Groix from south towards north.
We did a long, close tack with the moored bar. Alone, the boat goes really straight without us having to go out check the heading every 5 minutes. Most boats are able of this, but on Øya it’s even easier. There was a bit of sea, the boat did not moved that much, almost as if the waves were not here.
For carrying gaits, I will of course need to use the gait regulator. It will be one of the things I can’t wait to learn.
This first outing made it possible to see a certain number of things so far less obvious.
- The sails are already in pretty good condition, I really feared that I would have to change a few very quickly, but they still have miles to go.
- The stove on the other hand is on a rail that I can not keep in place, so it slides dangerously. This is an urgent point I have to deal with.
- My genoa furler’s tail has a tendency to hang and is therefore to adjust.
- A fairly crucial point, my steering compass does not indicate the north! My steel boat has a too strong magnetic field which falsifies the information. I must see how I can get around this deviation… For now I use the AIS transponder which gives the compass over ground, but I will have to do my deviation curve anyway.
As a reminder, the rule number 2 of the project consists of working, as described there. The project is relatively atypical and takes time to set up, that does not mean that the goals changes. When you have little money, finding, buying, preparing, launching a boat is time-consuming and it requires effort and logistics. It’s hard to do anything else at the same.
In fact, I’m coming to the end of my initial budget, as expected, but a bit earlier though. It is quite satisfactory because I was able to do all of this with this budget and social assistance. Now that I no longer have my head in the paint, nor in a keel or whatever, then I can look for a way to make myself a sufficient new budget to travel a little and thus finally start for good!
The sailing valley
Why leave when the nest egg is just in front?
This is what I said to myself when I arrived at the port du Kernével, which is located opposite “La Base” in Lorient. “La Base” is certainly an old submarine base, but it has also and above all became
a the technological pole of ocean racing. Beside, it also known as the sailing valley.
I have been looking for opportunities to work in IT for the past few months, but it has not produced much. So instead of going to train in Quiberon Bay, I decided to look for work here, in a workshop. Unlike IT, which offers lots of long-term opportunities, workshop work coincides very well with small missions lasting a few weeks. That’s why it is a good option for my current situation.
After some exchanges here and there I managed to meet a person who was able to give me the contact of another person who has a high-tech company in ocean racing and who “would look for roboticists”. Once on the phone, it turned out that they were more look after technicians. No problem, I take everything!
So here I am, dressed in a white suit, waterproof gloves and gas mask, in short as an underqualified worker to sand pieces of carbon for boats that will race the next Vendée Globe. Life is full of unexpected surprises! It is sometimes very boring but often wonderful. In any case and from any point of view, I love this turnaround in a few days.
Every morning I go to work by foot, a few kilometers along the river called le Ter. It’s nice to walk along the water, I see some birds, the boats and admire the changing colors of the rain. This is the good side, because my path also runs along the departmental road…
After a week and a half of work, containment of France was decreed on March 16*. My interpretation of Emmanuel Macron’s speech is that I will have to go to work. Being my own boss, I sign my certificate and I go on foot like every morning to work.
* In France, Emmanuel Macron deceided to declare the containement status for everyone on the French floor. People are only allowed to go out for buying food, go to work when not possible remotely, train 2km around home, and go out with pet. People have to sign a certificate for each trip outside. If they do not respect the rules they have to pay a 135€ infraction.
Change of scenery
With confinement, the landscape has changed radically. The cars almost disappeared when dozens of joggers appeared. I walk along the water.
The clouds have evaporated leaving a beautiful blue sky. For its part, the tide seems slower to breathe a sea of oil than anything else disturbs the motion of birds. I remember watching them but I don’t remember hearing them. There, I hear what is happening beyond the immediate surroundings, it is as if the film of reality reveals an unprecedented depth, as uninhibited by the absence of traffic noise.
It was way too good, way too easy! The action took place in two stages:
- “Damn, I touch the handle with my hand”
- “Shit, actually the door is closed”
My client has stopped working, so I have no more work. No work no money, it is rather frustrating.
I then go back along the stretch of water while trying to imagine – between two joggers jutting – the landscape as it was before. Before the offshore racing sheds, before the main road, the Nazi bunkers, the wrecks and before the yellowish foam which, if we continued to stop, would dissipate.
I am forbidden to go out sailing because all nautical activities are prohibited.
This artistic blur does not affect me that much, what matters is to get out of this crisis as soon as possible. I understand that the situation that I had not really followed is actually serious. I play the game, I stay at home, I don’t go out.
Since I started working, the weather has become lenient for going out during the week and not so good at weekends.
Then and from the confinement, we pass through weather windows that would have allowed me to go north, if I had been able to follow my initial plan to leave in mid-March.
At the same time, I was supposed to leave the harbor on March 22, but since I am not allowed to leave it I do not know what will happen. Actually I do, I will have to pay a new monthly payment, 50% more expensive because we are entering mid-season!
So finally, I have not left the harbor since I entered it, and I am no longer allowed to leave it.
It does not matter, I am lucky to be in good health. I have work on the boat, so I do it.