from France to Martinique island

anglais-1.pdf anglais-1.pdfFrance , Açores , Canaries , Martinique

(mile here will be 1852 meters long ,nautical mile )

We are on July 1978 , on the island of Noirmoutier ,at the south limit of the French Brittany .The French people is afraid to have one million unemployed , if I have to be unemployed , better to be in sunny place , like Tahiti !

I am 24 years old , I have tried “economic sciences “at the university ,too far from the reality , in first year .I did military “preparation “ one Saturday on two , during some months to be able to choice where I shall lost my time during one year (military service obligatory at this moment ) I have gone by this way to Tahiti ,just to verify the life on place ,careful with advertisement !that's not the paradise ,but I prefer anyway to go there to grow my garden ,no heater needing ,no taxes .But the life is very expensive ,you have to be very rich ,or having a land ,or having a boat .Having a boat is useful ,as much as the adventure to go there ,is to be able to move to find the good place .

To buy this sail boat I go back to the metropolis ( France) ,Tahiti being a French territory .I do two years of university of geography , for travelling that may help (doing a maximum of interim to pay the yacht ).Now I can say that's not the best formation for the small works in the harbours of stopover ,but it has help fine anyway .A good thing with instruction :takes no place in travel bag and pass the custom without any problems !

An anecdote about it ,I was working (interim) in a warehouse,getting satisfaction from the boss ,he wanted to keep me ,I refused because of my travel ,we chatted a little more ,just to learn I was too much graduate for this job !

I shall stay 22 years market-gardener in Marquises islands ,1200 km north east of Tahiti

Learning sailing with “les Glénans” sailing school ,3 stages ,last one was coast cruising ,and I read any books and magazines I may find on the subject , the best advice I find is “keep far from capes and greet the squalls” That's the time of Tabarly (a book with autograph ),Chichester ,Alain Colas (a book with autograph ) when having sailing a little it's easy to believe he's dead by sea ,Moitessier ,half-seen at friends home in Tahiti , his book “la longue route “have an annexe that has been (with the glenans book and “la navigation astronomique à la portée de tous “de Olivier Stern Verin ) my reference book for this travel and its preparation

The yacht :a fibreglass 6meters (19 feet ) French sail boat ,type “Flirt” from Jeanneau builder,admit not further than 20 milles from a landing point .I was having all the security equipment out of the inflatable raft ,too expansive , a beach inflatable raft was my dinghy .Two halyard of jib ,storm jib ,jib one ,Genoa jib ,mainsail with two stays ,stem balcony , nice orange colour and white deck .But I put away the lips(serial logo) from the main sail ,my shy ,reserved , and or sensitive to “way of use “ side from an other time .A new yacht , but I would have gone with a second hand sail ship if my parents didn't offered me to pay the difference , without ever thinking I will go so far ,for them it was for fishing during summer holidays !

On Friday sunset14/july/78 I go having a look at the exit from L'Herbaudière harbor , island of Noirmoutier ,Vendée ,French Atlantic coast ,Europe (just in case of foreigners readers !).

The wind just in front ,the lights in the mist ,first observations .I wasn't knowing so well the place , my fun wasn't coast cruising with all its hazards and its human rules and the seasickness but ocean cruising to Tahiti and disappearance of seasickness after 3 days ,only the yacht problems and the astronomical navigation .

A chum (with who I was working at the harbour administration (they always owe me my extra work hours as a summer multi hand worker ) ) ,saw me from his yacht and call me for a drink. We spoke about my travel .He offers me a small bottle of burning alcohol to clean my sextant ,the lowest price plastic sextant from Plastimo ,it will be use to the Açores islands , further I will use an other one ,just upper level ,in plastic also ,offered by my brother .A lot of persons were giving importance to have a metallic sextant from an incredible price ,but really ,just as it's moving on a yacht ,it's quiet as accurate ,and anyway it's never too good to be too sure of his position on sea .And now with the GPS sextant looks like a joke ,but no electronic dependence ,no great brother satellites dependence also ! we have a look on his caribbean travel .

I was wanting to start at 2 AM , but the wind in bad direction ,better to wait sunrise and at 10 AM the harbour headmaster assistant towed me out . Not to fail the departure isn't so bad ! , I have luck but I don't want to waste it !Out of my chum and my family nobody know my next destination , and to they believe it ? For myself I have to try before to be sure !

Mist ,light east wind ,direction 257° , I adjust the wind pilot (fibber wood panel with weight and ropes working on rudder to keep a fix angle with the wind ) . T he plan of this wind pilot free of electricity is arrived to my hands by my dentist that was having Glenans revue in the waiting room ,had been kind to give me the precious magazine . This do-it-yourself has been ok ,out just a detail that I have been able to repair in time , the slip of the mast support in in this fixation . Small weather and seasickness .Location uncertain .One morning outside of Brittany coast .The dry batteries for navigation lights are out after two nights ,to be use only in time .As soon as the second day I see a small shark on the calm sea .The forth day I may do the location ,I am north of Spain .The seasickness is gone ,because during 3 days I was more on the berth with concentrated milk and dry fruits than at the rudder .I was asking myself if it wouldn't be better to go back and try next year ! A fishing boat (if I remember well )awake me in the middle of night with its foghorn . My navigation- lights are quickly lighted .I have a clear conscience because I think my yacht will not sink an other one and normally the stem wave of the cargo ship will push back me .The next night I go throw the “rail du Finisterre” , not a small work in front of these huge cargo ships that follow them at half a mile ,all in the same direction ,but aiming at the front of the ship I success passing behind . Wind but difficult to adjust the wind pilot out of close to the wind ,and wind is coming stronger . Friday the 21 th of July at midday I see a group of dolphins ,photos ,but too far unluckily ,as for the Spanish coast the day before . The sky is cloudy , would I be able to fix my position with sun culmination today ? Out of two days on all my cruise I have been able to do this observation .

15 minutes approximately before the sun is maximum hight in the sky I begin to to take its hight upon the horizon line ,with sharp time (in seconds) ,all the 3-4 minutes ,arriving a moment that the sun is not moving for some minutes ,that 's the highest point of the day ,will give me my latitude (more you are in the north more the sun is low on the horizon line ) , then the sun go down and I watch the exact time when the sun is at one of my first observation hight ,doing the balance of the two hours I know then the exact time of sun culmination on my yacht ,knowing by nautical almanac

the culmination time (not far from Greenwich time ,universal time ,TU ),difference give my longitude .Going west that's always a little later that the sun passes up my head !

 

Soon some incidents aboard , a shackle axe ,the only one not secure , from the rope of the mainsail ,losing in full night ,quickly replace .Some water coming under the sliding panel . I have to put a join and screw more the front panel . The old petrol lamp stops on the cargo way (the other direction one ) , way that I cut perpendicular.

One week of loneliness ,it's ok ,no problems .The 3 first days have been the most difficult ,psychological ,seasickness ,cold ,humidity ,loneliness I think . But I am on the way to sun and warmth , any time of the year ! Last night no wind for 3 hours out of cap Finisterre . I shall not be with such a wind in 10 days on Açores islands ! I haven't soon try fishing ,but one day ,may be . I am just finishing reading again the Antoine's book (French singer and sailor ) . And the radio let me smile ,alone aboard ,French political news have an other dimension in middle of ocean .Last day nice sunset :dark anywhere out of south west ,where I am going !

 

I get ,3 days ago , a storm 7 beaufort , I put minimum sail , I stopped 2 hours then went on .Hight speed if I believe my plot .That was during 15 hours ,moving ,but the yacht is ok .Wind fall down straight ,coming back lighter a little further ,it has been possible to go souther and have a good night

 

My plotting gives me 400 miles in 48 hours ! To be verify tomorrow !

 

I see again dolphins and also small tuna fishes . My fishing line was in action , without success ! I have to say that this morning that was quiet no wind ,with some seagulls . And fish get some interest for lure only if its speed is sufficient !

I feel better for my plot ,a mistake with chart report .

Second storm ,24 hours or more. I am going on but that 's not so comfortable ,organisation is better .

 

North west of Spain after a third storm . I decide to beat to south to have better weather .The storms seem to be attracted by the golf of Biscay . In fact ,really ,the weather is better ,But just spending 24 hours without wind . I keep the rudder in hand a while . I must say that at sea I don't steer ,and those that have an automatic pilot surely don't steer often also .

During the night the pilot is running as well as during the day ,following the wind ,if wind is moving ,yacht is following , your job is to verify regularly the compass

Verification any 2 hours ,night and day ,we may be surprised . The use of it come quickly ,without to much trouble for sleeping ,the young is helping may be . A flash light is sufficient on the compass at the head of the bunk .

 

Now the wind is back ,but to small for the pilot . But I have done a manual system sufficient for helping me having some rest . I was having as a rule to sleep a maximum because never knowing when it will be necessary to be on the deck and how long ! And when you have to wake up several times in a cold dark windy night ,better to be top level in energy ! Now that I am thinking to it ,the parents of the young children have surely an idea about it ,and sure that after a hard working day it may be difficult to accept the cries in the night ! When I have been a father to wake up during night hasn't be hard , you know what to do for exercise !

 

I have seen a small sea tortoise ,there are also some “moineaux de mer “with a white line on the back ,young seagulls also . That's 14 days that I live ,and from my last plot I have 8 more for Açores

 

Last night I dreamt about Mururoa (where I have done my military time )!the supplies level is ok ,water level also . No more carrots . I wish I have sufficiently eggs until I reach the islands . I do an 2 eggs omelette every evening in my small pan ! I fancy pancakes since some days !

I don't often fish ,but yesterday night ,during the dead calm I have seen a dozen of flying fishes hunted ,I am going to try again !

At the radio since some days I don't catch any other stations than France inter in French .I have

found a station with classical music all the day ! But the reception isn't so strong .There is also a Portuguese radio but bof …..

Nice weather is back with some wind . I met two yachts from the race “Lorient- les Açores “!the first one “stopped “short of me , I shouted my address,may be he had told my parents our meeting ! (yes ,they have done ,thanks them ) .They were sympathetic .The second one is passed 500 meters ,not shorter, knowing by radio I suppose . To day the dead calm is back . In four days the Açores , may be ! The fishing line has been used but the knot failed ,oh shame on me ! By Açores I would meet the teams ,with fun , I wish ! I am just fixing inside light of the outside compass ,running on 6 volts in spite of 12 as on the paper ! Out of that I would like some more wind ! Thinking to the 8 beaufort they will have tomorrow morning on “Finisterre” (France inter dixit )

 

After these 2-3 days of dead calms I am having some wind , able to use the wind pilot at 2 am (universal time ,for longitude position on sea ,more or less west or east ,we keep the exact time from a select earth point and we do the difference between local hour given by the hight of the sun . Sun culmination at 12H05 at Greenwich ,at 14H24 where I am,you translate time in degrees and longitude is there (example ) (35° west more or less) Wind is down at 2 from 3 beaufort . Yesterday behind the boat ,very short ,I saw 3 mackerels ,but there are smart !

My plot yesterday and before yesterday were quiet the same

The Açores approach now .May be ,if the wind stays ,I should arrive before the 10 th ? If the racing yachts are in the calms I pity them!I have done my first line of sun at 9H30 !

You take the hight of the sun at time ,with the books you know you are on a line on the globe ,at time more one hour you shoot the sun again ,you are on an other line ,you move the first line parallel to your way on the sea ,and where the two lines cut you are (most of the time )

I have done a nice way this night .I begin to study the approach charts .

 

After a small rainy squall I have seen a cargo .I have the wind just in my back but that's not so good because the wind pilot doesn't work on this way .I am just plotting that I am needing 10 days with my actual speed to be at Horta on the island of Faial. The wind is so light … But a good thing :I am now plotting on a chart of the Açores !,so on ,I rest ,I steer, for the pleasure .

 

By a nice day I succeed at about 14H to see an island :Graciosa ,but the wind is blowing down at night .Next day the wind blow too much .At about 12 H the back stay breaks ,(the line that keeps the mast from top to the back of the boat ) , “you don't need a pod at your pulley-block of back stay”he said ,on the contrary I certify ,a metallic cable turn without pod will break one day ,and not in a good moment for you ! But I am lucky ,the line is not flowing far because of my sort of radio antenna,I repair, and I heave to ,then I sail to be under the wind of the islands .I pass in the south of Pico ,very woody ,with a lot of sawing machines noises ,and I arrive to Horta by the south east .The wind disappear and Saturday 12th at about 1 AM ,after 25 days of sea ,I am in the harbour ,where somebody show me a buoy ,in French language !The entrance in the harbour has been thrilling :noise of the backwash ,great black rocks,small wind turning 20 meters before the entry .I have finished with the scull and then hauled by the harbour service boat .

Next morning I am awaken by a friend from the university (geography ,Tours ),arrived with the Açores race cup ,and one of his friends . I wasn't knowing he will do this sailing race ,but I am not sure to have been a very sociable student .We have a drink, and later I go anchoring ,because I was on the buoy from an another yacht . No problems with this first anchorage . I have a god meal ,and

I get ready to go ashore ,clean clothes ,dinghy inflated ,yacht documents ,money .I see the harbourmaster's desk ,the custom .On the way I find the “cafe sport” , the assembly point of the sailing world ,in Horta .I go to the post office after changing some money at the cafe ,banks being closed .

 

I was arriving in Horta harbour two hours before an other yacht .We were following us during the morning day ,burrowing money together ,in front of the changes problems .For midday lunch I offer me a meal at a restaurant ,some meat . After 25 days on the sea that's not so bad ,but quality of the vegetables is like “resto u” ( restaurant of the university ,rapid food ) !I chat with neighbours ,who offer me the meal ! The ice creams are good ,pear and plum flavour …

 

Afternoon ,they visit my boat .Cleaning , then I visit the yachts from the race team , cookies and drinks ,chatting . Some admire my cruise,some find it a bit crazy .And It's said that many from the yachts of this race will not be from the next one :the naval administration finding them to small !22H pm ,the meeting is closed ,crews are not too dry !

 

The next day race .When passing by Peter's bar a young guy working there (his son I think) asked me to do the race ,local one with the teams from the great one with a cousin .Ok . At 13H30 I was going ashore to take him aboard, some other ones ask me the same .We will be five .On the way I take 20 litters of water more . We don't know where it is ,no wind . But we ask and that's it ,just the policeman has done some difficulties for the boys coming aboard ,without authorisation ,needed !

 

Two hours later in the Faial pass no wind ,not at the first buoy .We are not the last ones ,because we scull ,but we are the smallest . At 200 meters from the buoy a yacht trail us gently ,let's go to the second buoy by motoring ,a small wind ,and calm again ,and trail again by an other nice yacht .That was fine for one of my crew that was sea seek ! At night meeting of the crews,distribution of trophies after a small buffet .But quiet a good atmosphere .We go to celebrate by Peter's bar .Back to the boat some animation and French music.

 

2 am :I am tired ,and go to my yacht .

 

Monday,I post my mail ,I do shopping ;I meet the boat that was following me . Invitation for night meal .Pass to the bank and Peter where I buy two engrave teeth of sperm whale for my sister and my god-daughter .They will go to them with the help of the French friend going back France to morrow . Afternoon “disaster” :one paddle lives me for harbour water .Looking for it without any success with the dinghy of “Ferrossimo”. I do a new one in 5 minutes :handle of a broom ,'there were in wood in this time ),and a piece of plywood .Some more research but negative .Small clothes washing .Two young boys Portuguese ask to have a look for the paddle ,I accept with pleasure .And here they are gone with the dinghy. No success .

 

Next days I do shopping ,repairing and re-enforcing sails . I meet an American yacht ,neighbour of me ,”l'esperance “NY ,sympathetic couple coming from NY and having troubles with their back stay .

 

This morning I have fished 3 fishes with the nets , they were from baliste family ;so curious that they were following the fishing line to the surface ,but the hook was too big , so with the very clean water a pass of the nets and that's it !two of them first time and the third follow ! Not so bad

 

Philippe Harlé (well-known French naval architect) and his family arrive on their yacht “Julienas” ,they invite me for lunch ; nice people back to France for school time ,after a trip around the Atlantic

 

I have done a diving party with them , he gives useful charts for my way ,and some materials for the works he recommended me . My yacht has a great cockpit and the sea is sometime sufficiently ugly to try to fill it .Only two times it succeed with a basket of water but never know ,and re upping the entrance of the cabin was more safe ,more acrobatic also ! I just cut the door and fix the lower part .

 

I receive on the quiet same time from France a letter from the 29 of July on the 22 of august ,a letter from the 14 august on the 23 and a telegram from the 18 on the 23

 

I meet the French yacht “aquilon” from Deauville ,I think ,with nice guys aboard .

 

Fishing is always so lucky ,I offer some fishes .I try to phone by call back ,but after waiting one hour I forget it

 

august The 24th ,morning .After storage aboard ,I go ashore for shopping ,I pass first by Peter's :two letters for me ,older less than ten days ! Wonderful ,I was waiting nothing before the end of the month !

 

I am having aboard for three days one crew from “aquilon” that has to fly back to France ,that's a good opportunity to do some pancakes ! I begin to do the departure list and some works ,like cutting the door in two part and screwing the lowest one ,as said by Philippe Harlé

 

Tomorrow that's the starting day :some arrangements ,having a look on the petrol lamp , shopping , this afternoon I pass by the authorities and Peter's for moving my mail address .Yesterday night I have gone to a restaurant with two French men doing camping and a crew from “Piscop”

 

I got so the occasion to have a taste of the local crayfish ,very good !

 

I pass by Peter's café ,he gently offer me an open letter knife in whale bone .The crew of the “piscopp” asks me what I need from the yacht ,nice guy .He also would like to go .

 

By 8h45 TU I live alone ,without witnesses ,from Horta to Madeira . Later somebody says me I was half from USA ,that wasn't my goal , but if I would have realise may be I would have try ! At the university,during my scholarship,I was reading carefully the notes from the information board ,slides presentations ,presentations ,contest ,and using the best .That's so I find an offer of scholarship in USA by New-York I think . I try . Just for finding the room that has been a challenge , I come inside to see a candidate in audition ,I wait ,I understand the English language from their “court” ,out of this of one or two members that I suspect to be from Texas or equivalent .W e chatter about my motivations . Later I know that the scholarship was given this year but next year it would be for me .May be but I prefer my sailing way ,no dependence !

Wind 2 max ,tacking ,just to be in calms ,out of Pico , (a great island inhabited from Açores ,which volcano has worked since ,but not too much ). The small night back wind would have obliged me to be at the ruder all the night ,so I put the sails down .

 

Next day ,august 31 ,wind 0+ from the back ,ruder tied with a stretcher that's sometimes sufficiently efficient for some moment .

 

The 2/09/1978 that's 4 days I lived Horta and I have done at 9 h 80 miles ,20 per days ,less than one knot average .Have to keep the mental high ! I will have to stop at Sao Miguel (other island from the Açores ) if this weather continue ,but needing 5 days to arrive !

 

The 3/09 afternoon and night give me 99 miles ,but now calm is back ,with this morning 20 minutes force 2 . I better understand why the local are cool ! Yesterday afternoon I saw a tanker (small one ) on the way for Horta I presume . Such a small wind that I couldn't come short of her ,it would have been possible to send a message to France announcing:”Madere only at the end of the month !”

 

this afternoon some wind .At night I am SW of Sao Miguel ,but I heave for the night ,because of the wind pilot that cannot keep the broad reach .Well done ,wind was blowing 5 to 6.

 

Next day morning direction S E to Santa Maria that I see at 18h , no sign of the local rock alone .By this day I lost ma fishing line ,that has been cut on the ruder .May I authorize myself to consider I am away from the calms ? Mistake ,at midday the wind is falling ,and is back only next morning at 5 ,back-wind . I succeed a way to keep going with this wind 0+ ,just seeing a dolphin fish,so I try 50 meters of line ,with a lure ,but the speed is not the best .I put for drying on the deck a banana I cut in 3 slices ,as said by Moitessier in his book ,unsuccessful ,the deck of a six meters yacht is more wet than this one of a 12 meters one ,I believe . But later ,quiet a lot latter ,drying bananas has been one of my productions in marquises islands , and good tasting ,be sure ! The barometer go up and down ,but no wind .

 

I listen radio France international with my father's old receiver on 19 or 21m ,not always very easy ,but in French ! I refuel the kerosene lamp . I am not approaching a boat line ,but never know .The cross words are in progress .

 

With this average speed of 1,36 knot I will be by Madera the 20 …..

 

Optimist ! 10 miles between the 6 and the 7/09.This morning at 2 h some small wind ,I take it .At 6 h I have a look outside :a tanker going east at starboard. At 16 h that's a container ship on starboard , going east also .They will arrive before me ! I am just thinking the tanker would be this one of the 2/09 .

 

The 8/09 (8 of September) a good day : I have seen a boat ,a tortoise ,a shark, and most of it I fish a dolphin fish , 1,34 meters long (4,5 feet) first time it out hooked short of the yacht ,but with the lever of a baliste fished with nets ,she has been hooked again .That give me occupation a good part of the afternoon ,that was without wind . I have had to clean the blood that has gone everywhere ,to clean the inside of the fish , to take the meat ,to cut it in long slices to dry them (but that's no more the good latitude to dry ,because I have had to throw all away ) . At 16h nice surprise :some nice wind ,just sufficient for the wind pilot ,if that may be for a long time !I was cleaning the cockpit when I se too short behind the boat a shark I find as long as the yacht ,with a lot of orange spots on black behind or the opposite ,like panther, not so courageous I prefer going inside ,not to tempt it to have a taste of me .The blood of the dolphin fish has attracted its attention ,and seeing nothing more was coming ten minutes after nobody any more .An other cargo .I refuel anywhere :oil lamp in the cabin and this one at the back of the boat .The wind is back .

 

For days of it .The third day ,the low stay of starboard breaks ,indeed an stainless steel stay curved is a stay out ,one day . I had wanted to put the mast down before going ,but alone that's not so easy ….I replace it ,not easily ,by a rope ,and I continue upwind with the Portuguese trade wind 4-5 ,not peaceful , but that has been ok .I approach Madera by the under-wind side ,first day without wind ,second day same .At the night it is a hunt for a whale .A bark with rowers ,a small smoking tug following ,the way back ,pot,pot,pot ,pot to the harbour .The third day headwind strong ,but I come at 3 miles from Funchal ,where I will be next day with a wind blowing down at 13 h .

 

MADERA

 

Saturday , everything closed .I have to anchor front and back as the other ones ,further I go to the background of the harbour .But that's moving and the next yacht is so closed .I take aboard a boat hitch-hiker .I see that the hull is full of barnacles .I phone to France for a stay .

 

I meet some yachts ,as the Lucetia ,French yacht with one crew going to the Patagonia ,and I wait for a letter from the builder of my yacht and the stay,passing by the ice cream shop .The passenger is gone to visit the island ,I take the opportunity to do the list of the supplies .Canaries islands are cheap ,we say ,I will complete by there .A sympathetic single handed sailor is just coming from Portugal ,not quick as me . With my help ,I gave him the newspaper with the offers ,he finds a dinghy to replace this one he lost in Bayonne .Out of that I am tinkering aboard ,some better way here and there ,to arrange the cutlery by example ,and the replacement of the extremities of the candlestick from plastic to cork , with a some silver paint for the look and the waterproof .

 

I visit an other single handed just arriving ,the Seonamara ,he wasn't any more able to use the rolling front stay ,so I pull him up the mast where he repairs it .He gives me 12 meters of 4 mm stainless steel stay that have been stupidly stolen from the dinghy when we were in town ,him for a phone call ,me shopping at the market .Back at midday the weather was turning bad and going worse,just in the axe of the entrance of the harbour ,or down from the mountain ,gust to 8 beaufort ,may be .

 

A lot of yachts has slipped,as our neighbour that we have to push away .Mine has just move from one or two meters ,that's all .The wind goes lower at night to come back not so strong at morning time .

 

I meet also two young French ladies on a “super arlequin “(9,10 m)beginning the round of the world .Also a german yacht with a yacht hitch hiker like me

 

I am there to see arriving some yachts from the race “Las Palmas Funchal”,the first was “Vega”most of them were Spanish or Portuguese

I am always waiting for my stay from France .

 

Invited by a nice Swiss boat I next day they are eating some pancakes on my board .

 

Saturday morning we are for singled handed ,what about some more pancakes ? One of them ,an English guy , is just going to Salvages ,rockies islands half way of Canaries ,anyway .We are 3 Germans ,2 Frenchmen's ,and then English neighbours and Swedish just arrived . After that I have been invited on their board ,after that an other night I have had a party on the yacht from a German single handed . The ladies from the French yacht invited us the night before they went away ,nice ,may be I will see them again ? Yes ,and in many places ,and they have done many round of the world and I see them again .

 

An other day I see arriving a French boat in wood ,houari type ,with for crews,I help them finding an anchorage. They have done a mistake of 250miles with nautical navigation ,missing the Canaries islands ,but luckily help by a cargo in water ,and position .The captain gives me a chart of Fort de France ,in Martinique ,that he was having twice . Nice guys but low navigation knowledges and sail equipment .

 

I decide to live Madera when I know ,after a phone call to France ,that my mother is arrived in Canaries Islands today ,I had announced my living but I update to wait more for my stay.

 

So next day I find at the post office my stay , I have done a mistake between the selling year and the building year ,so that's not the good one ...I wasn't knowing this way of modifying from a year model to an other one .I get 2 winch handles in present ,nice from Jeanneau ,the builder !

 

Starting between two squalls ,with the nice help of an English neighbour .Outside rain and wind 6-7 ,up to 8 in the night .For the first time seasickness with vomiting .Wednesday the wind go down ,Thursday no more !optimist! This morning a cargo ship is passing far away .Friday ,we have done 20 miles ,with the cloudy sky it is not easy to take the position at midday. My passenger perhaps knows keeping a direction ,but not tack …..80 miles more ,we may arrive on Sunday to see the plane flying back .

 

Saturday 14, 6 am ,I see in front of us the Great Salvage ,a small island ,good wind ,but front one , Monday we may arrive . Next morning nice surprise :Teneriffe under the wind . During the night the wind moved in a good way,that's occur ,and the celestial position confirms ,that'sTeneriffe . The wind blows nice . I am thinking I am quiet arrived ,but the wind disappears and from 18 to 5 am calms .I successfully pass an hard point at 18 h,then the current is going lower and the wind stronger ,back wind ,speedy ,lightly too much I feel ! I identify Santa Cruz and the entrance of the harbour ,with the sun in the eyes . Wind is falling and that's with the GODILLE and the current that I arrive to Real Club Nautico .We try to stop on a buoy but a unemployed comes to show us an other place . Of course just a little later wind is blowing again , now that we are arrived !

 

Les Canaries

 

I phone to the hostel from Teneriffe where had gone my mother ,but she has gone yesterday .

 

During the passage with the dinghy a hole appears ,I repair it on the yacht ,the unemployed passing us with his dinghy . Not a lot of people here ,from the blue water sailing I want to say .

 

This morning we are going ashore watering and to take a shower .By 11-12 h there are gusts 8 beaufort in the harbour .I have taken my mails at the post office and a package at the consulate ,lived there by my mother . The clearance have been an occasion for us to visit the town (I had forgotten to put the yellow flag when arriving ! ,so the custom ship hadn't come to do the clearance , and I was wanting to be in order ) Because of the wind I only succeed at the second time to come aboard ,between it has been a soda and a “san-antonio” (French police literature ),and two hours . I am thinking to find an other anchorage when the gusts will stop . At 18 h that's the starting time ,first in direction of the town ,no yachts ,then on the opposite way ,following indications from guys on the pier and an officer ,but nothing .

 

Third and least place ,the village of San Andres,that's here that the blue water sailors are . And I am

allowed by the Swedish met in Madera ,I moor along their yacht and I go on their board to have a drink and a hot dog .Next morning general internal and external .storing time. Showers are passing by .The 19 th in the morning the Corean fishing ship mooring 4 yachts mine including ,moves to an other place on the pier ,funny and impressive .A French yacht known in Madera comes along but the waves done by the passage of the fishing boats are doing inquisitive crackles of my boat ,so I attach my vessel outside of the group. The Chinese (from the fishing boat ),one more than the other ones , invite me sometimes for a meal on their board ,simple and cool . One afternoon I have the luck of the passage from a nice girl , waiting for her boyfriend from the next yacht,and so having a nice cup of tea with me .

I don't stay doing nothing aboard ,I teach the neighbour celestial navigation ,I lend him some documentation ,I do some handworks, I go shopping . The Wednesday before departure I go along a French wing of yachts on the way to charter in Caribbean islands ,after meeting a Suisse yacht . Moving with only the scull ,because of the wind is too hard ,so I finish with sail and rope . Nice guys . I have some drinks ,I complete the water tanks .They give me their radio vacations ,but I will not receive them unlike what I was thinking about .

 

DEPART POUR LA MARTINIQUE

And the Thursday at 12 h I leave ,followed not far by one of this yacht .

The wind pilot runs back wind ,if wind (by now without studying the technique I were tacking) I am going not far from 4 knots speed the first 24 hours !

The third day I try to sail with the two jibs back wind ,but the wind isn't to the good direction (SSE)

 

The 29 at 21 h I go outside to adjust the sails when I note two green lights behind on my right side ? 2 green lights that's not common ,I have a look in my book ,but nothing about ,sure ,they are two boats ! They are close and I keep one eye on them , I identify 2 yachts ,I light on my navigation lights , and I wait .The first one calls me by my first name ,that's Dufour's team (met in Santa Cruz) that catch me ! They give me some powder milk after some chattering .We take an other rendez vous on the air (radio) ,I shall be only listening because no transmitter .That's surprising to be known in the middle of the ocean ,that's giving me confidence also in my navigation ,I may be on the good direction !

 

First of November ,during the night the wind is falling down ,lightly back at 8 . I take the opportunity for washing some clothes ,with the sun that will quickly dry ! The setting of the wind pilot isn't an evidence . The wind fall down again and is back (a little ) at 2 in the morning for a good length of time .After the calculation of my midday position with the sun ,I have done 50 miles in 2 days ,and my position from yesterday was wrong , when moving one mirror of the sextant before end of shooting ….

The 4 th ,after some moving winds ,something like trade wind seems to be in place ,in fact we speed . This morning my chocolate bowl tips ,luckily without to many injures .I cut my hairs , I shall do it myself for some years again .

The 5 th my position that isn't sure but a lot probable ,a squall just arriving at midday , I am 1 mile north of the cancer tropic line .I am just hearing at the radio that the sailing race “la route du rhum “is starting ,they may catch me !

The 6th ,because of no wind I am only 2 miles south of the tropic .My position from yesterday wasn't so true because only 5 miles done ,and only with the current I would have done 12 ! In the afternoon the wind is blowing up ,NE ,and at 18 h it's not so far from 6 beaufort with rain squalls .The yacht is speeding with only the main sail ,without 2 stays ,the genoa was staying on the deck ,in front ,thinking the squalls wouldn't persist . It really seems that's the trade wind . Because moving from north to east I have ,sometimes ,to settle the wind pilot .It is sometimes powerful , for me 6 beaufort it is not nothing !

Theoretically to day 9th of November I am at the third from my way ,I shall celebrate that with pears in syrup . Always theoretically in one month I should be arrived .

 

The 12 the trade wind has well blown and is continuing .Yesterday night at the radio I have listening the dancing time from FRANCE INTER at the radio ,that was with Caribbean music !

I am just calculating ,may be in 24 days I should see the Martinique island .To morrow night I may think to light on a light in my back stay,because I shall cut a Shipping Line way .On the way in 4 days theoretically I shall be half way ,if the wind is remaining .

 

My main occupations during the day are having my breakfast at about 8h30 ,local hour ,in fact at sunrise ,free time to midday and more ,just taking some fun with “ right height of sun “.One hour and half before astro midday position that is lunch time .During the afternoon that's reading time and radio listening .Hard time for French speaking radio like RFI less easy to receive than English,Spanish ,US one's .Sometimes I have some news from the “route du rhum “ .I may be arriving with them .I feel to try the moon and the stars for celestial navigation ,I have the book explaining the way ,the nights are very clear and soft . I also do crossword puzzles ,

 

The november/15/78 I were supposed to be halfway today ,but mistake . Theoretically 18-20 days .The wind fall dawn ,the radio also .

The 11/16/78 17 days more with such a wind .A mistake in yesterday position ? My first moon shoot isn't wonderful .At midday I have seen a dolphin fish , I put the fishing line ,just in case ! I have done the half way ,I may see some cargo ships ,because cutting their way.

 

The 17th sure I were sailing too south but so much !I have done only 40 miles in the good direction . Yesterday night at 20h30 ,the night was here since 18h30 ,I have seen the lights from a ship going away back starboard .

 

I just read again the letters I received since the Açores . Radio Moscow is the only one I receive nicely ,and one time the BBC in French .The sky is wonderful outside and I take a photo .

 

The 18th of November Problem this morning ,the quartz alarm clock I bought in an supermarket quarter of the price of a “nautical” one is 2h30 late ! .Happily but not easily I find the hour signal by the BBC . For celestial navigation the seconds are important .The alarm clock is running well now ,a bad shock I presume .

 

11/20 Yesterday night a serious headache ,2 aspirins at night and disappeared .The sun was hard by the porthole.

 

I have done less than one longitude degree ,12 days more to sail to day .No more news from the rhum race .Yesterday cloudy sky ,to day 2/5 clouds . Looking for pills I find hard smell , that wasn't the cheese I have thrown overboard earlier but eggs ,just lying on eggs cardboard, 6 are flying overboard ,I have 24 less .

 

This afternoon I do some lines of position with the sun with strange results ,so I regulate the sextant . It was at 2' 40'' of collimation ,excessive !,I put it back to 6” .But the afternoon is cloudy and the sun invisible . So to verify navigation material time to time isn't waste time !

 

11/21 one time more it's 13 days less before Martinique . This night I may have sailed north or a mistake in calculation ,and today only lines of position are possible because just today no way to have the sun a sufficiently log time for the meridian .That has happen only 2 or 3 time all along my trip .The wind is south now ,not the best for me ,and light , so I decide to wear the great jib ,call genoa . I miss a dolphin fish ,she had a taste of the hook and went away !

 

I am quiet sure to have seen 4 sea birds white and accurate , in a group ,but normally I am in the middle of Atlantic !

 

11/23 yesterday morning I have calculating my position ,not so sure by now ,but better to have done it ,because at midday the sky is cloudy ,rain for 2-3 hours ,short sun and again ,then a wind in front ,light passing stronger ,then lighter .From my fishing line I see I have an important drift .

 

Yesterday night I listen the soccer match Duisbourg Strasbourg on RFI ,not easy ,the Alsaciens from Strasbourg didn't have any luck .Since yesterday night I have a nice clean sky ? A squall at 1 AM ,I took 2 stays in the main sail , quickly leaved ,the squall is gone .

 

This morning I am doing lines of position : I am back going ! I wish that the sun will stay visible to have an available meridian because I am doubting on my position .

 

Yesterday at midday I saw a tin of beer ,empty ,I am on the good way !

 

The barometer goes down a little deeper each day and goes up each night .

 

The 11/24 11 days more because the 22th has been lost for the distance ,but this afternoon also the wind falls and the sky is cloudy . I have 2-3 dolphin fishes around the yacht ,one bigger but no way to catch one of them . I have also two pilot fishes at the bow .The hull seems dirty ,especially

at the waterline that I have done too much down ,as soon as the hull is often wet algae is growing

not necessarily along a continuous line .

 

I receive sometime quiet well radio La Havane and more and more US and south american stations

G: 46°28W L:18°24N

 

The 11/25 yesterday and this night I go through many squalls ,windy and rainy ,dotted sleeping. This morning I got some wind ,no sun for plotting ,but a lot of free water !

 

I have recovered 5-6 litters of rain water .I am tacking ,that's not the most comfortable way .

The 11/28 since 2 days I had the trade wind ESE 3-4 Beaufort ,easy ,but this night it's getting stronger at 6 ,and soon now ,but may be going a little down .I have been obliged to take 2 stays yesterday and to move the genoa ,not easily ,this morning . I am going too south ,also after the meridian I shall jibe to go more west ,being almost at Martinique 's latitude (15° N and me 16° N )

 

A squall this morning was listing some long minutes the boat ,jib tensed flat behind the main sail back wind ,to the windows . The sea is impressive ,and I was prevented !

 

The 11/29 I have pass the 50th meridian .This night I think I have seen boat lights in the far . I had also a nice list that moves some things aboard but nothing important .

 

Since this morning I tack NW ,for 3-4 days I think .I am just earring the racers from “la route du rhum” are arrived , The first French has been 1'16'' too late to be the first !

 

I got some problems with my radio receiver ,a welding that was bad ,I have done a knot and that 's running ,that 's the most important ! My wind pilot drags in its support at the place of the out-board engine that I lived in France . I would have better done my own idea with a screw across it .

 

Sometimes the sea looks like easy coming ,sometimes not ,that's uncomfortable for the accuracy of the plot ,and most of it because I get some drips and also the sextant .

 

The 12/1 yesterday night I got some seconds radio France Martinique .That's yesterday that was my best distance day ,more than 100 miles . In 5 days (?) La Martinique will be seen .Yesterday I passed by a white plastic drum 25 litres. Before yesterday I cross the way from a cargo ship,at about 8 PM .

 

I write cool in the comfort of the cabin ,cap on ,when spray are wetting the berth port side .Quickly clean, I shut completely the cabin . I wish the wind pilot will not go down too quickly ,and will do the arriving time .

 

The 12/2 this morning squall weather and cloudy sky ,like small squalls and sun spots . Good speed may be in 4 days ….I found the courage to try to stop the down movement from the wind pilot tube ,getting sea water wet ,I broke one bit from my hand drill (by accident ) where I were wanting to put a screw ,more simple and efficient !

 

Yesterday 12/4 I have been overflown at 10m by a French army plane ,at 3 PM ,local hour ,continuing its way to ENE .

 

This morning 2 flying fishes ,size like sardines .I use one to catch a dorade coryphène 0,90 meters long .Some meat for the way to the harbour !

 

That's 2 or 3 days that I am seeing coastal sea birds .The fish is drying on the cockpit . I ensure this night because at midnight ,theoretically ,a lighthouse is visible . But nothing ,and I feel obliged to get up each hour to have a look .

 

That's the 12/6 about 7-8 AM that I see something between the clouds .During the night a dozen of flying fishes size from a sardine are fallen on the deck . I take a rest in the cabin when I ear motor noises :2 small fishing boats are trawling 100meters away of the yacht .We exchange salutations . I ask them if the island we see is la martinique ,they say first la Dominique but then correct:that's la Martinique .So I put my fishing line to work and rapidly a dorado is taken ,but it is fighting and the yacht isquick,so it is going away when I howled it , before the line has partially cut some of my fingers during the fighting ,a lesson for my fingers …..If we turn around the hand a fishing line and we catch something ,we go out with it ,and to go back to a yacht under sail and automatic wind pilot by swimming ,it's not easy . I keep the traces of this lesson on my fingers until today .

 

I have nice weather with only a squall in the morning .

 

At about 8 PM I am passing the islet La Perle ,on the north coast of the martinique ,passing along I am earring the radio receivers on the coast . I think that anybody is arriving by the south of la martinique ,less wind problems before the main harbour Fort De France ,but if I follow this way of sailing I risk to spend less time on the sea ! The wind is falling , I take this opportunity to sleep 2 hours .

 

12/7/78 small wind to the night with a squall in the Saint-Pierre bay. I sleep 2 hours ,and I find the wind blowing 4-5 : I put up the jib and tack to Fort de France ,in which bay I am at day set at 6 AM .The sea is flat , I sail in silent . I say bonjour to a lonely fisherman on his dinghy . I put on the main jib,and the wind is back ,but the mast is ok . I tack ,as usual ,and at midday after fighting with a rope gone overboard I anchor in the Flamands' bay ,that's the anchor place from Fort de France ,head city from La Martinique ,not far from the fort .The anchorage is dragging but to windy for easy going in better site ,but an American woman coming to congratulate me with her out board motored dinghy howls me to a better place .

 

La Martinique

 

I am quiet tired ,so after a small lunch I sleep one hour . I go ashore ,no custom problems ,but to phone by call back to France that 's only in the morning time and for the mail their on strike ...I meet a friend known in Madera ,he guides me in town . I test the prune juice and coco water ,and 12 hours sleeping . Coconut milk is done grating and pressing the meat from an old coconut (grey brown ) and the coconut water is the liquid inside a young(not too much!) green coconut .

 

12/9 I may phone after one hour waiting ,to my parents ,just surprised I am so quickly arrived ,after 44 days of sea travel !I have a look on the 2 local markets from the town ,buying some fruits and vegetables and I appreciate a brochette of peppered meat .In a snack I eat my first frying chicken since a long time . In the afternoon I do the cruise to the Pointe du Bout marina ,where I don't stay because it's not free. I meet there the captain of the Coui ,met on sea after my start from Tenerife ,

Canaries Island ,back to the marina deck to go to my yacht I find my dinghy on an other one . I have to say they are a lot of them. A 14 meters long yacht is coming along the pier ,I give them a hand to put out an engine in failure .W e have a drink and then I come back to my boat .

 

12/10 I tinker aboard :greasing of the hand drill,cleaning of the front berth where the eggs were broken ,leaving some smelt . At night I go ashore and I meet by surprise the crews from a German yacht met in Madera , I am having a book of them . I meet the friend from yesterday ,engine operation following ,on the 14 meters long yacht ,hen we go on this boat for a meal . Town visit to take a drink with the friend that says me he has planting trees on Noirmoutier island , where I spent so many holidays !

 

12/11 6 AM I move with the scull to ba shorter from the pontoon ,near Kriter 2 ,a French sail racer .

 

During this week I rarely go shopping ,but at night I have often a drink (fruit juice )and chat in a bar short of the naval army base ,most of them ,cool and calm in opposite of bigger bars more crowded .

 

A Friday I go anchoring in the Anse Mitan ,where the yachts ,not being charter are cooler . I take the chance also for cleaning the hull in a cleaner water . This anchorage is on an other site from the bay of Fort de France .At night I visit some friends from Dufour 's team .I go back to the town anchorage for the mails and shopping . I find there 2 Suisse yachts I soon met ,one of them was in a cyclone out of Cap Verde Islands ,the 11/25 . On this day I noticed swell from S E . Back to Anse Mitan I am with friends for Christmas night ,spending one hour there one hour here by locals hoses , eating small spice flanges and drinking rhum . Next day I am the guest on a sympathetic American yacht which has gone trough France by the channels and has come by Mediterranean sea.

 

12/26 Back to the city Harbour ,with 3 friends ,anchorage isn't easy . I meet an old Dutch couple .

At the post office I get a package .

 

END OF THE FIRST PART TRANSLATION 2010/12/05

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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