three hulls, two people, one trip around the world…

England to La Rochelle

Since our stay in Tor Bay the weather improved. We had nice sunshine and moderate wind. We sailed at a leisurely pace along the south coast of England from one anchorage to the next. On Friday, 23.8., the wind finally turned in our favour and we set off for France.


The crossing was on a half wind course and the autopilot worked reliably. Sailing can be as effortless as that. In the evening the wind ceased completely and we had to motor into a bay to anchor. In the dark we preferred to anchor further outside. That proofed to be wise, because the next morning we saw that the whole bay was full of small motorboats without anchor lights. 

Time to call at a port again and stock up on supplies.


We wanted to go to Brest and as chance would have it, I read in my mails on the way that the Makani of the Glüxpiraten was in Brest. I had met the Makani owners during skipper training and because they were also  looking for a boat for bluewatersailing, we met again and again at fairs and stayed in contact. They have a very nice website with podcast, in German though.

Coastal cities are also hilly in France. In Brest we had to climb uphill again to get to the supermarket.

For a change Mathias not only repaired the boat, but also our bike, which currently has one broken spoke after the other. I used the bike to get to the Makani, which was in the next marina 5 km away, and the next day to make the trip to the supermarket easier. Since we are not really the hiking type, it was nice to have the bicycle at our disposal. 


The repair work in Brest still had to do with the toilet in the guest’s hull. The holding tank had come off the wall spilled its contents. We are still busy flushing the room. The sewage colour is slowly getting lighter……

A new repair case was the sliding door, which could no longer be closed. The reason: the bracket, which consists of two screws into the aluminium frame, had come loose.


From Brest we left on the second day at noon, after all the repair works, we didn’t wanted to hurry. 


The next days brought nice weather and moderate to little wind. Our course allowed us to try out several of our foresails. This may sound easy, but you have to learn how to handle the huge sails. Sailing with them is one thing, but setting the sails requires practice. For us this means: pulling out the long sock with the heavy sail from the front stowage spaces, arraging it strategically on the foredeck, pulling in the sheets (running up and down several times the entire length of the ship), using spatial sense to consider which line has to be at the top and which at the bottom. Experienced sailors may smile now, but you are actually busy for quite a while until such a sail is set. You get lots of exercise. (And my doctor said that sailing is not a sport.)

First we had the spinnaker up, when it’s sock came loose during a jibe and it had to be pulled down and back up again. After that, the tack line came loose – action on board once more. Then the wind turned, so we decided to try a Parasailor. It worked well. But taking it down did not go well, the shackle on the mast had become wedged. This meant that we had to pull Mathias up the mast several times in the anchor bay in order to get the sail down. For us a reminder that we have to be careful with electric winches.


Mathias worked out a lever system with several lines in order to free the shackle at the mast top from the wedging. Nevertheless, he still had the time and nerve to film from above:

Next we had a day when we set three different foresails. First the spinnaker, then we dared to test the biggest of the three Parasailors – 283 m2 . At the second attempt to pull the sock up, it unfolded but did not stand nicely, the wind was not strong enough. So we took it down again and pulled out the smaller parasail and set it. That was a lot easier after the whole exercise with the big one, but the process still needs experience and improvement. Next, we’ll take a look at how much time we need to set one of these sails.

By the way, you also get exercise when securing and stowing the mainsail. The dimensions and heights on this ship are all such that I would have to be 5-10 cm longer to reach anywhere. Accordingly most of the work requires athletic stretching from me.


Of course, the nice weather also ensured ample opportunity to use the couch on the sun deck. We had a relaxing time the last weeks: The anchorages off the French coast all had bad internet reception ☺

We are in very good company here: One can see boats sailing around that participate in the Vendee Globe. We saw the new Sodebo Ultim 3. It is supposed to be the fastest sailing yacht in the world and is also a trimaran. Unfortunately she was too far away, you couldn’t wave to her. 😉


Then we saw the Eyesea Solo Sailor and the Setin Solo Sailor.

Current port stop is La Rochelle. We will stay here for a few days to have repairs done by Neel. Afterwards we will sail further south and are looking forward to visit Portugal.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ann and Dennis

    Thank you for the wonderful blog post! We love hearing your stories and we cannot wait to buy our Neel 51 in 3 years. Keep them blogs coming!! 😍😃

  2. Gavin

    Hmmm, no stop at Glasgow…

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