Conveyfrom Nieuwpoort to La Rochelle in Elan 350

"Twice the road, three times the time, four times the growl," says one when one has to inflict a navigation against the wind. Intellectual honesty compels the saying that the saying is not young, and that it refers back to a time when sailing ships were winding up like hooves. Today's boats are frankly more efficient at the close, and their VMG (*) has nothing comparable. It does not prevent: pulling from the banks of Nieuwpoort (Belgium) until Ouessant is a bit of a punishment. In these moments we are rather happy to be at the helm of a steep boat to the canvas and good walker. The Elan 350 is not a pure courier of the calibre of a JPK, but this is still a very honest sailing yacht, of which we were able to check the marine character during a passage of Raz Blanchard resolutely agitated: with 25 to 30 knots of wind oriented West this is P Have completely from the wind against the current, in the dead-waters the Raz is obviously less formidable, but it was still strong enough to approach the Cap de La Hague. Under Mainsail at the second reef and ORC jib (* *) Our Elan has crossed the delicate area without ever giving us the impression that we are depassing the measure.

A front sail cut for the breeze can be valuable, and yields immeasurably higher than that of a partially rolled Genoese. Our only constraint will have been to have, before the Barfleur and the arrival of the Gale, Derig the Genoese to replace it with the ORC; When the Genoese in question wears vertical slats (so as to offer an important fall round while accepting the winding), this implies a small gymnastic consisting of the lowering small end by small end while playing the shoes lattes, as much To say that at sea it is not feasible otherwise than by beautiful weather and flat sea. Conclusion: If you carry a Genoese on a reel, the real solution consists of a gaff forestay on which to send the sail of breeze, whether it is a Solent jib (with a slender cut and a point of halyard rising almost as high as that of the Genoese) or of a staysail (more collected geometry). If, moreover, the so-called breeze Sail is equipped with a band of reefs, we are the kings of the track until the bad weather.

From Nieuwpoort to La Rochelle, the route presents itself on its largest part as a series of sequences between so many crossings: pas de Calais, raz de Barfleur, Raz Blanchard, channel of the Furnace and Raz of Sein. It is necessary to manage the countdown, to hold an average, to ask if necessary before a key passage to avoid unnecessarily refouling of the current. In 570,000 in the company of the owner of the Elan, which he had just bought used and which we discovered together, we will have only two short stopovers of a few hours. These stops express can be the occasion of beautiful surprises: This is how in Port Chantereyne (Cherbourg), in a pouring rain at three o'clock in the morning, you are greeted at the edge of the quay by the watchman of the captaincy, who came to inform you the Code Access to the showers.

Approaching the Raz de Sein under code zero (Photo F. Augendre).

As for the stopover at the Aber Wrach, it is worth as much for the availability of the sailors of the port as for the place itself: the approach and the channel offer an ambience and sumptuous landscapes. When after that you leave the battery as it takes to simultaneously pick the reverse of current and the wind rocker at the Noroît before Portsall (thank you aroma, model of high resolution forecast of Weather France), you tell yourself that the life of conveyor offers Regular small pleasures that should not be trivialized.

This is how we are finished with the gaits closely, to descend from the conch at the tip of the Raz by a time of damsel and under Code zero (still a sail that one is happy to have in the hold).

The end of the course will be done on the other hand to the tight drop under the grains (pretty swell, beautiful skies), history to confirm the road stability of the hulls with a slightly wide rear, a bilge and two rudders; and also to plague, a little, against the system of automatic reef catches supposed to simplify our life but which forced us systematically to move in foot of mast to circulate bumps lacking singularly fluidity.

Nothing beats the classic RIS system, with tack hook, or even better carabiner: less friction, less effort, and above all the possibility of managing the border and hoist tensions separately. This is one of the first changes that the owner has promised to do, and I will not give him any wrong…

(*) Velocity Made Good: Speed of ascent in the wind. The VMG is the projection on the wind axis of the ship's speed vector.

(**) So-called breeze jib as it is obligatory on board racing sailboats off from a-relatively old-decision of the offshore racing Congress.