Three years earlier I had brought back to La Seyne sur Mer a J 111 that had just participated in the Middle Sea Race, this great Mediterranean classic whose route – more than 600 miles – makes the clockwise turn of a watch , Stromboli, the islands of Pantalleria and Lampedusa, before returning to Malta, his starting point.
This time I was entrusted, the day after his middle Sea Race victorious (in the IRC 6 category), the JPK 1080 Marseille Solenn, which I know well for having run two seasons on board, most often as a tactician. For this conveyance I was accompanied by a luxury teammate in the person of Jean Philippe Cau, president of UNCL, with whom I had competed in the British championship and the Commodore’s Cup in 2015 on Stamina.
Because of the strong and contrary winds announced over the west of Sicily, I chose to pass through the East and the Strait of Messina, even if it extended the road. This did not excuse us from suffering a period of short but intense bad weather, crossing a frankly violent storm front off Syracuse. At the same time, another French boat that participated in the Middle Sea Race was very severely shaken in the North-East of Sardinia. In the Mediterranean as well as in the Atlantic, we will probably have to get used to more brutal weather events than in the past.
Radical change passing Messina, it is now the little tunes that will accompany us to Marseille. Spi, a little, close, a little too, the engine, a lot. We will have to do two refuelling sets, late in the evening in Lipari first, where a marina employee will take his car to take me and my cans to the road station; in Bonifacio, then, where our morning arrival coincided ideally with the opening of the diesel pump, but also the café terraces, the showers of the captaincy, and the grocery store of the port (to stock up on Corsican deli meats and sheep’s cheese).
The next day Solenn was in his place at the Old Port, cleaned and tidy, and I was busy writing the technical report that systematically concludes my boardings.