Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Multihulls in Bretagne – Travel report and lessons learnt

Picture: Michelle, Bernard and Ulrika enjoying life! (And yes - the boat is moving forward!)

Just back from Bretagne with Ulrika (my lovely becoming wife, still having the record of 19,8 knots in Stegesund, a very narrow sound. Only one trimaran can pass at a time – Stockholm sailors know!), having had the opportunity to spend two fantastic days on board of Eureka together with our busy sailor Bernard (owner of Seaon 96crb Eureka) and his wife Michelle. First hand impressions:

1) What a lovely place on earth!
2) Brittany sailors are a tough breed.
3) Some waves (in their terms probably flat sea…) and 15 knots of speed must absolutely not interfere with a proper lunch (measured by French standards)!

Starting off on Saturday just west of St. Malo we headed towards the Ile of Brehat some 40 nm westwards. Initially we had very light winds, less than 5 knots. Later the wind picked up to between 4-8 knots and we set the “Furling Genacker” (new development in last year) logging between 5 and 9 knots in easterly winds (yes – we had to make a few gybes!)
Picture: The Furling Genacker and Bernard meditating or just plain relaxing

Also calculating a change in current direction due to tidal waters….(occasionally up to 3 knots, nothing we are very used to in Stockholm – to say the least) . The “Furling Genacker" is basically a Code Zero, but in order not to mix it up with the Screacher it was named the Furling Genacker.

Picture: Favorit position on the beam - Very light winds....Ulrika focusing on keeping speed above 6 knots (and the famous extra outborder!)

Arriving at Ile de Brehat we very conveniently used the dinghy with a small out border to come a shore from the mooring (now I fully understand why Bernard vigorously has been arguing for the inflatable dinghy on board.....with an extra out border – it is definitely worth the extra kilos even though we are always fighting to reduce weight even with our dear customers). Again sea and shore does not look as we are used to…..up to 12 meters difference between low and high tide. What would we have done without the dinghy….no Taxi around.
Picture: This time Bernard did not need the dinghy..but one is not always lucky to find mooring and timing like this!!

After an excellent dinner, a good night's sleep discovering Bernard’s new innovative companion way night hatch (his foul weather jacket) we were ready for the trip back. The wind now picked up to approx 8-14 knots now from the south. Initially we set the heavy jib for convenient sailing, expecting the wind to increase further (it looked like it would), but then later changing back to the self tacking jib as the wind decreased a little. A part of the trip that took us almost three hours the day before we now managed in one hour at 12-16 knots.
Picture: Bernard and Jan on the windward beam enjoying more wind on the second day

Lunch, a fantastic salad with a delicious dressing (of course home made on the boat!), wine, cappuccino, cookies and chocolate (very far from the usual sandwich and water lunches I am used to!) was served at 15 knots which caused some small problems to keep the smaller salad pieces in the bowel in the aft part of the cock pit. As we got closer to Cap Frehel and home for Eureka the wind pick up again. Speeds up to 19 knots was the perfect “Grand Final” of the marvellous trip and made everybody smile on board (if I get my Firewire driver to work properly I will put up a short footage from my DV cam from the “Grand Final”)

Epilogue – getting closer to shore Bernard took the helm and speeded through narrow passages, made an elegant tour around moored boats, windsurfers and a close 90 degrees gybe at the beach (people were running out of the water….). I was obviously not trusted with this kind of manoeuvres – as I said: Brittany sailors are a tough breed.

Lessons learnt:

* Not many liveable multihulls around (except for the Orma 60 we sighted in St. Malo harbour however a lot of beach cats – Hobies, Darts and 18 footers around) This must be an opportunity!
* Always listen to the customer! Bernard’s strong requirement for the dinghy and out border for this is absolutely righteous.
* We will recommend Bernard his Eureka as “professeur” for the Seaon Sailing Academy
* A few improvement opportunities discovered - more input into Seaon product development
* Some annoying rust stains (however polish able) on various stainless steel equipment (not only one suppliers equipment to be fair)

Again thank you Michelle and Bernard for a fantastic weekend!