Friday, May 30, 2008

Home on the Web

You may have noticed the new link at the top right of this blog. The site,, is where we will be posting more static information and photos from our travels. I have also posted the first day's worth of coordinates as reported by Gregg, and included images of the path plotted in Google Earth, with a little help from an image editor.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Les Sables-d'Olonne - Preparations

The port at Les Sables-d'Olonne is big - I'm told it has 600 slips. It seems to be evenly split between sail boats, power pleasure boats, and fishing boats. There are a number of cafes and pubs right alongside with wi-fi available, which makes for a convenient place to sit and write this.

The first full day at Les Sables-d'Olonne was spent rigging and provisioning the boat for the voyage, getting documentation and insurance squared away, and generally poking about the boat learning the systems. There are a lot of systems to learn! I spent 2 hours finding and identifying all the through-hulls (holes in the hull near or below the waterline). I lost count at 25... I'll have to go back and check again.

The delivery company swaps out most of the running rigging (ropes to you land-lubbers) so that the lines provided by Lagoon don't get worn during the delivery. The picture above was taken from the top of Mirasol's mast while swapping-out the main sail halyard and inspecting the masthead. Mirasol's mast is 65' above the waterline. Thankfully, Mirasol has an electric winch for the main halyard. There is no way Jen could crank me up this mast, and no way she'd go up the mast herself. I've already been advised of that rule. (The other rule is that I'm in charge of fixing the heads when they break. Something about "not enough soap in the world..."). Note that in the above picture taken from the masthead, you're looking DOWN at the top of the masts of those two sailboats in the fore-ground, and they are drydocked about 15' above the water.

Les Sables-d'Olonne - Getting there

Well, I made it! A flight to Paris via Washigton Dulles, the high speed TGV train to Nantes, a SLOW speed train to Les Sables-d'Olonne, and a half hour walk to the port. I didn't have directions to the boat, but it's hard to miss a 600 slip marina and once there, impossible to miss a row of 7 Lagoon catamarans tied up at a dock. I will note that I was second-guessing every piece of clothing I had jammed into my 2 duffle bags as I made my way from the train. Those bags were heavy!
All things said, the trip was a breeze. Especially considering I had no concrete plans except "fly to Paris and then take a train from there...". Armed with the French-English dictionary which Jen thoughtfully tucked into my carry-on, I brushed off my high school French and bumbled my way through.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Les Sables-d’Olonne... the current location of the boat. Gregg is at this very moment on his way there as he will be sailing as crew with the delivery company from Les Sables D’Olonne to somewhere in the Azores. I will update this post with coordinates as I get them.

Apparently, the departure of the boat was delayed due to a blockade of the port by French fishermen protesting fuel prices.

Update - 5:30 p.m. CDT: I heard from Gregg. First off, he said the boat is beautiful! The departure has been delayed a bit more due to weather. They are now scheduled to set sail on 5-29-08. Hmmm... a couple extra days in a marina on the coast of France. I can think of worse ways to spend my time...