Hello Again!! Still in France!!
Weâ€™re getting ramped up here in La Rochelle for the Mondial Class 40 World Championships that begin this Wednesday. The crew arrived yesterday and Richard “Bicky”Â Bicknell has been here for a couple of days helping to organize the program for us. He, along with Bill Dalbreth have pulled this team together. Bicky has the North Sails Loft in Auckland, NZ and has, with the help of his team, made the sails for Bodacious Dream. Also on the team, we have Phillip Airey, Brett Elliot, Jerome DeVos and Oliver Scott-Mackie.Â Six from New Zealand, one from Holland and one American – an international team for sure!!
As could be expected, shipping hassles have plagued us once again.Â The shipper wanted 505 euros to make the last two hour trip from Bordeaux to La Rochelle with our battens!Â But thanks to years of integrating creative hauling techniques into my repertoire, I was able to skirt that hurdle. Using ingenuity and some “outside-the-boat” thinking, I lashed the bundle to the top of my small rental car and drove them back to La Rochelle. This slight diversion in Bordeaux was preceded by a few tours of some lovely chateaus and vineyards, so the time was well-spent. Itâ€™s a real treat wandering through chateaus that are four and five hundred years old and still producing wines from their estate grounds.
Our shipping hasslesÂ were not over just yet. Last Monday was spent driving from Nantes south to Niort looking for the shipping company and our sails. They were to have arrived a week ago Friday in La Rochelle, but for some reason hadn’t yet shown up. What better person to trust to get them here but myself! The hour and a half drive to Nantes didn’t sound like a big deal.. only once I arrived, there was no terminal and I spent the next few hours finding an outlet for the shipping company, while the shippers, Peters and May tried to locate it as well. Long about noon, I found out the sails were in Niort, (when spoken in French, it sounds exactly like “NewÂ York” – so you can imagine the spike in my heart rate at initially hearing that!) Niort I soon learned, was another hour and a half back towards La Rochelle. After their lunch break ended though, we found out the sails were actually onboard a truck already in La Rochelle and scheduled to be delivered soon. A long day of chasing, but eventually the sails did arrive and we were able to mount them and head out of the harbor at 5:30 pm for a short hour look at them.
Tomorrow will be the typical scrutinizing program, and we’re hoping everything goes well.Â We got in a short practice on Sunday afternoon and another today. The challenge is that we only have two and a half hours of access to the La Rochelle harbor with the dramatic tide ranges I mentioned previously. Just enough time to set the main, do some testing of sails, maybe a mark rounding or two and head back in. Much like many regattas, weâ€™ll start the first races strong, though not well-practicedÂ and hope to get better over the course of the regatta!
Weâ€™re expecting some exciting racing fromÂ these top crews and boats that have gathered here.Â Mare, Comiris, Phoenix, Picoty and others are all here and weâ€™re all looking forward to a great season finale of a regatta. Right now, the weather for the first day looks pretty windy with lighter winds predicted for the remainder of the week.
Iâ€™ll be trying to text updates from the boat, and get them up on Facebook as soon as possible, so you can follow our progress. If you arenâ€™t yet on Facebook or Twitter, I guess now might be a good time to sign up.. donâ€™t feel bad.. Iâ€™m new to them too!
You can also go to the site for the Mondial World Championships, but itâ€™s in French and doesnâ€™t have a translate button (unless you use the Chrome browser, I am toldÂ - but even then, the site content looks to be pretty minimal). They may also provide news on theÂ Class 40 Web site – and we’ll let you know if they do.
Otherwise, take care and more very soon!