Selon le vent, la voile

Tom Fenton and Faith Ressmeyer
Fri 12 Sep 2014 19:40
43 08.168N 6 22.362E
We made it safely across to the mainland of France from Corsica, arriving just after 7.30pm at Le Lavandou, a harbour about 40 miles east of Toulon. Long passages like this are a very different kind of sailing from our usual cruising. The pattern of life is one sleeps while the other is in command of the boat. We would pass each other like ships etc, if we didn't have three meals a day we eat together. Loads of stuff is stowed in the forepeak where we usually sleep, and on one of the cabin berths. The other is the one we use for sleeping or resting. Sailors will know that sailboats like ours are always tipped (heeled) to one side or the other. To stop us falling out of our bunk if we are heeled the wrong way we have a retaining piece of canvas called a lee cloth.

We had difficult winds at first, and had to tack to get round the southwestern tip of Corsica, as detailed in the last entry. Yesterday we took some time getting away from the Corsican headlands, but after that we were surprisingly lucky with the winds. In the middle of last night our wind veered right around to the northeast and we had to tack. That is the kink in our course. Otherwise we sailed without the motor for nearly half of the passage, and used the motor to assist us during spells of light airs.

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That we could steer so direct a course with favourable wind was extremely lucky, or a triumph of passage planning. We did the 157 miles from Propriano in 37 hours. Faith, with amazing foresight, had prepared meals in advance, and we ate well even though the winds chose mealtimes to visit us. Last night I saw an enormous orange moon rise from behind a Corsican mountain, and this morning Faith saw the sun rise, the clouds at the horizon crinkling its bottom.

Faith wants me to say, I am always writing the blog while she is preparing a delicious meal. This is true as far as it goes, but what is also true is the several of our friends in the USA have had difficult or unpleasant experiences recently, and Faith has been in sympathetic and supportive correspondence with them. (You know who you are, and we think about you every day, and send our love.)

So here we are on the reception pontoon, having arrived after the Capitainerie had closed. There are several other yachts with us. We have been told that "they really don't mind us coming and using the showers, taking their electricity to charge everything we have that needs charging, and filling up with water, and leaving before the office opens without paying." At Propriano we could have done the same, but waited and had to pay an exorbitant €26 not having used any facilities. If the weather is fine we may move on early. It will take two days to reach Sete, and the entrance to the French canals.