About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard the two BRAVO's; the first boat a Kelly Peterson 46 with homeport in Seattle, Washington. The second is a new Boreal 52, launched in February 2020. We headed south in 2010, and have been voyaging in one form or another since. Cheers, Adam and Cindi

"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844

Friday, June 26, 2020

Rolling the dice, in crazy 2020

It has indeed been a crazy year so far.  Covid 19 has turned everyone's lives upside down, and life for these voyaging vagabonds is certainly no exception.  All plans for heading north to Norway and Svalbard are on hold until next year, and due to our Venn diagram's overlapping circles of visas, virus closures, and seasonal weather patterns, it's become a real crap shoot to predict any itinerary for the next year.

Our full lockdown in France lasted for 2-1/2 months.  During that time we were basically confined to the boat in our closed marina here in Treguier (all marinas in France were officially closed).  All water sports and activities were forbidden.  As was bicycling on our new folding bikes.  We took our allowed daily 1 hour exercise walks, so got to know the area really well!  And the historic area is a beautiful region to explore.

View from our "front deck", up at the bow

A few views from our walks about town....

Sartorial splendor.....NOT!

Treguier is definitely off any of the global cruising routes.  Unlike, say Mexico, the Caribbean, or the islands of the South Pacific, the area sees relatively few international sailing visitors, particularly in winter.  And the virus shut down has made us even more of an oddity!!!  We've enjoyed meeting local Breton people who have all been friendly and welcoming.  We had a full page article about us in the local paper, and a French TV channel, recording a feature show on the Boreal boats and company spent quite a bit of time interviewing us for the program.

The other thing about the lockdown is that of course all non essential businesses were shut down as well.  So details remaining on BRAVO had to wait until Boreal could get back to work.  We also had several projects on our list to install, but these too had to wait until we could get missing parts and fabrications.  Arghhhh.....all dressed up (or nearly!!), and no where to go.

The currents here in the marina on the Jaudy river are quite amazing.  Our electronic "odometer", or log, records only in the forward direction, so only increases on the tide against the way we're facing.  Here we logged our first 200 miles while still tied to the dock.  (We're now at over 350, though we've only actually sailed less than 50 of those!!!)

Finally the lockdown in France has eased, in stages.  Happily the Treguier area, Departement 22, has been spared a large number of Covid cases, so we've felt quite safe here.  Most people are wearing masks, even on the streets, and they are required in most stores.  The Boreal team all masks up (as do we) when they need to work aboard.  Nearly all remaining projects have now been completed.  Rigging, canvas, sails, done, as well as our own projects, installing the watermaker and HF radios.....all aboard and working well.


We've now gone for a couple of sails, including a few days in the Ile de Brehat area.  Not far away, but it was great to test out all systems on the hook, as well as getting in some nice sailing in the light steady breezes.  Now we're waiting for the final payment on the boat to go to customs, so that we can receive our final documentation proving that no EU VAT (20% sales tax) will be owed for 18 months, as we're officially a boat for export out of the EU.  We'll then be clear to come and go as we please, though at this point, due to Covid, we'll be staying in France.  International borders remain largely closed, especially between the EU and UK. (Surprise!)   Hopefully it will open later in the summer, so we can get in some cruising around Britain before returning here for a few remaining boat tweaks in the fall/winter.

Back from a trip to the local oyster farm
Life at the marina hasn't been a bad place to spend lockdown (AT ALL!!), given many of the alternatives of cruising friends around the world.

Local artichokes are monsters, and sold everywhere in season

We're finally allowed to ride our new folding bikes, great fun, and good to expand our radius of exploration on land.  The little bikes ride really well, though pot holes are a bitch!!!  They live in the lazarette when not in use.

Boreal navy!   BRAVO on the left, SYL on the bow, with EGATTA, ASKELL WENN, NANOOK and TANGUERO behind

Anchored off of Ile de Brehat

We've seen some interesting boats around town.  This little guy, around 6 or 7 meters was apparently used in the single handed Mini Trans-At Race from France to Brazil quite a few years ago.  We loved the paint job!!!  (all of the rust, wrinkles, rivets, and holes are painted!!!)

But here was our favorite:  

Most days our walk took us over a bridge crossing the Guindy river.  We always admired this beautiful old wooden gaffer, tied up on shore.  

Wikipedia had this to say about her:

"This horn cutter was built in 1855. It served, until 1934, as a pilot cutter at the port of Saint-Hélier in Jersey. She is one of the oldest sailing ships that still sails. She was found on the banks of the Rance and bought by the navigator, writer and painter Yvon Le Corre. It was restored at the Conrad shipyard in Paimpol and is now used as a cruising sailboat for its owner."

Old and new
One day we saw a crowd aboard, and watched them shove off for a sail.  When we returned to our dock, we found GIRL JOYCE tied up to the dock, just behind us.  It turned out that famed Le Corre, now in his 80's, had just sold her to a new owner, and they had come to the dock to finalize the transfer.  We had a great chat with Yvon about his history with GIRL JOYCE (several solo expeditions to Antartica, the arctic, and points in between, as well as his exploits on his previous gaffer, a British "smack" named IRIS, before being ship wrecked off the Scottish coast.  

We were invited up to his studio in town, and we had a lovely visit there, chatting for a couple of hours about sailing ships, art, and travel (among his other amazing exploits, Le Corre had crossed the African Sahara twice, on foot, solo, just for the exploration of it!!!).  He shared his amazing life with us through his many sketchbooks (long ago, he was the documentation artist on an exploration schooner to Antartica).  A man who's truly led life to the fullest, we felt privileged to spend time with him.

So that's the story from Brittany.  It's great to see new BRAVO  finished, and we're eager to continue to explore the local region as we wait to see what the future holds for voyaging.....Stay healthy, everyone, and WEAR YOUR MASKS!!!  Hopefully we'll all roll 7's and 11's in the weeks and months ahead.....

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

AND THE BEAT GOES ON!!! Under Lockdown in France (and updated BRAVO photos)

Albeit it's a slow beat indeed!!!   As many of you know, we're here in Treguier, France, a small town in NW Brittany, and the home of Boreal, the builders of new BRAVO.

BRAVO was launched on February 18, and we moved aboard about 2 weeks ago. There is still some work to do, but it's getting there.  Everyone from the boatyard has been great to work with, trying hard to get all completed.  She's a complex boat, with an amazing amount of detail.  We've been using the time to settle in, and store the gear that we shipped from both the US and old BRAVO in Australia.

Unfortunately, this Covid-19 virus has stopped us, and Boreal, and the rest of the world in our tracks.  Though we're living aboard, we've still not even been for a test sail!!!   Amazingly frustrating.  France is now on full lockdown, in it's 8th day.  So everyone is confined to their homes; in our case, the boat.   The nearest supermarket is only about 1 km from here so a nice walk. And there's a health food coop right at the marina.   (we try to only go to the Coop, as they only allow 5 people in the store at a time). Trips to buy food or exercise are allowed, but you need to print out a form to show police if stopped. Otherwise a €38-150 fine, makes for an expensive baguette!  Exercise is limited to 1 km max from home, walking or running, and for a maximum of 1 hour away from home per day.   We can't even use our brand new folding bikes, which arrived the day before the lockdown started.  Sometimes, at low tide, we do "laps" of the marina ramp.  The spring tides here are over 10 meters, so the ramp is a good workout.  But it takes 50 laps to equal 1 mile!!!!!

Someone wrote on the ramp, about midway up "Cheer up, Sir Edmund Hillary, you're 1/2 way to the top"!!!!!

A low spring tide.....happily we're tied to the very outside end of the dock, so we always have water under us!!!

Things keep getting tighter here...no recreational boating of any sort is allowed in the country. Marinas are all closed, as are marine businesses.  We've even had two visits from the gendarmes to see why we are on the dock!!! We told them the boat is our home, and they said ok.  But we're the only folks in the whole marina!  Literally!!!  If we go to get groceries, we need to go solo.  As far as DIY projects, I need some parts for all of them, and all marine stores are closed.  Also need a bit of fabrication by Boreal for the watermaker install, but they're understandably closed for the foreseeable future.  Lousy timing indeed!!!

At this point, our plans for cruising this summer are pretty much on hold.  It's impossible to plan anything, really.  Though the country is locked down for 15 days, with about 1 week to go, everyone feels that it will be extended, possibly for weeks!!!  We wish we were allowed to leave the dock with the boat, but the rationale is that in case of a need for rescue, folks could be put at risk.  Applies all recreational boating, whether it's sailing, fishing, kiting, even kayaking or paddle boarding.  Hopefully this strict approach will have some effect.  We learned a few days ago about our little district here in rural Brittany (a popular summer holiday retreat). 4 cases went to 12 overnight. All from Paris, who had escaped to their 2nd homes the night before the lockdown started!  We have no idea what the local count is now.  We're glad to be the only folks allowed in the marina, and we're all the way out on the end of a long dock!!!    About as isolated as you can be!

So that's about it from here.  We are healthy, and really want to stay that way!  Yes, the lockdown is definitely boring.  But as cruising mates Peter and Ginger on IRENE, now quarantined in Turkey said, it's not much different than being on a passage, but with internet, and more sleep between watches!!!  The new Bravo is absolutely beautiful, we're thrilled with the way she is turning out.  Not bad digs to spend in isolation.

Here are some photos of BRAVO, including the launch, mast stepping, and a few interior views:

Launch Day:
Launching these boats is a rather amazing process.  At the yard, it is put on a trailer.  From there, a tractor pulls the boat about 2 miles to the launch ramp at the marina.

Final wash down before the parade begins.

Maneuvering one of the tight round abouts.

Backing down the launch ramp.....Yikes, not for the faint-of-heart!

A tight squeeze past this sign.....no problem!

Boreal firm partner Jean Francois Eeman checks for engine cooling water is running before the final push into the river.

Our new home.  Though we didn't know it at the time, we'll now likely be here for many more weeks to come.

Stepping the rig:

Usually the rig is stepped as soon as the boat is launched.  In our case, a few final rigging touches were needed, so the rig was stepped a week later.

Rig arrived by trailer from the yard, where the crane was waiting

A well rehearsed team, they've done this many times before.  Second from the right is Jean Francois Delvoye, architect of these boats and one of the two partners in the firm.

All went smoothly, as here the mast is lowering down into place

Interior shots:

Many have asked what the inside of our new home looks like.....here she is:

The "doghouse".  Truly one of the great features of all Boreal models, here is the perfect place to be on watch in snotty weather.....warm and dry!!!

Main salon

Galley in the background.  We're very happy with the stainless steel counters, a Boreal first!!!  Centerboard is housed under the cushion on the left.  Electrical gear, including the 600Ah lithium batteries, live under the cushion in the foreground.

Door on the right leads to the port aft cabin.

Starboard aft cabin.  We wanted some major changes in this space, and J-F Delvoye did a terrific job with it.  The idea of this cabin is as an electrical/utility/storage space.  On the left is a 2 drawer freezer.  The space aft of that can either be used as a bunk for an off watch crew, or storage.  Storage is below.  Center aft is the white sound enclosure of the Northern Lights genset.  On the right are 2 cabinet doors containing electrical equipment.  Usually Boreal mounts this gear in the engine room, but we wanted it moved out to keep cooler....again, JFD, working with electrical guru Brice from T.E.E.M. came up with a terrific design.  A heavy Sailrite sewing machine is on the floor in front, and will be secured well!!!

All of the electrical detailing and installation is a work of art!

Port side aft cabin

Terrific workbench separates galley/salon from forward sleeping cabin.  Refleks diesel heater on the right is wrapped internally with copper tubes, which circulate hot fluid to radiators throughout the boat.  Sharing the hydronic loop is another diesel heater, by Eberspacher, to provide heat when the boat is heeled over sailing, when the drip fed Refleks should not be used.

Forward cabin.

Looking aft from bed.  Door on left goes out to the salon past the workshop, the door on the right is the forward head.

Forward head