Racing and Cruising !

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It was on a clear December evening, with 30cm of snow on the ground and a temperature of -20°C, that this idea was born. The team from Design Catamaran were having their monthly meeting at La Cage Aux Sports bistro in Repentigny, Quebec. The main aim of these meetings is to iron out any important issues, but there's always time in the "après-meeting" to relax among friends.
It was during this second part of the evening that Bobby made his suggestion: We should stick the Toro in a container and go and race in the Heineken Regatta in St. Martin! Were we up for it? It didn't take long for Bob to convince us, as we are all seasoned racers! Beers in hand, we agreed to do it.

Firstly, the Toro 34 needed to go into the shipyard for a full service, and to be made race-ready and have reef points and some electronics fitted. We had got a month and a half before the container was due to leave. After that, some of the crew were due to go and take delivery of the boat. As the arrival wasn't expected before February 15th, we had three weeks to take the boat out to sea and to make any adjustments.
The rest of the plan involved Sylvain taking his family cruising, along with Augustin the Design Catamaran engineer, in the week following the regatta. What more could we ask?

Racing and cruising

The idea of sailing in the West Indies will always sound attractive when winters get down to -20°C...

First Race Day

Our base in St. Martin is in the lagoon. We needed to go under the swing bridge to get to the sea and make it to the start line, which we did using the motor. Due to hold ups with the container ship, the boat had only arrived in St. Martin three days earlier. Despite this, we were ready to go and couldn't wait to go into battle.
We hoisted the sail and..."Stop!" A halyard was stuck in a spreader. Olivier tugged at it to try and free it, but the halyard disappeared inside the mast! Unfortunately there was no knot at the end of the halyard! We were due to set off in 60 minutes. The swing bridge had closed: there was no time to get back to the marina and get our tools. We needed to find a solution as quickly as possible! We hailed a passing inflatable to help us go and get our bosun’s chair from the marina. Ten minutes later, we were harnessing Christian on so that he could go up to the top of the mast and pass the halyard from the outside of the mast. From up above we could hear swearing: Hoisted up on the halyard of the Code 0, he was still 1m50 short of the top of the mast. On the edge of despair, but still not prepared to give in so early, we suggested to Christian that he attach himself to the uphaul...4mm thick and with no protection. In theory, it's strong enough to hold him, but at that height, if anything goes wrong it is no laughing matter. As he's also still attached to the first halyard, the risk is reduced, and he manages to make the last few meters and fix the masthead so that he can extricate the mainsail halyard. We finally hoisted the ...

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