Atlantic ocean

Taoumé’s Transat

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We sail a lot and have done for a long time. Yet we are always learning, and this transat was full of new experiences. I had prepared the boat well, as usual, but I had not realised that this transat, despite good weather, with 15 to 25 knots downwind, with sometimes breaking waves as well as the long swell, would really take a toll on Taoumé. The first victim was our poor spinnaker, which had already been patched up and revamped. The seams couldn’t hold up against the constant, stiff breeze. It was put back in the locker, and whenever necessary, and depending upon the conditions, replaced by a gennaker or a split genoa, which allowed us to surf along very nicely. The masthead had suffered a bit too, and the masthead light split in two. I had to climb up and fix everything using plastic collars. The next to suffer was the anemometer, which I had raised, so as not to be affected by the masthead light, which split from its guide, and was hanging by its cable. It was night time and in heavy seas, so I put it off until the following day… But in the morning there was no need to climb up as it had gone. I knocked together a makeshift device to get us to our destination without a single uncontrolled gybe. Everything else seemed to hold together apart from some wear and tear on the sails and the ropes, and a little bit of patching up as we went along when needed. 2,150 miles of intense sailing, at a constant speed and the same tack, had put a lot of strain on the boat. Throughout the crossing, we tried to slow things down at night, to take a bit of pressure off the gear and the crew, which allowed the nightwatchman to be a little less stressed, and the rest of the crew to sleep more easily. Thirteen days later we moored up in Martinique, with the reward of a night without any watches, even though with four of us there had only been one per night.  

Who : Michèle and Michel, Joël, and another Michel.

Where : Between Cape Verde and Martinique

Boat :  JFC 41

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