1st November – We must put Musetta to bed for the winter!
Autumn is here and so we needed to get back to Port la Forêt and prepare Musetta for coming out of the water for the winter……
After the long drive to Port la Forêt we arrived to a glorious sunny and warm day which was qute different from the typically Autumn temperatures in Normandy with scenes like this, beautiful weather but a definite chill in the air!
1st November was a holiday in France and so the marina was full of people just simply observing the goings on. It was SO warm with the temperature at 19C and many were walking about in shorts and t-shirts and inside Musetta’s cockpit tent the temperature was 35 degC!
2nd November – Taking in the scene before starting work!
Macif – Is here again! She had left Port la Forêt in September to sail to Marseilles to wait for a weather window to try to beat the record for a single-handed crossing of the Mediterranean from Le Ciotat, Marseilles to Carthage,Tunisia. The time to beat is 18 hours, 13 minutes which would be quite a sprint!! However, the stand by period elapsed without a weather window to attempt the record and so her skipper, Francois Gabart, had to abandon it for this year, hence Macif is back in her home port briefly before she goes to Lorient for a major refit ready for the challenges of next season.
She is an amazing sight and is SO fast, she managed speeds of 40 knots on the passage to Marseilles!! She holds the record for the greatest distance covered in 24 hours – 784 miles?!!! Her skipper is a famous French racing sailor and as he is the current holder of the record for the Vendee Globe race on the Imoca 60 also named Macif, on which he won the 7th running of the race in 2012/2013 and smashed the record to come back home in 78 days 2 hours, covering 28,647 nautical miles
2nd November – 4th November – Getting stuck in!
We worked non-stop, making the most of the lovely dry conditions so that all the sails are now removed for the winter and go to be valeted. All halyards and ‘sheets’ (ropes) have been washed and the engine is in the process of being winterised! Alan winched me up the mast so that I could take off the anemometer. This is the instrument which measures the wind speeds and which we always remove for the winter lay-up.
Weekend of 5th/6th November – Les Sables d’Olonne
We took time out to see the great spectacle of the start of the Vendée Globe Race – see previous post!
Monday 7th November – Musetta is lifted out!
We arrived back to Port la Forêt late on Sunday evening ready for the lift out on Monday morning. We filled the one fuel tank we had used all season and emptied the water tank and then manoeuvered her with the help of the staff at Extrado into the work dock so that the hoist could lift her – all 19.7tons!! The work dock is tiny with only inches to spare around her – eek! After a fair amount of adjustment of the slings out she came! Look how narrow the dock is!! The hoist did struggle with her and there was some alarming swaying about in the slings but all was fine and she was then ‘walked’ down to the yard at Extrado!
Here she is all secure. We still had work to do on board but we finally left after dark to drive back up to Normandy, home by 01.30am exhausted but elated too having achieved the Lay-up and so much more in the week!
Somebody asked me how I was going to express the emotion of embarking on this very different life, how it makes us feel etc., all a bit deep I’m thinking! However, for those of you who have been keeping abrest of our activities over the last months since we left our mooring on the River Hamble, I sincerely hope that I have managed to convey how much we are enjoying the experience of exploration! The beauty of it all and indeed how lucky we are to have the opportunity to do it in the first place on our beautiful yacht Musetta!