This is an authorized translation in English of a post in French by Vincent Le Roy (@vincentleroy): La Saga PLOUF [Episode 16] : Plouf 4ème sur 11!
As my primary language is not English, there are probably some mistakes in my translation.
Remember that the person who speaks here is NOT me, Vincent Celier (@vcelier), but Vincent Le Roy (@vincentleroy), a French guy.
Note: "Plouf", in French, is an onomatopoeia that phonetically imitates the sound of an object that falls in the water. The equivalent in English would be "Plop" or "Splash". That is a strange name for a boat!
Note: all the photos were taken during the race either by the committee boat or by Vincent Le Roy (@vincentleroy)
Brief summary of previous episodes
In January 2016, I am given a boat, a tiny sailboat. A kid's dream. Her name is Plouf. And in fact the canoe is in a state not possible and I do not know much except sailing. I tell you the journey that I traveled with this small boat, that have become my fourth baby! After many renovations and trips to the sea, we are racing a regatta on Plouf!
Episode 16: Plouf 4th!
Lunch is good. All on the pontoon, without any fuss. It's not bad. Among sailors, it's often a bit like this. A bit is a euphemism. It's been two months since I did not drink a drop of alcohol and I know that it will play. Like for the car, drinking in navigation decreases your reflexes and your resistance. Especially after a first effort. During lunch, Tristan rests. The morning navigation was a little tiring.
The wind conditions in the afternoon are announced even stronger. Not even afraid. With Tristan, we reposition the buoys on his GPS. We will go downwind and we will end close-hauled. The strategy is to move away from the coast to get the maximum of wind. We will go as far as possible, but the first part is downwind!
The downwind is not a very violent pace on a sailboat but very technical and especially dangerous because the mainsail can pass in a quarter of a second from one side to the other and behead you in passing. Especially that the boom is very low on Plouf. At the height of our heads precisely. We will have to be all the more focused that we will put the jib against. Here too, it is played at the helm. So for ten minutes, it's fun but for an hour and a half with so much attention, it's just exhausting, especially since it actually blows much more.
The first buoy passed, the return is facing the wind, and you have to tack ( to the right, then to the left). The wind is strong but at this pace, we do not risk anything. We take as far as possible and give everything we have. No more fishing. Tristan move the helm to the millimeter, I adjust the sails to the millimeter too, watching the surface of the water to anticipate each gust. We monitor the GPS which tells us our speed. The 6 knots are largely exceeded, which for Plouf is excellent.
Crossing the finish line viewed from the committee boat
The race is coming to an end. We are rinsed but happy on Plouf! We ignore our ranking because we are the only ones to have gone so far from the coast. The others stayed closer to the coast to reduce the wind. Logic would be for us to have advanced faster than them ... In short, we cross the finish line happy! Happy but dead ...
We're slinging, using the engine, it's time to take Plouf back to his pontoon. It is already 18:00. Tristan said to me: Daddy, it was a great day with you ... I tell you: sometimes you have to restrain yourself so you do not cry of exhaustion and joy. Especially as I have the easy tear! Yes, we had an amazing time together. No shouting, on the contrary a real complicity in conditions a little rough. I winked at Plouf ...
The boat stored at its pontoon, we head to the Harbor Master's office to know our result: Plouf 4th in the general ... Wow !!!! But remember: I told you, sailing, I know how to do it. And it's quite funny because you can learn the technique but to feel the wind, to enjoy the boat/wind couple, or to adjust the sails to the millimeter, it's binary: you feel it or not. I have it in my blood! And Tristan too.
And then Plouf wanted to do battle ... 4th out of 11! She's not a mascot for nothing!
Continue to Part 17
All photos are property of @vincentleroy and under copyright