This January is incredibly mild as a result of Storm Hercules which is blowing strong winds to Europe, causing widespread flooding and damage from giant waves hitting the west coast of France, Ireland, England, Spain and Portugal. This weather system is causing the US and Canada to be abnormally cold.
A break between two SSW gales and temperatures like those of March and April, no translating orders – and there was only one thing to do. I didn’t dare venture to sea because of the massive residual swell from last night’s storm and in advance of tonight’s big blow. I therefore went to the Lac des Deux Amants near Poses, a village not very far from Rouen. This lake is one of the biggest artificial lakes in Europe, several gravel pits knocked together and closed down as an industry in the 1990’s. Its area is 400 hectares. The whole complex is a leisure centre that caters for water sports, fishing, many other sports and nature conservation. The only charge is 4 € to park a car for the day. Launching a boat is free. Boats may be propelled by sail, oars or an electric motor. In this way pollution is avoided on this lake.
My Christmas present this time was a waterproof digital camera, therefore one that can be taken on a boat without ruining it. This is the first time I have taken photos while sailing.
I have just launched the boat and am on a starboard tack going towards the Seine. It’s all grey and overcast, but this is January, and this mildness is as abnormal as the frigid temperatures in North America! They’re driving cars on their lakes!
Lots of funny little ropes…! I assure you that each has its use. All right, here it goes. The white and red rope going to a cleat on the foredeck is the Cunningham for tightening the luff of the mainsail. The blue rope is the outhaul. The yellow rope going to a clamcleat higher up the mast is the reefing rope for the tack of the reefed sail. The red rope on the port side of the mast is the jib halyard. The other red rope is the reefing halyard and the white rope on the starboard side of the mast is the main halyard. I’ll leave you to look up the nautical terms!
Some of the essentials for a day outing: picnic, bailer (not used today) and my plastic container for tools, camera and everything that has to be kept dry. In the foreground, my centreboard well with copious repairs done on it.
Here’s the boat just prior to unrigging to go home. I now have a simple topping lift to hold the boom up when the sail is down. It now takes me only seconds to get both sails down, either after landing or whilst at sea. I can also reef the sail and take down the jib whilst at sea – essential for cruising.