When I was at the Semaine du Golfe, I was interviewed by a reporter and photographer of a very distinguished French sailing periodical Voiles et Voiliers. Much of the site is behind a paywall, which is understandable because no one can work for nothing.
A few bits and pieces on the Semaine du Golfe and the Flotilla 2 can be seen free of charge like in the July issue. Reporting our sailing-rowing boats of Flotilla 2, they make this slide-show and video available. The published article bears the title Une déferlante de voile-aviron ! One of their journalists went to the Semaine du Golfe where he could observe many classical sailing boats and sailing-rowing cruising dinghies. We were asked at a briefing session if someone could take this journalist on board so that he could share our life over those few days intimately. He notes our spirit of friendship and seamanlike discipline. My boat would have been too small for a passenger, but owners of the larger vessels were happy to pipe him aboard.
The article is written in French, and I reproduce only a small part here. Since I acknowledge the source (Voiles et Voiliers, July 2017), I don’t think I am infringing against any copyright laws.Translation:
A cruising Zef. From across the Channel via Normandy, Anthony is already a regular.
A little further [along the row of beached boats], Anthony, an Englishman living in Normandy, is completing his rigging of his Zef, a little dinghy in laminated fibreglass he bought from a boatyard for 50 euros and which he transformed into a real cruising boat. Certainly, it can’t properly be called a voile-aviron [only wooden boats with traditional rigs have this privilege, even though mine sails and rows]. Frankly, this flotilla “number 2” of the Semaine du Golfe is at least extremely varied, and this is what makes its charm.
I am extremely flattered that he finishes his article by coming back to the little boat and its long-haired skipper. My translation again from French:
Anthony has already beached his Zef and is thinking about improvements he can still make on this largely “customised” boat – he has even equipped it with a large rear-view [more correctly front-view] mirror fixed on the transom to enable him to see forwards when he is rowing! It’s certain, he will be coming back in two years.
The reporter was certainly a very friendly fellow, and promised to send me some photos he took and his permission for me to publish them on my blog. I might need to remind him! The mirror idea seemed so obvious to me, when you’re rowing facing astern and can’t otherwise see where you’re going. I simply went to a big shop selling accessories for cars, and they sold safety mirrors for seeing round blind corners. The little light went on in my mind! I bought the mirror and tried it out, and it works wonderfully when attached with a simple woodworker’s clamp.
Sarum has recently (last Friday) been on the Seine for a rather disappointing return trip to the next village along from the main lock between the tidal and fresh water parts of the Seine. It was part of an organised event called Normandie en Seine. I probably sailed for about two minutes on the way back, and the rest was with my British Seagull engine. Here’s me getting a tow for the outward journey (a motor cruiser towing two Bantry yoles, and one of the yoles towing Sarum) – at least I wasn’t paying for the fuel! On the way back into the lake of Poses, the water was less than a foot deep and full of weed, which played havoc with the engine. At least I had my trusty oars.
The next destination is Barfleur (next month and August) and I hope to get a chance to explore the Rade de Cherbourg, one of the biggest artificial harbours in the world with anti-English (!) fortifications going back to the Napoleonic era. Photos to come… Just to whet my appetite: