We made it. Now sitting in our very nice apartment overlooking the old port of La Rochelle. 10 minute’s walk into the old town and 15-30 minutes to the Marina (depending which part – with 5000 boats, it’s the largest in Europe).
Yesterday, we managed to sneak into the Port and see our new boat. Very exciting! She will be down there until next week, getting all the necessary holes drilled into her hulls for underwater lights, forward facing sonar, watermaker, salt water deck wash and lightning protection. The antifoul will need to be applied on a clear day – a bit of a challenge with the rainy weather here. Then onto a truck again over to the travel hoist and into the water – next week hopefully.
Then she gets motored across to Uchimata’s dock by Uchimata’s staff (we cannot do this “maiden” voyage because of Covid restrictions), where her mast will be stepped (after mods – new halyard, automatic anchor light, new Harken C batten car system (for downwind reefing), lightning protection mods, Mikrotek Wifi extender).
Uchimata will spend 2-3 weeks doing all their aftermarket work, and then around early to mid February we will do our handover and sea trials. We will contract Julien Dagorn to undertake a final survey before we make our final payment. Then she will be ours. Alain Girard will give us some training and then we need to get to work ourselves.
We have 60 boxes coming from our old boat and our apartment has a lockable garage where we can store them before we cart them down to the new boat. These contain our new BRNKL security system, cabin fans and a Keenan Secondary Filter System, as well as all our gear from our old boat. And then we have all the stuff we managed to pack in our airline luggage on the plane and train. These all need to be installed along with a whole heap of other mods.
New dining table, automatic fire extinguishers, Pepwave LAN components, more Jammers for Jib Sheets and Reef lines as per S/V 8, new passerelle, Gas Detection and Shutoff Valves, Dinghy extras, etc, etc, etc, etc
When we are finished with our boat jobs, we want to head up to the Brittany Islands and possibly Vannes on a shakedown cruise. Any problems we find will be fixed by Fountaine Pajot on return to La Rochelle.
Then it is off across the Bay of Biscay, and down to the Med, Covid restrictions allowing. We will do a season in the Med, before heading off to Madeira, and across the Atlantic via the Canaries and Cape Verdes. From there we will head to the ditch and into the Pacific early next year in preparation for the Galápagos Islands and French Polynesia.