See English version below French
Charleston to New York Sitting, leaning against the seat down below deck, the computer on the knees, we are doing sport activity because the lean is 15 °, the gusts of wind are up to 27 knots and we are headwind. Small consolation, the wind comes from the land, we are 25 miles from the coast, so the sea does not have time to develop too big swells. On the other side of the coin, the sea is choppy because the depths are shallow and the wind twirls by 50 °, sometimes at 325 ° and others at 000 ° between north and west. Francoise has taken refuge in the cabin, lying staring at the sea which regularly covers the porthole, and announcing that we are going towards gray clouds. It's been 2 days since we left the marina of a big hotel facing Charleston. There we finally gave a serious cleaning to the outside of the boat which was full of salt. Not only did we want to see Charleston’s very picturesque old town that you will discover through Françoise's photos, but when I left Miami, I discovered that the map of the North Florida area that I had just bought did not give any details to enter in the harbors and stopped giving information to 20 miles from the coast. Very inconvenient to navigate because it is on the coasts that all dangers are to be avoided. So we went to the local major marine supplier, West Marine, and they graciously replaced the chip. I must say that the maps are remarkable and you can navigate on the screen if necessary because with the GPS and these maps, we have a precision of a few meters, at least in the places where we sailed. However, I remain very suspicious because I tell myself that one day I will meet a place where the map lacks precision. As soon as we arrived, we met Dany, a fisherman from New-Foundland who bought an old fishing boat converted back into a yacht that he has been recovering since January to take it home. He thinks to use it a year or two in leisure and resell it as a fishing boat by proposing to make it’s reconversion into a fishing boat for the buyer. Fuel consumption is estimated at 30 liters per hour for this boat of 15 meters and 32 tons! Good discussions on fishing and he has his heart on his hand. He took us to change the navigation map, get some tools and go shopping. We were able to have an evening to visit Charleston and have a dinner at the Oyster Bar, where we tasted the oysters of the area, small but good. We wanted to leave Monday because the marina costs more than $ 100 a day, but the wind was blowing at 19 knots in the protected harbor. I was able to negotiate with the harbor master that I leave as soon as the weather allowed without paying more and so we left at 3 am at high tide with a 9 knot wind. Maneuvering in the dark in a harbor is a sport that I do not like, but fortunately the boat was at the end of the pontoon and I was able to get out safely despite discovering that my bow thruster was not working again. Either it's the card of the remote control again (already changed 3 months ago) or there is a fuse that I have not yet found on the outer case of the remote ... I'm looking for the documentation as Beneteau’s is dismal . Normally when sailing with more than 10 knots of wind I put the pilot to follow the wind and keep an eye in case of too much shift on our goal of arrival. BUT when I try to sail in the wind, the offsets of the wind were too important; the autopilot does not know where he lives and work too much. So we sailed on a fixed course and watched to insure the sails remained adapted to the changes of the wind. This allowed us to ignore changes in the wind direction that last only a few seconds or minutes. The adventures continue! The genoa has just torn along the UV rim that I had repaired in Martinique before the summer. I think that the sail is now very tired and so I have to think about replacing it. Between the 2 years of renting the boat when she was probably abused and the 8000 miles we have already traveled, I am good for a new set of sails. I will buy the kind for sailing and not those for sailing competition .. I must research this. Francoise tells me that it smells like burning, an acrid and nauseating odor that brings me back a strange taste in the mouth and a headache. After multiple explorations, retracing the duct heating, I realize that the protective heat sheath smokes ... it spreads throughout the boat via duct passages! I CUT THE HEATING because the sheath even pulled from the duct will start to smoke when you turn it on again. I am furious with Benneteau once again, because the interior fittings of the equipment allows this kind of "bullshit". It will be necessary in France that I compartmentalize the equipment spaced so that what one puts in the hold can not touch, damage, disturb ... the equipment of navigation. THIS IS NOT PERMISSIBLE on Benneteau's part in the design. In addition, the storage spaces under the berths are unusable as installed, because the wood crossings to support the beds makes the entries areas very small and quirky. I’ll just change these reinforcements with removable reinforcements to solve the problem, but frankly, for a boat that is sold 250K € bare (budget 300k € minimum for most people) We could expect better! We were going to see the Outer-Banks, but given the tear of the genoa (to replace with the new genoa that I have in the hold) and the heating failure that requires that I probably change the sheath, we will go to Norfolk where they tell me that there are Benneteau skills and professionals of various equipments on board. This is the entrance to Chesapeake Bay, historically the cradle of sailing in the USA. We will put the boat in the condition to make the crossing because in NYC it will be much more difficult to reach sailing professionals and shops if needed. We will be only 275 nautical miles from NYC, 3 days sailing, I hope to arrive around the 20th to enjoy NYC and see some friends ... if available! Francoise asks me if the fishing line is taken, I look and for the second day in a row we have a nice tuna, 3-4 kilos, small but beautiful and just the right size for us. This afternoon the fish will be fresh! Yesterday we ate it aw marinated, today it's a baked recipe from the Caliure region ... yes, you can say, we're unhappy. The well-chilled Ménitou wine is delicious as an aperitif and with our dish. We are French remember! Norfolk - New York If you look on the map it is not very far, but navigating by 25 knots of wind and sometimes gusts to 30-35, we avoid the bridge where we freeze and we navigate by instruments from the inside, time seems long. Arriving, trying to fold the Main Sail, she tears on a side, I will have to replace it for the crossing. These sails now have more than 15,000 nautical miles and according to my questions to the various experts, it seems that it is "normal" that they need to be replaced. Fortunately I have a set of new sails, those originally sold with the boat that I put in the holds. But trying to install the new Main Sail, I realized that QuoVadis had installed a special rail for the North Sails sail they had installed, I must remove this so that I can slide the sail in the rail slot on the mast. Hard work that I do hanging in a hung seat going up the mast with screws that are sometimes welded to the rail that you have to drill to remove. Fortunately, Celia has just arrived and she is eager to help me and share the job well. Once the rail removed we realized that this new sail has battens that QuoVadis forgot to give me, only the intermediate battens are here but I will have to get several battens or sail without ... not good for the sail. In the meantime, the pilot started to leak despite the block I put in place to fix the structure. I also see that the arch that holds the balm shows signs of stress in the gel coat and a whole set of other problems, particularly the front halliard that has three broken strands. So I agreed to stop at a shipyard representating Beneteau at their request to repair what is urgent for the crossing and Beneteau agreed to solve the other problems in a shipyard in France, apparently in Cherbourg. We went up the East River alongside NewYork and by chance the current of the rising tide pushed us forward more than 2 knots, so we arrived much faster than expected. On arrival, Philippe a marina worker was still there to help us dock. First navigation of Celia who is delighted but understood the need to cover herself well, it was VERY cold. We took a drink with Rene who manages the Hudson Point Marina (price $ 200 / day!), An impressive and very kind man who has a construction project on the water of a huge complex that would use the water flow of the river to provide the energy used by the buildings. Very nice project that I hope will see the day. Celia Celia replied to the announcement that I needed a crew member for an Atlantic crossing in April. We communicated by phone and her profile of 28 years, sports, aerodynamic technician etc. pleased me. Arriving with her backpack, Françoise and I welcomed her and the first contact confirmed my good impressions on the phone. Francoise has now taken her plane to France and I find myself with Celia to organize the boat for the crossing. I have for example 200 liters of fuel in cans to complete the 200 liters tank ... for safety because I do not expect to use them. But with the cold that makes the heating system consume fuel, the possibility of needing to get out of situations of "slack wind (or no wind)" etc., it is prudent to have a good reserve. Here the fuel is 60 cents per liter, so I bought specialized fuel recipients that I put under the rear bench during navigation. L install the old sails under the Dinghy on deck. I bring them back because I want the advice of a sail maker before definitively decommissioning them and, if so, I think I will use them to create covered spaces at Fort Mahon or Braie (Françoise’s house in the swamps). The CASTAWAYS Marina is located in a very calm waterway and associated with a shipyard site that seems to be running well with 99% of motor boats. Here in the USA I think that people have little leisure time and therefore favor motor boats that allow you to go where you want to go and come back at specific times. But frankly it's not a vision of life that I envy. Joe is very friendly and his boss Billy, a businessman very weary. The scheduling of the work drags on because the communication between Beneteau and Billy, the boss of Castaways is blurry and Billy does not want to do anything other than meet Beneteau specific requests. I try to make clear here the cultural differences in expressing themselves, French mentality of approximation, the US mentality of exactitude and try to keep all the actors well aware of the importance of making things progress so that I can leave as soon as possible. Celia and I are anxious to leave! In the meantime it's cold! The weather is gloomy and rainy sometimes with some icy rains that make the pontoon dangerous. We work hard to prepare everything as quickly as possible, including the tear of the protective glass on the awning, which lets the icy wind pass. This Bimini will be replaced by my planned construction of an enclosed cockpit which I have been designing for the last 3 months will replace this. This will allow us to sail in any weather and cold areas both north and south.