Epoxy, Rosé and why we still are in port.

Our Nautitech cat is a construction site – still and again. Our stay in Port Camargue for repairs in early September was planned. We needed some electrical work from last year finalized by a marine installer from La Rochelle and needed Nautitech to replace, on warranty, the three top salon windows which are raining through – among other open warranty items.

Not much happened in Port Camargue, except that we discovered new problems like osmosis on the coach roof where once the solar panels were. The issue is now to be settled between two insurances which takes time.

Today is October 31st, thus 2 month later and we are in La Grande Motte, a port nearby, where we are allowed to do fiberglas repairs. Repairs which did not happen so far (not the fault of the fiberglas expert).

The electricians came every two weeks for two or three days and even so some work had been done, a lot of work is left. As of today we miss two alternators on our engines, our generator is still in serious trouble and should be exchanged. And, there are more items on the electrical todo list. On the electronics side we have issues like the B&G instruments disagreeing between each other on what the actually depth is by 1 meter. The expert of the installer company could not fix it and declared it a software bug by B&G. He setup a partial workaround to the problem but the full functionality is not achieved. B&G’s technical support disagrees with the label of a software bug. I am working with B&G to resolve the issue.

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Electronics which work flawlessly. Thanks Carrefour!

Those are the moments where a glass of Rose becomes a crucial element of our life’s philosophy!

What happened to our solar panels?

We posted about the subject earlier and here is a bit more. One solar panel started to smolder/burn for unknown reasons in August where the connectors of the panel are located and burned a hole in the deck. The problem was discovered at an early stage thanks to an alert guest crew member (thanks B-Hoernchen!).

When we removed the panel from the roof we found solid osmosis under this panel and decided to inspect the other solar panels. We had Osmosis under nearly all panels. Since then, we had many experts onboard, as this is a rare occurrence on a one year old boat. They came to agree that water must have been trapped under the panels during the installation and together with the higher temperatures under the solar panels the moisture permeated through the gelcoat. Our flex solar panels were installed with Sikaflex on the perimeter which sealed the moisture permanently between deck and panel.

The bad news for us is that we entirely missed our weather window to sail in decent weather to Cyprus. During the winter, Cyprus has a very pleasant weather. Right now the temperatures are in the high 20s Celsius, while here we have 8C and rain. Today it’s warmer but raining like hell with gale force winds. We were told that this weather will go on until spring – only colder 🙁

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Hmmm! Time for some good food.

 

Last year we waited for a long time to get repairs done in La Rochelle. We dread to be a long time in port again and wait and beg and wait and beg until, like last year, we feel it necessary to employ a legal counsel. And yes, the windows still leak.

What can we do! Well, we go wine hunting or ‘degustation’ as it’s elegantly called in french, with our boat’s resident sommelier Remy.

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Carcassonne

Carcassonne-800-x-400_3-800x400Last weekend we made a trip to Carcassonne. A charming medieval fortress. Unfortunately, it was a cold and rainy day. But the citadelle is worth a visit.  Despite the cold we walked around and tried to make the best of it. After exploring the fortress we had a nice lunch in a great restaurant.

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Outremer Launch

 

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Happy day for someone

The narrow side alley of the Outremer factory is blocked and cleared of cars. Ready for a big boat launch. A truck will pull the boat out. I’ll be back after breakfast to see more.

Update:

Here is a short video about the launch. It was not easy to film. Several shots were against low light. Later I steered our dinghy and filmed at the same time. Apparently I am not so good at multitasking 🙁

YouTube Link:                Launch Outremer 5X Cara Mia

Morning Croissant Dash

Morning time in La Grande Motte.

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Time to get Baguettes and Pain au Chocolates which are croissants with chocolate infused. (Pain au chocolates are a great invention saving you from the hard labor of spreading Nutella on your croissant so early in the morning.)

My favored mode of transportation is my electric scooter or Trottinette as it’s called in french. Marinas and ports are large, often having more than 1000 docks. You easily walk many kilometers to get to the Capitanerie, do customs check-in/out or simply get groceries.

My morning croissant trips are not a mad dash-run. Most of the time, I take the scenic route, detour to the empty beach much to the chagrin of the Admiral. The air is a bit chilly and moist but feels good. The view of the sea and imagining that the next land is 8 days of sailing away makes a great morning reflection.

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From the beach, I head towards the bakery (boulangerie). On my way I pass by two famous boatyards: Gunboat and Outremer. I stop and take a look what’s on their production line. They are busy early mornings. (Now you know why I always came late to school 🙂 )

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If there are no further distractions I finally make it to our favorite bakery.

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Everything is freshly baked. Bakeries start here at 4am. If I am lucky, the baguettes and croissants are still hot when I put them in my backpack.

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On the way back I go the most direct route. No distractions or my coffee gets cold!

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La Grande Motte Autumn Gale – Kiteboarding

Today was a good day for kite-boarders. Unusual warm weather with gale force winds. Around noon the wind picked up and the beach began to fill. We showed 35kts peak winds in a protected corner of the port.

Horizontal rain did not stop the enthusiasm. Looking east, towards Sete I guessed a 100 kites flying in the sky. A fantastic, wild view. I didn’t make a wide-angle shot of the scene, since I didn’t dare to change the lens with sand and rain blowing across the beach.

Here are some more shots from the day. Some kite boarders jumped really high.

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Wind force

Name

mph

knots

Mean knots

Sea state

7

Near gale

32-38

28-33

30

Rough-Very rough

8

Gale

39-46

34-40

37

Very rough – High

Weekend in La Rochelle

lr-09-2018-2-of-71.jpgEarly spring to summer last year the Admiral and I stayed in the marina of La Rochelle. Despite all the trouble we had there, we fell in love with the town. Coming back 14 months later felt like returning home. La Rochelle had really grown on us. We even drove by the Admiral’s hospital – hmmm!

La Rochelle is a very unique sea side town with remarkable history and a special seaside atmosphere influenced by 6 meter tides. The old port and marine activities are the center point of life in town. The marina has more than 4000 berth and 10 kilometers of floating docks. Many famous boatbuilders call La Rochelle their home: Amel, Dufour, Fountain Pajot or RM Yachts. If you want to see and learn more about La Rochelle follow this link: Wiki of La Rochelle

The visit was a spontaneous idea, inspired by their annual ‘Grand Pavois’ boat-show. We combined it with some business we had to do there. On our way, we took the scenic route going through the ‘Cevennes’, heading towards Limoges and then direct to La Rochelle. The trip was 4 hours longer than the normal autoroute via Toulouse. We enjoyed winding country roads most of the way (except for the last miles in the dark, when we took the autoroute).

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Thierry from Accostillage Diffusion, aka Mare Magnum and the Captain

We visited some friends and our beloved chandlery Mare Magnum with Florence, Thierry and Olymp, who all greeted us like family. It felt good to be back!

Food was excellent. Our little stowaway Remy, representing our grandchildren, made excellent food choices for us.

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We were astonished by the very high end food served at the temporary boat show restaurants. It was delicious, but hey, we are in France!

Very early Monday morning we hurried back to the boat since there was a strong wind forecast for Southern France.

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