EASTER SUNDAY MASSACRE: First Solo Sail on New Lunacy

JFD on deck

It went pretty well actually, except for one part at the very end. The weather at least was fabulous. Bright and sunny with a moderate 15-17 knot breeze out of the west. I motored down the river, Le Jaudy they call it, against the dregs of the flood tide, and raised sail just before reaching the entrance. There followed a few hours of experimentation in open water. Took a reef in the main. Played with the Windpilot windvane for a while. Diddled with the electronics. Reveled in the moments and all. One of the highlights was when I turned back in and saw the creator of the Boréal, Jean-François Delvoye, heading out on his own new boat (that’s him on the foredeck trying to take photos of me) for a bit of an Easter Sunday jaunt.

I can tell you one thing for sure. The old Lunacy (recently sold, FYI, to two young French couples living in the U.S. who plan to cruise her to Patagonia) felt like a dinghy compared to this boat. I understood, of course, that this new one is bigger, but I told myself it wouldn’t be that different, as the mast is exactly the same height (old Lunacy has a very tall rig for her size).

Well, yes. But the sails are still bigger, and this is, I will confess, the largest boat I have ever sailed singlehanded. Another Rubicon crossed.


Yours truly on the foredeck, in between his bouts of exercise

Broad reach

On a broad reach to nowhere

The loads are bigger, as is the cockpit, so there is a bit more scrambling about when sailing alone. Also, admittedly, I am still learning this boat. Ten years of sailing on any boat will create a very impressive economy of motion and effort in handling it, and I am sure I will realize similar economies on this boat once I’ve sailed it a few thousand miles.

About this river. It truly is spectacular, as is all the countryside and shoreline I’ve managed to see here en Bretagne. One very good reason to buy one of these boats is to have an excuse to hang around here for a while. I only wish I had the time to spend a full season cruising the coast!


Snaking up the river toward Treguier as the ebb tide drains away beneath me

And now about the massacre part. Very embarrassing this. My first solo landing on the new boat, in a wind against tide situation (tide ahead, wind behind, both working away from the dock), and I messed it up! Prodded the boat ahead, gently, but significantly (fortunately it is already in a semi-decrepit state, with a missing spreader, varnish long gone, an unraveled deck, etc.), and I munged up its stern pulpit a bit, cracked its flag staff clean off, and snapped one stay on the wind generator’s mast.

Checking my French phrase book I see the appropriate phrase here is: Je suis désolé!

So very sorry.

Frank's boat

The damage done. I just met the owner, Frank (sp?), before sitting down to write this and he was very magnanimous. Lucky me. Needless to say I promised to pay for the damage, and I assume he understood me

Treguier marina

Scene of the crime: the marina at Treguier. It looks pleasant enough, but 30-foot tides can make any postcard more interesting than it seems at a glance. Check out the mud! This isn’t even dead low yet. That comes when the boats closest to shore are up to their hulls in it

Afterwards I strolled around town for a while to work off the shame, soaking up the Easter vibe, and snapped many pix. If I had a faster web connection I’d post many more of them, as it really is a medieval wonderland.


Up the hill toward the center of town. Note the intriguingly perforated cathedral spire on the left


My favorite building so far. Complete with hawks overhead

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13 Responses
  1. Clare Allcard

    She looks great, Charlie! Bad luck about the ending but for sure it won’t happen again and I can deeply empathise with the sickening feeling you must have had as it happened.

  2. Patrick

    A while back I was talking to an old time cruiser who said “I have been doing this cruising for so long, I’ve made every mistake that can be made.” Bump another boat; if you haven’t done it, that time will come.

  3. Dave

    We were recently in Emerald Bay Marina, Exumas, and two Boreal 47’s came through. Having worked for PJ’s many years ago, I’m pretty familiar with aluminum crafting. I was impressed with the exterior workmanship and fairness of lines. Good purchase, Charles. I will not be bringing our boat back to Maine this summer – she’s staying in the Chesapeake while I get a new knee.

  4. greg

    Hi Charlie, thanks again for welcoming my son and I aboard last week ! Trully wonderful boat ! I’ll follow your trip across the Atlantic. Greg

  5. John S

    What a humbling experience. . . but, we have all been there Charlie. I think we learn more from the things that go wrong than the things that go right. In a week you won’t even think about it but you’ll also be wiser. They only people that never mess up are the people that stay home.

    That’s a fine boat you have. I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures.

  6. Tanton

    I am a little surprised by the scantlings. Looks light on frames and stringers to me. But I do not know the plating thickness.

  7. VAST

    You’ll get some fast online connection in the small bar at the Cathedral, “La Place”, if I remember correctly 🙂

  8. tangara

    Great boat now you must revise your sailing technique with a lifting keel it is different i just sail 3 month on a Ovni 47 and appreciate all the avantage wish you fun.

  9. Odd Arne

    No worry, we had trouble out of the dock first time. Tide pushing us in again, saved by a awake son who used a padded deck chair against another new boat . It´s a new experience handling tide and learning the centerboard boat. First night was calm and magic, Alu dried out and the tide went back in the morning ready to sail again.

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