Sailing the Coast of France & On to Corsica


Written: Saturday, May 4th, 2024


When Neil first attempted to sell me on the idea of packing up everything and buying a boat to sail, as he put it, “around the world”, he spoke of idyllic anchorages, sunny skies, breezy winds, and calm seas. Until today, we have experienced everything but! We have had winds gusting to 40+ knots and wave heights up to 12 feet. But, VikingBlod pulled through!



As I write today, our back porch is the walls around the old city of Antibes, France and the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea. It is incredibly peaceful, especially after spending the past two nights in the marina at Port Vauban, Antibes where crews on board super yacht after super yacht are working to clean, polish, and prepare for the enjoyment of others. Many young people (twenty somethings) are walking the docks asking if boats need crew, hoping to experience a bit of the lifestyle of the wealthy.




Ben and Elias left us this morning, taking the train to Nice where their plane has just taken off, heading back to Toronto - a summer internship for Ben at Stanley Black & Decker and a summer semester for Elias at U of Waterloo in his Engineering program await. We loved having them along while we learned the boat and explored some new places. We all found that you can’t always expect everything will go according to plan when you are at the mercy of the weather. The best part is we all rose to the challenge, staring down whatever Mother Nature or Poseidon or Neptune threw at us. Some of the ports we experienced together in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region were: Marseille - climbing up to the cathedral and enjoying a great meal in the old port; Bandol: a small seaside port; Port Cros: anchoring for the night, experiencing winds gusting to 65km/h and howling over the mountains at our bow; Saint-Tropez: super yachts, walking along the shore and old town; Frejus: an unexpected port we moored in to escape the winds/waves that were higher than forecasted & where we celebrated Neil's birthday with a very tasty dinner; Antibes: a great place to visit, especially the old town. In the end, it was a tearful goodbye at the train station as we will not see Ben for 6 months and that is really hard to take. Thank goodness for almost daily calls on What’s App or FaceTime!










This afternoon we are preparing for a very early start tomorrow, pulling up anchor and heading to Corsica in the morning. Winds are predicted to be light, so we are not sure at this point if it will be a motor or if we will get some sailing in. I’ll happily take this after some of the crazy winds and waves we have experienced to date. 


The upside of sailing or motoring in higher winds and waves is that we have confidence in the boat we purchased, a Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 58. Built in 2016, VikingBlod is hull number one of this design. She is custom designed for offshore sailing and living aboard. Some of the features are large tankage for water and diesel, hot water heater, AC/Heating system, large battery capacity, a generator, and a water maker. I particularly like the washer/dryer so that we are not lugging loads of clothes and linens to laundromats! (As I write, I have two loads drying on the lifelines). We are also benefitting from the electric winches and power furling for the sails (for the non-sailors this means that we don’t have to pull on lines to move the sails up and down or side to side). She also has teak decks, which Neil has been busy refinishing and they are looking amazing.


As previously mentioned, we have replaced the interior cushions, added a bimini and dodger for protection from the sun, wind and rain and purchased a 9.5 foot Highfield dingy that we have named Buddy. 


VikingBlod is beginning to feel like home.






Comments

  1. Hello Carole and Neil,
    So glad VikingBlod is starting to feel like home (even for Finnigan!). I guess you had to see if your vessel was "sea worthy" and that you have your "sea legs" - just too bad you had to experience less than perfect weather while Ben was with you. Also good that you feel confident in your purchase - all of us left behind feel better knowing you are safe. How nice to have all of the "conveniences of home" on VikingBlod. Keep the updates coming! Love seeing pictures of the boat now that you are feeling more at home on it. How about a tour? (not sure you can post a video here), and how about one of the whole boat?
    Looking forward to future posts!
    Nora

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