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The Course is Set - To Corsica
07/15/2012, Cap Ferrat

It's been 15 days since we reached mainland France and they have been the toughest I've had in the Mediterranean so far. One of the problems is that any natural harbor that was along this coast was blocked off and made into a marina or commercial port starting 500 years ago. So there really are very few well protected bays to anchor in. Another is that the weather and wind change direction as quickly as politician do and the forecasts are usually 100% backwards. If the wind is forecast for westerlies at 10 knots, we get easterlies at 20. It's really unbelievable how quickly the wind clocks around 180 degrees and goes from zero to hurricane strength. There's a story related to this that I'll leave untold for now.

Because of this, I have not been able to leave sight of Palarran and sometimes haven't been able to actually leave her at all. Three days were lost because I had to maintain an anchor watch all day. There really are not many options for marinas either as they are not prepared for the beam of a catamaran, and if I can get a spot, they charge unbelievable rates. As an example, we got a wonderful spot in the marina in Cassis. Before I brought the boat in they quoted me a rate of 125 euros per day. When I went to clear out the same man said, "Oh, and it is 2 X because you are a catamaran". I had told him that before I arrived but we obviously had a communication issue. Now, normally you might argue the point more but one of the wise things these guys do is take your boat papers on arrival. That is like taking your passport away. You have to have them and until you pay up - you don't get them back. So after some conversation, I agreed to pay and my dock guys parting words where "I'm not doing this because I hate Americans". Really?, What made you think that I was thinking that?

St. Tropez is really a fantastic village. I loved the shops, restaurants, and their fresh food market. We didn't find it pretentious. The beach wasn't what I had remembered from 15 years ago but that's what old age will do to you (no gusto). Jeanne and I took a long walk and had a very good lunch together. This was the first time we had been able to enjoy each other's company alone in something like 3 months. From St. Tropez we headed to Cannes and Ile Ste-Marguerite and St. Honorat.

Susie, Mark, Jeanne, and Lindy went into Cannes for the day and Elaina, Nick and I went scuba diving. Ok, I have to say it pretty plainly, the diving really, really skinks here. All we have seen is algae covered rocks and sea grass. The fish - nada. The highlight of this day was Nick, Mark, and I going onto the Island when all the tourists had left and walking around. We somehow snuck through the gate to Fort Royal (it was open and no one was around) and toured on our own. What a lovely island, I would recommend anyone visiting this area to put it on their must do list.

Antibes was another town that was absolutely stunning but I missed due to anchor watch. I was really kind of upset at the end of the day but felt there was not much choice. The group toured the Picasso museum and did some shopping. From Antibes we went to Villefranche. This is a long narrow bay that is only open to the south. There was a fairly good swell that ran into it which caused Palarran to rock side to side quite badly but we all enjoyed our best dinner on shore for this segment. We had planned to stay in this harbor for three days. Susie, Mark, and Lindy had to fly out of Nice and Nick's friend Andrew was arriving also. Susie and Mark went into Nice to do a wander-about and we enjoyed the Ville. It was exactly like what I had hoped for, narrow, winding, flower laden passages filled with shops and restaurants. We did the laundry and had sat down for lunch when I felt the wind blow up the street and knock over several umbrellas that were shading lunch tables. This is where the story I don't want to tell comes in so I'll skip to our next stop - St. Jean Cap Ferrat.

St. Jean Cap Ferrat is where the really big and expensive villas are along the Riviera. You may have seen them when you read about famous people vacationing in the French Riviera because this is where they come. The group headed to Monaco and Eze yesterday while I stood watch on Palarran. I had really looked forward to seeing Eze and according to the gang, I did miss something special. But again I was needed on the boat as this was Bastille Day (like our 4th of July) and hundreds of boaters decided to anchor exactly where Palarran was. One guy on a large cabin cruiser started to get close so I pulled in about 50' of chain on our anchor. For a moment this actually made us get even closer and the guy came unglued. I'm standing there thinking "I was here first" but that apparently didn't matter to Count Buttwipe. He was yelling "Just leave, go home back to England". Very presumptuous as I could have been Australian.

Susie, Mark, and Lindy left at 5:30 this morning for their long flight home and Andrew arrived around noon. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow to get ready for heading to Corsica. Laundry needs to be done, restocking groceries, and refueling are our top priorities. We will leave mainland France around 5:00pm tomorrow for the 110 mile crossing. The weather forecast is for calm winds so we are rigging for gale force winds. So, we will leave and I'll probably not come back to this country again. France would be truly great if it didn't have so many French people in it. I will miss the food and wine though.

07/15/2012 | Joyce vos
Hello Lambrights, Don has been keeping me updated on your voyage but tonight is he first time I've had to read it from stem to stern and I am amazed by all of your adventures. This is truly a trip of a lifetime that will provide you all with such great experiences and memories. So wish I didn't get so seasick we miss you! Ps Jeanne you will have a few voice mails to catch up on :). Be safe
07/17/2012 | Kerry
The beauty of your trip is being able to leave one place for another and keeping focused on all the wonderful things that can come about. Hope you find lots of coves to anchor in when you get to Corsica and a general improvement in the people's attitudes. Hopefully you will find more opportunities to get off the boat and enjoy the trip. I know the watchword is "vigilant" but everyone needs some downtime. Still looking forward to each of your postings and wishing you smooth sailing.
07/17/2012 | Kim Stewart
Just caught up on your latest adventures. Sounds fantastic! Miss you all and can't wait to hear the stories when you get back. Safe travels Love The Stewart's
07/21/2012 | Jan Lambright
Always love the posts from you and the guests on Palarran. 12 of us at the cottage tonight. Beautiful sunset. Rich here from Calif. Their house getting close to being done and very cute. All of your extended family are well. Copper was so good while here but with Charlene now. Article about you was in the Macatawa News letter. Some of the people from Macatawa now checking into your blog site. Keep the news coming. Hot, hot weather here in Michigan! Love, Mom
07/26/2012 | cheryl
I'm wandering how the lady of the house (boat) is faring??? Jeanne are you staying "high and dry"?
Home sick today with strep throat and I actually have the day to myself to catch up on your adventures (no kids)!
07/27/2012 | Susie
Hi Dave, Jean, Nick and Elaina,
I just found another handful of euros in a side pocket and of course was thinking of you. Oh i was also thinking I should have pulled those Euros out when I was being indecisive while shopping in St. Tropez. Wonderful trip and wish you would post some pictures of Corsica. I've only seen a couple of Marks pictures but I think there will be some good ones for you.
Miss you -
When in France…
Lindy Moored
07/09/2012, Saint Tropez

Hello fellow blog readers! Lindy here. It has been some amazing days here on Palarran. I came on the vessel last Thursday, and that night we went out for dinner. Because of my dietary needs, the meal I ordered was sent to Elaina's mouth instead of mine. I ended up with pesto pasta and Elaina ate pesto ravioli. Yum! Due the motion sickness patch I decided to wear, my overall wellbeing was very impaired. It seemed that all of the side effects applied to me. I overcame a very dry mouth, semi hallucinations, extreme drowsiness, and pain around the patch. I suggest never ever ever using this form of anti-sea-sickness. Instead I recommend Bonine, which is the most amazing pill ever for seasickness. Anyway, the next morning we all enjoyed walking around Cassis. We went to a wonderful farmers market to stock up on goods. Elaina and I stopped at a bakery on the way back to the boat. I had the best muffin ever! After our grocery shopping, we all hopped on the dingy and rode off to explore. Cassis is known because of several large fjords called Calanques in French. We came across a mini port and went for a short hike and a little swim. Elaina and I treaded water while waiting for the dingy to pick us up. After that adventure, we went to a little cove and enjoyed cliff jumping and more swimming. Cliff jumping has been my all-time favorite experience so far. After getting back to the boat, the adults went to a winery for a tour while Elaina and I did some shopping. Soon after, we all went out for dinner. All the ladies went to one restaurant while the men went for mussels and fries. During our dinner, Elaina and I had to use the lue. An easy misunderstanding occurred where Elaina accidentally went into the men's bathroom. She got a very weird look from another man trying to use the restroom. When in France, right?

The next day we finally went for a sail and ended up in Porqurolles, the largest island of the Iles d'Hyeres. There we headed into town and rented bikes. We took a long bike ride up some trails. When we reached an opening to a beach, Elaina and I walked down to the water. We waded through the water and I soon slipped on a rock and fell in the water. This event made me so angry. But, I'm over it! After we biked back into town, we headed off again to see an old windmill and fort up on the island. Then we went to have Mr. Lambright pick us up in the dingy. He didn't come for a couple minutes so Elaina and I swam out to Palarran. In the meantime the dingy came and got everyone else. We ate a fine meal on the boat that night of fish and squid. To end the evening, we played a fun game of Catch Phrase. The next morning we sailed to Bormes-les-Mimosas where we walked and walked to find something exciting, but nothing came about. I guess that what happens when you go on a Sunday. Everything was closed. We sat at a cafe and had drinks and Elaina and I enjoyed pizza and a chocolate croissant. We walked back and got picked up by the dingy. For dinner on the boat we had veal and potatoes that took forever to cook. It was very yummy after the wait. That night ended with another game of apples to apples.
This leads us up to this morning where we entered St. Tropez. We came across some very large yachts. We anchored and rode in to walk around and shop. There were some very nice stores to go into. We stopped for lunch and I finally experienced having French fries in France. We are preparing to go for a nice dinner out tonight. So many more places to see and experiences to have. When in France!

Passage to France then Cassis
07/05/2012, Cassis

We left Mahon on Minorca at 9:45am for our 220 mile passage to Marseilles. Nick took the helm as we left the dock and went to the fuel dock. He did an awesome job of maneuvering Palarran through the harbor. The wind was blowing from astern at 12 knots so we raised the spinnaker and sailed all day at between 7 and 10 knots until the wind increased to 16 knots. At that point we doused the chute and went to a single reefed main and full jib. Unfortunately that only lasted a few hours before the wind died and we motored the rest of the way.

It's funny how plans change when you really don't have any set in stone. When we were sailing the rhum line led straight to the island of Porquerolles, one of the Ises d'Hyeres. I decided we might as well head there instead of being stuck in Marseille for 5 days waiting for Susie, Mark, and Lindy. We arrived at 1:30pm in a near dead calm and anchored outside of the main port along with about 60 other boats. We went ashore, walked around, and had dinner. Upon leaving we found the wind had changed and was coming directly from the north at about 20 knots. It was 8:00pm at this point.

In an earlier post I had quoted Skinny's saying of "Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance" and our boat motto of "Ever Vigilant". Before leaving St. Maarten I had a new electronic device called an AIS Transponder installed. This allowed us to see most vessels near us and whether we were on a collision course. One of the separate functions is that it can act as an anchor alarm. I had only played with this function up to this point but decided we needed to set it that night. We did, and then went to sleep as we had not fully recovered from the passage.

I usually sleep with a hatch open above my bed, right above my head. This provides nice cool air and also allows me to better sense what is going on outside. As I tried to get to sleep I felt a strong burst of wind hit Palarran and she started to rock sideways. At the same time the anchor alarm went off, shrieking us into action. All hands ran to deck to find out Palarran's anchor had pulled out of the mud/weed and we were one minute away from colliding with another sailboat and about 3 minutes away from being on shore. It's amazing how long one minute can last when you need every second.

I started both motors immediately then jumped down on the stern and grabbed the dingy which had drifted across the stern. Nick pulled the dingy in tight on the other side in order to keep its tether line from fowling one of our propellers. At this point, nothing could go wrong. Then I engaged both motors and rotated Palarran into the wind and held her there. We were about 50' away from the other sailboat at this time. The wind was howling and the waves had built up quickly to about four foot rollers. At this point we had a minute to decide a course of action.

First we needed to get the dingy on it's davits. This didn't go very smoothly as Nick had to do most of the work, from attaching the lines to cranking it up. I couldn't leave the helm as we needed to maintain our position. Then we raised the anchor which wasn't difficult as it was just drifting along the seabed. The wind was blowing at about 25 knots at this time and there were few options for us at 11:00pm. So we decided we would stay offshore for the night and started to motor across the bay. In two hours the wind died down to 15/20 knots and we returned to our previous anchor location and relayed the anchor, adding much more chain to the scope. I do want to note that we were not alone in our troubles. During this whole period the bay lit up with running lights and motors. Fifteen boats were anchored when we went to sleep and three where left when we woke the next day.

In retrospect, we did one thing right and many wrong in this incident. The right was setting the anchor alarm. The wrongs start with not having enough scope on the anchor from the beginning. Then Nick jumped on the dingy to attach the lifting lines without a life jacket on. If he had fallen off - not good. We also didn't have a safe harbor to escape to once the wind hit. We learned a lot and will not forget the lessons. The next day we moved to another harbor and set the anchor. We dove on it and checked it twice during the day. We have become near masters of the anchor alarm system and feel we will be warned well ahead of danger in the future.

From the Porquerolles we motored to Cassis. The wind was as usual on the nose and it would have taken 10 hours plus to sail instead of 5 hours to motor. We couldn't get a spot in the marina that night so we set the anchor offshore in 45' of water. No problems. Yesterday was the Fourth of July and I begged the marina into letting us have a slip and we tied Palarran off at the end of a pier at 1:00pm yesterday. It is an unbelievable location in a beautiful setting. Mark, Susie, and Lindy arrived a few hours ago and I'll let Mark finish the description of our situation.

07/05/2012 | Tim Houler
Hope you had a wonderful day

No Problems
07/01/2012, Porquerolles

We made it to the Cote D'Azur without any problems. We are currently anchored off the Ile de Porquerolles and I will update the blog when I get proper internet access.

07/01/2012 | Kerry
Still following along and now having to enjoy it all in a vicarious manner. Can't believe how quickly it all went when we were aboard. What a great experience. All my best to you and all on board Palarran. Safe sailing and many pleasurable stops in the months ahead.
Leaving the Balearic's
06/29/2012, Mahon, Minorca

To start this post, I need to send out some overdue Thank-You's. First off I'd like to thank Stosh and Kerry for their contributions in time and effort to making the crossing with me. Thank you Skinny for all you brought to the delivery also. I'll never forget our day of conversation during the gale. We both attained a greater appreciation for the sea and seamanship and a bond of friendship forged from frothy breakers. Thank you to all my co-workers back at Bel-Aire for making this lifelong dream a possibility. I think about work and how nice it would be to kick back at my desk every once in a while. Thanks Joe, Matt, and Adam and the Beckman family for joining us here in the Balearic's.
Tomorrow morning at 8:00am we are leaving Mahon on the Island of Minorca for Marseilles in France. It is 220 nautical miles and will take between 30 and 36 hours (hopefully). This will be the longest passage that my family has made and it will be interesting for me to witness how well they handle it. It has been 3 weeks since Skinny, Kerry, and I arrived in Ibiza. It is hard to believe we are leaving this magical area. The song Higher from Creed has been ringing in my ear's for the last few days.

When dreaming I'm guided to another world
Time and time again
At sunrise I fight to stay asleep
'Cause I don't want to leave the comfort of this place
'Cause there's a hunger, a longing to escape
From the life I live when I'm awake
So let's go there
Let's make our escape
Come on, let's go there
Let's ask can we stay?

Can you take me Higher?
To a place where blind men see
Can you take me Higher?
To a place with golden streets

Although I would like our world to change
It helps me to appreciate
Those nights and those dreams
But, my friend, I'd sacrifice all those nights
If I could make the Earth and my dreams the same
The only difference is
To let love replace all our hate
So let's go there
Let's make our escape
Come on, let's go there
Let's ask can we stay?

Can you take me Higher?
To a place where blind men see
Can you take me Higher?
To a place with golden streets

So lets go there, lets go there,
Come on, lets go there
Lets ask can we stay?

Up high I feel like I'm alive for the very first time
Set up high I'm strong enough to take these dreams
And make them mine
Set up high I'm strong enough to take these dreams
And make them mine

Can you take me Higher?
To a place where blind men see
Can you take me Higher?
To a place with golden streets

I don't want to leave, what more can I say. It's hard to believe there is another place in the world that will be as special as the last three weeks have been. One cala after another brought stunning scenery, scents, and aqua blue water. The people here have been so nice also given our poor (non-existant) ability to speak Spanish.

I am in the process of uploading photo's to Picasa and they can be viewed here:

Beckman's join the adventure
Emily and Kevin Beckman

We began our voyage to Soller using an iron wind (aka diesel). Thanks to our good natured captain, we were able to view the opposite side of the island we hiked the day prior. We reveled in spectacular views of mountainous topography, with sheer cliffs bordering the sea's edge. As we sit here in Palma awaiting our train back to Soller, we find it impossible to describe the enchanting beauty of this island. We later arrived at Port Soller around lunchtime. After we set anchor, we motored to shore in the dingy. Our party split into factions, separating into Chinese and Indian cuisine. Lunch was followed by a quick bit of shopping, and our young lads received their infamous "walking around money". Back on the Palarran, the master grillers delighted us with perfectly seasoned hamburger patties, as well as a tuna salad. However, our day's festivities were not yet complete as we returned once more to land to watch the Euro Cup in a local drinking establishment. In "El Canto", we witnessed Italy's victory against England. The few overzealous Brits in the bar were bloody disappointed. Our long but lovely day closed with a splash of Bailey's, and the rocking of the boat lulled us into a deep, well-deserved sleep.
Love, Emily and Kevin

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The Wanderers
Who: David, Jeanne, Nick, and Elaina Lambright
Port: Portage, Michigan
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Aldarion was the Heir to the King of NĂºmenor. He was a great captain and adventurer, to the dismay of his father, who wished his son to spend his youth on the island he would one day rule. Aldarion, though, felt the call of the sea, and he built himself a vast ship, larger than any that had been seen at that time. He called it PALARRAN, an Elvish name meaning 'Far-Wanderer', and in it he journeyed the Great Sea to Middle-Earth. JRR Tolkien, The Silmarillion