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Simon says Sail
Thanksgiving holiday
Elaine/mild, overcast
11/25/2012, Gibraltar

We are in Gibraltar, have been since Tuesday.  The weather is mild and english is spoken here.  Queensway Marina is quite nice with several good restaurants just opposite our dock. But the town is crowded, a bit shabby and overrun with vehicles making walking hazardous. We miss France!  

Had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner onboard with breast of turkey, whole cranberry sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans with mushrooms and mince pie. It was the first Thanksgiving our colleague Pascal had experienced, so I wanted to do it right.  

Pete and Dan, our crewmbers from the U.S. arrive today.  It looks as if the weather gods are suggesting we go to Cadiz soon, though there is some uncertainty about that.  I hope that plan sticks--I'd like to visit Spain again.

Yesterday we bid farewell to Pascal--we miss him already. And we were visited by a fellow we met at a cooking school I attended in Montpellier in May.  He's a Brit who lives about 30 kilometers outside of Gibraltar.  He loves to cook and brought us a wonderful duck curry he'd made which we enjoyed for dinner with much wine onboard.  We enjoyed getting to know him better and, as we are all into politics, had great discussions.  

I am prepared for this evening's departure with the traditional passage beginning meal:  rotisserie chicken.  Cheers!

Sent from my iPhone

12/03/2012 | Carl Press
Marvelous food, great discussions, and fast sailing... what more could one ask of life? Yesterday we had our first snowfall of the season! Wishing good winds and safe sailing... Carl
12/04/2012 | Oliver
Whoa! You didn't tell me you had a rotisserie on board! Which I assume was intended for fish not fowl, or was the inception of a tradition, a local market purchase?
Safe Sailing to the Canaries, if you are not already there and may Poseidon bestow his benevolence upon your passage!.....Oliver
Oh, I'm jealous of Carl...He got snow!!
12/10/2012 | Carl Press
Snow is probably a good second best to sailing - especially when it sticks around. Looking forwsrd to hearing more from the crew of Bob. Thanks for the call, it brought joy to us both here. "Skål!"
St. Tropez to Corsica
Elaine/perfect
10/09/2012, Calvi, Corsica

Wow what a day!  After the races Saturday, Peter and Olivier took the dinghy into St.Tropez to buy a hose for our watermaker, needed to replace a hose that had a big leak. They also picked up Olivier's girlfriend Patricia who had crewed on one of the race boats.  I prepared a meal of sautéed chicken breast, haricots vert pommes de terr and salad. And wine. Afterward, Olivier and Patricia went into town for some of the post race activities; Peter and I went to bed.  

Sunday morning Patricia and I took the dinghy to town to pick up some food.  Of course we began the shopping trip with avisit to a cafe for some cappuccino and conversation with a few of her colleagues.  Then we took a brief tour of the center of town.  All the expected boutiques were there: Mossimo, Hermes, Ralph Lauren, but what was intrresting to me was that the stores, as well as the very stylish people we saw, had clothing that works--not just showy, dressy stuff.  The clothes the people were wearing we're, for the most part, durable, sporty things.  Stuff you actually WOULD wear while sailing.  

And then, the main attraction: the food. We bought breads at the boulangerie.   At a tiny specialty shop we got smoked salmon, which was sold by the perrfectly translucent slice and crackers for cheese that contain dates,hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds.  At the open market I got foodie-photo-magazine-quality fresh lettuces, onions, apples and melon. And the last stop was at a small deli where I bought wine, my first ever truffle (22 euro) and local specialty which is a meatball sanwiched between a halved tomato or halved zucchini.  The shop owner was pleased to tell me that he'd been skiing in Colorado, visited Las Vegas and motorcycled through Santa Monica.  

By the time we got back, the guys had fixed rhe water maker problem so we quickly stowed the stuff, said our goodbyes and sailed off for Corsica.  Olivier and I noticed while raising the mainsail that the windex was on at a wrong angle, but we figured the wind angle out anyway (chuckle, chuckle)   

We got to Corsica in record time.  We had 25 to 35knots of wind all day long.  We saw 18+ knots boat speed many times and ran at 10+ all day.  Dropped the anchor off Calvi around 11 p.m.

(That was Sunday, it is now very early Wednesday morning so I will post again very soon.)

Sailing BOB
Elaine/pleasant
10/06/2012, St. Tropez

It is 2:10 p.m. here and we are in the middle of a sailboat race just off St. Tropez.  We arrived here shortly after 11:30--just before the beginning of the races.  The first race involved 9 Wally Boats.  These are very expensive , custom race boats in the 60-80 foot range.  The second race involved classic yachts in the xxxxx range.  It got quite exciting when our genteel French captain got too near to one of the racers, they starteyelling at us then Olivier began yelling sail trim advice to them.  Finally they listened to him and picked up speed.  Then they apologized.  

Last night we picked up a mooring ball (on the first try) off the town of xxxxxx.  We poured ourselves into the dinghy and went to a restaurant on the beach for dinner.  

This sailing experience is SO different from our previous journeys.  What a difference it makes to not always be heeled over.  And we can travel at wind speed!  In fact during the sail in which we tested our new sails we saw 18, yes 18, knots.  The galley is bathed in sunlight from the large windows that surround the main living area and it is at the center of all the action.

Oh, and also everyone here speaks French.  Toute le monde parlent francais ici.  

10/06/2012 | Preston
SO glad you are underway. What an adventure! I am used to cabbies critiquing my wine choices.
10/06/2012 | Carl Press
What you are experiencing sounds absolutely breathtaking. Lookimg at the map, and considering the speed you're shooting, you are just a hop skip and a jump from Corsica! Include fotos for us land lubbers, if you have the time. Carl
10/07/2012 | elizabeth weiss
Oh it all sounds so exciting and wonderful - continue having a wonderful time - heck we may never see you guys again all that fun!!!! to say nothing of the wine recommendations!!!!! -
All well at home - much love x.x..e.e.e
We are inboard
Elaine/pleasant
10/04/2012, Near Cassis, France

This is now a true Sailblog. We moved on to the boat Friday, 9/28. Prior to that Jean Pierre spent several hours each of several days showing us how to drive and park the boat.  It is quite different from elainium which was 72' long but only 15' wide.  BOB is 49' long but 25' wide, so parking it is like parallel parking a tank. If the wind is blowing, and it does most of the time, it can get complicated.  

Okay, let me get this out of the way right now:  I love our new sailboat, s/v BOB.  Right now I am sitting in the saloon--isn't that where those of you who know me well would expect to find me--beginning this blog.

Moving on to BOB was much the same as moving into any new home for the first time.  We had to buy sheets, cooking utensils and dinnerware, etc.  But heck, that was FUN.  We went to the French equivalent of Super Target and spent up a storm.  Plus we had to get some boat stuff:  dinghy anchor, buckets, fuses, and wine. Lotsa wine.   We haven't met a wine here that we don't like which is a problem for us winos.  

It is now Thursday evening.  We left the marina at La Grande Motte last evenng at about 5:30.  Happy hour had to be postponed a bit, but it DID happen.  For this maiden voyage we have brought along a charming French captain, Olivier, who is so very competent and enthusiastic--he is a true delight.  I know already that I will miss him when he has to leave.  

We sailed for several hours and then dropped anchor after dark (not our favorite tactic) near Saint Marie de la Mer, a small tourist town.  All was well until ~ 3 a.m. when the wind and the waves got into an argument about which direction to go.  

Today we had a most pleasant sail to a fjord-like destination near Cassis.  It's a calm anchorage with sheer cliffs on either side.  On our way in we needed to pick up a mooring ball, lost the boat hook in the process and were aided by a couple in a small motor vessel. We invited them aboard.  For wine of course.   Turns out they live here!  She has her own salon and he is a teacher who goes from town to town.  Mais oui!

Oh, another funny story:  a taxi driver brought us and our supplies from the rental car agency to the boat yesterday. He looked over our purchases and told Perer "I grew up here and that wine (which happened to be mine) is good, but that one (Peter's) is not.". You know you are in France when your cabbie can critique your wine purchases!   Vive la France!


Sent from my iPad

10/04/2012 | Carl Press
Great to hear you are up and running. And it sounds like you're having fun, loosing the boat hook and all. As long as there's wine on board (and a good paté) then everything's ship-shape. Beddytime for this old coot. Get in touch tomorrow. Carl
10/06/2012 | Margie
Love following your adventures!! Can you add photos to this blog? would love to see BOB and the giant smile on Peter's face (and yours). if no photo here can you im one?
We are inboard
Elaine/pleasant
10/04/2012, Near Cassis, France

This is now a true Sailblog. We moved on to the boat Friday, 9/28. Prior to that Jean Pierre spent several hours each of several days showing us how to drive and park the boat.  It is quite different from elainium which was 72' long but only 15' wide.  BOB is 49' long but 25' wide, so parking it is like parallel parking a tank. If the wind is blowing, and it does most of the time, it can get complicated.  

Okay, let me get this out of the way right now:  I love our new sailboat, s/v BOB.  Right now I am sitting in the saloon--isn't that where those of you who know me well would expect to find me--beginning this blog.

Moving on to BOB was much the same as moving into any new home for the first time.  We had to buy sheets, cooking utensils and dinnerware, etc.  But heck, that was FUN.  We went to the French equivalent of Super Target and spent up a storm.  Plus we had to get some boat stuff:  dinghy anchor, buckets, fuses, and wine. Lotsa wine.   We haven't met a wine here that we don't like which is a problem for us winos.  

It is now Thursday evening.  We left the marina at La Grande Motte last evenng at about 5:30.  Happy hour had to be postponed a bit, but it DID happen.  For this maiden voyage we have brought along a charming French captain, Olivier, who is so very competent and enthusiastic--he is a true delight.  I know already that I will miss him when he has to leave.  

We sailed for several hours and then dropped anchor after dark (not our favorite tactic) near Saint Marie de la Mer, a small tourist town.  All was well until ~ 3 a.m. when the wind and the waves got into an argument about which direction to go.  

Today we had a most pleasant sail to a fjord-like destination near Cassis.  It's a calm anchorage with sheer cliffs on either side.  On our way in we needed to pick up a mooring ball, lost the boat hook in the process and were aided by a couple in a small motor vessel. We invited them aboard.  For wine of course.   Turns out they live here!  She has her own salon and he is a teacher who goes from town to town.  Mais oui!

Oh, another funny story:  a taxi driver brought us and our supplies from the rental car agency to the boat yesterday. He looked over our purchases and told Perer "I grew up here and that wine (which happened to be mine) is good, but that one (Peter's) is not.". You know you are in France when your cabbie can critique your wine purchases!   Vive la France!


Sent from my iPad

Meeting BOB
Elaine/partly cloudy
09/14/2012, Amsterdam

We got to DIA one week ago with 4 bags to check, each weighing 49.99 pounds, plus 1 carrying each. How did we do it? Elizabeth the Excellent volunteered to mee us at our condo at 6:30 that morning and drive us to the airport. We couldn't have done it without her. Thanks, Elizabeth!

Many of you know that Ihad been ambivalent about leaving. I got a real test after we boarded our connecting flight in Atlanta. Adam called with some very exciting news from his campaign. It made me want to be THERE. Then the plane pulled away and taxied but soon returned to the gat with mechanical issues. There we sat for more than an hour during which time I must have asked myself 100 times whether to get off the plane.

I did not and am glad of it. We eventually arrived La Grande Motte Saturday late in the afternoon and went directly to the marina where we met S/V BOB for the first time. (S)he's a very different boat from Elainium: lots of windows, a bright interior, TWO stall showers, a broad foredeck, and no big bulkheads to step over.

John Gladstone of North Sails and his wife Patty arrived Sunday evening. Peter and John and others worked all day Monday putting on the mainsail and jib. Tuesday we went sailing and tested all the sails. The min and jib are perfect; the reacher and spinnacre will be getting a few small adjustments. Despite our newness we managed to achieve a boat speed over 12 knots, all while sibling on the level. It was the most amazing thing.

We flew to Amsterdam Wednesday evening, visited the Van Gogh Museum Thursday,the Anne Frank Friday. Tonight, Friday night, we fly to Nairobi.

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