24 May 2014
As the aircraft rounded out and touched down a Charles De Gualle, I thought 'finally we are back'. It had been a long hot summer in Aussies and we were keen to back on board Songbird and moving again. Shar was still at home rapping up at work and setting the house up for Bob who will be looking after things while we are away....Shar will fly across in a few weeks, to be picked up at La Coruna, she didn't want to cross the bay of Biscay for some reason, don't understand why !!........I then jumped on an internal AF flight to Nante and picked up the hire car for the drive down to Arzal..... Bernard & Claudine at "Les Logis de La Cale" had everything organised at their 'Gite', the place I was to call home while I organised for Songbird to go back in the water (thanks Bernard your help was very much appreciated). I showered, sent a text to Shar to say I had arrived okay and crashed. The next 10 days were a blurr, re-rigging, changing a number of things to set Songbird up a little better and trying to chase up Dufour on some warranty work (what a joke !!)...... Emmanuel and Charlie looked after Songbird while she was at Chantier Naval de Villaine, she was in great condition considering she was left to weather a very cold, wet and stormy winter.......I drove across to Quiberon to meet Lawrence and Pat (friends of Kim Klaka's), who had dropped off some gear I had ordered from the UK. They were over in France for a few weeks to spend some time on their yacht and had brought it across with them. They are lovely people and very seasoned sailors who know this area well, they recommended that we winterise Songbird at Arzal. We had a lovely evening with a good feed of local seafood and some wine in one of their favourite restaurants......Graham (the local shipwright) helped me work thorough the list of things I needed to do to make Songbird seaworthy again. A new headsail I had ordered from the local sail maker, had to go back for some modifications, I was a bit light on for using as heavy weather sail and needed some beefing up.....Eventually most of the major work had been done, 'Henri' lifted her off the cradle and dropped her back in the water for me. I took her across to the 'catway' (pontoon) tied her up and jumped in the hire car for the drive back to Nante to pick up Kim (Klaka) who was arriving that evening from Australia.