The Long Ocean Road To South Georgia–Part I

Chapter 6 of 7 in the Online Book A Go-Anywhere Voyaging Boat—The Boréal 44 (Free)
"Juan Sa Bulan III" in South Georgia

“Juan Sa Bulan III” in South Georgia

I’ve always held the brave souls who build their own boats in the highest of regard. Not only must they possess a formidable array of practical skills, but also the determination and psychological fortitude to see the job through. Anybody who thinks that’s not true just hasn’t been there–building a boat is a mammoth test of endurance. Such people are T. E. Lawrence’s dreamers of the day who think big and make things happen, and they are rare indeed.

So it’s a great pleasure to introduce you to a man that wasn’t just content to build his own boat from the ground up, but also designed her, and now runs a highly successful, award winning, yacht building business as a result–Jean-François Delvoye of Boréal Yachts.

Just back from fulfilling a lifelong dream to sail with his family to the remote, windswept outpost of South Georgia in that self-same yacht, Delvoye kindly took time to talk to me about the origins of Boréal, the thinking behind the boats, the highs and lows of high latitude cruising; and the future of yacht cruising in a rapidly changing world.

Jean-François Delvoye

Jean-François Delvoye

At the beginning

Having worked in construction in his native Belgium, Jean-François wanted to live his dream of sailing to the ends of the earth in his own boat. So he learned to weld steel, and bought the plans for one of Gilbert Caroff’s high latitude Chatam designs. Once she was completed, he embarked his wife and children (two sons, two daughters) and set-off down through the Atlantic to fetch up in Patagonia, where they were to spend six years sailing that remote region, including no less than ten voyages down to Cape Horn!

This chalanging cruising ground was to prove pivotal in terms of forming his thinking on what would make the ultimate high latitude yacht. As he explains:

Not only is it such a wild and challenging place to sail, which will highlight any shortcomings in your yacht and crew, but also because you’re surrounded by such highly experienced sailors who have been there, too, and know what works, you’d be a fool not to listen to them, as they possess such a wealth of hard won knowledge.

This was knowledge that was to be put to good use when developing the design concept that became the first ever Boréal 50, along with input from good friends–including Hamish and Kate Laird (Seal) and Philippe Poupon (Fleur Australe), who went on to develop their own boats, with very different results–as well as many others, some of whom would later play a major part in future developments.

Design considerations learned the hard way

Among other things, Jean-François doesn’t believe that twin rudders belong on a yacht conceived for such latitudes. The Chatam, although a good boat, was equipped with twin rudders, vulnerable as they are, which became fouled with kelp as often as two or three times a day, when navigating in those waters.

The final straw came when sailing up a narrow, poorly charted fjord, where the tip of one of the unprotected rudders clouted an unmarked rock, bending the stock so much that the rudder blade penetrated the hull. Suddenly the boat and her crew were in serious peril, and it was only by shifting weight–crew, gear, etc.–up into the bow that they were able to raise the stern sufficiently to plug the leak, allowing them to make emergency repairs and sail the boat to safety. A near miss that convinced him that whatever else, the next boat would have a single, sheltered rudder.

One of the most remote, wild places on earth – South Georgia

One of the most remote, wild places on earth – South Georgia

The whole family had one ultimate goal, though–sailing to South Georgia. But they had misgivings about the boat’s handling, and after the rudder incident their confidence was more than a little shaken. As Jean-François comments:

Until then we had more or less sailed the boat coastally or in benign ocean conditions. Whilst we felt that she was fine for such use, we had real reservations about her capability in such wild, remote waters.

We had all of the paperwork in place for the visit, and even set off, but ultimately we turned back, on the basis of a lack of confidence in our boat–it was a very tough choice to make, but with our family at stake, we felt it was the only decision possible.

And so, with this major disappointment behind them, they reluctantly set sail back to Europe to rebuild their finances and plan for the future.

Starting again

Having sold the boat, the first decision to be made was where to settle to build the next one! It had to be near the coast, and the decision to settle near the pretty Breton town of Treguiér was at least partially taken on the advice of a good friend from the Patagonia days, Nicole van de Kerchove, fêted concert pianist, author and high latitude sailor who lived nearby.

To start with, Jean-François put himself through college to become a fully-qualified aluminium welder, having decided that this was the best material for the new boat taking shape in his mind. Finding work in a boatyard that specialised in designing and building a range of motor boats in aluminium, he became intrigued by the possibilities offered by the 3D computer aided design software that they used, and so he learned how to work that, too. The idea was taking shape in more ways than one.

Influences

Most designers are magpies, always on the look out for ideas to evaluate and incorporate into their own concepts. In truth, there are very few truly ‘new’ ideas under the sun, and the magic is in incorporating the many existing strands out there in ways that allow them to blend harmoniously and shine.

Jean-François had long been an admirer of the designs of the late Philippe Harlé, who had designed many boats with lifting keels and a daggerboard to achieve perfect balance and to assist tracking downwind. He found other designs interesting such as the cruising yacht Banik, which incorporated the idea of a keel box with the concept of the French style dériveurs, which until then had always had a flat bottom, with the centerboard retracting completely into the hull.

By adding a heavily reinforced, ballast filled keel box for the centreboard, three major concerns over the traditional style could be addressed:

  • lower the height of the ballast and thus improve the stability rating,
  • provide fixed protection for the rudder and twin daggerboards,
  • safeguard the vulnerable hull plating from damage when drying out;

all positive advantages.

The keelbox is wide and substantial

The keelbox is wide and substantial

Jean-François wanted a boat with a proper doghouse, to allow for safe and comfortable watch keeping at sea, and to allow the incorporation of a watertight door. By also avoiding the use of cockpit lockers, total watertight integrity of the cockpit could be achieved.

He reasoned that a design of around 50′ would provide an optimal balance between speed, offshore capability and ease of handling for a short-handed crew–and so the first Boréal 50 began to take shape.

And if that all sounds easy

It wasn’t. As anyone who has ever built any complex structure will know, it always takes far longer and costs much more than you anticipate. With the basic structure intact, the money had run out, and the project was stalled indefinitely. Out of nowhere a prospective buyer appeared, not what was initially wanted, but it soon became clear that this was the best, if not the only, way out of the current impasse.

So in 2005, Boréal Yachts was incorporated to provide a vehicle for the boat to be completed, to be followed by two further 50s as the word got around.

At this stage, Boréal was virtually a one-man band, with Jean-François doing everything but the wiring and working crazy hours to keep the show on the road. Boréal was gaining traction, though, and soon enquiries began to flood in from all points of the globe.

One point was continually raised, though, that at 50′ the boats were too big and costly for many budgets, and so consideration was given to a smaller sister.  Forty-four feet was selected for the new boat, being the smallest size that could accommodate the doghouse, and right in the size band that many consider the optimum for a couple to sail offshore.

Jean-François Delvoye and Jean-François Eeman

Jean-François Delvoye and Jean-François Eeman

And it was at this stage that another friend from the Patagonia days reappeared. Fellow Belgian Jean-François Eeman had also ditched his previous boat as being unsuitable, and was now looking for a new build to take him back to the cold seas down South.

With a track record in racing, sponsorship and running sailing events, it wasn’t long before he decided that he would like to join the Boréal project as much as own a new boat.

So Juan Sa Bulan III was built as the first Boréal 44, to be jointly owned by the two families, and sailed hard to the wildest of places. Truly a boat built by sailors with real experience, for other sailors who want to short circuit the learning curve when planning really tough voyages.

From strength to strength

Since then, the business has grown dramatically. The boats are kept simple (deliberately) and the concept has been expanded to encompass an improved version of the 50, as well as the design concept of a 63′ and a 78′ version.

The 44 is now available with a sugar scoop stern, at 47′, while the new 52 can similarly be had at 55′.

Twenty-one boats have been launched so far, and the workforce in the newly enlarged factory has reached 32, a far cry from the early days!

Despite the fact that Boréal don’t employ agents to sell their boats around the world, the clientele are predominantly from outside France, mostly found through word of mouth. And even though Boréal don’t advertise their boats, that didn’t stop them winning France’s most prestigious award of ‘Sailing Boat of The Year’ in 2010, and the same award in Holland in 2011.

How are they managing to do so well, when so many other yards are struggling?

The first Boréal 55 takes shape

The first Boréal 55 takes shape

At least a partial answer to that is they are simply building boats that the market wants, as opposed to the policy employed by many others that the market wants what it gets. Obviously this is more of a niche market, but clearly with sales continuing to rise to a projected peak of fifteen boats a year, it’s currently a winning formula. Jean-François Delvoye says that,

While the overall cake of new boat sales is smaller, there is now a solid market for more serious boats, built for purpose. It’s also true that as the higher latitudes become more accessible through climate change, there is a growing appetite amongst yacht crews to explore those regions, and they need a boat fit to take them safely and comfortably there and back.

We concentrate on evolution not revolution with our boats, we stay close to our market, and we pride ourselves on working with owners to help them achieve their highest goals.

At some stage we might decide to move into building one-off boats alongside our existing range, but that’s the limit of our current ambitions.

And what about that other ambition to sail to South Georgia? Look out for Part II in the next few weeks.

Disclosure

Boreal is a corporate member and supporter of this site.

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{ 37 comments… add one }

  • Jim Patek May 11, 2014, 11:15 am

    Hi Colin

    VERY well written article and I am sure we will all look forward to Part 2. We all dream of sailing to South Georgia. And if one has not, see Antarctic Oasis by Tim and Pauline Carr and let the dreaming begin. Can’t wait to read about the journey. Thank you.

    Jim

    Reply
    • Colin Speedie May 11, 2014, 4:23 pm

      Hi Jim

      Antarctic Oasis is a must-have for anyone who loves such places – one of my all time favourite books. And not just for the photography, which is exceptional, the etc is inspiring, warm and humble, too.

      Glad you like the piece, and thanks for the kind words – and I think you’re going to like Part II, as well.

      Best wishes

      Colin

      Reply
  • Glenn May 11, 2014, 12:57 pm

    Last year when I was anchored in Sausilito CA I met some people that have been to South Georgia http://www.victory-cruises.com/valhalla.html
    They Gave me a video of their trip, there are picture on their web site.

    Reply
    • Glenn May 11, 2014, 3:27 pm

      OOps I didn’t realize their web site has changed , sorry

      Reply
    • Colin Speedie May 11, 2014, 4:24 pm

      Hi Glenn

      great site – and if you can’t take your own boat, why not?

      Best wishes

      Colin

      Reply
    • Glenn May 27, 2014, 5:47 pm

      This is the web address I meant to post however I couldn’t find it at the time, http://www.croisieres-valhalla.com these people are very nice and there are many photos on the site and had us over to their boat several times while they were anchored near us.

      Reply
  • Jonny Tilney May 11, 2014, 2:44 pm

    Nice story, looking forward to the next.

    In a similar vein, I am hoping I will be able to fulfil the dreams of my brother – who equally built his own yacht, only to be thwarted by cancer. I recently put together a short video of his story if anyone is interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFc9NrmGhVo

    Reply
    • Colin Speedie May 11, 2014, 4:30 pm

      Hi Jonny

      thanks for sharing the video with us, and commiserations regarding your brother – another ‘dreamer by day’.

      I hope you get the chance to fulfil his dreams – and I’m sure I’m not alone.

      Kindest regards

      Colin

      Reply
  • Patrick Genovese May 12, 2014, 8:18 am

    Regarding the Rig setup on Boreals…

    Is the cutter rig intended as a true cutter where you can sail with both yankee and staysail or is it more of a solent type of arrangement ?

    Is there the option for tracks for the staysail instead of a self tacker. Most Self tacking sails don’t reef very well!

    Regards
    Patrick

    Reply
    • Matt Chauvel May 12, 2014, 3:38 pm

      Hi Patrick,
      If I may, before hopefully Jean-Francois gives a more informative reply…the Boreal rig is not a true cutter, it’s what I would call a ‘slutter’…the genoa is a little smaller and higher cut than usual but not a real yankee, and the boat is meant to be sailed with either the genoa or the staysail (aside from the occasional foresails wing-on-wing situation), not both together…as to the staysail, it’s on a furler just like the genoa, but it’s pretty small to begin with, so if you were to want to get to the point of wanting to reduce staysail area (the furlers btw can handle a lot of wind and can withstand being partially furled for long periods of time, unlike some other types of furlers, while the sail cuts allow for reasonably efficient sailing even partially furled), then you’re pretty close to wanting a storm jib altogether instead, which I think is worth carrying…something like either a Storm-Bag or an ATN gale sail…

      Reply
      • Jean-François EEMAN May 13, 2014, 10:20 am

        Hi Patrick,
        Hi Matt,

        Many thanks to Matt for his reply…
        What can I add to this comprehensive explanations ;) ???

        Maybe this : the genoa totally unfurled is 55 m², the staysail is 22 m²… So indeed pretty small… Designed pretty flat, rather meant to sail upwind with lots of wind…

        We believe the moment you be willing to reduce the size of the staysail, is a moment where your top priority is not any more the shape of the sail partially furled.
        With more wind the question will be whether you rather care about the shape of sail (and how much it suffers) and your willingness to go and install a Stormbag or ATN gale sail at the bow…
        Open question.

        Jean-François

        Reply
    • Jean François EEMAN May 13, 2014, 10:29 am

      Hey Patrick,
      See below my complementary explanations to what Matt wrote…

      I’m not sure I understand the question :
      “Is there the option for tracks for the staysail instead of a self tacker.”
      So the answer migth be beside the point.

      On Juan sa Bulan 3 our staysail is on a removable stay and it is on hanks…
      So you can more easily hank a storm jib on.
      BUT from experience we know now that we use more much more the staysail when it is just furl/unfurl instead going to the bow and “fight with sail”. So when we will redo a personal boat it will be with a second furler even if…

      Jean-François

      Reply
      • Patrick Genovese May 13, 2014, 4:03 pm

        Hi Jean François & Matt

        My comment regarding the tracks to adjust the sheeting angle of the staysail was based on the assumption that the staysail has a furler which on most of the photos I have seen seems to be the case.

        In so far worrying about the sail shape not being a priority in very high wind conditions … I would disagree with you on that since my mantra is “Take care of you boat and its gear and it will take good care of you”. A smaller but well trimmed sail will often give better drive and put much less stress on the rig than a bigger sail that is flogging itself to bits.

        Ideally one should be able to adjust the sheeting angle without going out on deck. (4:1 purchase on the track cars led back to the cockpit should do the trick).

        If the staysail is built strongly enough to double up as your storm sail then one could avoid having the go forward to hank on a storm sail (in case of NO furler) or setup a gale sail / stormbag over a furled staysail. (I agree with John on this one)

        Furthermore extreme wind conditions are not the only reason you may want do reef deeply e.g.
        1) you may simply want to slow down to make a harbor entry in daylight,
        2) time a tidal window
        3) Precaution against an uncertain forecast
        4) Tired crew and want to minimize the chances of waking the off watch crew to help the on watch crew member to reef.

        Admittedly what works best on one boat does not necessarily work on another and hence my questions. Not having any experience on board a Boreal I can only make an educated guess at the sort of wind ranges where the staysail would be used hence the need to reef the staysail could be a moot point.

        Actually some real world numbers on wind ranges , points of sail vs sail configurations would probably say a lot more than a zillion messages on the subject.

        Finally may I state all these questions/comments etc… simply stem from a desire to learn more about Boreals.

        Best Regards
        Patrick

        Reply
        • Christopher May 13, 2014, 7:42 pm

          Today on a Boreal 47 beating close hauled all day in steady 20-25 knot winds on the full or sometimes partially rolled Genoa and two reefs in the main. The boat moved along nicely in small but steep seas at 5-6 knots. With a stout looking squall on the horizon rolled the Genoa in and the the Staysail out, gusted to 35 knots for a few minutes but the sailing was just lovely. Squall passed, staysail in, Genoa back out… My wife was napping and never even woke up.

          So far in our experience the staysail really is for 28+ knots, much less and it doesn’t drive the boat. Slot is big enough that we don’t mind tacking the Genoa through in exchange for easy access to a small, flat, and very stoutly built staysail. Genoa partially furled is fine in the high 20′s. We like the setup very much.

          In 10 months we haven’t used the staysail much but the times we have we have liked it and no complaints on the self tacker set up so far. Admittedly, the very most we have seen winds wise was maybe 35/g40 for a few hours and a few stronger gusts in squalls.

          Reply
          • Patrick Genovese May 15, 2014, 2:55 am

            Hi Christopher,

            That puts things into a better perspective…

            Thank you for your comments.
            Regards
            Patrick

          • Matt May 19, 2014, 6:48 pm

            Hi Chris, Patrick, Jean-Francois,
            I second Chris’s comment: having had a chance to test/play with the rig up to 60-63 knots and 8-9m waves (though that top wind speed only for 12 hours or so, the swell unfortunately longer …and for sure having left too much sail up at first in the 47-52 kts range, only my personal learning curve to blame on that), I would now plan on using:
            – Main with 3 reefs and partially furled genoa/or main down and full to almost full genoa from 35 up to 45 kts downwind, very comfortably,
            – or Main w. 3 reefs and partially furled genoa from 28 up to 35 kts upwind, followed by full then partially furled staysail from 35 to 50 kts upwind, before perhaps considering a storm jib…
            Bottom line the rig as it stands without a storm sail can take you safely through a fairly demanding set of conditions, hope that covers the 80% probability set you were thinking about before of course considering a properly threatening environment…

  • Gwenael May 12, 2014, 9:37 am

    Hello , you’re right to say that build their own boat is a mammoth task , which requires a lot of stamina . Here in France , we have the example of a famous navigator who made the ” Vendée Globe” , Thierry Dubois . He then stopped the competition to realize his dream, build in Britanny, a schooner of 63 feet long, molded wood, a Nigel Irens plan, to propose excursions in Greenland . It lasted six years to build this boat called “THE LOUISE” . You can get an idea of the whole building because it was filmed by a journalist regularly. here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQhU7L9UIdI,

    This is a huge effort of will , not to mention the necessity to convince banks to achieve such a professional project. When you see his boat, hard to believe that he built with his bare hands , yet this is the case .

    http://lalouise.fr/La_Louise/Accueil.html

    Reply
    • Colin Speedie May 13, 2014, 12:52 pm

      Hi Gwenael

      what an amazing project, and a completely alternative take on the right boat for high latitude sailing. Interesting, too, that he chose Nigel Irens (famous for his multihull designs) for such a ‘classic’ boat, but then Nigel Irens always has had a soft spot for traditional design using modern technologies with traditional materials – see his ‘Romilly’ designs.

      Truly a labour of love, this boat. A great outcome for a great sailor.

      Best wishes

      Colin

      Reply
  • FAIVET May 13, 2014, 11:11 am

    Bonjour
    Ce recit est une veritable aventure , tant au niveau humain que technologique pour penser un bateau s adaptant entre autres et particulierement a la georgie du sud a partir de l experience acquise dans des zones de navigation a risque
    Il en a resulter un bateau aux qualites optimum adapte a des situations diverses et variees que l on peut trouver dans les mers froides
    Tres bel article ou un reve extraordinaire est devenu realite ? ….
    Cordialement
    ULYSSE

    Reply
    • Colin Speedie May 13, 2014, 5:26 pm

      Hi Daniel

      peut-être c’est la consommation d’un reve extraordinaire, un bel exemplaire pour nous tous.

      Et c’est bon, n’est ce pas, d’avoir un PDG ‘dun entreprise avec le confiance d’être le ‘cobaye’ come ca?

      Amities

      Colin

      Reply
  • John May 14, 2014, 1:44 pm

    Hi All,

    Just spent an incredible day with Jean François at Boreal. And I’m even more impressed than I was. Quite a sight to see seven Boreals in-build all at once and the factory being expanded at the same time.

    But the biggest impression is the enthusiasm and dedication of both Jean François and their team to building the very best boat they can.

    Now it’s beer time, JFE has tired me out!

    Tomorrow we go sailing. I can’t wait.

    Reply
  • Rob Withers May 15, 2014, 3:23 pm

    I have just (today) signed the contract for a Boreal 47 to be delivered in an agonisingly long 2 years. From my impressions of the boats, both Jean-Francoises (what’s the plural of Jean-Francois?) and their factory, I fully expect it to be worth waiting for. However, it’s still good to know that other people’s opinion matches mine…….but you’re all behind me in the queue now!

    Reply
    • Colin Speedie May 16, 2014, 11:24 am

      Hi Rob

      Congratulations! Two years is just about the right length of time to get your affairs in order to go full time, or on a major expedition cruise – it’ll pass like nothing…..

      Best wishes

      Colin

      Reply
    • John May 16, 2014, 2:11 pm

      Hi Rob,

      Congratulations. I was sailing a 44 yesterday and can confirm that you have made a very good decision.

      Reply
    • Matt Chauvel May 21, 2014, 12:42 pm

      Hi Rob, congratulations as well!! Enjoy the adventure, the build (decisions and compromises), at least the second year, is a integral part of it!

      Reply
    • Odd Arne Lande May 26, 2014, 10:00 pm

      Congratulations Rob :)

      Yes it is worth waiting for a Boreal. 2 years is a short time as Colin says.
      I used over 4 years to investigate and look for our new boat at many boat exhibitions, yard visit´s and reading magazines and sail forums. I ended up in Treguier a dark December evening in 2012 on a tight time schedule after a yard visit in Cherbourg. I´m glad I took the long way from Norway, after a short board meeting with my self I ended up with ordering a one. The 44 has space enough to carry a small motorcycle in
      it´s rear locker, so now I investigate in the best possible motorcycle to fit!
      I also had the pleasure to live on board on RCLouise for 3 weeks last winter, a 44 belonging the American sailor couple Steve and Tracy.

      Odd Arne

      Reply
    • steve May 27, 2014, 4:41 pm

      Hi Rob,

      Good work, congratulations. We have been sailing our Boreal 44 now for 8 months and 7500 miles. It has been such a wonderful boat and a hit everywhere we go. Get used to cruiser wanting a tour! I’ll second what Matt said, do your homework and get your boat exactly like you want it.
      Steve and Tracy
      Rc Louise

      Reply
  • Gwenael May 18, 2014, 5:46 pm

    Hi , I was surprised that jimmy cornell asked Garcia shipyard build his boat because he was not found on the market, a suitable boat for his program. During the construction of exploration Garcia 45, I saw garcia resumed the technique of the chain in front the foot mast, to center the weight, as does Boréal . But if Boreal uses a circular pipe to take the chain under the bridge , Garcia uses a rectangular pipe. But I think getting a round thing or a rounded thing threw in a square hole, It could get stuck . But I could be wrong. It’s an example but, in fact, I think that the solutions from Garcia are not as smart as than Boreal .
    Regarding the strength of aluminum hulls , I was surprised to learn the sinking of TAO sailboat, an aluminum boat of French Allures shipyard. The crew is safe but I would like to know why they are sinking so fast . What do you think?

    http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/2163686/

    According to an official report, there are more than 2000 containers lost at sea each year. In front of the French Coast, there are at least 700 containers floating . I think that in our time we need a solid shell . It’s a shame because I like shells molded wood epoxy, it ‘s solid but maybe not enough. Cheers

    Reply
    • Gwenael May 18, 2014, 6:00 pm

      Sorry, in fact, Tao is an Alliage 42, from the french shipyard Alliage, that no longer exist, it was bought by Alubat.

      Reply
    • John May 19, 2014, 6:47 am

      Hi Gwenael,

      There is really not enough information there to draw any conclusions about what happened. Colin, Matt and I have all written on keeping the water out and watertight bulkheads on this site, which you may find useful. Just type watertight bulkheads into the search box at the top of the sidebar to access that information. Some of it will surprise you.

      Reply
      • Colin Speedie May 19, 2014, 11:23 am

        Hi Gwenael, John

        Obviously I can’t be certain, but from some of the pics of the rescue it would appear that the boat had lost her rig (probably rolled).

        In which case, two scenarios spring to mind, either the rig damaged the hull, or perhaps a hatch lid was ripped off in the roll.

        If it was either of these causes, no watertight bulkhead would have made a difference. It would be a case of stop the ingress of water, or sink.

        Great news that the three, elderly brave men were rescued, but a shame that a lovely boat was lost. And full marks to the rescuers, who behaved in the best spirit of seafaring.

        Best wishes

        Colin

        Reply
        • John May 19, 2014, 11:50 am

          Hi Colin,

          That makes sense.

          The other thing I took from the video was how hair raising scary it is to be transferred from a life raft or yacht to a ship, even a relatively small one–very sobering.

          Reply
  • Gwenael May 19, 2014, 1:56 pm

    Hi colin and john , you’re right Colin , I found information on a French forum. The boat was returned by a very big wave. The man at the helm was thrown into the boat with his harness. The mast was torn and the boat remained upside down for 5 minutes. It is during this time that it is filled with water . Then he returned to the place. There was too much water to be pumped and he continued to fill with water. They started their EPIRB , they were geolocated by Coastguards . They deployed the life raft , but it is filled with water and the rope broke, they saw the raft going away from the boat. The helicopter was able to launch another life raft and a VHF radio , a man from the sailboat dove to catch the radio in water. The crew is younger than the Coastguards say. The boat is a 44 Alloy with centerboard . During a storm it is better to be in an enclosed wheelhouse or a dog house with a watertight door .

    There is a big low pression system in this area and unfortunately there are other yachts which there is no news. Cordialy.

    Reply
    • Jean-François EEMAN May 20, 2014, 10:23 am

      Hey Gwenael,
      Interesting information…
      Additionally it would be interesting to know :
      - did the boat roll completely over or “just” capsize ?
      - whether their keel was up or down when it happened ? It should have been up…
      - why the boat was not watertight… (Related to that it is interesting to see at what angle you start filling the boat when the door/entrance of the boat is not closed completely)

      Does the forum mention ?

      Best regards,

      JF

      PS. “Louise” is indeed an exceptional boat, built by an EXCEPTIONAL man. I know the man (spent time with him during a stopover of Around Alone in Salvador) and I have visited the boat…

      Reply
  • Gwenael May 25, 2014, 9:52 am

    Hi, Jean Francois .
    There are no other details at this time. Information obtained came from the wife of a crew member . The forums are here:

    http://forums.voileabordable.com/read.php?8 , 550517.550563 # msg- 550563

    http://www.stw.fr/forumstw/quest_answers.cfm?quest_id=50877&st_row=1&rep_st_row=51&topic_id=22

    http://www.hisse-et-oh.com/forums/navigation/messages/1542247-tao-voilier-alliage-44-a-coule-hier-matin-en-atlantique

    Waves 8 to 10 meters have capsized the boat and would have filled of water, and then, once returned to the place , the waves breaking on the boat would have continued to fill . The crew was rescued 5 hours later. About the centerboard position, the last message of the skipper a few hours before it capsized, said that the boat had taken back up to the wind roughly, what gives to understand that the centerboard
    had gone down.
    . The crew is currently on a hospital ship Esperanza del Mar and en route vers les iles Canaries . It will arrive at the end of the month and the crew will fly to France . Then there will more details . The big question of great interest to the community of sailors , is the role of the centerboard and especially why is it filled of water, and it does not seem to be a hole in the hull . Answers from the crew are expected to learn good lessons.
    In the last Voiles &voiliers ( Sails & Sailboats a famous French magazine on sailboats ) there is the story of a French sailor who crossed the Atlantic alone, on a First , when it struck an unknown object , a very large waterway appeared . He tried to clog passing with a sail under the hull but it was impossible. The boat sank in 1h30 . He took refuge in his bib and could be rescued. The story is very impressive and reinforces the idea that the disaster can be very fast on a plastic boat .
    As regards the other crew that disappeared in the same storm , the boat Cheeki Rafiki was found . The crew disappeared and did not use the bib . The boat lost its keel and capsized. They have not had the same luck as the crew French :

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-27551917
    http://m.news24.com/news24/World/News/US-Coast-Guard-find-missing-UK-yacht-20140523

    Yes “The Louise” is a beautiful boat , I find the plan nigel Irens beautiful , it looks like an old american boat fishing. It is a blend of classic and very elegant modern . I do not know Thierry Dubois, but it takes a lot of character to come to the end of such a project and a big boat. I know he had to separate himself from his staff and finish the boat alone for 2 years. Knowing that for him was also a professional project so vital . The fact that he turned his back on the racing and its media system, I really like . I think he feels foremost marine as in the old days and not a ” driver racing machine .” It is not the same philosophy. Also his boat is very heavy, more than 40 tons for 63″. There is always debate on security and heavy boat , what do you think Jean françois? If speed is clearly a guarantee of security , is it a heavy boat is dangerous in case of storms ?

    What about the Boréal 63″ ? I’d like see this boat on the water, it seems an formidable exploration platform,
    will it be launched this year?
    I congratulate Jean francois, because you created what is for everyone , the “Rolls ” of boat trips Boreal . This is a beautiful ” french success story “, there is really a maritime economic strength, a real potential that policies should promote more in France . We have a real maritime heritage. I am French , Breton and I live within 100 kms of treguier. I really have to come to Tréguier admire your boats .
    Excuse me for the length of my post and my poor English helped with google translate. Cordially.

    Reply
    • Jean-François June 4, 2014, 4:36 am

      Hey Gwenael,
      Thank you for your nice words…
      Welcome to visit us. (after fixing appointment)

      JF

      Reply
  • Patrick Genovese May 26, 2014, 8:40 am

    Just saw my very first Boreal 44 (Kapaz) on the hard at Manoel Island Yacht Yard in Malta… Impressed to say the least.

    Have not had time to have a chat with the owners but will try to over the coming days.

    Regards
    Patrick

    Reply

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