“Eala Bhan” Sails Home—The Maiden Voyage of The Boréal 55

Eala Bhan flying home
"Eala Bhan" flying home

The White Swan Flies Home

The maiden voyage of any yacht is a momentous, if nerve-wracking, affair, the understandable pride of ownership being offset by major adjustment to a new machine.

When the boat in question is considerably bigger than your previous craft, and full of new and unfamiliar technologies, then there’s a colossal amount to take in and master.

And when, like this boat, she is the culmination of nearly four years of dreaming and planning, then the whole enterprise takes on a life of its own, attaining an almost mythical status for all concerned with her.

Eala Bhan (White Swan in Gaelic) is the first Boréal 55 to be launched, and belongs to proud owners Patrick and Linda Flockhart, replacing their previous (and much loved) Ovni 435 TinTin.

Named after a boat that Patrick knew well, whose owner, Willy Coll, kept a careful eye on Patrick as a boy as he explored the rugged shores of Iona and Mull in Scotland, the ‘new’ Eala Bhan was conceived as a boat capable of expanding a high latitude cruising range that has seen Patrick and Linda explore Norway and the Faeroes in recent years.

I was fortunate enough to be asked to work with them to achieve a boat as close to their dreams and needs as could be devised, and then help sail her home. So as we gathered in Tréguier (where she was built) to sail her home to Ardfern on the west coast of Scotland, there were not two, but three nervous parents gathered alongside her on the pontoon.

"Eala Bhan" with her builders and owners.

Eala Bhan had just returned from the La Rochelle Boat Show, where she had attracted a huge amount of admiration, helped no doubt, by the coronation of the Boréal 52/55 as the European Yacht of the Year 2015 in the Blue Water category.

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Colin, European Correspondent here at AAC, is a deeply experienced offshore sailor who holds a Yachtmaster licence, and a gifted photographer and talented writer who has added a whole new dimension to Attainable Adventure Cruising. In addition, since Colin and Louise are from England and had their OVNI 435, Pèlerin built in France, they bring a European perspective to our site. You can read more about Colin and Louise and their business at their website.

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