For the last two weeks I’ve been living by to-do lists and spreadsheets. I’m surprisingly proud to admit it but I have become a bit of a geek!! When I took the mast apart ready for towing, I noted down each tool needed to complete the task. My office days and “love” for Google Docs has been restored.
The most exciting part of the preparation was 438’s complete makeover and refit. In just one week Mini 438 turned into a masterpiece – the bottom is as smooth as a baby’s bottom and the hull is so shiny you can see your reflection on it.
Lists suddenly turned into boxes and everything was loaded up and we set off for Lorient. I was lucky enough to have Paul Peggs join me for the journey down. Paul is a great family friend who I’ve known for years now, it was great to have him join me as I took my first big step with my mini.
Driving down through France with a mini in tow you certainly get your fair share of odd looks. It’s quite something towering above all the cars and vans on the road. Every bridge or electric cable causes panic, even if you know you fit under it never looks like you will.
I have now arrived in Lorient where I have set up at AOS base, a great facilty set up for solo and offshore sailors.
Built by the Germans between February 1941 and January 1943, the Keroman U-boat base was designed to house thirty U-boats and their crews. Once the war ended, this unique site in the world became the main base of French diesel-powered submarines before being finally closed in 1997.
Walking around you can see the sheds for Groupama, Banque Populaire and Virbac. I even bumped into sailing legend Lionel Lemonchois in the local sandwhich shop yesterday – who has recently joined as skipper for the Maxi 80, Prince de Bretagne.
This week the boat is having its electrics updated by TEEM then later next week the boat will hit the water and training begins with Tanguy Leglatin and many of the other Mini sailors here in Lorient.
The number of Mini’s here is unbelievable; everyday there seems to be at least one person heading out for a sail. The mix of nationalities is increasing and now I’ve arrived I’ve brought the non-French numbers up to 11. Shockingly so far I think I’ve met Italians, Australians, and Belgians but no French!!
While I am here I am staying with a local family who have very kindly welcomed me into their beautiful house – which looks something similar to a small castle. It’s going to be a busy month and a bit before heading down to the Med in early March when the racing season begins.
Thank you to everyone who has helped me get here.