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Blog & News

From Brittany to the Arctic Circle, come onboard “PINOCCHIO”, a J/109 eager for miles! – EN & FR

June 25th, 2020 news
Norvège - J 109

From Brittany to the Arctic Circle, come onboard “PINOCCHIO”, a J/109 eager for miles!

Launched in 2008, our J/109 “Pinocchio” has today covered 25,000 miles. After two sailboats with deck saloon, comfortable but very heavy, I wanted a simple, light and efficient boat, which can be easily sailed with a reduced crew or even alone. Following a few racing with somewhat different crews and results to match my incompetence, I chose to become rather the fastest cruiser in Northern Europe …

And in this area, Pinocchio has proven to be the ultimate weapon. Extremely fast with its composite sails and equipment allowing to extract the quintessence; unbeatable upwind without requiring an army of large arms to recall; sovereign on reaching or wearing with its large asymmetrical fitted with a sock; surprisingly easy and seaworthy even in heavy weather where a tiny sail area allows it to progress easily, whatever the conditions. All in very acceptable comfort for a 35”: with efficient heating, an optimized electrical system (lithium battery, LED lighting, wind turbine) and a real concern for saving fresh water, it is perfectly possible to go very far with a reduced crew. Its only real limits: it wets its crew a lot (choose its oilskins well) and its carrying capacity is very reduced (which confines it to coastal cruising).

Pinocchio took us further and faster than many 50”sailboats …

Our new playground from Brittany to the Arctic Circle and from the West of Ireland to Estonia.

 

Some high cruising places: Scotland

During a superb cruise in Scotland in 2018, we offered our J109 Pinocchio a trip to the Atlantic: the tiny archipelago of St Kilda. 4 small islands and a few rocky needles 50 miles off the Outer Hebrides. A single and very exposed anchorage as soon as the wind leaves the usual southwest.

After crossing the infamous Sound of Harris dotted with flush reefs, a very long edge as close as possible to the wind in a swell of 3 meters and two small edges to settle down in the lee of the islands, we anchor in Village bay on Hirta.

At the foot of three mountains, remain the ruins of a hamlet of a few dry-stone houses, abandoned since 1930 because living conditions were really too insecure (the whole population became deaf during a storm of ‘winter). Clouds of Northern Gannets soar above our heads, before diving abruptly vertically to catch a reckless fish. And everywhere fulmars (the locals chased them on the cliffs to get lighting oil), large Skuas with brown plumage spotted with white and of course puffins with big red beaks and guillemots in mini penguin clothes. Lots of soft green, gray stone, but not a single tree. The heather-covered mountains are strangely dotted with a myriad of small heaps of stone that have served as shelters for Islanders and their provisions for 20 centuries.

An extraordinary discovery, which we had to leave precipitately at dawn on the third day because the swell had made our anchorage untenable. A hundred miles downwind, under spinnaker, brought us back to Stornoway (capital of the Outer Hebrides).

 

Some major cruising spots: Norway

On June 27, 2019, we live two memorable experiences: The passage of the Arctic Circle, at the latitude of 66 ° 33’47 North and the discovery of The Svartisen.

It marks the most southerly latitude on which it is possible to observe the midnight sun in the northern hemisphere during the June solstice and the polar night during the December solstice. And indeed, for a few days already, we have no longer had a night: the light dims a little at night, but we could read without light, or even sailing without difficulties. We are only about 2,700 km from the North Pole. Well, when the wind blows from the pole, it still seriously curdles…

In the afternoon, we sail into the mountains following the Holandsfjord, to discover one of the jewels of navigation in Norway: The Svartisen, second glacier of Norway (and continental Europe, I believe, if we exclude the enormous expanses of Svalbard ice). This glacier tumbles towards the fjord in a long tongue of chaotic ice. Its name means “black ice” because its mass is so compact that it forms a gigantic patch of ice under the eternal snow. Finally, eternal, not so sure, because this glacier is receding like all its congeners in the northern hemisphere.

A photo of our J/109 Pinocchio at the foot of the glacier testifies to this unforgettable day…

 

Some highlights of cruising: Sweden

At the end of May 2017, our J/109 Pinocchio sailed to the island of Utklippan, in the south of Sweden. In fact, two large rocks linked together in the late thirties by dikes pierced with one access to the East and another to the West, to provide shelter to fishermen caught in bad weather on the high seas. We carefully enter the basin to spend a night very sheltered from the sea, but not from the wind (and today, it’s blowing hard!). We go around our rock, among the myriads of birds that shout at us. Some even seem to prick on us with bad intentions. On reflection, we are in the midst of nesting … We carefully withdraw to observe the parents come back grumbling about these tourists who respect nothing!

After a windy night which made the happiness of our wind turbine and therefore our batteries, we take the road to the North under the traditional big sun. As soon as our route allows, we send the spinnaker and head for our destination: Grönhögen in the far south of the very long island of Öland. On arrival, we implement a maneuver well established by experience: while Teddy at the front lowers the sock responsible for choking the spinnaker, Olivia juggles in the cockpit with the maneuvers necessary to control everything. Unfortunately, she tangles her neurons and let’s go of the halyard instead of going into the bowsprit (you had to do the reverse, as you obviously noticed). As a result, the spinnaker untidy in his sock flies in the water and the bird cries are still louder than yesterday in Utklippan! We put away the bazaar and come back whistling into the port, hoping that the rare onlookers have seen nothing …

 

 

De la Bretagne au cercle polaire, montez à bord de Pinocchio, un J109 avide de miles !

Lancé en 2008, notre J/109 « Pinocchio » a parcouru aujourd’hui 25.000 milles. Après deux voiliers à salon de pont, confortables mais très lourds, je souhaitais un bateau simple, léger et performant, pouvant être mené facilement en équipage réduit ou même en solitaire. Suite à quelques régates avec des équipages un peu hétéroclites et des résultats à la hauteur de mon incompétence, j’ai choisi de devenir plutôt le plus rapide des croiseurs en Europe du Nord…

Et dans ce domaine, Pinocchio s’est avéré l’arme absolue. Extrêmement rapide avec ses voiles composites et un équipement permettant d’en tirer la quintessence ; imbattable au près sans requérir une armée de gros bras au rappel ; souverain au reaching ou au portant avec son grand asymétrique équipé d’une chaussette ; étonnamment facile et marin même dans le gros temps où une minuscule surface de voile lui permet de progresser aisément, quelles que soient les conditions. Le tout dans un confort très acceptable pour un 35 pieds : moyennant un chauffage efficace, un système électrique optimisé (batterie au lithium, éclairage LED, éolienne) et un vrai souci d’économie pour l’eau douce, il est parfaitement possible d’aller très loin en équipage réduit (deux personnes qui s’aiment bien, auxquels s’ajoute parfois un couple d’invités). Ses seules vraies limites : il mouille beaucoup son équipage (bien choisir ses cirés) et sa capacité de charge est très réduite (ce qui le confine à la croisière côtière).

Pinocchio nous a mené plus loin et plus vite que de nombreux 50 pieds…

Terrain de jeux : de la Bretagne au Cercle Polaire Arctique et de l’Ouest de l’Irlande à l’Estonie.

 

Quelques hauts lieux de croisière : L’Ecosse

Au cours d’une superbe croisière en Ecosse en 2018, nous avons offert à notre J/109 Pinocchio une virée en plein Atlantique : Le minuscule archipel de St Kilda. 4 petites îles et quelques aiguilles rocheuses à 50 milles au large des Hébrides extérieures. Un seul mouillage très exposé dès que le vent quitte l’habituel Sud-ouest.

Après avoir franchi l’infâme Sound of Harris parsemé de récifs affleurants, un très long bord au plus près du vent dans une houle de 3 mètres et deux petits bords pour se recaler sous le vent des îles, nous mouillons l’ancre dans Village bay sur Hirta.

Au pied de trois montagnes, subsistent les ruines d’un hameau de quelques maisons en pierres sèches, abandonné depuis 1930 parce que les conditions de vie étaient vraiment trop précaires (l’ensemble de la population est devenue sourde au cours d’une tempête d’hiver). Des nuées de fous de Bassan planent au-dessus de nos têtes, avant de plonger brusquement à la verticale pour attraper un poisson imprudent. Et partout des fulmars (les habitants les chassaient dans les falaises pour en tirer de l’huile d’éclairage), de grands Skuas au plumage brun taché de blanc et bien sûr des macareux au gros bec rouge et des  guillemots en habits de mini pingouins. Beaucoup de vert tendre, de pierre grise, mais pas un seul arbre. Les montagnes couvertes de bruyère sont étrangement parsemées d’une myriade de petits tas de pierre qui servaient d’abris pour les îliens et leurs provisions depuis 20 siècles.

Une découverte extraordinaire, que nous avons dû quitter précipitamment à l’aube du troisième jour car la houle avait rendu notre mouillage intenable. Une centaine de milles au portant, sous spi, nous a ramenés à Stornoway (capitale des Hébrides extérieures).

 

Quelques hauts lieux de croisière: La Norvège

Le 27 juin 2019, nous vivons deux expériences mémorables : Le passage du Cercle Polaire Arctique, à la latitude de 66°33’47 Nord et le glacier Svartisen.

Il marque la latitude la plus au Sud sur laquelle il est possible d’observer le soleil de minuit dans l’hémisphère nord lors du solstice de juin et la nuit polaire lors du solstice de décembre. Et en effet, depuis quelques jours déjà, nous n’avons plus de nuit : la lumière diminue un peu la nuit, mais on pourrait lire sans lumière, ou même naviguer sans difficulté. Nous ne sommes plus qu’à environ 2.700 Km du pôle Nord. Bon, quand le vent souffle du pôle, ça caille quand même sérieusement…

L’après-midi, nous nous enfonçons dans les montagnes en suivant le Holandsfjord, pour découvrir un des joyaux de la navigation en Norvège : Le Svartisen, deuxième glacier de Norvège (et d’Europe continentale, je crois, si on exclut les énormes étendues de glace du Svalbard). Ce glacier dégringole vers le fjord en une longue langue de glace chaotique. Son nom signifie « glace noire » car sa masse est tellement compacte qu’elle forme une gigantesque plaque de verglas sous la neige éternelle. Enfin, éternelle, pas si sûr, car ce glacier recule comme tous ses congénères de l’hémisphère Nord.

Une photo de notre J109 Pinocchio au pied du glacier témoigne de cette journée inoubliable…

 

Quelque hauts lieux de croisière: La Suède

Fin mai 2017, notre J/109 Pinocchio vogue vers l’île d’Utklippan, au Sud de la Suède. En fait, deux gros rochers reliés ensemble à la fin des années trente par des digues percées d’un accès à l’Est et d’un autre à l’Ouest, pour offrir un abri aux pêcheurs pris dans le mauvais temps en pleine mer. Nous entrons prudemment dans le bassin pour y passer une nuit très abritée de la mer, mais pas du vent (et aujourd’hui, ça souffle dur !). Nous faisons le tour de notre rocher, parmi les myriades d’oiseaux qui nous crient dessus. Certains donnent même l’impression de piquer sur nous avec de mauvaises intentions. A la réflexion, nous sommes en pleine période de nidification… Nous nous retirons prudemment pour observer les parents revenir en maugréant sur ces touristes qui ne respectent rien !

Après une nuit bien ventée qui a fait le bonheur de notre éolienne et donc de nos batteries, nous reprenons la route vers le Nord sous le traditionnel grand soleil. Dès que notre route le permet, nous envoyons le spi et fonçons vers notre destination : Grönhögen à l’extrême Sud de la très longue île d’Öland. A l’arrivée, nous mettons en œuvre une manœuvre bien rodée par l’expérience : pendant que Teddy à l’avant descend la chaussette chargée d’étouffer le spi, Olivia jongle dans le cockpit avec les manœuvres nécessaires pour commander le tout. Malheureusement, elle s’emmêle les neurones et lâche la drisse au lieu de rentrer le bout dehors (il fallait faire l’inverse, comme vous l’avez évidemment remarqué). Résultat, le spi saucissonné dans sa chaussette vole à l’eau et les cris d’oiseaux fusent encore bien plus fort qu’hier à Utklippan ! On range le souk et rentrons en sifflotant dans le port, espérant que les rares badauds n’aient rien vu…

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