Paul Fenn

The Jeanneau 64, Love at First Sight – Part 3 (an offshore passage)

As I stated in part 1, of this 4 part series, my original plan was to spend just 3 days in Corsica but I soon realized that there were too many reasons to stay than to go, so that’s what I did. Thankfully, I have an understanding wife who recognizes a good opportunity when one comes along and not only gave me permission to stay but encouraged me to stay. Lucky me!

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Before all the cameras were packed away, thousands of photos were taken and yards upon yards of video was shot. It was great watching all this from behind the scenes.

The next event in this ongoing adventure was a 3-day professional photo shoot. This may sound like something that’s all fun and games but I can tell you that there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye with lots of moving parts. There are shots taken while underway on all points of sail and shots taken at anchor from every angle. Shots taken from the top of the mast, shots taken from the chase boat and shots taken from the helicopter that had been hired. The days are long too. The photographer, Gilles Martin, wanted sunrise shots, sunset shots, evening shots and all shots in between. Everyone involved was up early and went to bed late. Don’t get me wrong, there are worst ways to spend your days other than on a 64 foot boat in the Mediterranean Sea with attractive woman on board, in bikinis no less. Still, there was some work involved here too, so I don’t want anyone thinking it was ALL fun and games just mostly fun and games.

After we wrapped up the photo shoot, we welcomed Bob Reed, the Jeanneau dealer from Detroit, MI on board. Bob had come to help us sail the boat from Corsica to Marseilles. He had also come to meet his customers John and Kris Palmer who were flying in from The States to see the 64 and hopefully confirm their decision to buy one. The Palmers had just recently sold their Jeanneau 54DS so they were well acquainted with Jeanneau and the Jeanneau team.

Bob Reed, Jean-Luc Paillat and Erik Stromberg are all smiles as start our passage from corsica to Marseilles.
Bob Reed, Jean-Luc Paillat and Erik Stromberg are all smiles as we start our passage from Corsica to Marseilles. It would end up being be a grand adventure

The wind was blowing steady at 20 knots out of the northeast when we pulled off the dock in route to Marseilles. Our course would initially take us due south down the coast of Corsica then west passing between Corsica and Sardinia, then finally northwest to Marseilles. If the forecast held true, we’d end up on a beam reach with plenty of breeze all the way to Marseilles.

Sailing the big 64 proved to be a piece of cake, even in 30+ knots of wind. At 68,500 pounds, this boat, or should I say yacht, was rock-solid and sliced through the choppy Mediterranean Sea like the proverbial hot knife through butter. For the first half of our 200 + mile passage, we ran with a full main and 110% genoa, but as the wind and seas continued to build, we made the wise decision to ditch the genoa and go with the 90% self-tacking jib. This change resulted in the boat sailing flatter and more comfortably and we didn’t lose a single knot of boat speed, proving once again that what holds true for dinghies, holds true for big boats too. A boat that sails flat also sails fast.

The wind continued to blow strong and steady throughout the night. Our boat speed consistently varied between 10 and 12 knots although we also saw speeds of 13 and even 14 now and again. The area in and around Corsica is a heavily traveled route for commercial vessels. I was thankful that our duel Raymarine touch-screen chartplotters were equipped with AIS (automatic identification system) enabling us to not only identify the vessels around us but to also see at a glance their speed and the direction they were headed. Talk about taking the angst out of sailing at night, this was an absolute godsend!

By 5;00am the following morning, the sun was on the rise producing a warm orange glow off to the east. It would soon give way to another glorious day which would stay with us all the way into the evening as we closed in on the city of Marseilles on France’s southern coast..

One of the best things about ocean sailing is watching the sun come up. I don't think I have ever experienced a prettier one than this one.
One of the best things about ocean sailing is watching the sun come up. I don’t think I have ever experienced a prettier sunrise than this one.

By 8:00pm we had our sails furled and were tied stern-to in downtown Marseilles, just 27 hours after we had set sail from Corsica. It had been a great trip. The Jeanneau 64 performed superbly in the strong winds and lumpy seas. Tomorrow, we would welcome aboard John Palmer and his family. We would tell them about our adventure and hope that they would sense our enthusiasm and fall in love with this new flagship of the Jeanneau range. For now however, we’ll simply enjoy each other’s company, stretch out in the cockpit, and raise our glasses high to a great trip. Ahh, only if everyday could be like this.

On we go…

P.S. Read the conclusion of my Corsican adventure and find out if we sold a boat or not! Read it now.

 

 

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