Monthly Archives: February 2015

Time flies and … News -

There has been a long silence and, as usual, it is because there are too few hours in a day.
Breathe deeply, take a deep breath, exhale, inhale…….
We have been so busy during the past weeks that we have hardly had time to think. Action keeps us from realizing what lies ahead!
We are faced by our conscience, which looks like a bank of little cubby holes, each containing a file: partners, Version 2 of the website, GPS beacon and satellites, make contacts on this island, the boat and its logistics, logistics for Madagascar and South Africa, managing photos, preparations for the arrival of the team. Several of the files are still pending, which can keep us from having a good night’s sleep.
In the morning Serge tells me about his more or less encouraging dreams. The subconscious plays its part in helping to erase worry, doubts and fears.
Monday, February 16 we arrived on Reunion Island. The thermal shock knocked us out for 24 hours; however, as soon as we got off the plane we went from the city hall of Saint Denis to the tourist office to the mobile phone shop, before going to Le Portail shopping center to see our partner Leclerc. There is no air conditioning and we haven’t the time to take time. We have still to choose the finish for the 3rd stage of the foot race of March 10th. And we have contacts to make, details to think about, prepare and do
Tuesday, February 17: First meeting at the offices of Leclerc-Distri, just opposite the yacht harbor in Saint Denis, to discuss the management and communication strategy for the boat, which will be on show at their center. In the afternoon: 2nd trip to the harbor from our base in Saint-Gilles to deliver a USB key to Leclerc.
Wednesday, February 18: Computer work for Laure (organize the boat’s arrival and deal with several pending files) and training for Serge. In the afternoon, shopping at Leclerc because we cook our own meals at the Résidence Tropic Appart.
Thursday, February 19: One of our partners, Sea Frigo, handled the arrival and custom clearance of the boat. We went looking for long-sleeved, anti-UV T-shirts because Serge knows that he is going to broil at sea.
Friday, February 20: Stuck in traffic for 1H40 getting to Saint Denis, where we have 4 back-to-back meetings:
1. A sign company to make a banner for the start of the race
2. Réunion 1er (TV station, previously RF0)
3. The harbor: meeting with CROSS (Regional Operational Centers for Monitoring & Rescue) to discuss all aspects of security related to the boat
4. Michel Besnier, our only contact on Reunion Island is a former colleague of Roger, our PV (pigeon voyageur); Michel, who lives at the harbor, is an incredible contact who will help us with the details which seem invisible but which really do exist.


During that time, the boat arrived in its container at the Leclerc-Distri Center. It will wait for us all weekend in the heat, for transplanting on Monday morning.
Saturday, February 21: We have not gone out in the car, which is a good thing because to spend 50 minutes to drive 20 km is not unusual at the time of day when we have to go out. The traffic on the western side of Reunion Island resembles Parisian traffic but the scenery is very different and makes it easier to “grin and bear it”. We have already started to group our trips.
Sunday, February 22: Grand tour of the island as a recce for the footrace. It took us 8 hours by car but we are happy to have done it, especially for the exit from Saint-Denis and for the crossing from Saint-Pierre to Saint-Louis.
Monday, February 23 : The boat was unloaded, we introduced ourselves at the harbor master’s office and organized Middleton’s launch the next day, visited the nautical electronic supplier, visited the boat lift that will put her in the water, organized a photo shoot at sea for this week, weather permitting because it tends to be changeable in this rainy season.
Tuesday, February 24: Launching the boat was as easy as saying “abracadabra while wiggling my nose” but all’s well that ends well and there was just one slight mark on the hull getting the boat into the harbor. It would have been Mission Impossible without the help of André and Michel, who gave us a hand. I will speak about this again. Thanks go to the Pointe des Galets Yacht Club and to all the smiling, helpful and charming personnel, as well as Port Réunion, another partner.

We get between 20 and 30 e-mails per day and they are all about the saga and its preparations. Half require a response from me and I have handled a dozen or so. What would we do without Internet?
We have been able to go for three 30 minute swims in the sea. Yes, everything is counted.
Serge has had the time to run 130 km in 1 week
We will have to wait 22 months to think about a real vacation
The boat is in the water – we continue with fitting up
The door to the World Tour is opening and we are going through….

SAT-OCEAN already at work -

Even if Serge isn’t yet in the water aboard Middleton, it has not kept our partner SAT-OCEAN from working relentlessly for some time. Serge received a report of some 100 pages giving statistics on the winds and currents over the past 3 years for the different maritime routes he has planned. Since Monday, Serge and Michel (Sea-Rout) have received a daily report of conditions on the first leg of the trip. I will let Xavier and Maxime of SAT-OCEAN explain their roles in this World Tour.
SAT-OCEAN will provide a daily update on Serge’s website:
• The site provides animated information on surface ocean currents, winds and waves;
• Serge’s route will be shown superimposed on SAT-OCEAN’s recommended route:
• This route results from the optimal use of winds and currents from Serge’s actual position to the targeted arrival city.
• SAT-OCEAN also produces and supplies PDF documents which summarize these route forecasts and recommendations:
• A weather forecast which includes:
o A chart summarizing a mid-range forecast of conditions along the recommended route:
o A detailed forecast chart of wind, wave and temperatures;
o A chart of winds and atmospheric pressures;
o A graph showing the expected evolution of wind, waves, atmospheric pressure and temperatures

• A list of recommendations which includes:

o A graph of statistics on the route ahead (duration, maximum wind, biggest waves, etc.);
o A map of amplitude and actual direction of the currents on Serge’s actual as well as the recommended route;
o A map of the height and actual direction of waves on Serge’s planned and recommended route ;
o Graphs showing positive or contrary affects of winds, currents and waves on Serge’s planned or recommended route;
o A table showing the coordinates and points of passage, with dates and the course to take from one point to another, on the route planned by or recommended to Serge
• An Excel spread sheet showing the coordinates and dates of passage points and the course to follow from one point to another on the route planned by or recommended to Serge.