- Cybèle 17 -
A summer of work!

Hello everyone!  

With the end of the summer season, this is the story of our 2020 season. As you can imagine, our sailing schedule has been turned upside down by a global pandemic... No more question of going back to the Far North, to discover Iceland and Greenland as we had planned. This is just a rain check...
We sailed according to the work and fittings we needed to do, mainly from Brittany to the Charentes, until we cracked... But I shall keep the surprise for the end.
Our last article related our nomadic winter in Brittany and the start of our confinement in the port of Ars-en-Ré, on the Ile de Ré. We were in the Charentes department, as we were on our way to La Rochelle, where we had planned some work on Cybèle.... 
Like everyone else, we were confined on board, with the same permissions as you, and a total ban on sailing. The sea was only for professionals in trade or fishing, in order to safeguard the rescue teams. We were able to make the most of the calm of the marshes around us and the pretty village of Ars-en-Ré.

Luckily, we had our bimini to provide shade and coolness when the beautiful spring temperatures rose a bit, as we no longer had the cooling breeze.
For us, lockdown was not a question of “pontoon aperitifs” since we were alone! We took advantage of the confined life to begin our maintenance and work program. The big spring clean involved the cushion covers, the curtains, the sewing that goes with it... The linings needed a good clean too, especially since we live on board and cook on board. My secret weapon "Clay Stone" which has returned its glow to our ceiling!

As professionals were able to travel, we were even able to receive our new mattresses, ordered at the BOOT trade fair in Düsseldorf. What a treat! Well-made, well-ventilated, and comfortable. No more traces of damp underneath. After 10 years of faithful service, 8 of which full time, our original mattresses deserved a good retirement, and our backs deserved horizontal nights! 

Recycled, one went on an Imoca, and the other to a tent for temporary accommodation, to the delight of the grandchildren.
And when the village market reopened, I was able to find new colourful plaids for our saloon. 

In addition to following several webinars, the Captain has been busy on more technical missions: changing a broken tank vent, the straps of the lazy bag that holds the mainsail on the boom, drying out the bilge, cleaning the jib sheets and lifelines, splicing, servicing HIS sewing machine ;-) to then make a new harness for the engine, a small repair on the bimini, enlarging the bag that contains all cockpit hood covers when we take them off, changing the thigh strap on a rescue harness! He is indeed gifted our Captain, is he not? He's a hero... shhh ;-) 
Not forgetting the little random chores and breakdowns of everyday life, be they on the boat or on everyday objects, just like “at home”, and the customs administration, to validate the change of ownership, since Cybèle has finally become our property after 8 years of hire-purchase! Champagne! 
While the list is already long, it's not finished. The best is yet to come...

Maintenance to the rudderboard which was sticking uncovered a much bigger and more pressing problem to solve.

The actuator was twisted and no longer fully raised the rudder! So we couldn't run aground, and we didn't know our draught... This will be our first mission as soon as we get back to sailing!

The boat’s confinement lasted one week longer than on land. The time it took the various administrations to agree on boating rights… 

We took advantage of this extra week to extend our explorations of the island and to get our bikes serviced! They too are entitled to their annual maintenance. This is how they have withstood their sealife for the last 10 years.

Finally, it was our turn to go through the port gates, 
which we had watched opening and closing twice a day for two months. 

As soon as we left, instead of La Rochelle, we headed for Les Sables d'Olonne to get our daggerboard repaired by the shipyard that built our OVNI, Alubat. Luckily, the port was within our permitted perimeter (50 nautical miles at the time, the equivalent of 100 km on land), and what's more, it happens to be the home port of Cybèle. 

And once again, Cybèle on dry land for a week or so... Under a torrid spring heat, too much for us, used to Breton temperatures, and Scandinavian ones for 6 years... Rudderboard actuator, engine overhaul, antifouling on the hull.... A full service! 

As the saloon was completely emptied and “gutted”, (the daggerboard well is under the central bench seat) and this year's exceptional situation called for it, we exceptionally - and for the first time - took up residence ashore in a small studio. 

The Captain went every day to monitor the highly professional care given to our Cybèle, and to continue his own: changing anodes, buying a new and longer anchor chain to extend our mooring possibilities safely, and other various jobs that were easier to do in dry dock. As our grandchildren remembered well, on a boat there is always something to do! Especially as the boat turns 10 years old...
I took the opportunity to discover the pretty town centre of Les Sables d'Olonne.

Finally ready to leave again, not going into the details of unforeseeables and false starts, we head back South! Direction the Island of Ars again!

​This time we took our time, and could finally enjoy the beautiful mooring off the Patache Bank. We were with two other OVNIs. Funnily, the same model and its upgrade; a 435, 445 (Cybèle) and the brand new 450 of new friends Marlène and Gilles. We had to get a photo... 

It was our first grounding in Fiers - this region is not our usual sailing area - but we will returned several times during the summer, for technical or family stopovers in La Rochelle. It's a nice place, away from the crowds that gather on the island.  

From then until the beginning of August we took a break from the work, on the one hand to reserve time for grandchildren, on the other, because professionals had a busy schedule following lockdown. 
So in June and July, we sailed between La Rochelle and the Glénan islands, with a few young sailors and even crew on board. Alas, without the hugs...

We did another technical stopover at the end of July and beginning of August, in La Rochelle, under another heat wave! We finally received our new heater, again after some unforeseen problems and delays with orders and transport... and our professional - newly self-employed - could finally give us some time, 2 Saturdays... We added a Russian brand forced-air heater, which will give us some warmth when we sail.

In the meantime and in addition, the captain continued work on board: Gwen Marine reinstalled our Maxprop propeller which had been dismantled in Les Sables in June and completely overhauled. Progress on installing the heater to save time for the pro. Repairing the mast light. Changing the starboard porthole in our cabin! Removing and replacing the kitchen sink without leakage. Maintaining and changing parts on the generator set. A bit of cleaning on the fenders for a semblance of cleanliness quickly erased... 

Finally ready to set sail again for new latitudes, and after a last stopover in Fiers d'Ars, we set off again for Brittany and the Gulf of Morbihan. To stay away from the myriad of boats still enjoying the end of the season, we preferred the small and charming port of Le Bono, and then moorings in the Gulf and around the islands outside. 

The weather was fantastic all summer and the swimming was delightfully refreshing. This did not stop us from appreciating our cockpit enclosure and especially its modularity. That's the key to its success. Successively and alternately, we removed the side panels, the central window on the hood, the junction between the hood and the bimini, closed the inner curtains on the windows, to provide shade and circulate fresh air. We could put back one or more panels just to cut the wind. And during the heat wave, we hurriedly used the NV sunshades, which attach easily to the bimini and lifelines, and enabled me to work “cool” in the cockpit. 

All this punctuated by various meet-ups at pontoons or moorings, but wisely respecting social distancing. This season has definitely been different. Fewer impromptu visits on board. 4 to 5 people - including us - and only in our external cockpit. It's changed our habits and takes away from life on board a bit. But we're fine and still very privileged, so we're not complaining. 
We will be spending the winter in France, hoping to be able to leave again next spring, but for now, as announced at the start, we finally cracked and headed to Spain for a short stay. Cybèle needed to stretch her sails! 44 hours across the Bay of Biscay, and we arrived in Santander. We are discovering the North Spanish coast, also under a storm, and will be back very soon for a new nomadic winter in France.​

We look forward to hearing from you - or even meeting you - if you find us at one of our ports of call. 
You can always follow us on our blog: Les voyages de Cybèle, or on the group of the same name on Facebook. 
See you soon!
Valérie et François
45 years Séparateur of Experience
1st Séparateur Hood and Bimini Top 
Pioneer and Designer
100 % Séparateur Made
in France
600 Séparateur New Products Every Year
8000 Séparateur References
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