Saturday, 1. 4. 2017


Another rainy day, but thank god bad weather which does not allow any sanding work on the boat. Doris wants to visit Vannes to buy herself a pair of new sail trousers. And perhaps there are also a few other shops there tob e visited..... Vannes is very crowdy today, no wonder everybody is busy with shopping for the weekend and furthermore there is a demo going on in the center of the city…  We turn around immediately, unfortunately the visit at this sailing shop is not promising either as the prices there do not correspond with our conception.
Further we drive to Monsieur Briccolage at Savegnay to buy a net for our storage room which we had seen during our last visit. Unfortunately, this very net is sold out and will not sold anymore in the future. Back we drive, taking a short sidestep at LeClercs in Guerande. Doris got lost in the huge shop….  Empowered with a small snack and a shorts richer we are defenitely on our way home to our appartement.



Sonntag 2. 4. 2017


A sunny day is announcing, spring is coming. After a good brunch, I get time to write on our Log and to upload some photos, which we already wanted to do already days ago. In the afternoon we take the chance of a few sunny spells and visit an old Castle near Herbignac l chateau Ranrouet.



Monday, 3.4.2017


We are heading towards Nantes in the middle of the Monday morning rushhour. Just before passing  the great bridge over the river Loire I took on the French driving habit a bit too much and – flash – hopefully the thunder is not too loud afterwards. After a 21/2 hours drive we arrive at La Rochelle where we  leave our car near Quartier Saint Nicolas and continue our excursion walking through the city. On the border of Bassins des Chalutiers we get a boost with another Grand Crème. We admire the towns landmark at the entry to the old port- with the old towers Tour de Saint Nicolas and Tour de la Chaine. We have to take lots of pictures since the atmosphere around the old port is much too tempting. We pass along the port with ist bistros and bars which are not too crowded at the present time. During high season the picture must be quite different. Leaving the tower Tour de la Chaine we walk on the old wall surrounding a part of the old town towards Tour de la Lanterne, which claims tob e the oldest light house on the western atlantic coast. According the city guide the townhall “Hôtel de Ville» is said to be remarkable as well and worth a short visit.  Unfortunately the building from the late 15. Century was destroyed in a fire in summer 2013. The building with ist beautiful rooms is reconstructed since then and wrapped in a skelleton which hiddes the building from the spectator. Neverteless the break in the bistro at the place in front of the Hôtel de Ville is nice watching the people passing by as well as watching the building works.


After a small snack in one of the many bistros along  our walk weg o back to our car since we want to visit Les Sables d’Olonne which is start and end of the regularly sail race Vendée Globe ( ). The last winner was on March  17th 2017 Armel Le Cleac’h who completed the circumnavigation within a bit more than 74 days (!)  Stroling through the alleys of the old town towards the old fishing port and out to the mole where we can see the long beach.
We enjoy our way back to Herbignac taking some windy roads instead of the busy and fast motorway.


Summarizing the week from Tuesday 4. to Saturday 8. April 2017 the main points were sanding some parts with cracking paint down to the metal, then painting three times with epoxy-primer and afterwards three times with white paint  … at least it is dry weather and above 15 degrees a minimum to successfully applying paint. The nice breeze is tempting for a sail trip, unfortunately our boat is still without mast and sails, at least the wind moves the vapos from the paint. During Wednesday and Thursday, the skipper lays on his back under the hull applying two coatings of Antifouling A2 an. The two coatings need about 6 litres of antifouling A2. Yesterday we changed the lights on the mast to LED’s thus saving some energy. The defective housing of the machine light we changed also at the same occasion. Then I was able to install the short-wave transceiver becoming almost a contortionist while mounting this box into its position! 


Sunday, 9.4.2017


Getting a baguette at the boulangerie and having a cozy breakfast together compensate for the rough going last week. After breakfast we are on Santjana for some minor things and then we visit  Vannes.


The plan for next week consists of completing the installation of the heating on Monday, re-masting and rigging on Tuesday also putting together the engine again to get Santjana ready for her launch on Thursday afternoon together with Nicolai.


Monday, 10.4.2017


The heating installation is completed on Monday morning as promised which is really helpful with these low temperatures in the morning. Arriving at Santjana Doris gets a slight shock as she watches a hole being drilled into the hull of hour boat for the heating exhaust tube. Since we like to leave the inside room to the technician we leave for a short trip to Saint Nazaire. Doris needs a pair of new jeans and I need some new t-shirts since the paint works last week took its toll. 

Being back in the afternoon we completed some minor tasks and last but not least we would like to put on the boats name on ist stern as it is currently blank and white. That’s not as easy as said in the advertisement since the letters will not move from the foil to the transfer foil. After some unsuccessful trials we stop our attemps to get some detailed information on how to proceed exactly. Thanks to Dr. Google we eventually find a video showing how easily this task ist o be performed.


Tuesday, 11.4.2017


The engine still is without heat exchange but the mechanic is said to complete the task by Wednesday. In the meantime, we are moving some luggage from the apartment to the boat and finishing the paint works on the boat. In the late afternoon, we are taking a second attempt to place the boat name on its stern. With a lot of care and teamwork we eventually managed to pot the name on Santjana’s stern. We put off the naming cermony to another time when Nicolai can attend it as well. We are eagerly looking forward to his visit! Nevertheless we make a toast to the completed lettering.



Wednesday, 12.4.2017


First of all, we need pack all our belongings and clear-up our apartment. Gladly the house owner has granted us one day more which gives us a bit more air for everything. Arriving at the boat we notice that the mast is back on the boat and the rigging is ongoing. Even the engine is put together awaiting its first mission. We empty our car, while Doris is taking care everything is somehow meaningfully placed onboard. The skipper is returning to the apartment handling with brooms and vacuum-cleaner. After three hours, we meet again, the boat is stuffed and the apartment is ready for the hand-over.  We are looking forward to get some better understanding about what to stow where for best efficiency and placement but that needs to be doing for the first time. 


Thursday, 13.4.2017


Once again we are visiting the friendly place of Le Conexion bei Leclerc at Herbignac and enjoy the nice coffee being served by the nice monsieur also the croissant from the nearby boulangerie. Then we pass on the welcome Nico at St. Nazaires railway station. How nice to see him again after such a long time, we have a lot to talk on our way back to Arzal where our boat is prepared for its launch. Arriving in time we experience how Santjana is being put on a flat bed trailer, then beeing driven to a portal crane and finally be put in its wet element. On our drive to the berth we were glad being accompanied by the specialists from Arzal Nautique as the engine coughs several times, hhhmmmm…..


To celebrate the special day as well as to welcome Nico we go the Guerande and enjoy some tasty galettes at the Vieux Relais, a nice final for a nice day!  



Easterfriday, 14.4.2017


After the first breakfast together onboard, we drive to La Turballe at the sea-side to show Nico a bit more of Brittany. After a stroll through the harbor and a visit in one of the bistros we continue our excursion over a winding road towards Musée de Sel. The exhibition in the museum shows the differents steps necessary th gain the special salt of Guerande. We are rather astonished about the labour intensive care to gain the “white gold” as it was once called. After this interesting break, we continue the way to Croissic with some more sight- seeing and tasting some oysters as well together with a Bollée of Cidre. We conclude the day on our boat with a glass of Rosé. Unfortunately, the heating stops working for some reason, the get-up in the morning will be a rather cool or frosty experience.



Saturday, 15.4.2017


Actually, after breakfast we wanted to start our excursion to Mont Saint Michel, but we find a note on the windshield of our car saying to be careful since there is a screw in one of our tires. Removing the screw the air is leaving the tire with a fizzing noise, we drive to the next car service station. After the breakfast while waiting until the service station eventually opens its doors at nine o’clock I am told that we have to replace all 4 tires, since we drive a 4x4. Since I already scheduled changing the tires in Switzerland I did not want to exchange 4 tires here in France. The mechanic insisted to replace at least 2 tires, but without having them on stock… Since there is now solution at hand to replace the faulty tire I just turned the screw completely into the tire keeping my fingers crossed that it stays there until we were back in Switzerland….


Because of this lousy screw and the cloudy sky we push of our trip to Mont Saint Michel to the next day and we are visiting the old town of Vannes instead. I’m listening to any strange sound which might come from our faulty tires but we reach Vannes without any trouble. I the meantime the sky cleared up it is nice and sunny but a cold wind is blowing through streets and alleys. It’s great to be here again with Nico and view the nice old part and the harbor with him.  Doing so, he can relax a bit from last week and his long journey on the train. On the very last moment of the local market we got some local Bretone Sauccussions which we taste at night together with a nice glass of red wine. On our way back we pass through Port Questry at the bay of Morbihan. Here it is much more touristic, even the season has not really startet and some oft he shops and bistros are still cloased.

Back on Santjana, we have tasks to complete prior we go inside and try to heat up a bit by lightning some candles. The temperature stays low but at least the atmosphere the candles produce is nice and cozy.


Sunday 16.4.2017


A very fresh morning air is greeting us. The not so hot shover is not helping either to get really awake. The tyre seems with the screw in it is surprisingly well. Nothing against our plan for the trip to Mont Saint Michel and the sky looks also very promising.


There are already lots of people walking around when we finally arrived at Mt. Saint Michel, the parking lot is filling up and many are waiting for a place on bus moving between the visitors center and the Mont. The view to Mont Saint Michel is really special and worth a visit, the hill with its tower on the top can be seen from miles away. The changing light of sun and moving clouds is very entertaining as well as the view changes every few minutes by the shadows of the clouds trowing to the houses, walls and towers.

The walk towards the fortress makes a bit thirsty, we take a rest and have a look at all the other tourists walking by. It must be similar to the picture in the past when all the former residents were walking up and down through those narrow alleys. Climbing over many stairs we finally reach the entrance to the abbey to find a huge que of visitor waiting in front of the entrance. That’s a bit too much and time consuming for us and we move down over the walls having a great view over the bay of Mt. Saint Michel. We leave the Mont and make our way towards Saint Malo taking a short break near an ancient windmill on the hilltop. Arriving at Saint Malo we are eagerly trying to find a park space but obviously, many others have the same intention.
Doris has to grit her teeth a bit as her feet are aching from the many stairs at Mt. Saint Michel as we have to walk somewhat further from the car to the old part of Saint Malo.
In the bistro «Cafe de l’Ouest» we find a nice table for our apero, since we want to celebrate Nico’s visit with a nice dinner. The menu is a  bit…. well “touristique”. But the search for a better place was not very promising either, many bistros are still closed and we were not interested in “Gallettes” or Crèpes either.
Therefore we are arriving back in the bistro we left an hour ago. Well feeded we take our way back to our freshly cooled swimming home.


Monday, 17.4.2017 – Thursday 20.4.2017


We are taking a short visit at Nicos place as we have some last things to complete in Switzerland. Nice we are three now, so everyone can take ist turn to drive for a while. The last few hours driving in Switzerland are bit strenuous then as soon as we arrive at the Swiss border we got the first traffic jam.


The visit at the Hardys feels as if we had never left the pretty old town of Bremgarten. The time was flying in the last few weeks and even here the times flies much to fast while enjoying the time together with Nico and celebrating Doris birthday in the «Golden Lamm» at Waldshut. We have great joy about the very personal presents from Nico, while sadden us as well at the same time as we have soon to say Good-Bye» to Nico for a longer time. At Thursday we enjoy a few sunny spots in the Bijou on the river Reuss and the spending the evening with Nico and some of his friends. Many thaks to Luzi and Pascal!


Friday, 21.4.2107


The alarm clock makes us moving very early in the morning since we have to catch the French train at Basel. Thanks to Dodo and Nico we got there in time! 

We are leaving with mixed feelings, we are looking forward to our future under sails while at the same time we are leaving many loved ones behind. Mainly Nico, whom we “soon” want to meet again on the Balearic Islands. After about nine hours train riding we were picked-up by Patrice our former host at Herbignac. Many thanks to you Patrice for the lift to Arzal.


Saturday 22.4.2017


We are starting to «unmess the mess» onboard Santjana. Not an easy job as it needs to be done somehow meaningful in ordert o retrieve the various stuff again when it’s needed. We are quite busy for a while with moving bags and sacks forth and back but the final result is quite acceptable. Thanks to Arzal Nautique we can do some shopping using their car.


Sunday, 23.4.2017


I take another attempt with the electronics on board Santjana, the external GPS antenna is not working at present, the VHF transceiver needs to be installed among other minor tasks. Doris is trying to clear- up our storage hold. Since I have pulled the cable of the GPS antenna in the wrong direction, I will have to re-pull it again and then pull it back again correctly.


Monday, 24.4.2017


Today we have to fill up our water tanks. After half an hour of filling I got a strange impression and going below I admit that we have filled our blackwater tank instead. Both closure caps are marked with “Water – Eau” …. Somehow I do not feel really guilty about that. We might have the cleanest blackwater tank in the whole port. It continues with the cable of the GPS antenna, after a bit of «briccolagge» this task is also successfully completed.


Tuesday, 25.4.2017


Another rainy and cold morning, we stay on board and waiting for Gilda who wants to give us all the technical details and hidden secrets on board Santjana, ha, what a challenge for my French language! Also today Santjana get her sailing wardrobe. We are glad to get Gilda’s professional advice and help to bring all the sheet ropes and halyards. Unfortunately, the weather is not very supportive at the moment since it is still cold rainy and very windy and of course the wind blows from the wrong side to check if the main is ok. Therefore, we push of this action to a later moment.


Wednesday, 26.4.2017


Waking up this morning is rather a tough experience for the night was crystal clear and now is zero degrees centigrade. But the heating is spending cozy warmth after a little while. Today we want to maneuver a bit with the boat and therefore we adjust our life wests before. After a few adjustments, we are ready firing up the engine and – uuuuups, no reading on the instruments and long faces. We have the electronics checked and wait for the result. Instead we move Santjana to the pump to fill her diesel tanks. As we forgot to lower her rudder and sword Santjana is happily drifting away from the footbridge with Doris on board looking not so happy anymore. Luckily, I got the boat still on a long rope and after a while we manage to turn the boat and fill the tanks.


The water tap in the pantry is dripping and creates a small flooding under the floor boards. Ok, up and away to Leroy to buy a new tap, fortunately finding the very same model as it was installed before.


The whole job turns out to be a contortionists job and does not end before unscrewing various plates and panels before I can remove the old tap. Installing the new one is a piece of cake. Turning on the water to test the new tap ends in producing a shower – water everywhere, sadly there were no sealing’s to install and both ship chandlers already had closed their doors. Therefore, no running water this evening.


In exchange, the bow bunk stinks with diesel, it seems that one of the valve are leaking after filling the tanks this morning. I wrap soft paper and a plastic bag around to minimize the diesel smells and being able to sleep without diesel damp dreams. A rather not so successful Wednesday is ending....


Thursday, 27.4.2017


Again, a frosty night getting some coffee awakens live in us. The check of the navigation calculator had shown that the unit itself is performing well and the fault is somewhere else. A suspicion arises, could it be that I have made a mistake in the wiring myself …? No, not really, or….?
The leaking diesel pipe is being sealed today, I find the necessary seals for the new water tap, which is dry as a bone after completing my work. Hissing the main shows that the sails stays as it should, looking neatly. The installation of the magnetic gas valve is being pushed of since the part still stucks at the forwarding company. Therefore, again cold dinner, but the owner of the bistro is delighted about our visit at his table. Finally, Santjana gets her Swiss flag surrounded by the sound of “Pirates of the Carribean”.



Friday, 28.4.2017


There was again snow is Switzerland creating chaos for the morning road traffic. It did not snow over here, but the temperature is also very low. Some last shopping in the morning and another round of clearing and minimizing our stowage. In the afternoon, we move off to leave room to the specialists from Arzal Nautique Gilda and Löik to install the magnet gas valve. We plan for leaving next Tuesday, but still we have tasks on our list, which there are preparing Dinghi and outboarder, plotter, installing lifelines, etc.


Saturday 29.4.2017


After a refreshing, really hot shower a few minutes’ walk to l’Epicerie du Port for a Baguette. The vendor in this small shop reminds me each time to an actor in the sitcom “Home improvement» since he is like two peas in a pod. Since Santjana occupies the place in front of the blackwater pump we sometimes have to move so others can empty their tanks there. Thus, creates a bit of hassle since it stops us in our own activities. Surprisingly, it does not happen too often.


 In the afternoon we complete the attachment for our dinghy, it only lacks a few shackles, again another walk to the ship chandlers shop where we already patronized the shop. Anyway the weather is sunny and warm, tomorrow it is said tob e rainy, windy and cold again,..


Dinghi pumped, attachment ready, next ist he outboarder to wake up after a two years sleep. Until now my knowledge about outborders was limited to refill ist tank and to start it by the ripcord. So, FRFTM…. First read the f….. manual….
After checking the oil, filling ist tank and giving a decent sipp of oil, doing some physical excercising by try to start the outboarder I leave rest a bit and then eventually it starts and dies again with a dry coughing…. Second attempt and “Champage” – it works a bit sleepy first but then regularly chuging away. Huurraaaaa!


Today’s success we celebrate at L’Inflexible with a nice portion Fish and Chips and a Crêpes Suzette for dessert. Unfortunately, it is still too cold to enjoy the dinner outside.


Sunday, 30. 4.2017


We wake up in the middle of the night by some heavy knocking above our heads, rain is pouring down creating a permanent shower til the middle of the morning. After breakfast and my unsuccessful attempts of loading the correct navigation chart into the plotter, we remove the wind pilot and store it in the forepeak and hang the Dinghi into its attachments. The windpilot is a clever piece of technique as it relieves us from steering the boat on longer legs by the help of a small wind lade and some clever and simple mechanism. The windpilot will relieve us on longer legs, where we do not need a Dinghi and vice versa. Outside it is very wet, very windy and cold, all in all very unfriendly and we are a glad to sit in our warm cabin enjoying a day in the harbor of Arzal.


We will conclude the last day of April 2017 with fish, zucchini and rice and of course a glass of Rosé, … well it might become two glasses of Rosé.