Posts tagged Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Aug 16


Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France 43º15'42″N 5º18'40″E

Voilavion prototype, a real flying nautical experimental platform.Voilavion is a new foiling catamaran that is performant but incredibly stable and easy to handle.
An idea of foiling catamaran with a tilting mast came from windsurfing where at high speed surfers tend to lean the sail against the wind enabling it to operate as an airplane wing and have the board take off.
Voilavion is not only about performance and stability but also about fine lines and exceptional design, the best compromise between speed, navigation comfort and pleasure.

Photo assignment for VoilAvion. Voilavion prototype, a real flying nautical experimental platform.

Apr 15

French Sailing Team preparing the ISAF Sailing World Cup

Hyères, France 43º04’40″N 6º10'01″E

ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères - Fédération Française de Voile. RSX Women, Charline Picon.

Photo assignment for the Fédération Française de Voile.

Sep 14

“Defini Fini Infini, Travaux In Situ”

Marseille, France 43º15’41″N 5º23'46″E

French Artist Daniel Buren exhibition “Defini Fini Infini, Travaux In Situ” at the MaMo art center, Cité Radieuse Le Corbusier,  Marseille.

French Artist Daniel Buren exhibition “Defini Fini Infini, Travaux In Situ” at the MaMo art center, Cité Radieuse Le Corbusier.

Oct 13

GC32s showcased at Extreme Sailing Series in Nice

Nice, France 43º41’35″N 7º16’18″E

The GC32 is the one design for the Great Cup Racing circuit, at the Extreme Sailing Series, Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France.A new chapter opened for the GC32s last week when they joined the Extreme Sailing Series for the penultimate Act of the Land Rover-backed 2013 stadium sailing catamaran circuit in Nice, France.

While the main attraction remains the Extreme 40 catamaran racing, the Series events are slowly evolving into mini sailing festivals, with multiple attractions, rather than just one. Thus on Nice’s Baie des Anges each day between 1000 and 1300, racing between the two GC32s – Laurent Lenne’s SPAX Solution and Flavio Marazzi’s Marwin – has been a warm-up act for the Extreme 40s.

Amsterdam-based Frenchman Laurent Lenne, the GC32’s creator, explains what being in Nice means: “The association with the Extreme 40s is an important endorsement: to be accepted as a good enough class to join them and be part of the spectacle. It showed what the possibilities are, being alongside the Extreme 40s, because we both race catamarans and have a similar vision. It is just different formats.”

While the boats are different, the GC32 courses are longer than the ultra-short ones the Extreme 40s sail, but they still have a turning mark immediately off the VIP tent on Nice’s Promenade des Anglais.

For both Lenne and Extreme Sailing Series organisers OC Sport, Nice has been a ‘toe in the water’ exercise, which may lead to the GC32s joining more ESS events in Europe next year.

Full throttle

Sailing on the Cote d’Azur in the autumn usually means light winds, but on this occasion crews have been challenged by 20+ knot winds and a large and short sea. Nonetheless the GC32s performed well.

“There’s been a lot of wind, so there have been some challenges out there,” said Lenne. “We were bearing away in 25 knots and the boat was fully flat going 28-29 knots and passing through the waves very well. It feels very safe. But we designed the boat to be able to handle these conditions, to be able to go through this sea state, both upwind and downwind. We are very happy with it.”

A design from New Caledonia-based catamaran guru Martin Fischer and built by Premier Composite Technologies in Dubai, the GC32 is a state of the art catamaran, with buoyant bows, but it is the double-S profile daggerboards and L-shape rudders that ensure she behaves well in stronger conditions.

As Andrew Macpherson, Chief Operating Officer for the GC32, observes: “There have been some ‘moments’ as you’d expect in 20+ knots and two metre seas, but the comment from all the crews is that with a reef in above 20 knots they feel totally safe. You could still throw it around and do your turns upwind and down. And going downwind the bows are completely clear of the water which allows you to push harder.”

Despite the lively conditions on the first two days, racing between the one design catamarans has been tight, with the starts proving vital and the boats regularly overtaking each other on both the upwind and downwind legs. At the end of Saturday SPAX Solution and Marwin were tied on 5-5.

Lenne commented: “It’s been really close – up and down all the time. We have had some really good racing, good starts, crossing each other all the time, upwind and downwind. It’s full on. Not easy.”

Mathias Buhler, an Olympic Nacra 17 catamaran sailor who stood in for Flavio Marazzi helming Marwin on Saturday added: “We were both overtaking each other. It was nice racing. Today, conditions were very tricky, especially in the first race. But we were lucky – the forecast was pretty light, but in the end only the first race was in bad conditions. All the other races were fair.”

Sunday dawned to extremely light winds. But with the GC32 only requiring a minimum of 3 knots of wind for racing, the two boats were able to compete in the 5-6 knot offshore breeze, coping happily with a difficult, left-over chop from the windy days. Where the teams were so matched in performance the previous day, in the softer breeze Marwin’s accurate positioning at the start put them at a strong tactical advantage as they cruised away to five straight victories on Sunday.

“An amazing day,” said Buhler, buzzing from his dominant performance on Sunday. “I can’t wait for the next event, provided Flavio [Marazzi] lets me out to play again!”

In Nice, the GC32 racing has been broadcast live to the internet via Livestream, which Lenne says is also an important part of the circuit’s offering. Meanwhile he is soon to appoint a Class Manager for the GC32 and is in the process of negotiating with event organisers to finalise the 2014 calendar for The Great Cup, the circuit for the GC32s.

A successful America’s Cup held in catamarans has helped. “We’ve seen a big difference since July. I had some meetings before then with people who were saying, ‘yes, maybe we’ll have catamarans in two or three years’. Now they are coming back telling me they want to move towards catamarans now! The live streaming is also very appealing. We have on board cameras and we can do interviews on the boats. That is good for the class.”

Words: Sailing Intelligence

Photo assignment for The Great Cup.

Sep 12

Onboard the MOD 70 Race for Water during the European Tour.

Marseille, France 43º15’16″N 5º19’17″E

Onboard the MOD70 Race for Water, during a training session before the Marseille City Race, part of the MOD 70 European Tour, skipper Steve Ravussin.

Sep 12

Thomas Coville & SODEBO

Marseille, France 43º15’16″N 5º17’46″W

“Ground Control To Major Tom …”
With barely enough time for the average astronaut to recover from the impressive round-the-world victory onboard Groupama70 in the Volvo Ocean Race, capitaine Thomas Coville is recharged and at it again onboard his faithful red Sodeb’o maxi-trimaran. The weeks ahead will see the Sodeb’o seacraft slicing through the ocean at full kip chasing new reference times to add to her impressive stable. First on the agenda, Thomas and his machine are attempting the singlehanded multihull TransMed record which is currently held by Pascal Bidegorry at the helm of Banque Populaire V. This attempt will be followed directly by the solo multihull Cadiz-San Salvador passage, a speed record quite familiar in the Sodeb’o universe seeing as Thomas has held the best time from 2005-2008. He would like nothing more than to reclaim this record from Francis Joyon before the close of 2012. We wish Thomas and the team only the best wind and waves for this ambitious program.
As is evident in this latest gallery of training and stress-tests, Thomas and the Sodeb’o spacecraft are well dialed in and up for the challenge… no matter what the atmosphere.
Blast Off sequence commencing in 10…9….8……
Words: Fred Eagle

Transmed Records:
Multihull Record fully-crewed : 14 hours 20 minutes and 34 seconds (May 2010)
Multihull Record holder: Pascal Bidégorry (France) sailing Banque Populaire V
Monohull Record singlehanded: 1 day 21 hours 20 minutes and 29 seconds (June 2009)
Monohull Record Holder: Kito de Pavant (France) sailing Groupe Bel

Mar 12

Treasures of Napoleon Beach

Napoleon Beach, Bouches-du-Rhône, France 43º20’37″N 4º52’10″E

The Earth Should Not Yield Plastic Alone

The earth yields treasures. As examples: the fruits we eat and, arguably, diamonds. On my daily ocean walks I have never seen either. I do see a lot of plastic though. So, too, does Christophe Launay, whose photographs from Napoleon Beach document similar findings. It is at this beach that the Rhone (Rhine) River meets the Mediterranean Sea.

Close to the ocean, where I live, I cultivate an annual vegetable garden, and am hopeful that last year’s raspberry plants will yield fruit again this year.

But back to France. French senators last July voted to outlaw hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process that uses a mixture of chemicals, sand and water injected under high pressure to release oil and gas trapped in rock. As we know, the earth also yields natural gas and oil.

Earth Day approaches, and so I googled the phrase, “The earth yields.” Lo, the first few entries were Biblical quotes from Psalm 67 in the New American Standard Bible.

psalm 67:6 The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us.

67:7 God blesses us, That all the ends of the earth may fear Him.

And in French: 67:6 La terre produira son fruit; Dieu, notre Dieu, nous bénira.

Fruits of the earth.


Ditto in Spanish, La tierra ha dado su fruto; Dios, nuestro Dios, nos bendice.

And in Hebrew, the word rendered “increase” can be interpreted to mean “properly produce,” or “that which the earth produces when properly cultivated.”

Who is ‘properly cultivating’ the earth, and what does this mean? I think we know, and best-selling authors like Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver have spelled it out pretty clearly for North America, where fracking is widely practiced.

As you’d expect, the usual green groups (those protecting the fruits of the earth) and some politicians who led protests quite effectively in France, saying fracking could cause environmental damage, like earthquakes and water pollution. Government ministers and industry representatives say it is the only method currently available to extract hydrocarbons from the rock. At what cost should we be extracting those hydrocarbons?

And because Google put God at the top of the search let’s drag Him into this one last time. Remember that bit about “fearing Him?”

We’ve heard He works in mysterious ways, but it’s not overly mysterious that if you inject chemicals underground to remove materials that are part of supporting materials on top of them, and deep wells are used to dispose of liquid wastes, then tremors will be on the rise. And about water pollution from the chemicals, like arsenic? Well, that hardly seems like we are properly cultivating the earth to yield anything other than a big mess. We should be afraid.

While protests are underway in North America, if you’re not the protesting type, but you are a bit afraid of what you see above the ground, and can’t yet take on what’s going on underground, or in Heaven for that matter, here’s a place to start. Easy, point-form facts and courses for action.

Look for the handy link to Take Back the Tap

We must keep our water clean and cut down on the plastic bottle waste so prevalent in these photos and the pollution at all levels on this fine earth, which when cultivated properly we know, yields the most wonderful fruits.

Oh, and here’s one more link to check out.

Words: Trixie B. Wadson is a freelance writer, independent publisher, graphic designer and photographer. The rest of the time she is busy collecting eggs from the family chickens while they cultivate the garden.