is in
                                         Le Havre,

CMA CGM Matisse   Just Lauched-hello LeHavre    LeHavre

On April 23, 2013, Entr’acte arrived safely in LeHavre France.  The entire voyage took forty-seven days and despite several gales she arrived without a scratch.  We were priveledged to ride on board Matisse from Savannah, GA all the way to LeHavre. This was a fabulous experience and will be detailed in full at a future time.

Upon boarding Matisse we looked high and low but could not find Entr’acte.  At dinner on the first night at sea, Ronald the messman said “Oh, the little white boat all covered in plastic with the mast lying across it.”   “Yes, that’s it.”   “I will take you to it tomorrow.”  The next morning after breakfast Ronald took us aft and we looked all over but could not find it. He asked one of the crew. “Oh, yes, that was unloaded in Australia!”  Oh Boy!  We were stunned!   The Captin began a computer search of the cargo and finaly found her stowed out of sight below decks.  He took us to see her and she looked just like a Mummy in a Tomb.   What a relief.

The Atlantic crossing was a brief 13 days and included two gales but thanks to outstanding seamanship on the part of Captain Dragojlovik all went well.

The Mummy in the tomb        Rising from the tomb     Please don’t drop her!

Matisse arrived in lehavre at 14:00 and by 18:00 Entr’acte was launched.  The stevedores lined the dock and cheered, the entire crew of Matisse waved goodbye, Capt Dragojlovik sounded the ships horn and Harbour Control came on the radio “welcomed to France” and offered us a pilot boat as escort to the marina.

 Floating again      What a mess!       We’re gaining on it!
We arefloating again and  right now we are both exhausted after our arrival. We have been working full days to prepare Entr’acte for her next voyage—Up the Seine to Paris and on to the French Canals down into the Mediterranean.

You can see the entire track of Matisse as well as our trip across France. Just click on the spinning globe.

Honfleur and the Seine

LeHavre was a wonderful place to  arrive and re-group after the pacific.  Everything was available to us and withing walking distance. Eventually we were ready to head off for the Seine.  

 Entr’acte  arrived in Honfleur in grand style on Tuesday May 7, 2013.   The 14 mile trip  from Le Havre into the  dreaded mouth of the Seine went smoothy.  Our tide, current and lock time calculations were spot on . We connected with the lock at exactly slack current and passed through the lock without incident.  Our new home was inside the basin float of the Vuex Port de Honfleur.

Arriving in Honfleur   Veux Port   Veux Port  

Honfleur is the jumping off point for the trip up the Seine and on to the European Canal system.  It is an opportunity to meet new friends going the same way but also a great spot to re-unite with old friends as well.    After several days exploring this beautiful old village we were anxious to move on to Rouen and Paris.  This next trip is a real challenge and we had much to co-ordinate.  The problems are numerous.     The Seine is a very busy river with constant commercial traffic of all sizes.  It is tidal. The current is swift and treacherous.  There is absolutely no place to anchor along the way. The holding is poor. Outside the channel there is little water and numerous underwater dikes ready to rip out your boat’s bottom should you encounter one.  Pleasure craft are forbidden to travel the lower Seine between  1/2 hour after sunset  and 1/2 hour before sunrise.  The result—-we would have  to make the 60 milestrip from Honfleur r to Rouen in one go. All of this is just for openers.  

It works this way:

We need to depart the lock at Honfleur 1 hour before the change of current, low water, at the lock and no eariler than sunrise.  At low water there is not enough water outside the lock to exit.  If we miss this time we must wait until one hour after low water and lose two vital hours of favorable current which will now prevent us arriving in  Rouen before it turns against us.   If we get this right, the tidal difference between Honfleur and  Rouen is such that by the time we run out of  incoming tide from Honfleur we are far enough up river to pick up the incoming into Rouen.  This is called “catching the rolling tide” and is what we must do, otherwise the adverse current is so strong as to make the the distance in daylight impossible.    Oh, and did we mention the weather?   This window of opportunity occurs for only three days in every 10.  Miss it and you wait for 10 days and hope that when it next comes around there is good weather.  The Seine in a gale is bad news!

So we do our best homework and catch the last draw bridge opening from the Veux Port the afternoon before we wish to leave and spend the night tied to the sea wall outside the lock.  The plan is to pass the lock at 06:00, enter the Seine one hour before the current change and buck that current for one hour before we catch our ride.  Sounds good.  Looks good. We were ready.

Everything goes like clockwork. We exit the lock and encounter the fircest current, swell and wind combination that we have ever seen.  Entracte, without a mast rolled horribly but it was only for a few minutes until we made the turn onto the river.  We held our breath until we were certain we were in deep water and actually on the river.  We knew we would buck the current for this first hour but even though it was the last of the out-going tide, it was fierce.  To be out here in the  full ebb would be a disaster.  We cleared with port control and they bid us good journey. We were off, doing 2 knots over the bottom.  Oh well,   in an hour we would be flying at close to 10.  We increased our rpm to 3100 and three minutes later the engine shut down. Stone—–Cold—–DEAD!

Fortunately we were still close to the lock and the Honfleur Sauveteurs en Mer effected a quick rescue.  The trouble was caused by a clogged exhaust elbow.  By the end of the next day we were again fully functional but alas, we had missed this window and now had to wait for 10 more days.

This turned out to be a lessing in disguise because we were “stranded” in Honfleur just in time for the Festival Marane and the blessing of the fleet.  We dressed ship and enjoyed the festivities.  An added bonus was we had a wonderful reunion with UIla-Britt Lyman from the Danish yacht Ghoster.  We met her and her late husband Bent way back in 1983 on our first trip to Portugal and had kept up a correspondence ever since. Bent has recently passed away but  Ula-Britt came all the way to Honfleur  to see us and we had a wonderful reunion in the rain.

 Allen and Yvonne on Dolphin III   Ulla-Britt comes from Denmark   Rescued by Le Sauvetuers

The trip onward toward Paris was not at all easy.  Because of heavy spring rains, the Seine was in flood and we were continually bucking a 3 knot current every single day, all the way to Paris.    In addition to this,  there were several overheating problems caused first by  a plastic bag caught in the engine intake and a second one due to a faulty—brand new—water pump impeller–which saw  us hanging on a pole for a day making repairs.   Then, there were  also fuel problems,  meaning, you could not buy any!  There are thousands of boats plying the Seine all using diesel but strangely there are no fuel stations along the Seine where  you can buy it.  There was NOTHING from Rouen onward. 

 The Family Tiberghien   The first of 300 locks       Peniche on the Seine