Franco-Australian Series – Week 1

As most of our friends and followers know, we are at opposite ends of the world. Chris is in France with her Dad, Wade is taking Anui down to Melbourne with crew. It has been eventful for both of us and we thought you might like to know what we have been up to. We will try and post weekly updates; here is the first.

In Australia

Greg Wheat and his brother Malcolm joined Wade on board Anui on Sunday night, 24 November, for a quasi-delivery trip. The three of them headed out of Southport on the Gold Coast at stupid o’clock on Monday morning. It is amazing how much distance you can cover when you have a team of three doing overnighters on a speedy boat! They did a huge first passage of some 300 nm to Port Stephens which they got to on Tuesday night after 36 hours of non-stop sailing, pushed along by strengthening northerlies. They stayed a long way offshore to avail themselves of the East Australian Current, keep away from the many Fish Aggregating Devices along the NSW coast and the heavy smoke from the bushfires raging between Sydney and Brisbane. The team had a forced rest day on Wednesday while the wind turned southerly, then got back into it the following days, reaching Batemans Bay some 220 nm further on the southern coast of NSW by Friday morning, just before the return of contrary winds. The southerlies are forecast to blow for 5 or 6 days, so they will be stuck at Batemans Bay for that time.

The first picture that Wade sent was evidence of record breaking speed: Wade saw 18.5 knots on the instruments and photographed this one at 17.2 knots! You can see on the left hand panel True Wind 27.5, and 20.7 Apparent, with the wind on the port side at 143 degrees so on the back quarter.

With wind and current working together, they were flying and enjoying a relatively comfortable ride.

Mal & Greg looking pretty relaxed!

The last photo was taken during the second leg, done mainly under spinnaker.

Unfortunately because Mal has some medical issues, the two brothers have decided to get back to Brisbane, leaving Wade to wait for the return of the northerlies – a bit disappointing! Wade is lining up somebody else to help him for the Bass Strait leg.

In France

As most of you know, my Dad is suffering from cancer and in a worsening condition. He has lived alone for 41/2 year since my Mum died, isolated in a small town in Normandy, and with hardly anyone to help him – his choice I must add. He was hospitalized over a month ago when my sister who lives and works in Toulouse at the other end of the country came to visit him. She moved mountains to help him and he now realizes he can no longer stay at home. I felt it was high time I got back to spend a few precious weeks with my Dad and do my bit to help him transition to a different stage: moving into a medically assisted retirement home in Toulouse where he can be close to family. As you can imagine it is a very distressing exercise for him to go through. So this sojourn is about supporting him to physically and emotionally make the transition.

My first week was marked of course with the very long voyage from Brisbane in Australia to Normandy in the north of France, then daily 100 km return drives between Dad’s house and the hospital where he still was until Wednesday night. We are now starting to prepare for the move. Much talking, hugging, a few tears and a lot of love shared.

To manage the stress, I have got myself into a routine of morning exercises and walks, followed by working through the to-do list of issues to sort out, medical appointments to line up, paperwork to fill out. Here are a few photos taken during my morning wanders…

It is winter: cold and at times rainy. Notice on one of the photos there is a yacht lying in a paddock! Can’t get away from boats even in the middle of the countryside!

Village of Menneval
Notice the boat lying in the paddock in Beaumont!
The older part of Bernay

That’s it for now. As you can see, we both have challenges ahead, but are managing.

18 thoughts on “Franco-Australian Series – Week 1

  1. What a lovely part of the world you are in at present Chris. Good on you. All the best to Bernard.

  2. Wade, if stuck for Bass Strait crew depending on the timing I should be available.

  3. Chris, good to hear you are going ok. Went through the trauma of moving my 96 year old mum from the farm to an aged care facility earlier this year after she had spent several months in hospital after a fall which hastened an onset of at times quite frightening dementia. You have my sympathies, old age and illness is not fun and can be very confronting, let alone all the paperwork etc that has to be waded through. you have always been strong and i am sure things will sort themselves. Take advantage of the time with your Dad as it is all so precious. Stay safe and have a good Christmas.
    Jon N

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Jon. It means a lot to me. I guess we are all at that stage when elderly parents need our help at the end of their life. It is very tough but I am lucky I can be of help and spend precious time with my Dad.

  4. Chris, your dad is blessed, in his twighlight years having 2 daughters who love and care for him.
    Wade, you peaked at 18.5 kts ….. that’s awesome! 3 times faster than any of my old monos!

  5. Wow Wadie, your progress is amazing and with a speed record too. Continue to enjoy Anui and the fast speeds she can do. Loved the spinnaker. Glad you have got someone to do the next leg with you. Safe sailing.

    I loved the shots you took, Chris, autum is such a lovely time in Europe with all the fallen leaves. Loved the street scene especially. Your time with your Dad will be precious but stressful at the same time. Funny how this situation will be one you cherish in years to come. Thinking of you and Vero as well as your Dad. I hope the transition will run smoothly.

    • Hi Susie – Wade has a few irons in the fire for the Bass Strait leg, but no one confirmed yet.

      And yes this time with Dad is precious. I am doing everything I can to help but it is tough for him and difficult for me too.

  6. Hi Chris and Wade. Obviously a trying time for both of you.
    Hope it goes well with Dad and that you do get some time to enjoy Tom’s second favourite country.
    We are thinking of you Lou & Tom xx

  7. Your photos beautiful. So different from the somber tones when you previously posted from France. Sorry your Dad is so ill. My thoughts are with you. Regards Caroline

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