“The weather is very changeable at the moment, but we have decided to leave this morning.” , explained Kito de Pavant before leaving the Port Camargue pontoon B quay, with his faithful friends Philippe Gros and Alain Mazet. The boat is ready, the conditions are quite cool in the Mediterranean and up to Portugal, then it may not be so easy the following week.
The Class40 «HBF – Refost´Action» was supposed to be ready to go on October 1st. The first objective has been achieved after a very busy Mediterranean season (8 races, including 4 wins) and a final dry check this week. “We hope to take two weeks, with possible pit stops. It will depend on the weather, but on October 15 we should not be far from Saint-Malo. It is the right time to leave, it is time because it is getting closer”, Kito is looking forward to be at the Vauban dock in the city of corsairs within three weeks at the latest, for the opening of the town of the mythical transatlantic regatta on October 25.
“I have sailed this route between Port Camargue and Gibraltar at least a hundred times!” Kito de Pavant has participated in several ocean races on the Atlantic and English Channel coasts over the last 20 years: Vendée Globe, Route du Rhum, Transat Jacques Vabre or other transatlantic and round the world races for the Mediterranean sailor. based in Port Camargue, they all start each time with a long transport journey, as a ritual: First, wait for the right weather window to cross the Mediterranean -the Gulf of León, then the Alboran Sea-, then pass through the Strait of Gibraltar, with its winds, currents and traffic. It is not the old monkey that is taught to make faces,” Kito relativizes. There are only killer whales… but normally at this time of year there are no more on the Trafalgar side. They will then sail around the Iberian Peninsula, avoiding the northerly wind in the Atlantic – the main wind along Portugal – before entering the Bay of Biscay in good conditions. “Obviously, in October it’s weird to sail from Cape Finisterre to Ushant, and I’m not talking about the rain…”, laughs the southerner. Finally, to go around the tip of Brittany and reach Saint-Malo. 2000 miles, just that!
“We are taking our time, we are preparing.” For Kito de Pavant, these transport trips are like a first stage that also allows him to acclimatise: “It’s the only important thing we have to do and achieve before departure. The boat has to arrive in Saint-Malo in good condition, there are a long way to go and a lot can happen, like on any other boat. The advantage is that we leave the Mediterranean sun and arrive in the Breton winter. Little by little we are getting used to the conditions that we will have at the start of the Route du Rhum. We’re taking our time, we’re settling in.” .
A formality, and not least, a last box to check before the start, like a first victory. “We are very serene. I have done this route between Port Camargue and Gibraltar at least a hundred times. We are within the deadline that we had foreseen. The only stress I have, as always, is not forgetting anything, such as bread or a plug to recharge not I know that…”.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism