Volvo Ocean Race – Leg 2

After a very exciting 19 days from Lisbon the first boat Mapfre arrived yesterday in Cape town.

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Just under 3 hours later the team on board Dongfeng crossed the line

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In third place Vesta crossed the line 1h35 after Dongfeng.

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At the time of writing Team Brunel arrived just after midnight (UTC) earlier today and the last 3 are in sight of each other at approx. 100 miles from the finishing line. Very exciting.

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Another crazy Frenchman to follow

On November 4th, François Gabart left France on his super Trimaran in an attempt to beat the world record rounding the earth. The previous record of 49 days 3hours and 4 minutes being help by another Frenchman Thomas Coville.

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His position 21 days later is approximately 671 miles ahead of where Thomas Coville was at the same time. With almost 12.000 miles to go, it does not mean much.

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A couple of interesting statistics:

  • Average speed in the past 24h is 30.8 knots which is incredible.
  • Hours slept in the past 24h a mere 3h 27m. At this latitude you have to watch for icebergs and the winds are crazy.
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Superb week-end

A trip full of emotions down memory lane.


Marseille is where my mother was born and grew up. She met my dad there. He was living there at the time. In fact he went to school there as well as university. So one could say this is my home town as well. I spent part of every summer there when I was a kid.

Started with a lunch right on the east side of town. Lovely restaurant (recommended by my brother). Lovely seafood, lovely service, lovely location. 10 out of 10 as far as I am concerned.

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After lunch and on the way to the “Vieux Port” (picture below) where the Radisson hotel was located.

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On the way there I drove through all the roads and streets I could remember and where uncles / cousins use to live. I found all of them and that was quite emotional.

Rue Paradis where my mother grew up and where my grandparents lived.

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Avenue du Prado and the roundabout with David. My cousin had a Pharmacy there. The pharmacy still exists and for all I know my cousin is still there.

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Avenue Neptune where my uncle lived. The house was sold when he died. We spent many many weeks there as kids. The sea was 100 meters away.

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In the evening, walked up the famous Canebière but I was a bit disturbed of how it had changed in particular the people living there. Not a pretty sight and somewhat frightening.

A quick turn around was the answer and straight to the pub. The Queen Victoria on the Vieux Port.

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It was so nice to see Aline again after so many years. Even if we are in touch regularly and especially at the moment due to her, hopefully cured cancer, there is nothing like seeing each other.



The view from the apartment is simply stunning. I have posted this one before but how many are lucky enough to see this when taking their morning shower. The different shades of blue are amazing.


Not much opened in the evening though. I remembered why I did not move there. Nothing going on in the winter.


All quiet on the horizon (apart from the wind).


St Tropez with the big yachts in the background.


I fell in love with this sailing boat. Big, sleek. A real racing machine. And it is for sale.


First stop the obligatory Senequier for Apéritif. Full as usual. No famous people spotted on this occasion. A large wine, rosé in this case, is called a swimming pool. I found that quite funny.

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A quick walk to the Place des Lices where we came across a meeting of old cars. We had lunch there.

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There is apparently a new statue dedicated to Brigitte Bardot. It was unveiled earlier this year but I did not come across it.

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The view from Gassin is one of the best around and is always a pleasure. Gassin is a small old village in an immaculate condition on top of a hill.

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The view from Gassin is one of the best around and is always a pleasure. On this occasion one could see the snow covered Alps just north of Nice.



Is a small town with a lovely little port. I had some holidays there around 1972 with my friend Renaud & Laurent. Plenty of memories in this place. Apparently Laurent lives round the corner but had to be in Paris so we could not see him. Next time.


Renaud moved from Paris and lives a couple of miles away in Six Four les Plages in a lovely old Bastide.  Christine (Renaud’s wife) cooked us a wonderful lunch Hachi Parmentier with wild boar (local beast I have to add)

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The drive back to Carcassonne via Marseille, the Camargue took 3 1/2 hours which is not far at all. We decided to meet more often i.e not to leave it 43 years this time.

I am not sure where the next trip will take us. Maybe the West coast and Biarritz.

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What a race…

After almost 9 days on the way from Lisbon the Cape Town, only a few miles separate the Volvo Ocean Race boats.

Tactics are of the utmost importance to ensure catching the carrying winds across the south Atlantic.

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With the current winds, I would go as far south as possible before heading east and up to Cape Town. Risky but less headwinds. I bet those calculators are getting hot.

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4 days into leg 1

Leg 1 – Alicante to Lisbon

I am as usual following the race on the Volvo Ocean Race tracker: which give you an enormous amount of information.

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I am extremely glad to have had the opportunity to be in Alicante before the departure and be able to see the boats and crews.


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Busy Sunday

Today was the “De ferme en ferme” event the area.

We started the tour with the visit of Château Le Bouchat in Pennautier ( The owner gave us a tour of one of the winery of the estate and was full of very interesting information. He was also a very happy man as the harvesting had been completed last Friday at 16h00. He was very precise on that point. All the grapes have been pressed and the cisterns filled with the juice and the pressed skins (This is done only with red wine. The skin adds flavour, tanin etc.). Fermentation had already started and you could smell it.


This cistern which is enamelled concrete contains 21.000 litres. Quite impressive.


Few could have tasted some wine but I thought it was a bit too early and we had other places to visit.

Second on the list was the farm Le Colombier Haut ( Interesting is that they sell directly to the individuals and will deliver to your house within the region. Only snag, the minimum order is half a lamb. I suppose one can freeze it.

Second on the list was the farm Le Colombier Haut ( Interesting is that they sell directly to the individuals and will deliver to your house within the region. Only snag, the minimum order is half a lamb. I suppose one can freeze it.


We had planned to have lunch there. A BBQ was in action but the queue far too long.

So instead, we went back to the village of Montolieu also called “village of the books” ( to a restaurant I have been meaning to try. Casquette et Chapeau ( was very nice indeed, friendly staff (Cindy), good food. I particularly enjoyed my starter which was Oeuf Cocotte au fromage bleu (Shirred egg with blue cheese).

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We had planned a couple more visits to the Chèvrerie du Colombier to maybe get some goat cheese as well as the Moulin de Fabi to taste and possibly buy some local olive oil.

But somehow we felt quite tired (was it the rosé) at lunchtime so we returned home.






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Old pic

Found this clearing up my office. This is going back around 43 years.

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Note that my name is simply Jacques and not Jean-Jacques. I had so much trouble explaining everywhere that Jean is masculin which is not the case in the US.

The result of it all is “JJ” by which name I am usually known by.



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