Pip Hare arrives in France ahead of the Mini Transat

22 August 2011

It really is great to be back; the trip down went hitch free
apart from I got stung for the overhang of my mast on Britanny Ferries! Can you
believe that? I was going to insist that no cars were allowed to park under my
mast as I had paid for the space, but life is too short for that sort of carry

Driving through France is always restful; big open roads,
fast moving traffic and the knowledge that my destination is a special one.

When I arrived in La Rochelle and was just starting to panic
about getting lost in the city with a big red boat on the back of the van, a
moped driver pulled up alongside me and started gesticulating wildly.

I ended up with my own personal escort to the marina, who
never even stopped to say hello, just tipped his helmet and was gone.

The minis are special here.

After dropping the boat off at the boatyard, I hooked up
with Mathieu of the GPO who is organising the skippers, to say hello and let
him know I was here.

I took the rest of Wednesday off to visit Sable D’Olonne where
the Figaro fleet had just arrived on a stopover, the race village was buzzing
with activity and I managed to catch up with the Artemis Academy Scholarship
winner Sam Goodchild for a bite to eat and a general gossip.

The rest of the week has been a slow plod of getting the
boat in the water and the mast up. Unfortunately I have come down with a mega
lurgy and so any work has been a struggle, fighting against, a cough, no breath
and aching limbs in temperatures well over 30 degrees.

I have a cosy bed made up at the front of the mini, and am
making the most of it to sleep off my illness, and if everyday I can achieve a
little, step by step I am getting closer to the transat.