Multihull Solutions General Manager Patrick Gilot was born in France, studied and lived in Europe as well as South America and USA, and is subsequently fluent in French,Spanish, English and German. Being multilingual has its perks including being invited by a new Fountaine Pajot Salina 48 Evolution French owner to join him on his maiden voyage from Australia back to his home of New Caledonia. Tough for some!
Here is a quick summary of the trip from Patrick…
October 19th 2011. The custom duties are done, time to cast off on the lines of the stunning brand new Fountaine Pajot Salina 48 Evolution Hull Nr 60 ‘Skoll’ from the lovely harbor of Scarborough, Queensland to join Noumea.
The boat has been purchased a few months before by a client from New Caledonia who decided to get it shipped to Brisbane, commissioned by Multihull Solutions and spec’d up with a few options before taking her home.
The owner asked me to come along for her maiden voyage. He did not have to ask me twice: we are talking about the brand new Evolution series with all comforts on board a proper 48’!
Unfortunately the weather does not seem to be playing the game with us as we prepare to cover the 800nm. Between 20-30 knots right in the nose with a 3metre swell – this is what you get when you do a delivery job! We could have waited and hoped for better conditions but the owner had business commitments and too eager to give his boat a try.
With 19-20 knots true wind, the cat glides at 9-10 knots in close haul. Owner is all smiles. No way you can get him to leave his watch at the helm…
Obviously it is not the most comfortable point of sail, but even when the wind picked up and forced us to take one reef we were able to keep a good angle at 50 degrees while maintaining the speed. Maybe too fast to catch anything with the lines on the back!
Boat is holding well. The wine bottle on the cockpit table does not move. Bear in mind though that French still know how to appreciate with moderation. You just cannot have a proper lunch without the right taste. Just one glass each.
We keep on heading north. No need to tack every second; no one is keen to face the swell. Our hopes to arrive on time for the Rugby World Cup final are shrinking though.
It is when were crossing some reefs that we hear the beautiful noise of the rod drums: 2 bonitos and one Wahoo. Smiles on everyone’s faces again. We’ll get our damn sushis at the end and even ceviche with limes and coriander.
Alright then, turn the wheel to the sail, too bad for the rugby: let’s enjoy a good lunch.
Some flying fish wanted to join the menu as we found them in the lazy bag, on the trampoline and even on the solar panels on the aft platform…
Conditions do not improve. We wave bye-bye to the World Cup final but bets are still on; even if the mainland knows the score, we don’t. We just live in another world which we are starting to get used to.
After 6 days sailing we do reach the north of the island; a bit tired but happy.
The rock is shaping on the horizon, swell is declining, sun is opening up the largest lagoon in the world, turquoise water with white water over the reef like in the pictures…