Miranda Merron: Preparing for the off

Miranda Merron: Preparing for the off

Saturday July 21 2012 Author: Miranda Merron Location: Canada

We left Gaspe just over three weeks ago, and had a superb trip up the St Lawrence River. There wasn’t much fog so this time we got to see some stunning scenery (unlike four years ago, where we saw almost nothing).

We stopped on the north coast in the picturesque port of Tadoussac, and then made our way 26 miles up the Saguenay Fjord, which is spectacular – very green, wilderness for much of the way, lots of waterfalls and deep water almost everywhere. We would have gone a bit further, but the wind funnels hard between the cliffs and it was getting rather windy. Common sense (ie got a transatlantic race coming up…) got the better of us and so we made our way back to the St Lawrence River.

The whale population at the mouth of the Saguenay is sizeable. We saw many belugas, shining white in the sunshine, and what we think were minke whales and fin whales, all within metres of Campagne de France.

The past couple of weeks in Quebec have flown by and the start of the Quebec St Malo transatlantic race is less than 24 hours away. There are 21 Class40s taking part, each racing with a crew of three or four. The level of competition is pretty high, and the race course itself is full of interesting features. The first few hundred miles of racing
are in the St Lawrence River, with its strong currents and shallows in the early part of the race, plus land effects. We have to round six buoys along the way, just to add a bit of spice, including one in the Bay of Gaspe.

Once we have rounded the last buoy at Perce, we then head for St Pierre and Miquelon just south of Newfoundland, passing between the two islands, before the Atlantic sprint to St Malo.

Our third crew member is Christian Bouroullec, co-owner of Campagne de France and whose yard Structures builds the Pogo boats.

Boat and crew are ready, and we are very much looking forward to the race.

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