March 18th, 2006
Guy Bernardin and “Spray” Arrive in Cape Town
At 16:30 Friday March 17th the weary but good humoured solo
circumnavigator, Guy Bernardin, arrived in Cape Town, concluding a 24 day
passage from Walvis Bay.
Guy, an Honorary Citizen of the city, has a long association with Cape
Town, having first reached her shores on board Ratso during the 1982/3 BOC
race and then Biscuits LU in the 1986/7 BOC.
Tunisian born, Guy was raised in Saint Briac in France and comes from a
long line of seafarers. His grandfather and great grandfather were both
ship’s captains and Cape-Horners. At 61, Guy has one of the most
impressive records in the sailing world. He has competed in all the well
known short-handed races including the Ostar, Two Star and Route du Rhum
and was the initiator of the world renowned Vendée Globe.
Guy’s passion for boats, the open sea and his planet carried him across
the globe for 20 years aboard racing boats. Then, fascinated by the
exploits of the first single-handed, round-the-world navigator, Joshua
Slocum, he set off in 1995 to relive Slocum’s heroic voyage,. The voyage,
a centenary commemoration of the original event, was on board an exact
replica of the legendary “Spray” and it is this vessel, “Spray of St
Briac”, which is now alongside at Royal Cape Yacht Club.
RCYC Commodore, Russell Vollmer, in welcoming the solo circumnavigator
to the club, said “In our centenary year we are particularly proud to
welcome Guy. Slocum himself anchored here all those years ago and it is
great to be associated with a tribute to that famous voyage.”
Settled at his mooring at RCYC, Guy added that “Cape Town has always
been a very good stop because of the hospitality of the people. It is
quite unique in the world. I am disappointed that there are now few
single-handed stops here. People should see what Cape Town has to offer.
There is good food, good wine, good everything.”
The voyage which Guy is now undertaking was originally intended to take
10 months. However, stops along the way have forced the schedule to be
revised. Having set sail from Les Sables on September 11, Guy’s passage
was interrupted by a stop in Santa Cruz to repair a broken alternator. The
doldrums ahead were to prove far more of a challenge and, if the light
airs were not enough, a missing keel bolt, only later identified, had Guy
pumping out between 700 and 1,000 litres of water a day. There were still
more obstacles ahead. The plate holding the port sidestay broke while off
the coast of Brazil, making it near impossible to sail on port tack in a
heavy breeze. Having headed back toward Cape Town, the broken plate,
combined with the notorious South Easter, eventually proved too much and,
on Christmas Day, Guy had to change course to Walvis Bay.
A few weeks in Walvis Bay saw “Spray” repaired and ready to again face
the ocean wave, but the voyage from Walvis Bay was also to provide many
tests of patience and endurance. “Spray”, for all her beauty, does not
have the ability to sail toward the wind and this means there are places
she simply cannot go. The voyage from Walvis Bay thus became a very long
passage and, all told, equates to Guy spending five months alone at sea.
Nonetheless, he would not trade places with anyone and, although
disappointed by the stops, the task before him is to ready “Spray” for the
next leg, across the infamous Southern Ocean to New Zealand and the
notorious Cape Horn.
Speaking from France, Campaign Manager Hervé Nougier congratulated Guy
on his patience and good spirit. “We all understand the difficulties he
has been through. Sailing without the assistance of modern technology, and
sharing his experience through his SSB radio, he has demonstrated his
loyalty to Slocum’s legacy. We look forward to seeing him resume this
11 Septembre 2005:
Guy Bernardin a quitté Les Sables d'Olonne ce dimanche
11 septembre vers 10 heures, après avoir répondu aux dernières questions
de la presse et remercié le public présent. Pour l'homme et le bateau, ce
départ est apparu comme une libération, après des mois de préparation et
d'attente de conditions favorables. Fort des nombreux soutiens et gestes
de solidarité reçus de la part des vendéens, Guy est parti avec un moral
et une motivation chargés à bloc.
La remontée du chenal des Sables s'est effectuée en
compagnie de dizaines d'embarcations de toutes tailles, dont beaucoup
n'ont pu aller bien loin du fait de l'importance de la houle. En fin de
matinée, le dernier bateau accompagnateur rebroussait chemin. Guy se
retrouvait enfin seul et se concentrait sur les réglages du Spray, qui
traçait sa route en puissance dans une mer chaotique.
La lumière était magnifique, le moment intense.
Pendant les dix mois du voyage, les contacts avec Guy
se feront par l'intermédiaire de radio-amateurs vendéens. Des rendez-vous
ont été pris pour des vacations radio hebdomadaires, dont certaines seront
destinées aux enfants de l'école primaire de Jard-sur-Mer. Toutes les
informations provenant du bord (position, enregistrement de la vacation,
infos météo...) seront mises en ligne sur le site
www.gbsailing.com dés que possible.
Contact presse: Hervé Nougier / Association
Résonances (06 11 40 91 16 / email@example.com)