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Questions answers

Questions asked by the Kids on the occasion of satellite telephone connections

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École Jean Charcot - 14150 Ouistreham on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

- CE2 - Mr. Sébastien Hoonaert

- CM1 - Ladies Françoise Genon and Céline Commeureuc

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École Saint Louis - 14390 Cabourg on Thursday, December 15, 2016

- CM1 - Mr. Laurent Laschenaie

- CM1-CM2 - Madame Cathy Bellavoine

- CM2 - Ladies Muriel Roleau and Vanessa Boulais

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La Condamine School - 98000 Monaco on Friday December 16, 2016

- CE2 - Aurélien Ranaldi

- CE2 - Mylène Puget

- CM1 - Laeticia Canel

- CM2 - Mrs. Jessica Corso

Why did you choose the albatross as a symbol on your boat?

The albatross is the emblem of the OceanoScientific association and of the expeditions around Antarctica of the OceanoScientific Campaign , because it is a bird that lives exclusively in the seas bordering the Antarctic continent. It is truly the symbol of this part of the world, where we are going to collect data for the international scientific community.


How did you get this extraordinary boat?

It is a performance sailboat that I imagined, which was designed by the architectural firm Finot-Conq who made four Vendée Globe winning boats, then which was built and prepared in Normandy under my control and according to my instructions .. It cost two million euros and we still have not finished paying it. But we can consider that it is the sailboat of which I dreamed when I was 12-15 years old: a fast sailboat of about fifteen meters to go around the world alone.


What does it take to become an explorer like you?

You have to dream. You have to want to go where no one is going out of curiosity and out of wanting to tell what you're going to see, what you're going to experience. We must never, never, let dreams fly away, but always believe that we are going to make it come true, because dreams always come true by force of will. You have to tell you that anything is possible. You just have to want it strong enough.


Is it difficult to face this adventure?

What is difficult is the preparation. If everything is well prepared, the adventure can be achieved, even enjoyable. So it's all the work before casting off that is difficult. And then, when you have disappointments, difficulties during preparation, you must never give up, never give up. That, sometimes, is really difficult.


How many sails do you have on your sailboat? Do you have spare sails?

Boogaloo has a mainsail, a mainsail called a Solent and a smaller one which is the Trinquette. I unwind one or the other depending on the strength of the wind. Or I roll them both and then use: either a Gennaker, a sort of very large jib for the crosswind, or a Spinnaker for the tailwind. And then I have a Tourmentin, a very small storm jib. But, strictly speaking, I don't have any spare sails.

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What animals have you come across?

I haven't seen many animals since I left Monaco. Rare birds, a few dolphins and lots of flying fish since sailing the trade winds and approaching Ecuador in warm waters.

Have you seen an albatross?

There is no albatross in the Northern Hemisphere, nor in the Southern Hemisphere before reaching the 35-40th parallel south. So for now I haven't seen any, but I will see some when I pass Cape Town, at the tip of South Africa.

Have you seen white dolphins?

No, white dolphins are very rare and I only see more or less gray dolphins.

Do you have joy when you see animals?

Obviously, I am very happy when I see animals and quite sad at this moment in the trade winds, in the morning, when I put back in the water the poor flying fish which landed on the bridge during the night and which did not not succeeded in finding the way to the sea. From time to time, when I maneuver and there is one arriving on the bridge, I help him to quickly set off again.

What other living underwater species have you encountered (besides fish and dolphins)?

As I get closer to the Equator, there are a lot of Sargassum floating on the surface. These are small algae, all entangled in each other, which have detached themselves from the seabed at a depth of about 5,000 meters and which are now drifting on the surface. Lots of little fish, tiny crustaceans cling around. There is a real ecosystem that is created around them. But I don't see all the animals that live there. Just the sargassum which drift and often gets caught in the rudder and in the hydro-generator.

Have you seen sharks?

No, no shark on the horizon. It is very rare to see them. In all my life as a sailor, I have only seen one. But a big one, which followed the sailboat while waiting for something or someone to fall in the water to eat it.

Are you fishing?

I don't fish on Boogaloo , it's really not a boat for that. At the speed we are going, we would only be fishing for tuna or dolphinfish and I would be in a great embarrassment if I found myself with such a fish on board ...

Have you seen whales?

No, no whale on the horizon. Where I am sailing at the moment, getting closer to the Equator, it is normal, the waters are much too hot for these cold water animals. I may see some in the South Pacific, it's possible.

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How are you ?

I am fine, I am in good physical shape and I am happy to be at sea.

Do you ever get bored?

I am not bored at all and I do not see the time passing. For example, today, I said to myself, it will be a week since I left Cartagena. In fact, that will make two.

Are you tired ?

I don't have the feeling of tiredness. Now that I am very offshore, far from cargo ship routes and also far from fishing grounds, I can sleep in tench from 1:30 to 2 hours. So I am resting well.

Are you feeling healthy?

Yes, I am in super good health and, at least, where I am I can be sure that the air I breathe is not polluted by factories or the exhaust fumes of cars and trucks!

Do you often wake up during the night?

On a sailboat, days and nights are alike. We alternate periods of waking, with maneuvers and periods of rest, with phases of sleep. It is true that I am more awake when the moon is shining brightly and the sky is clear with millions of stars. It's so magical ....

Do you have enough food left?

There is always a tendency to take too much food on board and, moreover, I do not eat much when I am at sea. Just when I am hungry and I force myself a little in order to consume enough calories and vitamins to be. in shape. In any case, I will not run out of food!

Can you sleep?

Once I decide I'm going to get some rest, I fall asleep almost instantly. Even when Boogaloo is jumping around and hitting every wave. It is a great chance to be able to do it, in order to be able to recover well.

How are you today, after a month of traveling? Are you happy ?

I have been doing well since I left Monaco on November 17th. And I'm super happy to have come this far without any major issues. Nor a minor for that matter.

How does it feel to sleep on a boat?

I really like sleeping on a boat. A small boat like Boogaloo , where you have the impression of being in the middle of nature, but still sheltered. It is a very pleasant feeling. As far as I'm concerned ...

Are you seasick?

No, I am so fortunate that I am not prone to seasickness. Sometimes I am a little nauseous, often a sign of severe fatigue and / or poor diet. Sometimes I throw up three times nothing and after that it gets better. A bit like, on land, when you can't digest food. But I never get seasick, which makes me incapable of making the slightest movement. Fortunately, because I could not do what I am doing now!

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Not too difficult to stay alone on Boogaloo ?

I am actually alone aboard Boogaloo, but not in thoughts. I am close to the people I love, my wife Cécile, my children, my friends. On the contrary, perhaps, I think more of them than on land in the whirlwind of a thousand and one things that encumber the daily life of a landlord.

Do you miss your family?

Obviously, I would like to be close to my family, especially during this Christmas period, but when you have the spirit of a sailor and an explorer, it is necessary to be able to leave ... and to come back with great stories, with adventures to share. In family, precisely.

As Christmas approaches don't you feel too lonely?

To be honest, I never really liked Christmas. Or at least, since I was little, I have felt immense sadness as Christmas approaches. It's fairer than saying I don't like Christmas. But I do not like the feeling of sadness so intimately linked to Christmas at all. As a child, as an adult and as a father, nothing has changed, I am sad. Glad to see my loved ones happy. But sad, there you go. So this year, all alone with Boogaloo in the open sea, I don't know ....

Do you still enjoy being alone at sea?

Yes, it is a great happiness, an immense privilege to be able to go alone at sea as I do. I am very lucky, I am aware of it and I thank all those who allow me to make this little boy's dream come true.

Is Happiness With You?

Oh yes, happiness is with me!

What weather conditions are you currently experiencing?

Since leaving Monaco, outside the Mediterranean and along the Moroccan coast just after the Strait of Gibraltar, I have had very good weather conditions. This allows me to cover great distances in 24 hours and to get closer to the scientific expedition area: around Antarctica.

How fast is the boat moving?

In absolute terms, Boogaloo goes fast in all circumstances for a sixteen-meter sailboat. She is truly a performance boat. After that, it all depends on the strength and direction of the wind, but on average we are going at 10-11 knots. As my friend Loïck Peyron used to say: "in a sailboat you go at the speed of an old lady on a bicycle". But he exaggerates a little Loïck, I am going a little faster all the same. But not much...

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Why did you head west?

On the Ocean, there are no predefined routes for a sailboat. We must either do with what we have; or seek favorable conditions, sometimes by making a big detour. This is the case when I go several days heading west, while the theoretical route is due south. But after several days of moving away from the logical route, we entered a downwind regime that made us head south quickly.

Is Boogaloo okay?

Boogaloo is in great shape, he rides and gallops the waves without ever slowing down, never tiring. And I take care of his great shape and not to tire him too much. The road is long...

Have you had a technical problem with your sailboat?

For now, we are lucky, our preparation seems efficient and we have no technical problems. It is reassuring for the future. But you have to be particularly vigilant, with a lot of humility, because anything can always happen. So, be careful!

How will you do when there are big thunderstorms or rain?

The rain, at sea, is rather a very good thing, because it allows to remove all or part of the layer of salt which accumulates on each object, which makes the French flag at the back like cardboard and which turns ropes into sticks. Thunderstorms are different. We don't like it, us sailors. We fear the lightning which hits the mast and destroys all the electronics on board. Or even worse. We don't like strong gusts in thunderstorms. Normally it is in the Doldrums that they are the most violent, the most feared. But I think we'll get away from it, at least on the descent of the Atlantic.

Are the sailing conditions good on the coasts of Brazil?

Normally, in the month of December, the sailing conditions along Brazil are favorable to make it possible to gain towards the South. But there may also be severe depressions.

What were the conditions in the Doldrums?

I have just entered the area where the Doldrums are usually located, but it is not there. It is much further east at the moment. And I am delighted with that, because it is a difficult area to navigate by sail. Not having to undergo it is a real chance that I savor to its true extent.

Have you seen big waves?

We're rolling down some nice waves right now, but the big southerly swell is about a month from now, when we're in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, in sea areas nicknamed the Roaring Forties and Howling Fifties, in reference to the noise. what does the wind do when it blows in these hostile lands.

Météo-France announces bad weather, try to do your best to escape bad weather!

Thank you very much for this wise advice! Thanks to our partners Météo-France, we benefit from very good weather forecasts, which allow me to choose roads where the breeze does not blow in a storm. And I benefit from the advice of a router - Christian Dumard - who studies the weather in his office, using European, American and Australian weather reports as well, and he helps me take the right road, avoiding the wrong one. time.

Did you have a lot of wind?

Overall we have a pretty strong breeze, yes, which is what Boogaloo likes to go fast on a regular basis.

Does the wake cause big waves?

For a wake to cause big waves, the submerged part of the boat, called the hull, must be very large. Like that of a freighter, of an ocean liner, for example, which displaces a lot of water as it moves forward. However, the hull of Boogaloo looks more like that of a windsurfing board, very flat. So, no, our wake does not make big waves, just nice showers of foam and spray due to the speed.

Have you ever wiped a grain?

In my career as a sailor, I no longer count grains. And the bad guys. But since we left Monaco, we've only had one in the Strait of Gibraltar and afterwards along the Moroccan coast. They not too bad, it was ok ...

Have you ever been afraid of capsizing?

I'm not afraid of capsizing in a monohull, because there is a keel with a large lead ballast weighing several tons at its end, which precisely prevents the sailboat from lying down and running the risk of capsizing.

Does it scare you to be alone on your sailboat in a storm?

So far I have never known fear on a sailboat, even in difficult conditions. On the other hand, the stress of breaking something, yes I have already felt it and I will live it again, of course. The main thing is that it does not last too long this stress, and that it does not turn into anguish, because, at that moment, the fear would approach.

Why are you using an alarm clock because you are not in a race like the Vendée Globe?

On the one hand, even in good conditions, you cannot leave a sailboat on its own for too long. We must always remain vigilant. On the other hand, if I am sure to wake up, then I can fall asleep peacefully and achieve restful sleep quickly. Finally, having an alarm clock that makes a lot of noise, like my SamSam, guarantees me that I will wake up at the appointed time, without stress.

Have you ever wanted to break SamSam the alarm clock that breaks your head?

Poor SamSam, who does me a favor, oh no, I don't want to break his head. And it's a gift from my children Quentin, Malo and Léa, so on the contrary, I take great care of it ...

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Have you passed Ecuador?

I have not yet cut La Ligne, as they say when crossing the Equator by boat. But he's approaching ...

Do you often have waste like that collected in the Mediterranean?

Once offshore we see less waste. For two reasons. The first is that the further you go from the coast, the less vigilant you are at all the time looking around if there are no boats and obstacles of all kinds. The second reason is that at sea the waste was crushed by the waves and turned into tiny particles. Pollution is there, in its most insidious form, but we don't see it.

Is the weather adequate to meet the 110-day travel time?

Yes, all is well for a navigation of approximately 110-120 days as initially imagined, to which must be added obviously, the time spent in stopover. But I'm not doing a race, I'm not trying to set a record, so I'm not close to a few days ...

Are you in the planning?

Overall, the schedule is respected, apart from the time spent in stopovers. But there is no obligation not to stop. Therefore, the right schedule is the one I establish over time.

Are you excited to get to Antarctica?

I am not going to Antarctica, I will be circling around Antarctica. It is very different. And yes, I can't wait to get to the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and start the scientific expedition.

How long will it take for you to arrive in Antarctica?

We will be entering the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in a short month, around January 15th.

What is the most beautiful thing that you have seen since leaving Monaco?

The most beautiful thing I have seen since leaving Monaco is the sea. And the sky. And the sea ... And the sky too, without a single cloud, with a beautiful almost round moon and millions of stars. With a shooting star too.

Is your water transformation technique working well?

The watermaker works very well, especially when the water is around 25 ° like right now near the equator. I run it for about 1.5 hours every other day and get all the fresh water I need.

How do you manage to send us letters?

I write a text on my personal computer (Mac) or on the on-board computer (PC), then I put the file in an email that I send by satellite link to Cécile, my wife and General Delegate of the OceanoScientific association who organizes our expedition. Cécile formats the text, corrects typos, because on board it's not always easy to put your finger on the right key when Boogaloo jumps in all directions, then sends it to you after having it posted on the association's website. It's actually fairly easy.

Have you come across any Vendée Globe skippers?

The entire Vendée Globe fleet is very, very far ahead. And the first will go up the South Atlantic near Cape Horn, while we will be on the opposite side, near the Cape of Good Hope. So there is no chance of seeing each other or even approaching. On the other hand, I might come across Thomas Coville ( Sodebo ) near the Equator, as he triumphantly ascends to Brest as part of his attempt to set a solo round-the-world record.

Are there a lot of boats around you?

I am currently in a real oceanic desert, there is no boat: no cargo, liner or fisherman. Nothing. That Boogaloo .

Have you met any pirates?

I am not in Asterix with the pirates who appear every five pages and that Obelix sends to the bottom in a few well-placed boars shots. But the question is far from being silly, because there are more and more maritime zones around the world which are infested with very dangerous pirates, who do not hesitate to kill the crew to loot the boat. Precisely, one of the most dangerous areas, perhaps even THE most dangerous area, is right in my East, very far from me fortunately. It is the Gulf of Guinea, under the Horn of Africa. No question of pointing the bow of Boogaloo there ...

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