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Last Updated on August 27, 2019 by Amy

After spending a good portion of the day at the Fountaine Pajot factory yesterday, we got up early on October 29th excited to launch our new boat!

We arrived at the factory at 8 am.  It was a bit like prom; we had four iPhones, one iPad, a camera, and a GoPro all snapping away.  So much footage!

Transport

The truck has a hydraulic lift on it (actually two) plus a generator.  One lift takes the boat up, and the other tilts it (which is really scary to watch).

From the factory, the truck was escorted by 2 motorcycles and 2 vans.  One van and the motorcycles were out in front.  The motorcycles stopped traffic, while the first van led the way.  The second van was in the back, and careened all over the road, checking both sides of the boat to make sure it was clear of obstacles.  

Most of the road was just two lanes, so incoming traffic pulled all the way over into the grass/ditch to let us through.  We followed the whole way behind, watching in fascination as Starry Horizons was lifted up and tilted over to dodge everything.

We arrived at the La Rochelle Port at about 12.  There we found our mast, boom, sails, life raft, and dingy waiting for us.

Launch

It was a great but exhausting day.

Final Commissioning and Handover

Starry Horizons was at La Rochelle Port for a week doing final commissioning. We came to visit her every day.

On November 4th, Starry Horizons was moved to Minimes, where she was docked with all the other new FP boats.  In fact, we were tied up 2-deep, so we had to climb over another Helia to get onboard.  Fortunately, no one was home on that one.  

Our broker, Frank, arrived on November 6th and that’s where things got busy!  We picked him up at the train station and went straight to Starry Horizons.  We met with Gregory of FP to do our handover and walkthrough.  Gregory walked us through all the parts of the boat, answered our questions, and showed us how everything worked.  Afterward, we walked to Uchimata and picked up our luggage that Uchimata let us store.

First thing on the 7th, Bridgette at FP processed our paperwork for exportation, which meant that Starry Horizons was officially US-flagged, and we could get our shipment delivered.  It arrived shortly after at Uchimata.  In the meantime, David and I checked out of our AirBNB and our host very nicely drove us to Minimes (an otherwise 40-minute walk) with all of our bags and groceries.  From there, it was a busy time unpacking our liftvan and putting everything away.

19 Comments

  1. Great video! How many hours was that process? And what was the distance from the shipyard to where she was launched? Very excited to follow this! -Evan

  2. Wow! That was wonderful! I was in Lyon, France last week and thinking about you and your incredible quest. It looks like you’re off to great start. Enjoy!

    1. Yeah, there were more than a few heart stopping moments along the way. Seeing the keels of the boat about 6 inches from the road while zooming down the highway was the toughest part for me!

  3. Great Video!!!! What an awesome event to get to witness. From what I understood, not too many owners get to experience this.

    1. You’re right, I believe most owners either wait to get to France until the boat is already in the water (since there is another weeks worth of work still to be done before we can move aboard), or else most Americans have it delivered stateside. It was rather difficult to plan for actually being in France for the transport, but we’re so glad we were able to work it out.

  4. Wow! Kinda scary when they had to tip the boat to avoid the tree! David, you are a great videographer and editor. I will live vicariously through your videos.

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