La Tour de France a la Voile.
La Tour de France a la Voile. In direct translation it means “The tour of France by sail”, and that’s exactly what it is! In July of 2013, 8 professional and 4 amateur teams set off from Dunkirk, France on what was one of the most amazing months I have ever had.
I wasn’t sailing, which was a bit of a drag, but I had a great deal of responsibility with the team “ISKAREEN”. The German owners from Hamburg had contacted me after the Sail Arabia Tour and offered me the position of “Boat Captain”. Now what sounds like quite a prestigious job is actually more of a behind the scenes position. It was my job to get the boat in perfect condition before it set off for the various legs of the month long sailing marathon.
This gave me the opportunity to learn just about everything there is to know about the type of boat, an M34, as well as network with all the other “boat captains”, and chat about their various experiences.
It was also my job to drive the support van and boat trailer from port to port as the team sailed the offshore legs. I spent a great deal of time checking the boat tracker to both see how my team was doing as well as see where they were in relation to my position. I didn’t mind the driving at all because it was an amazing way to see the coast of France!
Once we had come to the last port on the Atlantic side of France it was time to take the boats out of the water and put them on the trailer. We would then drive down to the Spanish port of Roses, where they would get put back together again after some tender love and care and we would complete the second half of the race.
From here the team would race to another three ports ending in the beautiful city of Marseille. We managed to place second amateur team! The boat then got packed away after an amazing beach rum party under the French moonlight.
One major thing I took away from the Tour de Voile was the importance of time management. I had many responsibilities as boat captain and it was often hard to prioritize which jobs needed to be completed first. The added pressure of a known time the team would be leaving for their next race also added another element, which was also really good for me!
The Tour de Voile is an amazing race and I would recommend it to any sailor or person who is looking to be on a shore team. Aside from the sailing, the typical French hospitality also makes it a great race. No one turns down French cheese or wine 😉