Le Cabotin,first impressions from a fortunate crew.
Where oh where does the time go?! About 8 years ago,and it
feels like only yesterday,I first met Jean and Gaby after they
contacted me and wished to visit my Micro LESTAT. At the time they
were full of questions and had a dream.A large component of that
dream involved a boat upon which this dream would unfold.Thus it was
that we found ourselves together on board LESTAT drinking and
discussing which type of boat and the feasability of actually
building it.They were drawn in by the enchanting allure of
the "Bolger Box"(uttered with great affection!) and its' apparent
simplicity. I did my level best to encourage and relate what one may
expect to encounter during such a building project.Most importantly,
I did not discourage them from pursuing their dream, only suggesting
that they do their home work and to prepare themselves for one hell
of a life adventure.
Today,I am absolutely impressed by their successful pursuit of
their dream and,even though many others I know where also involved
with aiding the dream along,feel privilaged to have been a small
part of this dream.Throughout the project,Jean and Gaby always
sought out the best information/advice/experts/products and found
the perfect resource person named Micheal Duquet, a professional
builder of high tech/high-end cruising multi-hulls with 44 boats to
his credit.The level of finish and attention to detail is a
testimony to his advice and their willingness to work things until
they were right.Perhaps the term "good enough" doesn't translate
well into French :-)
Oh, and did I mention that the only other boat they built
previous was a Bolger Pirouger(sp)?!
As to impressions, and these relate only to her under power and
out of trim, handling her is very much a relaxing task.Her lateral
stability compares favourably with that of a sidewalk with our
walking about and movements pretty much going un-noticed. As we came
up the St.Lawrence Seaway,we encountered a number of pleasure craft
with nice wakes and took them from every which way. Throughout what
normally would have been a tussled affair,she remained perfectly
stiff.....so stiff not even our glasses of milk were disturbed from
their perch atop the pilot house! My thoughts were mostly directed
towards that huge unstayed mast and feared it would whip,or at least
have a tendency to roll the bow about, as we took some waves abeam.
Again, a sidewalk of stiffness!
While still within the relative calm of the Seaway dike, I also
tried out her turning radius.To wit; with rudder alone,she appears
to pull a 360 in about 2 1/2 boat lengths. With the outboard also
turned,she almost spins within her own boat length! She would easily
have been able to do a piroutte had her motor not been limited in
its turning axis.
With the leeboard fully raised, she tends to track adequately
with lots of rudder input. Mind you, I am not suggesting that the
bow hunts around like a beagle hot on a trail.She is much more
sedate then that!!Once the leeboard is fully lowered however,she is
on rails and needs only the slightest suggestions from the helm.Keep
in mind that she was also out of trim and not fully loaded.Her
handling will improve once she is sitting properly.
Other then the above, the ride is very quiet and smooth with
outboard noise barely audible thanks to 4 stroke technolgy :-) and
the forward vision unfettered thanks to the "wrap around"
fenestration. Reports from the rest of the "delivery crew" regarding
cabin noise are very very favourable and Jean and Gaby more then
So there you have it in a nutshell. We'll have to wait for the
rigging to be completed and all the remaining little bits installed
for a sailing report and some pictures revealing the handsome and
cozey interior.No fear,lots of people in the pictures for everyone
to better appreciate the scale of things too :-)
Finally,suspecting the Jean and Gaby may wll be up to their ears
in sorting out the boat with little time for the internet and such,
do not hesitate to post any questions here or to e-mail me directly
(if you're the shy type) and I will deliver these to Jean and Gaby
Some trivia: Although we have come to know this boat as Le Cabotin,
her official registered name is ANÉMONE as it turned out there
already was another boat registered as "Le Cabotin". So,should some
future fortunate soul come across a boat named Anémone cruising the
canals of Europe in a year or so, knock and say "hi" will ya!
Happy dreams and building to all!
Peter Lenihan, "communications officer", translator, boat bum and so
much more,reporting from along the shores of the mighty