THROUGH THE FRENCH CANALS
During high school I read a book called "The Unlikely Voyage of Jack De Crow". It was a true story about school teacher in England who quit his job and sailed across Europe in a 3 metres sailing dinghy. Ever since I had read this story I wanted to do something similar. It appealed to me particularly as I had spent many hours in the same type of dinghy exploring the coastline around my home in Tasmania. When I finished high school in 2014 I worked for 6 months, saved some money and then flew to France with the idea that I might buy a boat and sail it too the coast in time for the Quicksilver Pro France, which is held in Hossegor every year. I decided that I would give it a go and if it didn't work out I was still in Europe for 3 months. I was going to have a good time either way.
Things did end up working out. A complete stranger gave me a boat, others helped me fix it, and I was soon sailing down the River Seine.
Two months later, despite numerous hiccups, holes in my boat and countless kind strangers I was still plodding along. The summer days had blurred into a pleasant pattern. I would wake up, unzip my tent to the misty canals, cook an egg for breakfast, row 10 km and then settle in a riverside village for lunch and a nap. By the afternoon the wind would pick up and I would sail another 10km or so and climb in my sleeping bag to sleep.
After 50 days on the canals winter was beginning to set in, canals were closing and despite having travelled close to 700km I wasn’t very close to Hossegor at all. So deciding that my goal was maybe a little ambitious. I sold my boat to a cheery lock keeper, caught a train south-west and finally made it to the coast. I was thrilled with having travelled so far in my little boat and all the amazing people I had met along the way. Now I had another month ahead of me surfing and following the World Tour. First through France and then down to Portugal. Life was very good.