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Vacation Planning Inspiration: Gustave’s Adventures in the Mediterranean

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The Aubert family indulges on their Mediterranean adventure aboard their Lavezzi “Gustave”, powered by 3Di NORDAC

One couple, three young children, a catamaran, and six months sabbatical to make the most of the Mediterranean. That was the project in 2017 for Jérôme Aubert, 40, and his wife Hélène, 35. The couple have three children: Jeanne, Louise and Arthur, who are seven, five and two respectively. At the same time, Jérôme quickly became interested in a catamaran, for him the ideal platform to travel across the water with young children. Not necessarily an obvious choice for this sailing professional as he has been working at Harken for eight years where he is more accustomed to the rigors of monohull racing.

Jérôme has, in fact, the perfect CV of a pure sailor: Optimist, Europe, Melges 24, Figaro – he took part in the Figaro Solitaire Race in 2006 and the Tour de France à la Voile. This long summer journey will, therefore, be a voyage of double discovery: the catamaran and cruising! He settled on a second hand Lavezzi 40 (built by Fountaine-Pajot): the boat was in great shape but the sails not so much. It was for this reason that the relationship with North Sails started. The sailmaker, at the time going through a test phase for its 3Di NORDAC, proposed a special price for a totally new sail plan, a square top mainsail with full battens and a furling solent. The sails were delivered to Saint Nazaire two days before taking the boat down to the Mediterranean. This wasn’t due to a late delivery, but thanks to a good weather window! The expected downwind breeze arrived in the Bay of Biscay, but a little punchy all the same:

“We had 45 knots twice, on the nose” recalls Jérôme. “At times more than 15 knots surfing, an initiation of fire for new sails!”

After 2 stopovers and 10 days sailing, Gustave arrived in Ibiza. It was from here that the family cruise started. On the agenda, the Balearic Islands of course, Sardinia, Sicily, Southern Italy, Montenegro, Albania, the Ionian Islands, the Peloponnese, the Amalfi Coast, Capri and Ischia, and Corsica. Hélène’s summary “167 days, 165 those were sunny, 4,800 miles sailed, seven countries, 15 pairs of sunglasses, 10 bottles of sun lotion, four tuna caught, five wasp stings, two stitches, 25 kilos of bananas.” Jérôme strived to sail in manageable conditions and with the wind from behind. By the end of the journey, Gustave had not used her engine and had practically never tacked. And even though the basis of sailing in the Mediterranean consists of little leaps from mooring to mooring, the Aubert family journey still counted some beautiful crossing, up to 310 miles. It was the perfect opportunity to test the new 3Di NORDAC sailing on a catamaran on an intensive cruise.

“After 6,000 miles of sailing, they haven’t changed shape and handled the UV exposure very well,” noted Jérôme, “The same for the material around the forced slats, which held very well.” And with the sale of Gustave, to return to another cruise, presenting the beautiful North Sails 3Di NORDAC onboard is most definitely a plus.”

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