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La Cigale
Owner Xavier Van Hove
Design Nautitech Open 40
Length Overall 11 m 98 cm
Flag Switzerland
Sail Number

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La Cigale - Day 24 - 12 December - St Lucia!!!

"Hark how the sailors' cry,Joyously echoes nighSanta Lucia... Santa Lucia!"- Neopolitan folk songAs a child, I would sit by my mother at the piano, singing my heart out while she played from an American book of folk songs from around the world. The one above was one of my favourites. Now it has popped into my head as we arrived in St Lucia at 7.30am this morning, appropriately on the eve of the feast day of St Lucy. Growing up, as the youngest and called Lucy, I would take coffee and cakes to the family first thing in the morning of 13th December, with a candle on the tray. Here in St Lucia, I am delighted to find not only is the 13th a national holiday, but it kicks off this evening with a Festival of Lights and Renewal, a promenade of lanterns, masqueraders and fireworks. Talk about. read more...


La Cigale - Day 24 - 12 December - Land Ahoy!

I'd just got to sleep (it seemed) when the alarm rang. Still pitch black outside, I just about registered it was only 5am, at least an hour and a half too early for my alarm. Why is it ringing? What do I do? The ringing stopped. Then it began again. I started, taken aback by its insistence, then fumbled, all fingers and thumbs. Three weeks away from civilisation and I've forgotten how to answer a phone! I got there in the end though to find it was Xavier's cousin Tom, who, with his family, had sailed with us to the Canaries. Tom was ringing to congratulate us - only 12 miles to go! How's the atmosphere with you guys? Hot and stuffy, I replied, thinking of the vest top sticking to my back. Not sure that's quite what he meant...The Skipper mumbled an acknowledgement into the microphone,. read more...


La Cigale - Day 23 - 11 December - As the sun sets...

Today began with the most spectacular of sunrises, matched only by the sunset this evening, and I persuaded the whole crew to come and join me on the bow to watch it together. Clowning around to get a smile from some of the younger members of the crew, grumpy at first, having to leave Plus Plus (a kind of flat version of Lego, with which you can construct 3D objects) and don life-jackets, the biggest smile was drawn by the arrival of a pod of dolphins, the larger than any we have seen so far, playing in our bow. We have now set our clocks to Barbadian time. Less than 75 miles to go!. read more...


La Cigale - Day 23 - 11 December - Catch of the Day

I took over from the Skipper on the dawn watch this morning. The rest of the crew fast asleep, it isn't often we have time to ourselves so he stayed out a little longer I keep me company. He also wanted to keep an eye on an approaching vessel he had just flagged. The stars were shining, and with my Night Sky app, I could give him a guided tour. No, that wasn't Mars, that was Betelgeuse, also of a reddish hue, I corrected him, continuing: that bright star, over there, is actually the planet Jupiter and look, just above, *that's* Mars. After a few minutes he declared "Actually, Lucy, I'm not really interested at all, I just want to find the North Star that I remember as a teenager." I cast around quickly and caught sight of a bright light on the horizon. "There you go, Polaris!" I said. read more...


La Cigale - Day 22 - 10 December - Full steam ahead!

Growing ever closer to St Lucia, we spent the afternoon making our courtesy flag in readiness for our arrival. We've used an EU flag as a base, the Gran Canaria flag for a yellow triangle, the bottom of Isabelle's Halloween vampire cape for a black one, and the innards of a small Swiss flag for the white edging. It's on the large size for a courtesy flag, but great to shout out how happy we will be to see St Lucia!Also in preparation for our arrival, we've jumped from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires time zone today - you see, we can travel at speed when required! So near and yet so far, we had been whipping along nicely overnight, but the wind has now completely dropped away. Motor on, 200 miles to go. We should have enough fuel... just about.... read more...

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