history 1
50 years ago the wooden 35ft French sailboat Beligou sailed around the world. The crew of three were amongst the first to make a round the world voyage in a small sailing boat. One of the crew has finally published their story, it’s a free” Internet book” and there are no advertisements. I am hoping you will inform your readers about this most interesting story. I believe that the one who cannot read French will be pleased to have a look at more than 400 B/W and several Kodachrome pictures.
It was in the Solent where, when I was 16 years old, I had the great pleasure to be a crew member on this boat, sleeping on a wooden bench in the bow. To give you some impression of the book, it recalls Panama Canal fees of 7 US $ and making the passage under full sail. Once in the Pacific, on Galapagos they were to free to go everywhere and hunt goats (for food) with UNESCO “benediction” approval because the many goats were devastating the grass.
Six yachts in Horta at the time (now 1100) – another world.
In addition, there are 30 pages, nicely hand illustrated, dedicated to the building of the yacht. Also the full 164 pages scanned from the golden book where for example Beryl Smeeton, (Once in Enough), Pat and Barry Cullen (on board Sandefjord) and other famous sailors have written some interesting and amusing comments, some of them in English. Also included are some paper notebooks showing position calculations with sextant and old tables (not HO249), forecast maps received by Morse, etc.
Their accounts book shows an incredible number of rum bottles and red wine…to assist deals/barter at every harbor or haven along the way. When they returned back in 1968, she was sold and passed through the hands of 3 different owners but no one took proper care of her. But 30 years ago, a French guy bought her and renewed her. Except engine, painting, varnishes, sails, and shrouds, all is original including Spruce mast and enormous Goiot winch which was used as an anchor windlass.
And she sails, she is not a house boat! The new owner did all the work himself, it was not refurbished by an expensive “refit” shipyard.
The writer is to day 81, and visited her old boat in December 2015 in a South Brittany marina. He was astonished at the superb restoration. If you like it, please be kind enough to inform your readers. I think you will agree this is an important part of our common yachting history. The web address is http://www.beligou.fr/
Yours sincerely,
Philippe Deblon
Friend of the author