Position Logbook The Boat etc...
An Old Sailor Underway...
I was born in January 1948, under the earth sign of Capricorn, according to astrologers, sign of the pig in Chinese lore, morevover in the middle of the Swiss moutains in the heart of Europe, with the nearest sea some 300 miles away: not very auspicious conditions of birth for a would be sailor! But the lake of Neuchâtel, at the foot of the Jura mounts, eventually turned out to be an ideal environment to contract an incurable virus for water and marine spaces.
Despite the fulfilment that I experience travelling around the world usually on my own, my family and my many friends scattered around the globe are precious to me: therefore the pages of this site are a virtual space which allows me to be in continuous contact with them beyond horizons.
Painting by Manuela Belloni, 1991
Oil on Canvas by Manuela Belloni, 1991
My first boat
1958 - First Circles in the Water

I was about 10 when I built my first "boat" during a summer holiday on the shore of the lake. There was no concrete there at that time: just an idyllic small, sand and shingle beach under huge willows. I remember that even though a very pretty girl Marinette embarked as a passenger on board my raft, it was technically far more interesting to observe that some kind of centre-board is essential to allow a sailboat to sail against the wind! Thereby I acquired my first principles of sailing and learned by the way - sometimes painfully - how to handle tools.

First Sailing Dinghy

My first real sailboat was a Vaurien, that brilliant little centreboarder in plywood designed by J.-J. Herbulot and on which I began my sailing life with my wife Eliane and like many sailors of my generation.
t that time the boat carried just a main and a jib yet, but was perfect to learn sailing while the strong Joran gales of the lake of Neuchâtel confronted us with an extensive range of sensitive sailing situations.

Vaurien Herbulot Dinghy
1970 - Fio Oko
Mousquetaire Harlé
1972 - Mousquetaire
Mousquetaire Harlé
Modified Harlé design
Boat Building Experience
A next step in my sailing career was finding with a friend in the back of a shipyard two empty hulls of Mousquetaire, designed by Harlé. Finishing them out from inner layout to deck and rigging was a great opportunity to train our DIY skills and to learn quite a lot about boat building.
I fitted her 22 ft out according to my ideas (when you're 25 years old it would be hopeless not to have some hare-brained ones), built a great planked teak deck and gave her a wooden steering wheel... gleaming, but which wasn't very handy on a sailboat of that size!

The "Trifada" of the CVN's Fadanautes

Another unforgettable memory, or the art of undertaking exhilarating ventures with a team of friends... without the need of taking oneself too seriously (an upsetting fault of man, the most presumptuous flea of the Creation): building a trimaran together with the Fadanautes of the Cercle de la Voile de Neuchâtel, which became the world vice-champion of SAILING BATHTUBS at Lutry in 1981!:-)  
The "Trifada" was 25 ft long, 15 ft wide, with a mast of 30 ft, 430 ft² of sails on the tack and 800 ft² downwind, a draft of 7 ft and 1100 lbs of weight on 6 standard steel bathtubs made unsinkable.

1981 - Trifada
1981 - Trifada

1981 - Trifada
The trimaran of the CVN's Fadanautes
Against over forty funny and imaginative competitors who came from everywhere, our crazy but efficient boat was so great in a stiff breeze that it easily reached 5 knots on the tack. Despite the lack of good winds on the Lake of Geneva, the popular enthusiasm for the event knew no bounds afloat or ashore when washed down with excellent Lavaux.
Chart Doubs - Saône - Rhône - Méditerranée
Besançon - Marseille - Palma
Corsaire Herbulot Sailboat
1984 - Gus
Little "Gus" on Blue Water

In 1984 I set off aboard a Herbulot Corsaire, a ballasted centre-boarder of 18 ft. Sailing with my young son Yannick from the Jura along the Doubs, Saône and Rhône rivers, through their locks we headed for the Mediterranean sea. From there I sailed alone along the coast from Marseille to St-Tropez, then crossed over to Calvi and visited the Corsican west coast and the north-eastern archipelago of Sardinia. From the Strait of Bonifacio I headed for the Balearic Islands and reached Mahon, on Menorca, after 4½ days at sea (290 M). From there I sailed to Palma de Mallorca, just before the arrival of a tough winter, which saw "GUS" 's deck covered in snow. Unforgettable the close encounter with a couple of fin whales and their young: each of quite four times our length and a hundred times our weight!

The Time of Races, Charter and Deliveries

Throughout 40 years I've had the privilege to cover more than 100.000 miles at sea, in cruises, races, charter or deliveries, aboard every possible kind of sailing and even motor boats. I've never counted the days I spent on water neither the shores where I dropped an anchor or tied up a mooring rope. But not for one minute was I bored nor grew tired of breathing salty air. Now there are still so many seas and coasts left to discover off the beaten routes: so many reasons to carry on my way by heading for the open sea aboard "'Ata'Ata".

1986 - PagoStar
1994 - Stelondra
Chart of the Alps
2009 - 2010
Simplon Pass 2010
On Two Weels

For my 60th birthday I bought myself an old bicycle, fitted it out properly for long range trips, loaded it up with 110 lbs of travelling and camping equipment and set off two years in a row between Switzerland and the Mediterranean.
Among the many memories of these exciting journeys were the tough climbs up the Alpine passes of Simplon (6587 ft) and Grand-Saint-Bernard (8100 ft), a fractured foot through helping gardening in Liguria, then a night of beginning December spent in my tent on the wonderful shore of the lake of Orta by 23°F, before cycling back up to Switzerland in the snow and on black ice.

In the Air with "PagoJet"

Jumping temporarily from the water into the air, I took up paragliding in 1987 and built the world's first motorized paragliders, developing the invention of its creator, my unfortunately late friend Bernd Gärtig, who was a great musician and creative genius.
I made the first official flights of "PagoJet" in 1988, using a 3 radial cylinders driving unit on the back. Afterwards this amazing, smallest aircraft in the world performed the first crossing of the Channel and went on to fly all over the world from Australia to America, over Japan and the Arctic territories.

1988 - PagoJet

But among dolphins, seals and royal albatrosses the big salt water pond remains obviously...   my favourite biotope!
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