After a very successful 4 week stay in Rouen, the Belem is now surfing the waves along France's west coast, starting her sailing season in Cherbourg. Captain Jean-Alain Morzadec was in charge of her since she came out of her winter quarters, welcoming crowds of visitors in Rouen, then sailing her down the Channel to Concarneau via Brest and Lorient. Learning to man a tall ship along the currents of the Channel, says the Captain, is an excellent exercise for trainees as well as for the newly arrived members of the crew.
In Concarneau, the Belem was a star guest of the literary festival “Livre et Mer” – a number of distinguished sailors/writers such as Isabelle Autissier and Hervé Hamon were welcomed aboard and took part in various debates on maritime literature. The Belem is now back at sea with Captain Jean-Pierre Boin at the helm, for a series of short trips between Breton ports.
Another event at the start of the season was the arrival of a new First Mate, who is actually an old friend of the Belem : Gabriel Lelant-Saint-Cast started out on the Belem as a simple sailor during his student days in Saint Malo, came back as a Lieutenant and, at the grand old age of 29, has taken on the very different and varied organisational responsibilities of First Mate. But Gabriel is more than delighted – he is, he says, the happiest of men when he is on board the Belem; tall ships are an important part of his youth, as he lived the first five years of his life aboard the “Teazer”, an 1880 Bristol-built cutter, with his skipper of a dad.