Juliette Petres
Juliette Petres competing in the race

Here at French Waterways we are thrilled to hear that Juliette Petres has completed the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe.  The Trans-Atlantic yacht race is a gruelling 3542 mile solo race from Saint-Malo in France to Guadeloupe in the French West Indies and Juliette crossed the finish line on 22nd November.

We have been following Juliette’s progress with interest, as our partners, specialist waterside and heritage property agency Eau et Patrimoine, sponsored her and her boat ‘Water and Heritage’.  They have been blogging about her journey and the tales are truly remarkable.  32 year old Juliette managed a top 20 finish and completed the 4353 mile feat in 19 days, 23 hours and 52 minutes at an average speed of 7.38 knots.  You may notice that she did almost 1,000 miles more than the direct route and that’s because of her efforts to navigate the route with the perils of changing winds and unpredictable weather! The Route du Rhum is a tough race, with fatigue and sleep deprivation reaching dangerous levels and racers contending with storms, high winds and lumpy seas.

The gruelling race takes place every 4 years in November and this time had a record number of entries – with 91 boats starting the race.  The start is an amazing sight to behold with Saint-Malo welcoming 200,000 visitors to wave off the racers.

The race record was broken this year by Loick Peyron who completed the course in a mind-blowing 7 days, 15 hours and 8 minutes.   However, there are different classes of yachts and the Class 40 tend to start coming across the finish line in about 17 or 18 days.  Although we were obviously cheering on Juliette, it was great to see Sir Robin Knox-Johnson claim third spot in his 60 foot yacht ‘Grey Power’.

We’d like to offer our congratulations to all of the racers, Eau et Patrimoine and of course Juliette Petres.

Piper Boats will be exhibiting
Piper Boats will be exhibiting at the show

One of our featured barges from family-run boat builders Piper, will be making the trip to Paris for the Salon Nautique this December.  The 49 metre Dutch style barge weighs 26 tonnes and has a kingsize bed, large galley and saloon and comfortable bathroom – and is well worth a look if you are making the trip to Versailles for the Paris Boat Show.  You will be able to find Piper at stand 1A61.  The boat is Piper’s most popular barge and was developed using owner Simon Piper’s experience of sailing the French waterways.  The design, craftsmanship and attention to detail of the Piper barges is a must-see.

The sheer scale of the whole Paris Boat Show makes it well worth a visit but for people still planning their holidays for next year it offers the chance to obtain lots of information and gain some inspiration too.

Visiting the Paris Boat Show
Visiting the Paris Boat Show

This weekend sees the start of the Paris Boat Show, the Salon Nautique International de Paris, which takes place in the Porte de Versailles.  It is a huge event, one of the largest in Europe, with hundreds of thousands of visitors expected through the doors during the week.  The show offers visitors the chance to discover all of the latest news and innovations in the boating world.  There is something for everyone from jet skis, kayaks and inflatables, right through to sailing boats and motor boats.  There is even a 400 square metre pool for demonstrations and competitions.  Being in Paris, naturally design plays a big part in the event, and each year the winners of the Nautic Design Awards are announced, awarding the finest production of motor boat designs.

This year is exciting for French Waterways as some of our partners will be exhibiting at the event, and we hope to make a flying visit ourselves.  France Afloat will be in attendance and will be showing boats from Linssen and first time exhibitors Broom.  Broom will be on stand 4MA10 with their Broom 430 and Linssen will be at 1A49.  Linssen Yachts are known for their design and innovation so pop along and get some inspiration for your 2015 trip on the waterways.