We have all lived during a unique time in history – a pandemic no one saw coming. We each have our own story, and here is ours. During the summer of 2020, our focus and concerns were definitely on the coronavirus’ impact in Europe. How were the factory and workers faring during lockdown? We learned they were working split shifts to reduce exposure and keep everyone safe. Outremer assured us production was moving forward and there would only be minimal delays.
During our boat build conference calls, we checked in with both Outremer and our Yacht Broker, Pete McGonagle. We were continually grateful that they, and our family, were relatively unaffected by the virus from a health perspective. With travel restrictions and safety precautions in place, our next challenge was to determine when and how we would travel to France to take delivery of Relentless.
As our actual delivery date in early August approached, we faced some time-sensitive obstacles. Unexpected challenges in our business demanded our attention here at home, and Steve was possibly going to need knee surgery (we later learned his surgery could be postponed). We decided the best course for us was to take virtual delivery.
This was a difficult decision. Our Sales Manager at Outremer, Matthieu, reassured us Relentless would be well taken care of until we could travel. He showed us as much as he could over Zoom of our beautiful Relentless.
Next, Relentless needed to go through her shakedown cruise. This would allow any items needing attention to be identified so the factory could make corrections and repairs under warranty. Right when we needed it, Matthieu came up with a brilliant plan.
The Shakedown Cruise
Matthieu suggested we ask other boat owners to help take Relentless out on the shakedown cruise for us. For the best experience, he recommended a specific type of boat owner - someone who previously owned an O51 and was waiting for their new O55 build.
We happened to know Loïc from our time at Outremer Week, and Steve thought the world of him. Steve took Loïc’s maintenance class and hung on every word he offered from his own experiences circumnavigating in his O51, Moby. We immediately agreed to Matthieu’s suggestion and arrangements were made. This worked out well for Loïc, his wife, Bénédicte, and their family. They were between boats, and we gave them an opportunity to go on holiday to France in August on a boat they were familiar with. It was a win-win for all of us.
We can’t say enough about how Loïc and Bénédicte made the shakedown cruise an invaluable experience for us. They set up and programmed all the electronics, tested the appliances and systems, thoroughly inspected the rig, tested each sail, and unpacked and stowed all the gear and provisions we sent ahead, including three duffles and two huge boxes for our own travels. The entire time, they communicated with us often, sent daily pictures, reassured us, and even offered suggestions and comments based on personal experience with their own O51, which we deeply appreciated. It was clear they treated Relentless as if she were their own.
We count this as one of the greatest blessings in our story and hope one day we’ll get to meet up with Loïc, Bénédicte, and their beautiful three kids to thank them properly for all they’ve done for us during a very challenging time. It brought a lot of joy and peace in an otherwise chaotic and unsettling season this past year.
In the meantime, we celebrated with French cuisine, champagne, fondue, and crudités.
After all that said, Relentless was shaken down and taken care of through the fall and winter of 2020 and early 2021. Our hopes were now set on meeting her in France in early Spring 2021 and spending the sailing season in the Med. With the world so unpredictable, would it happen?