I recently returned from a wonderful 2 week business trip in Europe. The 'business' in France was to sail and better get to know Francois Vivier and his designs. I felt it was a good idea as his sole US and Canada kit agent and boatbuilder to better understand the cultural backdrop to his boats. I had also hoped to get on many of the that I carry in my catalog but have not had the occassion to sail on to date. The plan was to sail in Pen-Hir to Semaine Du Gulfe Morbihan (photo left at sea), one of the premier boating festivals in the world with 100s of Vivier boats in attendance as well. The trip met and exceeded all expectations. Not only are Vivier's small boats well represented but there were numerous large vessels of his design sailing in the Gulfe. I was able to get onto all the boats and gain a good feeling for how they row and sail.
While hove to in the 250-boat voile-aviron fleet (sail & oar), I was able to sail with Nicolas Vivier in his Morbic 12 and transfer to a kit built Ilur afterwards. It was a fantastic morning with this sort of activity, bouncing
from boat to boat and seeing so many Vivier boats in one place. It was like a
"live" floating advertisement for his boats!
The pictures don't do justice to just how many boats there were in the sail & oar fleet, one of 7 fleet
s in the Festival which took place over the whole Gulf and rotated night to night through the different p
orts. Other boat in the fleet were: Le Seil, Minhouet, B
eg-Meil, Ebihen 15, Ebihen 18, Aber, and Francois first sail & oar boat, Aven.
I was more taken with Aber than I had thought: she is beautiful, fast, and seaworthy.
If you speak French or even if you do not, it is worth watching a video about Francois and his work shot at the Morbihan week on board Pen-Hir and aboard Francois's motorboat design, Koulmig, pictured in the background.