Storm On The Cinto

Rid­ing Mediter­ranean Pow via Sail­boat

Transworld Snowboarding - - DOPE - Rid­ers Vic­tor Daviet Thomas Delfino Seb Koni­j­nen­berg Pho­tos Jérôme Tanon

This story, writ­ten as a duet be­tween Thomas and Jérôme, is to be read with a Cor­si­can ac­cent. If you’re un­fa­mil­iar, imag­ine a mix of French and Ital­ian. We also rec­om­mend putting on an epic movie sound­track. —Cap­tain Jérôme

Thomas:

This trip be­gins in Fe­bru­ary, by the Medit­er­anean Sea, Ban­dol. Rain is pour­ing on this re­sort emp­tied in the win­ter. We pull our ton of stuff across the harbor’s docks: surf gear, snow­board gear, camp­ing gear, food for two weeks. Liloo Des Mers, our 32-foot rented sail­boat is quickly filled up to the roof. More rain. We look at each other won­der­ing what the fuck we are do­ing here. Vic­tor is all smiles. There is a vibe of a heavy mis­sion—we’re gonna get worked—in the air and he seems to love it. Young Seb seems lost. He is far from his slopestyle con­tests. He just missed the qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Olympics, so we kid­napped him from the FIS points life­style. Mean­while, Cap­tain Tanon pre­pares the boat for the cross­ing. He is stress­ing out, claim­ing we have to sail be­fore noon or dan­ger awaits.

Cap­tain Jérôme:

We have to leave be­fore noon! To­mor­row at 4 pm a storm is com­ing our way from the east, and if we get caught we will never reach the is­land! 35 to 45 knots in the nose, five to six me­ter swells. With this grandpa boat and a crew of novice sailors, it would be a night­mare. We have to land in Calvi be­fore that hap­pens. We will push the en­gine all night if we have to. No stress, boys. It will be fine. Cross­ing to Cor­sica Is­land in the win­ter as an in­tro­duc­tion to sail­ing is un­com­mon. I hope they don’t get too scared. 2 pm, the moor­ing is left. Only two hours late. The sky is dark. Wrapped in our quar­ter jack­ets, eyes on the watch, stressed by the fore­cast, it is un­der a gloomy sky that we pass the is­land of Por­querolles, dis­a­pear­ing like a ghost in our track as the night sets in. That’s it, folks. Only wa­ter for 360 de­grees. Speed: 6 knots. Bear­ing: 96 de­grees. Nau­ti­cal miles to go: 120.

Thomas:

It is all dark. Vic­tor is with me on deck, while the oth­ers are tak­ing a turn of sleep, or at least try­ing to. Waves are get­ting big­ger. They are break­ing now. The anemome­ter says 30 knots in the guts. Our batellu is shaken in all di­rec­tions. “Thank god it’s all dark around us,” says Vic­tor, or else we would shit our pants for real. The tiller is hard; I give my all to main­tain the bear­ing, fight­ing the waves com­ing in our back. Liloo is surf­ing! Fo­cused on the red light com­pass in front of me, its faint light is en­crusted in my retina. All lamps are switched off to pre­vent daz­zling. It feels like driv­ing a truck on the high­way with the lights off. We hang on de­spite tired­ness. We are in the mid­dle of the Mediter­ranean Sea. We are liv­ing some­thing crazy. Vic­tor keeps watch for po­ten­tial car­gos or fish­ing ves­sels, but there is no-one. Crazy.

Cap­tain Jérôme:

4 am. The wind qui­ets down and Liloo gets even more rocked by the swells. My sailors held well; I am proud of them. What a bap­tism! I get my­self busy at the mast to hoist the main­sail, which keeps get­ting stuck. Pushed around, head look­ing up the mast like a cuglione, I get sea­sick. With the sail fi­nally up, I rush to the side to puke a big one. I feel bet­ter. I im­me­di­ately in­herit the nick­name Cap­tain Puke. Fair game. Seb also threw up ear­lier. There is no more wind now. What the hell is this weather? Sud­denly the gas tank alarm goes off. “What the fuck? Are we re­ally out of gas, here in the mid­dle of the cross­ing?” The renter as­sured me with his thick south­ern ac­cent, “Don’t you worry, folks. You have enough gas for a round trip!” What a bu­falu! Now is no time for panic, though. Let’s save the last bit of gas for the dock­ing in the harbor. The fore­cast gave 15 knots of north in the morn­ing, which should en­able us sail to the is­land be­fore the real gale kicks in.

Thomas:

The land­ing in Calvi is some­thing mag­i­cal. Sails are up and tight in the sun. While we play the game of stand­ing up with­out hold­ing onto some­thing on the front deck with Vic­tor, grey shapes come ap­proach­ing the boat. Dol­phins! They come to say hi. We are like kids. When they left, the fort hold­ing the en­trance the harbor ap­peared in the mist, with high moun­tains in the back­ground. The old coastal city feels like we just went back in time a cou­ple cen­turies. Jérôme aka Cap­tain Puke is han­dling the boat nicely to­wards a dock. Seb is on port, Vic on star­board, and I am at the bow. Once she is moored in safely, we jump on-dock for a group hug. What a relief! We made it. But there is no time to lose, as last night’s swell brought surf po­ten­tial. We run to the beach with our surf­boards be­fore it gets dark. Small waves, but what a feel­ing—surf­ing in Cor­sica. What else? A big smile sets on our faces. Monte Cinto, at 2706 me­ters, stands proud up there, like a pro­tect­ing fa­ther. To­mor­row the only train to­ward the moun­tain range leaves at 6 am, bet­ter not miss it. The pumataj are com­ing to you, mighty peaks of Cor­sica!

Vic­tor Daviet warms up his sea legs on Cor­sica’s coast­line.

They call them­selves the La­guna Gang.

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