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Repairings, Capital

We leave Nazaré and head to Lisboa, passing the Cabo da Roca, the westest point of Europe : how pleasing it is to at least sail a bit to the East ! As soon as the sun is up, we hear the moanings of our 3D printer. There is a lot to be done in Lisboa, and we try not to waste any seconds !

3D printing at sea

We have set ourselves a challenge : repair the hydro-generator before arriving on the Tage River. We succeeded, but one of us walked on one of the blades, so we’ll have to print an other !

Pièces de l'hydrogénérateur 2

Once in Lisboa, our concerns are not to hear some fado nor to take the 28th tram : where are the shipschandlers and the repair stores ? How do you say « threaded shaft » or « pulley » in portuguese ? We will manage to find every pieces we look for, but after 48h we haven’t seen much of Lisboa. Hopefully Adrien’s mother is visiting, and gives us pretexts to go visit a few museums.

Our goal in Lisboa is also to visit the different digital fabrication places. We are wecomed to visit the EDP fablab, working with companies and individuals. They have great projects, working at the same time on homemade electronical circuits and doing research on the different finitions possible on 3D printed parts. We are amazed by the work they manage to do being only three in their team ! This warming welcome in Lisboa lets us forget the buses of tourists that continuously make selfies all around the marina.

Visit at Fablab EDP

The fablab EDP team will then come visit the boat, giving us the bottom of a 3D printed blade for our wind turbine, and one hydrogenerator blade !

Fab EDP aboard Karukera

We also go to visit the Leds&Chips Creative studio that has built us 3 parts of wind turbine blade ! They conceived and built an impressive 3D printer that almost makes 1 cubic meter ! They could print our wind turbine in one piece. Being very humble, they named it the « YARR » (Yet Another Rep-Rap : rep-raps are open-source 3D printers). Their studio is filled with numerous of different 3D printed objects at an unusal scale : a woman bust, a stool, a chimera model !

visiting Leds&Chips : huge 3D printer: the YARR

While visiting Karukera, they will bring us the last missing pieces of our wind turbine !

team Leds&Chips giving Lab-REV two blades for the nex wind turbine aboard Karukera!

Then it’s just a puzle that need to ber e-assembled, and as fast as possible, so we avoid to pay one more night in the marina !
remontage de la nouvelle éolienne

Black and white gives a good render. We got used to the multicolored version, this one looks more professionnal : we need to be careful !

Mise en place de la nouvelle éolienne

We have met numerous passionating makers in Lisboa, and we want to thanks all of them for helping us ! First Zbis ( that printed us the upper parts of the blades before leaving France, fablab EDP (, Leds&Chips ( as well as Gino from A Coruña hackerspace(! But after one week stucked between traffic jams, trains and honkings, we are releaved to go ! Inès has gone back to France, and we head to Faro where we will be joined by two new crew-members. The coasts of Algarve and a nice gale are waiting or us !


Was Neptune in a bad mood this days ? Or is it just an unfortunate following of events ? Anyway, we got pretty unlucky in the last days…

Weather first blocked us in Baioa under rain pourring cats and dogs, and wind gusts over 50 knots ! We have to spent the days inside the boat, fighting against moisture while trying to fix differents stuffs as best as we can. The moral breaks when we discover that the wind turbine got blasted against the solar panels… Wind pushed the solar panels up, enough for the wind turbine’s blades to crush on it. We did test the room between the panels and the blades, but the wind was stronger than our arms, and the panels went further than we could expect. Half the baldes are now broken, and the moyeu is wrecked. That’s the end for our wind turbine first version!

Eolienne cassée

The next day, a short weather window allows us to leave Baiona to Porto. We still have to face 15 knots of wind coming from South (where we intend to go) and a 4 meter swell. Pretty unconfortable. After numerous tacks, we leave the Cies Islands in the clouds.

Iles Cies dans les nuages

A few hours later, the swell has almost gone, and we pass the Rio Minho outlet : we are now in Portugal ! We set the red and green courtesy flag on !

On hisse le pavillon portugais

We make a two days stop in Porto, fixing different stuffs, printing new blades for the wind turbine, and an afternoon of sightseeing. We leave sooner than expected, as soon as a bit of North wind comes back. The trip ends sooner than expected : with no wind we go to the Aveiro Laguna with the engine. This one produces strange, unhabitual noises, and we discover that some of the fixation bolts are untied.

Réglage des silent-blocks

After a few hours in this place we love so much, the engine stalls, we leave the laguna with the wind and nice sun beams appear to (at last) dry the boat and its crew. We are in a good mood, we fish and start sewing a protection hood against the rain.

Navigation et couture

Leo starts a few experiments to optimize the hydro generator. The problem we have is that the rope between the generator and the hydro propeller has to be unraveled after each use : a long and boring operation. cf video

Le méli-mélo de l'hydrogénérateur

The new unraveling technique is quite simple : You just need to detach the rope and the propeller, and let the boat’s speed unravel the rope for us. To ease this operation, we decide to use a carabiner instead of a shackle. But an unforessen kind of fish opens the carabiner, and we loose the propeller part of our hydrogenerator ! We set a challenge to print the new blades for or propeller before arriving in Lisboa ! The Northernly wind is stable, and we continue to sail south with the spinnaker. While we take shifts at night, the 3d printer prints the new blades for our wind turbine.

Pale d'éolienne en impression

Before dawn, some « déjà vu » strikes again : an other part of our steering wheel cable breaks ! Again ! This time the weather is very nice, and we repair quite fast, installing rope and hoping it will hold till the closest harbour, Nazaré.

Drosse cassée

After a few hours of sleep and a shower to fill our energy, we install a new steel cable and assit to the fishermens parade, all decorated for a sea procession.

Bateaux décorés à Nazaré

We leave before the sun sets down, to Lisboa, beginning to print our next hydrogenerator !

Stopovers in Galicia

After our maritimes adventures, the stop in A Coruña is more than welcome ! Showers, rest and groceries keep us busy the first day. We benefit from the harbour office WiFi to send our videos to our videast partner Olivier La Combe ( who produces the first movie of our trip :

We are welcomed to visit the first lab of our trip at Coruña’s Domus. The Bricolab ( is hosted at the Galician museum of natural history ! The hackerspace community is very kind to us, and we share a lot with the makers around our respective projects.


One of our problem during first step was on the navigation system we prototyped : they bring the big guns on the next day and with an oscilloscope we manage to find the electromagnetic perturbation. It allows us to receive a hacked AIS signal (a system that localize big cargos and fishermens in the nearby area) : very convenient to sail with low visibility !! Furthermore they give us 40 liters of bio-fuel that they recycled out of friying oil with a homemade device. One of the makers will also give us an educative little robot : #Escornabot ( joins us for the mediterranean fablab tour ! The aim of this project is to initiate young students (6 to 10) to the basis of programmation !


After those first 700Kms Karukera needs to be checked up. The steering wheel cables are replaced, and Oliver builds an emergency tiller. We hope we’ll never have to use it, but since it’s in the rear cabin why not use it when it’s raining ?


Leo climbs up the mast to control the differents pulley and rigging cables. Everything checks out after a few optimizations !

check up mât

This stopover was amazing, and we enjoyed tapas and Cañas a lot ! We also met Celine (, a boat-puller coming back from an atlantic tour, which was pursuing to Norway. The Boat being ready, we head to the Ciès Islands with Inès, a friend of us who just arrived.

ines nouvelle equipière

The first sailing day is quite hard to begin with : low breezes and big swells make the boat roll over and over again, not good for our stomachs ! A quick stop to Muxia is needed to sleep a few hours, long enough to digest a hot meal ! It was unforeseen that the names around the hull would be the targets of those who lean the head overbord… Sorry to our Kissbankers, but the waves wash the hull very fast !

The mythical Cape Finisterre is surprinsingly calm, offering a wether so gentle, that we can even raze it ! This nice day allows us to enjoy the sunshine and its heat for the first time since we left Pornic. Great smiles are on all faces !


We also use this time to fish, and with success ! Three mackerels and one garfish are prepared by Adrien, and we cook good rillettes aboard Karukera !


In a very light breeze, we arrive finally to the Cies Islands at night. Waking up among those wonderful landscapes is amazing ! After canoeing and trekking, we go sail between the Islands while some of us make pictures from the Islands.

cies at anchor_1

cies sailing_1

This Paradise has to be left sooner than expected : a gale is in approach, and we head to Vigo to find shelter.

vigo fait pas beau

Once arrived, despite the rain, we go looking after musical instruments. Oliver and Adrien couldn’t bring their brass, and the frustration grows up ! We finally find a small Yukulélé and a flute ! The stopover has to be shorten up, the harbour being quite expensive, and everything we try to do in the city is a failure. Friends we have met in A Coruña are spending the week end in Baiona, we set sail to meet them !

Departure, Dolphins, Rudder: from Pornic to A Coruña

At last we’ve set sails! Waking up at 5AM was quite tough, an hour when for most of us it is still saturday night more than sunday morning. Thanks to our friends and families that came to say good bye. After a few tears when we untied the mooring ropes, the harder was to see all the little figures on the dock disapear in the horizon.

Départ 1

Départ 2

Good bye Pornic, hello Spain! Cape is set to South West, wind are favorable, and our route is almost direct. Out of Pornic’s bay, the north-eastern swell get its way and let us surf, revealing the rolling nature of Karukera. The swell will stay with us at all time.

With all sails up, the boat speed is good, around 6-7 knots average, and surfs around 10 knots! We get used to the sailing routine, switching drivers every two hours, taking pictures and videos, sending the last texts before being out of reach. The first naps starts barely after noon: we have to be in good fit for the night to come.


A last contact with french coasts when we see Yeu’s Island Lighthouse, right when the first dolphins come and play with Karukera! What a wondeful show to see them surf the same waves as us, jumping in front of our bow!

dauphin 1



We will be surprised to see how much time dolphins would come and play during the crossing, day and nights, for a few minutes and sometimes for an hour!

The first night is full of stars, and the wind decreases a little bit. The waves are still big, and it’s hard to sleep with the boat rolling from one crest to an other. We cross a lot of boats, fishermans and cargos. Stressful moments when we don’t know where those big masses are heading to.

To cut the rolling, we set up the spinnaker whe the sun sets! Giving us more speed, and allowing us to make a more direct route, the mood gets better with a few morning jokes !


With the light breeze, two of us can sleep when one is still driving: morning naps are good. Conditiond are great in this second day of sailing, and we print 3D parts to improve our wind turbine while in the middle of the bay of biscay. We won’t see any boat this day nor the next night, but we get to luck to have a very nice companion! A little bird lands on Karukera to rest a few hours. He would go around the boat, fly under the boom, land on improbable places of the rig!


The second night with dolphins is magic: we can perceive them thanks to luminescent planktoon that lights up when water stirrs. Each swell break is amazing: it seems that we are in the middle of a turquoise pool. We start the wind turbine and it produces enough electricity to full the batteries at all times.
The third day, wind rises up progressively, the swell gets bigger but more importantly shorter. The boat gets harder to steer, and it requires way more strength. We try the hydro turbine which starts to surf behind us!

We perceive Spain mountains around 5PM, and even if we still got 50 miles before A Coruña, smiles are all over our faces!


We think that the feared Bay of Biscay was nice to us, but he has not said its last word.
Wind gets to 30 knots with gusts, and we decide to reef our mainsail. The maneuver will be sporty: we have to make almost a half turn to face the wind, with swell on our side. The three of us are on the deck, harnesses tied as usual, Oliver at the steer.

While turning, we hear a big smack. Oliver Yells: “we lost the rudder!”

All sails are quicly sets down, boat is drifting slowly to the North-West, in a strong sea and huge black clouds upwind. Hopefully the rudder is stille here, and it’s only the steel cable between the sterring wheel and the rudder that broke. We will make a quick fortune repair with a rope instead of the damaged cable. We hope it will hold for the remaining 25 miles to A Coruña: there is no closer shelter. We contact the closest MRCC (Marine Rescue Center Coordination) to inform them of our situation, in case it would get worse.

We are going slowly to A Couña, with half the Genoa, looking at a huge thunderstorm settling in right in front of us. We prefer not to think of what would happen if a lightning was to touch the mast…
The thunder, the rain, and unstable winds are playing with our nerves, switching between 20 knots North East to 5 knots South East to nothing a dozen times… We try to go as fast as possible without forcing on the wheel, using the engine and the sails. Every two hours, we get reassuring calls from A Coruña checking on our situation.


Once we have passed Cabo Prior lighthouse, the thunder goes away, just as the wind. Stress is comming off, but we still have 4 hours till the harbour. We are seriously tired, but it’s not the moment to go sleeping. A lot of fishing boats and getting in and out of the Ria, and shoals have to be avoided.

We finally get to A Coruña around 3:30 AM. We have sailed 371 miles since Pornic, in just a little less than 3 days. We are dirty, salty, tired, but glad to have finish our first step!

We will stay here a few days to rest and repair. Inès will meet us here on sunday.


Departure: Sunday April 19th, 6AM


Checklist :

– A repared boat

– Papers in order

– Fonctionnal prototypes

– Super motivated crew

– Food and drink stock at maximum capacity

– Nice weather forecast

Let’s go!


Bags being ready for a long time, we were just just waiting the right moment to set sail. Nothing better than a one night navigation trainig from Camoël to Pornic to check everyhting is allright! We left the Vilaine river after spending so much time there for a 12h step to Pornic, repeting different maneuvers, setting spinakers, crossing cargos, trying the berths for short naps, etc. It’ll be easier to leave the harbour with the Loire river strong current near Pornic, speeding us up around 2-3 knots. We checked the navigation system we prototyped, and everything is all right (follow our position here: ).

After a few calculations, the routings give us an ETA (estimate time of arrival) in A Coruña tuesday at noon, the forecast predicts good winds in the right directions, but also short waves with us, and a huge long swell in front of us, conditions no member of the crew ever experienced.


Delayed departure.

When shall we leave? If only we’d know, and it was depending of us…

Let’s sum up last month since we (first)launched Karukera.

Once the boat was afloat, serious matters begun! Moving in, we check the functionnement of every gear, put everything in place, once, twice, until we find the appropriate spot for everything (remember tetris)!

Unfortunately, after a few days we discover a small water infiltration near the engine shaft. An 80cm bronze tube (étambot in FR), allows the shaft to go trough the hull and turn at high speed without (suposeddly) letting water get inside the boat. Details are boring, just know that different pieces provides the system to be waterproof.

But we were taking water in, and even with a small debit, it was not very reassuring. Karukera had to be taken out of water, back to shipyard. We thaught the stern gland was the problem, and focused our repair on this system. And to do so, you need to remove the rudder and the engine shaft…

Dépose de l'arbre d'hélice

We use this time back to shipyard to improve the drum genoa system with our partner Jade Gréement!

Tout petit, vu d'ici !

Back to water a few days later, our mood breaks down when we see the water still coming in…

Finally after 3 times back to 2 different shipyards, a lot of different advices (mostly contradictory but always well-wishing) from all the Villaine mechanics, and a little levitation session for Karukera, the leak is finally repaired!

Karukera vole !

We also used this few weeks of delay to test the boat at sea, and with the engine. We were incredibely surprised how seaworthy the boat was even with 30 knots of wind established! This gave us energy to go trough our different problems!

But at least, after three weeks fixing technicals problems, we are still stuck for administrative problems. The boat papers still not arrived… So frustrating!

During those weeks we totally forgot to give news and are sorry for that! Computer and engine greease does’nt go along together so well! We’re finally ready to go, a month late but even more determined!