lundi 11 mai 2015

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Souvenirs ... Souvenirs


Articles de Presse

Je suis en train de vider mon appartement et donc de ranger mes effets dans des boites qui attendront patiemment mon retour. J'y ai retrouvé, enfoui au fond de quelque'armoire qu'on n'ouvre plus depuis des lustres, les articles de presse de ma participation au Rallye Europa organisé par... le même Jimmy Cornell, avec qui nous partons maintenant. J' avais fait une traversée Pukhet(Thailande) Galle (Sri Lanka) et la presse locale en avait parlé. Voici donc des articles du Sunday Times de décembre 1992:.

I like to be a sailor

In love with the sea and sailing in particular is Henri Schongut, Vice Chairman of Ceylon Diamonds (Pvt) Ltd. and Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in Belgium. Henri was a keen competitor in the Europa 92 Rally. He did the Phuket-Galle during the Europa 92 Round the World Rally on a 16 m cutter.

His cruising has taken him to competitions in France, Corsica, Algiers, Spain. He has also taken part in the Tour of France for yachts and has been an active member in North Atlantic crossing: St. Malo (France), Newfoundland, New York on PenDuick IV, Eric Tabarly's 23 m Ketch and the Caribbean cruises Martnique-Grenada.

He is also the owner of sly ‘Serendib', a 39-foot sloop, cruising in the Ne-therlands, France and the South of England. Speaking about the Europa 92 Rally, Henri says: "We had three hard but very exhilarating days. The NE monsoon was rather strong (upto 30 knots) and the sea was very choppy.

The boat, however, was very fast, as a result it was very hard on the rudder . and very difficult to steer. Because of the choppy sea the craft was rolling a lot and we had to close all hatches, so the movement and the humidity- made it very difficult for us to sleep. There were many instances when I nearly dropped off to sleep and for a while was tempted to ignore everything and go to sleep, but an inner voice told me not to forget the sleeping crew and I was wide awake again",

"There is a yachting joke which says : If you want to get the feeling of yachting you should stand with your clothes on under a cold shower and tear some 100 dollar bills. This is just the part of it. , What's important is probably what's in your head while doing it", says Henri.

Et aussi ...

Sailing with a salty tang

Henri Schongut

Vice Chairman Ceylon Diamonds Pvi Ltd.,
Honorary Consul for Sri Liinka in Belgium
Socrates (or was it Plato?) said there arc three types of men: The wise ones, the mad ones and.., those who go out to sea. Perhaps this is because in order to go to sea requires a bit of both.. or maybe, more than both, because it's something different.

When I first went sailing I was 12 years old. I made a mistake and my small sailing dinghy drifted slowly but unavoidably towards another boat and during one long minute I realised that there was nothing I could do and that an accident could happen! (luckily nothing serious) But I had learned already a serious lesson: in a boat sometimes you feel powerless and you have to rely on faith, or should we call it luck? Since then, I have been on lots of seas and oceans water of all kind and I try to avoid (as much as I can) to enter into extreme circumstances.

But the more 1 sail, the more I think that yachting is a bit of the man's life: with its joy, its deception, its fears. All with a salty tang!! There is a great difference, naturally, between casual daily coastal cruising and ocean crossings. The latter being (for me) the top of the sailing. When I depart on an ocean crossing, after a few hours there is no land in sight and the boat becomes to be a country on his own, with his rules, his relational prob-lems (among the crew) my joys and my pains_

No possible escape 4,5,6, or more men are sharing the same destiny; are facing each other day in day out; sometimes playing a kind of Agatha Christie's psychodrama, but always (1 hope) trying to avoid overdramatic issue. Because of this "no escape" possibility, the boat be-comes an ideal place for sincerity, joy, human relation at its peak... But I realise how difficult it is to explain these things to "landlubbers". Let me just tell you that I have sailed with lots of crews throughout these years, but we ere always very shy to meet each other later on on land: maybe because "on land" it's harder to live as close o at sea. So. on crossing better go with very good friends (you will know afterwards if they are-really "very good friends") or with complete strangers unknown to you. As I place friendship on a very high standard, I usually sail with... complete strangers.

Another aspect of sailing is to domesticate the ele-ments: it's all together a very pretentious task and a very modest one. Pretentious, because we pretend to domes-ticate the elements: Sea, waves, winds. Modest, because we ultimately know that if we could domesticate them it's because they "accepted" it... In other words I know that the sea can be merciless, that the elements are immense and myself. and my boat very very small.

On the last Indian crossing (for the Europa 92 Rally) we had three hard but very exhilarating days. The NE monsoon was rather strong (upto 30 knots) the sea very choppy, but the boat was very fast (as a matter of fact with 211 miles in a day I made my longest daily mileage in nearly 16 years of ocean sailing!). With this condi-tions, the boat becomes very hard on the rudder, very difficult to steer. On the other hand, because of the choppy sea she was rolling a lot and we had to close all hatches, so the temperature, the movement and the humidity made it very difficult for us to sleep.

From time to time, at the helm at night, I said to myself "to hell with it. I'm tired" and for a flash the idea of leaving the rudder and the boat to the elements popped in my mind. But how could I do such a thing? The others are down below and 1 have their lives in my hand, what confidence they have in me! "How can I have had such a thought!" There are some people w no would take a boat around the world to "escape" their responsibility, to get away .from it all. For me it's perhaps the contrary, to feel myself free but very responsible. There is a yachting joke which says: if you want to get the feeling of yachting you should stand with your clothes on under a cold shower and tear some 100 dollar bills! This is just an external part of. What's important is probably what's in your head while doing it.


  1. Très joli blog.Je me reconnais parfaitement dans tout ce qui est dit ici .C'est vrai qu'il y parfois des moments difficile en mer mais tellement plus de bons également qui font que l'appel de la Mer est le plus fort.



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