Un marin d’eau douce

The Transat Jacques Vabre weighs anchor October 30, 2011 in Le Havre. This year the yachting race follows the 4,730 mile coffee trading route between France and Costa Rica. The crossing takes about ten days to two weeks, depending on the seas and the weather. It’s a two-man event for single and multi-hulled yachts that takes place every other year. One of those two-man teams includes Luc Alphand, a former French ski champion turned Dakar rally driver. Now he’s traded snow and sand for salt water. He’s brand-new to sailing, but hopefully his natural athleticism and love of an adrenalin rush will serve him in good stead.

Today’s expression, un marin d’eau douce (uhn marahn doe doose) literally  means “a sweet water sailor .” L’eau douce is the term used for fresh water, such as lakes. So un marin d’eau douce is a freshwater sailor, one who isn’t experienced with waves the height of buildings and gale force winds. That describes Alphand, but fortunately, his partner, Marc Thiercelin, is an experienced skipper. The photo shows Alphand and Thiercelin in their sleek little vessel. I wish them and the other 34 teams sweet water all the way.

For more about Alphand, read A Toute Vitesse.

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About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French and English teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France.
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