Jolie Brise, which is roughly translated as “nice breeze,” is perhaps one of the most famous yachts of the 20th century; more than 100 years after her launch, the vessel is still plying the waters of the Atlantic. She’s a gaff-rigged pilot cutter, 73 feet on deck and 48 feet on the water, with a 15-foot beam.
Jolie Brise was built as a sturdy pilot cutter in Le Havre, France, in 1913. She morphed from pilot cutter to fishing boat and then to her most famous period as an ocean racing yacht. Today she works as a sail training yacht. Stoutly built to withstand the rigors of being a pilot cutter, the boat was engineless for years and steered with a tiller.
The vessel first came into the public consciousness in 1925, winning the first Fastnet race against six competitors. The first Fastnet was won by Jolie Brise in six days, 14 hours, and 45 minutes. Jolie Brise also won again in 1929 and 1930 and is the only vessel to have won three times.
The vessel has been the recipient of the Blue Water Medal that by the Cruising Club of America twice, both times for seamanship. The first was awarded for “double transatlantic crossing, including Bermuda Race, April 3rd, 1926, from Falmouth, July 27th to Plymouth.” The second was given to owner “Bobby” Somerset for a feat of seamanship in the 1932 Bermuda Race.
The race departed Newport into a very strong southwesterly, and on the first night of the race, the heat from the coal stove aboard the schooner Adriana set some oilskins on fire. The fire spread quickly and a decision was made to abandon ship and flares were set off. Jolie Brise was three miles ahead, saw the flares, and sailed back to the burning schooner. The schooner had no engine so all maneuvering was done under sail.
By the time they arrived, the crew of Adriana was struggling to launch the lifeboat and had already tossed the wood spinnaker pole into the water to act as a float. Clarence Kozaly was at the helm of Adriana while Jolie Brise was brought alongside under sail. The upper rigging tangled, and the tarred rigging on Jolie Brise began to char. In a daring rescue, 10 out of 11 of Adriana’s crew jumped aboard. Finally, Kozaly left the wheel of Adriana, but the boats had drifted apart and he fell into the water between the ships and drowned. His death is the only loss of life in the history of the Bermuda Race.
The ship is now owned by the Dauntsey’s School of Wiltshire, England. Jolie Brise sails with up to 12 students for international sail training.
Let’s join Jolie Brise as she’s making passage to America for the start of the Bermuda Race in the summer of 1932. It is May 22, and we will be using the 2020 Nautical Almanac. Height of eye is nine feet and there is no error on the sextant. The chronometer, on the other hand, is three minutes slow. We are doing a simple noon sight off the east coast at 41° 25’ N by 68° 15’ W. The Hs of the upper limb of the sun is 69° 27.3’.
A. What is the time of LAN in GMT? B. What is the Ho? C. What is the latitude?
A. LAN is at 16:30 GMT B. Ho is 69° 08’ C. Latitude N 41° 25.7’