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Un voilier nommé... VIVE LA VIE


The story of our boat, VIVE LA VIE, is one we like to share because we find it a delightful one that always stirs up fine souvenirs…`

When we started looking for a boat in the year 2010, we realized very quickly that a KELT 39 would be THE one. Our priorities were the following:


  • a safe, sea-worthy vessel at least 10m long

  • built with a lifting keel (to be able to sail up rivers or in shallow water; moor close to shore)

  • with plenty natural light

  • able to sleep at least 6

  • dynamic at sea, good sailing performance


Although the KELT 39s are older boats (ours is 31 years old), they are known for being well-built and pleasant at sea. In the autumn of 2010, we found one in good condition for sale in Dartmouth, England. We excitedly contacted the owner with whom we hit it off right away. He was enthusiastic and found our upcoming Mediterranean project quite exciting; however we had to act fast in regards to his boat, because another Frenchman was interested and was planning a future visit….We bit the bait.

We didn’t want to take any chances that the boat of our dreams would slip through our within 24 hours we agreed on a suitable price, negotiated a loan with our bank and booked Thierry a flight for England that same week! He was sent with the mission to inspect the boat and decide if we should acquire it or not.


Upon his arrival, Thierry received a generous warm welcome from the owners Jamie and Anna. They opened their house to Thierry and made him feel right at home. After inspecting the boat, Thierry had the difficult decision to say yay or nay ….I was unreachable so the verdict was up to him. After a slight hesitation, he took a deep breath and said “yes!”   


With Jamie and Anna, a friendship naturally arose and continues to this day…

Their “Eau Claire” became our “Vive la Vie”…She was cherished and coddled in Dartmouth and still is today with us though in a completely different conditions!


In the summer of 2011 we set sail from Dartmouth in the direction of the Mediterranean. We had 5 weeks to sail 3,300 km / 2070 mi/ 1700 mm.


During the intensive month of sailing, we really put her to the test and boy did she really impress us with her seaworthiness and conviviality.


Dartmouth – Palavas les Flots was her first big escapade, but little did she know, another was in the making. We had just 6 months to prepare her for a Mediterranean adventure…During a period of 9 months, she became our home-away-from-home, keeping us safe and afloat has we sailed from France – to the Baleares islands – to Tunisia – to Greece – to Lebanon – to Egypt.


Upon our return to France in March 2013, VIVE LA VIE had a 3-year rest in the shipyard, Sterne Voiles, in Sète. Although she took a little jaunt to Corsica, she mostly got plenty of R&R and was subject to some major “home-improvements”!


We were getting her ready for her next big adventure….


VIVE LA VIE around the world!



History recap of VIVE LA VIE


1986 – Built in France; first owner was French

1990 - 2011: known as EAU CLAIRE; owners : Jamie and Anna Jameson-Evans;

                        home port: Darthmouth

2011:  we acquired her and gave her a new name : VIVE LA VIE

            gave our farewells to Dartmouth and set sail for the Mediterranean to

            her new home port : Palavas-les-flots, France

2011 – 2012: Preparation for La Contrebasse Voyageuse Mediterranean video-musical


2012 – 2013: Mediterranean tour

2013 – 2016: Rest and preparation in Sète for a round-the-world tour

August 2016: Navigation from Sète to the Madeira islands

October 2017: Departure date - direction The Canary Islands - The Gambia - The Cap Verde islands





Length overall          37 foot 6 inches / 11.4m

Beam                         12 feet / 3.6m

Draught                     max : 7 feet/2.13m      min : 2 feet 8 inches 0,61m

Lifting Keel                Centerboard (unballasted and operated by a winch)

Ballast                        2.8 tonnes (sole plate at the bottem of the hull)

Displacement            7 tonnes.

Berths                         Up to ten berths in 4 cabins.

Water capacity          300 litres/ 95 US gal/ 78 UK gal

Diesel capacity          160 litres/ 42 US gal / 35 UK gal  

Engine                         Yanmar 44 horsepower, 4 cylinder diesel with calorifier and hot water system.

Builder                        KELT

Designer                     Vaton & Roseo

Propeller.                    Kiwi 3-blade

Skegs                           3

Rudders                      2 (twin)

Bow thruster

Cruising speed          5 knots

Maximum speed       7-9 knots

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