François Vivier’s brilliant Pen-Hir small sailing cruiser

Vivier Pen-Hir coastal sailing cruiser

Vivier Pen-Hir coastal sailing cruiser Vivier Pen-Hir coastal sailing cruiser Vivier Pen-Hir coastal sailing cruiser

Vivier Pen-Hir coastal sailing cruiser Vivier Pen-Hir coastal sailing cruiser Vivier Pen-Hir coastal sailing cruiser

François Vivier’s sailing cruiser Pen-Hir

Many of François Vivier’s revered ply and epoxy boat designs draw somewhat on the traditional boats of the Breton coast. We had a priceless opportunity to appreciate how attractive and well worked out they really are this summer when we were invited over for lunch with him and his charming wife Veronique.

That meeting over a lovely lunch was a great pleasure for both Julie and I. François’ English is excellent and his conversation is marked by strong views and clear, well argued and original insights – they’re just as well made as his boat plans themselves.

Looking at his own coastal sailing cruiser Pen-Hir as built by his son’s boatyard, we were struck not only by attractive and well made the boat was, but also by how well everything is worked out.

For example I often joke about the ‘long things’ that make life difficult in most small boats – the boat hooks, the unused spars, the odd oar or sweep, and so on – but I was impressed to find that François hadn’t just found places for them on his boat, but had designed-in spaces for each one that meant they could be kept accessible but out of the way and secure.

The smart equipment was good too. I particularly liked the diesel cooker that doubled as a heater, and the electric outboard. It was only a shame that it was too windy to go sailing – and boy was it windy. We’d heard stories about how the French will sail in any sort of weather, but from our experience they aren’t true – at least not at Pornichet, for no-one else was out on the water that day either.

I was interested to learn that François has been involved in establishing a new French boat building school, and very much look forward to learning how it goes in the coming years.

More information about the Vivier Pen-Hir design and many more photos can be found here.

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