Once upon a time
Espérance IIIThe rebirth of traditional lateen sailing on Lake Annecy
Espérance III is the story of a handful of people who love sailing on the lake and who embarked on a bold endeavor to rebuild an exact replica of the Espérance II, a two-masted Latin-rig sailboat with lateen sails (triangle-shaped) that navigated Lake Annecy between 1911 and 1930. It transported materials and goods from one side of the lake to the other (wine produced on the hillsides above the lake, coal, gravel and rocks for construction, wood…). At the time, people living in Annecy were quite familiar with its silhouette, and nicknamed the boat “the Lake’s Ears,” given the shape and position of its sails.
The 19th century witnessed an increase in transporting goods in this type of boat on Lake Annecy (using the Espérance and the Comète in 1884) and on Lake Geneva.
After a few years of research and planning, and two years of construction, the Espérance III – an impressive 25 ton, 18-meter long boat with 112m² of sails –connects the past, present, and future. It symbolizes the commitment to the pure waters flowing into the lake from the mountains around Annecy, to the sailing techniques from the past, and to the energy-producing technologies of the future.
A living symbol of Lake Annecy and its heritage
This historic, scientific, and educational project has united people through a common passion. By a variety of programs, it serves as an educational tool to introduce Lake Annecy and its natural and cultural heritage to students, the general public, and even companies. As of today, the Espérance III Education Program has provided 877 students from 17 schools in the area the chance to monitor construction and 444 of them to visit the shipyard.
In the spring, ASTERS, a local nature conservation organization, will help to organize school outings on the lake, and tours of the boat when docked in Annecy and the area’s nature reserves (Bout-du-Lac, St-Jorioz).
From lessons on navigating the lake, to workshops and conferences, this boat-observatory will provide a clearer understanding of today’s most pressing environmental issues, and explain the immediate steps needed to preserve mountain aquatic ecosystems along with the pristine waters of Lake Annecy.
Volunteer training: calling all freshwater sailors!
The sails have finally arrived! After installation and one last check for compliance with specifications, training on how to navigate the lake began for 80 volunteers (workshops on anchoring, knots, and managing the sails). In a warm, friendly, and academic atmosphere, the Captains, First Mates, and crew members are training hard to be prepared for the general public. For those interested, there is still time to join the adventure.
Only the hard work and dedication of the 200 committed volunteers who joined the non-profit, as well as the motivation and energy of Pierre Lachenal (president of the non-profit and the brains behind the project), Reynaud Veyret (general secretary), and Jean-Luc Baudin (board member and communications manager) made this project possible since it launched in 2016.
The adventure has just begun, and the Espérance III will soon lift anchor. The first outing on the lake is scheduled for June 2022…
- © Espérance III
Journalist: Aude Pollet-Thiollier
Translation: Darin Reisman