[Raid TunisiaFoil 2022] The successful challenge of Alan Gabet, Michelle Walleh and Regis Petrato!

After 3 years of preparation and 2 false starts due to Covid, we can finally start our new challenge! Nothing can stop us! Not even a few minor sores… Michelle and Regis damaged their right hamstring and had to wear a splint. Alan has a torn right biceps tendon and has severe loss of vision in his right eye!

so sad. There is no way to get it back.

The adventure we embarked on, was born from the imagination of Alan Gabbet. The challenge of “Tunisfoil” is to join the island of Djerba to the Kerkennah Islands, cross the Gulf of Gabes and then ascend to Monastir with windsurfing. In addition to the physical performance, there is also a technical challenge, as the surfboards will be equipped with chips, which must be mastered in the swell, the strong currents of the bay of the region. Of course, this raid will be punctuated by confrontations along the way.

It all begins in Castelsardo, in Sardinia, where we set out on our motor catamaran, “Capriccio 520”, for a distance of 600 miles or 1,200 km to Tunis. It will take us about 60 hours to reach the island of Djerba.

But the first step is to settle the administrative, union, police and customs procedures in Gammarth, the port of Tunis. Despite our multiple requests for permission, the drone, our photographer, Xavier was not accepted upon our arrival in Tunisia and was blocked at customs until our return to France. Shame. We go directly to the starting point of the raid, Djerba to cross the Gulf of Gabes.

The Gulf of Gabes holds its reputation. In this bay there are no sailing boats…and for good reason! It is not possible to navigate everywhere due to the shallow waters that range from a few centimeters to several meters. The golf course is also subject to strong tides (up to 1.70 m), very strong currents … With a foil 95 cm deep, it is necessary to prepare the course seriously with nautical charts, and not to go too far!

TF Regis 01

This Monday, we leave with an erratic east wind that should rise. Lifting the nearby slides hitting a violent current from the face, you feel like you’re in the washing machine… Alan gets into the water, Regis and Michele will provide technical assistance. First, a 6.4 sail and a small ply wing, but the wind didn’t pick up as expected… Alan turned 7.8 and a big wing. Take the opportunity to eat on the board, pasta, dried fruits. The wind is getting stronger as we approach Kerkennah. Navigation by chips becomes very technical and demanding, accompanied, as it should, with some downfalls … We expected it. As night falls, you have to go back to the boat. Only a deep enough narrow passage makes it possible to reach the port. The National Guard is waiting there and directing us at night to the pier. There was a welcome committee already. And the next day, an official reception by the municipality, representatives of the Wali and the Tunisian National Tourist Office.

Expected storm the day after tomorrow. We take advantage of the small weather window to depart the next day in the direction of Monastir. We have to navigate in a narrow lane to avoid shallow waters, we have to adapt to sea conditions, and navigation with 3 people becomes complicated. In order not to waste time waiting for us, we decided to make relays to get as far as possible before dark. We stopped in the middle of the road and, having taken the GPS point, we had to go up and take refuge in Monastir, because after the BMS (Special Weather Report) all the fishermen returned to the surrounding ports and there was no longer a square.

Tunisia Foil Michel 117

The last day of the raid awaits us, we must surely succeed in our challenge. We go back to our GPS point, and we avoid the fishing grounds that caused some setbacks with the nets the day before… We want to complete this last stage together. If one of us strays too far, we risk losing him or her. Wind conditions force us to walk. Our Capriccio raft shows us the path to follow, and despite some falls from Alain, we somehow manage to stay together.
After two hours we see the port of Monastir. It motivates us. A collective energy that drives us to the entrance to the port of Monastir, it is a bonus for the whole team. Doubts finally disappear, everything becomes easier, physical suffering disappears, smiles and joy appear on people’s faces. It’s good, let’s relax! This mass arrival in front of the Ribat of Monastir marks the end of the raid. The adventure continues. Our faithful catamaran “El capriccio” and its captain Bernard take us back to Castelsardo in Sardinia, our starting point.

Tunisia Foil Triple 140

The team would like to thank for their welcome and assistance:

Al-Hadi Al-Gharbi, President of FTV, and his team.

Karim Samouda and his team in Djerba.

Kerkennah municipality to the regional director of the Tunisian National Labor Office.

Oussama Khalafallah, ONTT Tunisia.

Passengers: Alain Gabet, Michel Auley, Regis Petrato

Assistants: Bernard Stumpf, Jack Galicht, Reda Sohail

Photographer: Xavier RIVET

The adventure movie should be available in May.

Organizing Societies: Raids, Adventures and Olivier in Isere

The team thanks all of its partners!

Pioneer Partners

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