Luggage in front of sailboat in marina

Ready for the journey at Port du Basset in Clarens

Lac Léman, is a vast body of fresh water carved out of the Alps between France and Switzerland. Geneva is at the western end which is why it is also known Lake Geneva. It spreads over 580 square kilometers, and the distance from the far eastern end where the Rhone river pours into the lake from it’s source up the Valais to the far west in Geneva where the river continues its course onto the Mediterranean is 72 kilometers.

I’ll be sailing around Lake Geneva from Montreux to Geneva and back. Starting from Montreux along the Swiss coast to the end of the lake in Geneva and back along the French coast returning to my initial starting point, Montreux. The city is located in the far east part of what is called the Haut Lac or High Lake, where the steep rugged Alps tower two thousand meters above the cool lake waters fed by the Rhone River. Then I’ll continue along the Grand Lac, or Big Lake, and around the Petit Lac or Small Lake. A total of approximately 15o kilometers.

Dancing splash on the vast expanse of Lake Geneva

Dancing splash on the vast expanse of Lake Geneva

My boat is a modest twenty-one foot Sansonnet built in 1974, and perfect for sailing around Lake Geneva. The little craft cost me CHF2’000 (Swiss Francs) and about CHF2’000 more in renovations. It was fully equipped with several sails, including a spinnaker and a two stroke motor. Designed and built for the lake and it’s fickle wind conditions. The mooring is at the marina in Clarens, the adjacent town next to Montreux. It is extremely reasonable at a price of CHF400 per year! Ironically, in the worlds most costly country, having a boat is probably the cheapest luxury one can enjoy in Switzerland.

Big and small sailboats in Lutry Switzerland on Lake Geneva

My boat on the right dwarfed by yachts in Lutry

Switzerland was experiencing a fabulously war summer since July and into August. It seemed now or never to sail round the landlocked sea. So I gathered up my cameras, called my brother Stephane, and decided to give this lake a go-a-round.

CONTINUE TO DAY 1