From the Kerkennah Islands to the Singular Island, one of the last Tunisian loudes is preparing to return to the sea

From the Kerkennah Islands to the Singular Island, one of the last Tunisian loudes is preparing to return to the sea

Le Haj Ameur, aujourd'hui Le Loud, dans les îles Kerkennah. D.R.

Ce voilier oublié a repris vie grâce aux Voiles latines. Son premier propriétaire nous raconte son histoire avant sa mise à l’eau.

"To my knowledge, it is one of the last two representatives of this type of boat still in seaworthy condition." Sétois Robert Antraygues knows by heart the funny sailboat which will return to its natural element, this Saturday March 16 at the Plagette shipyard. And for good reason. He is at the origin of its construction, more than thirty years ago. Named the Haj Ameur when it left one of the shipyards in Sfax, Tunisia, the traditional rigging had several lives, then the # 39;oblivion. Thanks to the know-how of the Latin Sails association, the one we now call Le Loud s&# 39;is preparing to write a new page in its history on the banks of the Thau basin.

In his apartment on the quayside, Robert Antraygues scrolls through the photos on his computer. And goes back in time to the beginning of the 90s. He was then director of a Parisian association and organized breakaway trips around the world for teenagers in great difficulty. "My wanderings led me to the Kerkennah Islands, an archipelago to the east of Tunisia populated by fishermen. They were the ones who told me about the loudes, these forgotten sailboats of which almost no representative remained. I wanted to build a felucca. They told me, 'it's a loude that you need'".< /p>

In this region protected by sandy shoals, the loude has long been the preferred boat for fishing and coastal shipping to the Libyan coast. Unable to accommodate an engine, it was gradually abandoned by the inhabitants of Kerkennah. "I'was seduced by the adventure and, thanks to the memories of local shipwrights and taking as a model the wreck of's boat ;nbsp;Bourguiba(read below), the Haj Ameur became reality. On the island, it was an incredible party, remembers Robert Antraygues.

The replica of Habib Bourguiba’s exile boat

Origins. In March 1945, Habib Bourguiba, who would become president of the Tunisian Republic from 1957 to 1945, 1987, is forced to flee the country. The father of Tunisian independence then turned to the fishermen of the Kerkennah Islands to come to his aid. Undercover, he will succeed in reach the Libyan coast & aboard a loude, to then reach Cairo in Egypt. This boat of exile was then transported. preserved by the Tunisians, à the state of wreck. It is he who will serve as a model for others. Robert Antraygues for the Amer Haj, given à water this Saturday à Sète, then for El Felah, created; for the purposes of a film. The historic Loude will finally be set on fire. in August 2015.

For three years, the loude was used by the association. Then returned to France in the hold of a ferry, before reaching the Etang de Salses, where he gradually fell into oblivion. "Some of our members have heard about this boat, stranded near Barcares for around fifteen years. It was necessary to save his memory, explains the president of Voiles Latines Jacques Molinari. In its condition, getting it out of the water took us three years. It took four more years to restore it!"

“A heritage interest and an object of study”

Questions à Jacques Molinari, president of Voiles Latines de Sète et du bassin de Thau, the association which undertook the restoration of the Loud.

Why did you decide? to restore The Loud ?

What convinced us was its heritage interest. This boat has real historical value, particularly for Tunisia and even more so for the inhabitants of Kerkennah. It is in a way a witness to the past, which we took as an object of study to document in depth this type of boat.< /p>

It’éwas also a sacred challenge…

The biggest challenge our volunteers have taken on ! By its size, Le Loud is a unique project for the Plagette shipyard. Also by its cost (around 25,000 euros, editor’s note). But he led to some a tremendous mobilization, with more than 50 members who worked on its restoration, helped by trainees from several Breton training centers. 90% of the boat was restored. resumed, but scrupulously respecting the characteristics of the period.

What is his future ?

He is going to join the Latin Sails fleet! It’s an excellent boat for initiation into the sport. traditional sailing. And for the general public, it will be visible on our stand during Escale à Sète, on the side of the Criée.

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