Biographical Notes and Cruises aboard Jean-du-Sud

Biographical Notes and Cruises aboard Jean-du-Sud

Born Jan. 17, 1939 in Montréal, Québec, Canada. Studies in Montréal. 

1958-61 : Trained professionally as an actor at the Conservatoire d’art dramatique du Québec.

1961-70 : Actor, director and producer for stage and television.

1963-66, Summer cruises in the St. Lawrence River and Gulf as crew and skipper on various boats.

1967 : Purchased 24 ft fiberglass sloop. (Olympic Star, Hull no. 11), named Jean-du-Sud.

First self-steerer on stern of boat

1968 :  Jean-du-Sud is fitted with a first self-steering sytem designed and built by Y. G. (with vertical axis vane and Hasler type servo-pendulum), and carried to Sept-Iles on the North Shore of the St. Lawrence as deck cargo on a freighter; cruise to Percé, then single-handed across the Gulf of St. Laurence to the  Magdalen Islands,  Anticosti and Natashquan, where I had the honor of meeting the real Jean-du-Sud, the father of poet Gilles Vigneault.

The real Jean du Sud

1970-75 : Worked as first assistant-director on feature-length films for the screen.

July 1973 : Purchased present boat, named also Jean-du-Sud (Alberg 30 hull no. 399) and fitted it with a self-steering system  designed and built by Y.G. (with horizontal axis vane and auxiliary rudder).

Second self-steerer

Nov. 1973 : Cruised to the West Indies (offshore between  Beaufort NC and St. Maarten), as far as the Grenadines. 

Spring 1974 : Returned to Québec via the Bahamas and US East Coast.

June 1975 : Single-handed cruise to Bermuda; return to Martha's Vineyard Island. Began working on the design of a permanent self-steering system for JdS.
Single-handed passage from Martha’s Vineyard Is. to Martinique via Bermuda.  First season of charter.

1976 : Single-handed return from St. Thomas USVI to Norfolk VA. Cruise from Norfolk to St. Paul Québec alone with my two daughters, 6 and 8 years old.

1976 : Third voyage to the W. I. Single-handed passage from Beaufort to St. Barth.  Second season of charter.

1977 : Sailed from St. Maarten across the Atlantic to Açores and Falmouth, England.  Cruised the Cornish coast.  Wintered near St. Malo, in Brittany. 

1978 : Cruised to the Baltic via Holland and the Kiel canal, as far as Uppsala, Sweden, to visit the new home of my daughters, who had moved there with their mother. Return to St. Malo in the Fall.

1978-81 : Worked in a boatyard in Plouër-sur Rance (near St. Malo).  Started to prepare my boat and myself for a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation. Worked on the preparation of a 16 mm film narrating the voyage.

Plouër in 1978

Sept.-Dec. 1979 : Translation of a book by H. A. Rey, The Stars, A New Way to See Them into French for les Éditions Maritimes et d'Outre-Mer. Title in French : Sachez lire les Étoiles.

Translator at work

1980-81 : Pursued the design of a self-steering system, construction and test of a prototype.  Further preparation of the voyage and the film.

Sept. 1, 1981 : Left St. Malo, France, bound for Gaspé, Québec, the long way around the world, through the Roaring Forties and around Cape Horn, alone aboard Jean-du-Sud.  Financed the voyage by transmitting daily reports through Ham radio, that were re-broadcast on a network of radio stations in Québec.  Rounded Cape of Good-Hope Nov. 16 1981, Cape Leeuwin Jan. 1st. 1982.

Force 10

Feb. 15, 1982 :  Jean-du-Sud was capsized through 360° and dismasted in the Pacific.  Reached Chatham Islands under jury rig after 169 days at sea.  Flew back to Montréal to finish the editing of the film narrating the first leg of the voyage.

Ashore at the Chatham Islands

May 1982 : The film Jean-du-Sud (Part One)  broadcast on the French network of Radio-Canada.

Oct. 1982 : Film broadcast in France.

BFlew back to the Chatham Islands to repair and refit Jean-du-Sud.  Left Dec. 23, rounded Cape Horn 39 days later and sailed into Gaspé, Québec, May 9th 1983, after 28200 miles and 282 sailing days.

Arrival at Gaspé

Oct. 1983 : International Sailing Film Festival of La Rochelle, France : the film Jean-du-Sud (Part One) won the Grand Prize (unanimous jury) and the Prize of the Press.

1983-84 : Lecture tours with film in Québec.

June 1984 : The film Jean-du-Sud (Part Two) presented on the French network of Radio-Canada.
Jean-du-Sud sailed up the St. Lawrence from Gaspé to Québec without an engine.

The film  Jean-du-Sud (Part Two) at the Toulon International Sea and Exploration Film Festival: Grand Prize (unanimous jury) and Prize of the Public.

August 1984 : Laval University of Québec granted an Honorary Doctorate to Yves Gélinas for the excellence of both his artistic and sailing accomplishments.

Doctor Gélinas

Dec. 1984 : The film Jean-du-Sud (Part Two) at the Turin Sport Film Festival (Italy) : Grand Prize.

1985 : Awarded a grant by the Canada Council, Y. G. begins writing the narration of the voyage.

Summers 1985, '86, '87 : Engineless cruises in the Lower St. Laurence River.

Oct. 1985 : Jean-du-Sud (Part Two) at the La Rochelle International Sailing Film Festival : Grand Prize.

Nov. 1985 : The film Jean-du-Sud (Parts One and Two put together)  at the Troiá International Film Festival (Portugal) : Premio da Regiao de Turismo da Costa Azul. (Presented in feature-length version, the film was in competion with theatrical 35 mm films)

1986 : Lecture tours with film in France.

1987 : Jean-du-Sud (parts one and two) at the Rome  Festival Internazionale del video e del film di mare (Italy) :  Gran Premio.

Feb. 1988 : Publication of the book (in French) Jean-du-Sud et l’Oizo-Magick, the narration of the voyage (Éditions Leméac, Montréal).

May 1988 : Jean-du-Sud (condensed 52 min. English TV version) at the Houston 21st. Annual Festival of the Americas :  Silver Award.

Summer 1988 : JdS Sailed up the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers to Oka without engine.

July 1989 : Creation of Cape Horn Marine Products, to manufacture and market the Cape Horn Integrated Self-Steering System Gélinas had designed and tested during the circumnavigation.

Summer 1993 : Sailed engineless up the Ottawa river to Ottawa, Ontario.

Anchored in front of the Parliament building, Ottawa

Summer 1995 : JdS is fitted with an outboard engine. Cruise to the Thousand Islands, upper St. Lawrence river.

Summer 1996 : JdS hauled to Padanaram Mass. Cruised between Nantucket and Block Island.  Wintered in Bristol RI.

1996 : Second Edition of  Jean-du-Sud et l’Oizo-Magick in France by Editions du Plaisancier and Loisirs Nautiques.

Summer 1997 : Cruised from Padanaram to Maine.  Hauled back to Oka.

Berthed at the Museum of Yachting in Newport

Summer 1998 : JdS hauled to Newport RI to participate in the commemoration of the Joshua Slocum Centennial.  Yves Gélinas receives the Golden Circle Award from the Joshua Slocum Society International.

JdS Sailed from there to Nova-Scotia and cruised the South-West Coast to Halifax. Hauled back to Oka.

Summer 1999 : JdS hauled to Fredericton NB. Sailed down the St. John River, into Bay of Fundy through the Refersing Falls. Cruised along the Eastern Seabord to Annapolis MD.  Hauled back to Oka after the US Sailboat Show.

Anchored in the St.John River

Summer 2000 : JdS hauled to Midland Ontario; cruised Georgian Bay to the North Channel.

In Georgian Bay

Summer 2001 : JdS hauled to Caraquet NB. Sailed to Magdalen Islands, then sailed across North Atlantic to Ireland, then England and France.  Came  back to Saint-Malo and Plouër 20 years after leaving for the circumnavigation.   Wintered in the Seine River, 50 km downstream from Paris.

Plouër in 2001

Summer 2002 : Cruised up the Seine to Paris, then the French canals and rivers; wintered in Numansdorp, Holland.

Summer 2003 : From Lowlands to Highlands.  Cruised northward through Holland.  Sailed through the North Sea from Den Helder, Holland North to Peterhead, Scotland, then Inverness; Passed through the Caledonian Canal and the three Lochs : Ness, Oich and Lochy.  Cruised through Hebrides and along the East coast of Northern Ireland and Eire. Sailed across Irish Sea from Dublin to Hollyhead.  Winttered in Port Penhryn in Menai Strait, Wales.

Urquart Castle, Loch Ness

Summer 2004 : South Brittany : Passage through the Irish Sea from Menai Strait  to the Isles of Scilly, then Brest.  Coastal cruise of South Brittany to La Rochelle.  Wintered in Rochefort.

Summer 2005 : Around Spain.  Sailed up the Gironde, then across Bay of Biscay to Santander, Spain.  Cruised the coasts of Galicia, Portugal, through Gibrtaltar into the Med ; wintered in Ibiza.

Porto, Portugal

Summer 2006 : Corsica - Sardinia.  Sailed from Ibiza to Barcelona, then Marseille, Corsica and Sardinia ; back to Marseille to winter near Martigues, in the Étang de Berre. 

Cala Greco, Lavezzi, Corsica

Summer 2007 : Cruise along the Italian coast. Return via Corsica, Minorca, Majorca, Ibiza, Gibraltar, Porto Santo (Madeira). 

2008 : January : Single-handed Passage across the Atlantic from Porto Santo to St-Martin, WI.  Spring,r eturn to Oka, Québec, where Jean-du-Sud will at last find its home port.

2009 : Jean-du-Sud on the hard behind the CapeHorn shop undergoes a complete refit, as maintenance had been minimal during the 7 years it was in Europe.

2010 : Cruise up the St. Lawrence, to the Thousand Islands and the Bay of Quinte.

2011 : Cruise down the St. Lawrence towards Gaspé.  Passage towards Magdalen Islands, then the West Coast of Newfoundland.  Sailed North along the NFcoast towards Strait of Belle-Isle and Blanc Sablon, at the border between Québec and Labrador.  Return via the Lower North Shore of the St. Lawrence.

Bay of Islands, Newfoundland

October 2011 : Yves Gélinas elected to the Hall of Fame of the Québec Sailing Federation.

2012 : Return to the Lower North Shore of the St. Lawrence : Jean-du-Sud is hauled to Sept-Îles, Québec and launched there.  Cruise during July along this coast as far as Blanc Sablon. Then it is hauled up river to Iroquois, Ont. to spend the month of August in the Thousand Islands

Fog Rainbow on Lower North Shore

2013 :  Jean-du-Sud is hauled to Gloucester MA.  Sailed South through Cape Cod Canal, cruised to Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard waters, Newport, through Long Island Sound, New York, NJ shore, up Delaware Bay, down Chesapeake. Hauled back to Oka after the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis.

Hadley Harbor MA

2014, January 17 : On the day of Gélinas' 75th birthday,  the film Jean-du-Sud is re-mastered in High Definition in a New York studio thanks to the generosity of Don Peebles, a film and sailing enthusiast.

Summer : Launched in Rimouski Québec, half way down the St. Lawrence. Sailed down the river, crossed to Magdalen Islands, Cape Breton, through strait of Canso, south along the coast of Nova Scotia, crossed the Gulf of Maine, cruised Maine as far as Boston ; hauled back to Oka from Gloucester.

East Point Gut NS

Oct. 2015 : Jean-du-Sud Hauled from Oka 1000 km to Galesville MD ; Sailed down the Chesapeake, then out to St. Maarten, WI. South along the Lesser Antilles to the Grenadines. Return via Cuba, then North through the Bahamas and Florida.  Hauled 2300 km back to Oka in April 2016.  Click here for a “Succinct and Illustrated Account” of the cruise.


Dec. 2016 :, the website of British sailing magazines Yachting Monthly, Yachting World and Practical Boat Owner lists the best boat-themed films released in the 1980s, with this comment about Jean-du-Sud : “Many consider this the greatest sailing film of all time. A must see for all sailors.”    
Oct. 2017 : Thirty years after having been published in French, the book Jean-du-Sud et l'Oizo-Magick is translated in English and published by Annapolis-based 59ºNorth, under the title Jean-du-Sud and the Magick Byrd


Summer 2018 : JdS hauled to Caraquet NB.  Sailed across Gulf of St. Lawrence to Magdalen Islands, then around Cape Breton into Bras d'Or Lakes; return via Isle Madame, Canso and Northumberland Straits.