Epilogue Version 2

Well, that’s it – 2,704 nautical miles over 84 days (at an average of 5.5 knots per hour!), 6 new RYA certificates, 4 skippers driven to distraction, and all 4 countries of the UK visited. And my specs fixed – twice.

And what have I learned? Mainly that cliches are true for a reason: Britain is a fabulously beautiful and diverse country with friendly people; sailing does teach you both patience and urgency, and is both easier and harder than you think; sabbaticals do you good.

Would I do it again? 100% and would recommend to anyone. So many sights, sounds, tastes and many, many laughs. Other adventures are in store ………

Favourites

Sail – (not just where it was – honest!) from Arbroath to Dundee. Wind pushed us south to the mouth of the Tay estuary then helpfully changed direction a little to guide us up the river, all with a steady healthy breeze. And then the sun came out ☀️

Sailing Area – by a country (nautical?) mile, the West coast of Scotland.

Mooring – Mullion Cove and Loch Eriboll.

Friendliest Harbour – Inverness.

Pub – Dummigan’s in Portaferry

Funniest exchange – Al : “what’s that light there?” Smartypants Ellis: “that’s an eastern cardinal, flashes three times and is coloured black / yellow / black, occasionally has a bell” Al : “I meant the light on the stereo”

RBE catchphrase : “Good point. Well presented”. Used to buy time while thinking / confirming a ridiculous comment.

Most inept sailing moment (there were many) – 3 different suggestions, all wrong, to Skip as to how to leave Bangor marina; inability to actually throw overboard a Man Over Board

Meal Ashore – Seafood at Loch Shieldaig, and The Fishouse in Oban.

Meal Aboard – Prawns direct from the fishing boat in Mallaig, and Paul’s roast chicken off the Fife coast.

Cooking ingredient – Thai chilli spices blagged by Barrie in Inverness after chatting up the waitresses.

Best kit (not unexpected) – Musto sailing jacket and Gill gilet

Best kit (unexpected) – Decathalon sailing trousers and pair of Koko Pink walking shoes picked up in Oban for £35

Shore Visit – Titanic exhibition and Crumlin Road Gaol.

Yacht Club – Blyth’s floating clubhouse plus, of course, RTYC

Whisky – Laphroig

Biggest Surprise – Isle of Man and Gravesend.

Wildlife – Deer, Ottters, Minke Whale, Dolphins, Porpoises, Sea Eagles, Seals, Puffin, Gannets, Shags, Highland Coos, Feral Sheep and Feral Cattle, and friendly locals everywhere.

“Firsts” – Salcombe, Falmouth, Lands End, Scilies, IoM, Colonsay, Iona, Staffa, Hartlepool, Lowestoft, Gravesend, Cowes, Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey.

Advertisements

Day 84, September 27, Brixham to Edinburgh

Homeward bound by walk to Brixham bus station (boo hoo, the Western Lady ferry was not running), bus to Paignton, train to Exeter St David’s, bus to Exeter airport, car home.  

Stopped by the sea school office to pick up my new course completion  certificate – sure they gave it just to get rid of me.

 Much better news is that Rob was awarded his Day Skipper ticket too!! (Day Skip is a big deal as it allows you to charter) Proud Dad ❤️ and big thanks to Phil for terrific coaching.

Great to be home and on dry land in my ain hoose 😝 

Also to (a) relax on a real sofa, (b) eat at a stable table (poetry there!) and (c) kip in a proper bed. MFM!!

Overall reflections of the whole trip in a couple of days once I’ve dried out.🍺🍷🍻🍹🍸

Day 83, September 26, Dartmouth to Brixham, 19nm

Up Channel Day !!    

 Cheers Uncle Jim !!  Our memorable voyage comes to an end with a sun drenched sail in perfect winds.  A short passage enjoying the Devon coast.   

 Rob in command – strangely, he seems to enjoy ordering his old man about – as he leads the final leg to the school’s home port.  

We finished as we started in ineptitude.  Highlight being  spectacularly incompetent MOB exercises (Man over Board) where we both ran the MOB over and on one occasion failed to actually throw him overboard.  The (in) competent crew to the end❤️

No dramas as I had the honour of bringing us to our final berth before the school awarded us a lovely momento of our trip  

 The Huns amongst you will be delighted to learn of Brixham’s history  

 Dinner at the yacht club and one or two refreshments  

 And a final pic for our empties followers 

  

Day 82, September 25, Guernsey to Dartmouth, 75nm

Another early start as we set off to return to the UK mainland by crossing the English Channel.  Another sea sunrise 

 There’s 2 main shipping lanes – one for each direction – both about 5 miles wide. Eyes peeled as we don’t want any up close and personal encounters with anything large and heavy. Like a tanker.  What looks like loads of space closes alarmingly quickly and manoeuvrability is limited but all is well. 

 A long trip with little wind so a sea sunset enjoyed too 

 Then into the river Dart and onto very pretty Dartmouth. Lots of Harry Potteresque houses.  

 Ashore for a final dinner with Phil.  I think the trip has been too much for Rob. Not sure how much of him we’ll be able to return to his mother 

 

Day 81, 24 September, St Helier to StPeter Port, 28nm

Up early after an early night so shower, proper coffee in town 

 (Liberation Place – occupation in WW2 was a big deal and the histories make the blood chill) and a little walk before slipping at 10.30 for the return trip to Guernsey. Sadly, I was Skipper again due to crew incapacity i.e. hangovers🍻😳

Weather forecast was poor so pleasantly surprised by a lovely sail northward back to Guernsey.  

 

Rob and I crew for a spell together – fun (and no fights!)

This is the only time in the whole trip where we have returned to a familiar port – much easier!

Day 80 (Eighty!), 22 September, Guernsey to Jersey, 26nm

Take the short passage to Jersey under Rob’s skipperage.  The routine is all very familiar now so water and fuel onboarded and boat made ready  quite rapidly.   Witnessed a little 25 footer come alongside the fuel berth and gently pick up his crew without stopping. Impressive and all under control. 

Rob’s passage planning was perfect so we zipped over at 6.5+ knots aided by favourable tide. Sun cam out and Jersey looked like holiday destination with beaches and sand 

 Berthed quite early – 1.30 or so – and after a beans on toast lunch, Rob and I caught Scotland’s win over Japan at the Rugby World Cup at a downtown pub (no beer for us!!)

St Helier is busier and more modern than St Peter Port on Guernsey and is clearly an affluent, commercial hub albeit in casual attire. Big French influence in the modern building styles too.

The marina is very modern – under pontoon electric cabling – and spacious.  Also has a huge entry sill that dries to 4m!! 

 A big fort guards the entrance 

 Only a couple days sailing left now as we return to the mainland over the rest of the week, and to normal life, reality and responsibility.  Wonder what that’s like?😳

Day 79, September 22, St Peter Port, Guernsey

Day ashore in Guernsey. 

 First up, Costa coffee with Barrie – who is raising funds for prostate cancer research on this trip, see justgiving.com under Barrie Crofts – before a few hours theory with Phil focusing on anchoring and IRPCS.  

Afternoon spent mooching around town with Rob. Nice little town festooned with coffee shops and restaurants.  

  
An interesting mix of French and English styles with a bit of history. Old water pumps in the street, a 1920’s preserved shop (including a Keillors mini-franchise type thing!) with beams used from a 1690 ship and lots of liberation memoria from WW2. 

 
Then tea and cake – well, it keeps us off the ale. 

  

Day 78, September 21, Alderney to Guernsey, 45nm

Up earlyish to leave sleepy Alderney. 

Morning fun as we shoot the famous Alderney Races, a channel of strong tides that give us a 5 knot  push southward to Jersey. However weather closed in and winds were 100% against us so rather than beat our way to St Helier for 6 more hours we diverted to Guernsey. So much for Channel Islands sunshine as we passed the Barclay brothers’ private estate 

 However an hour later we were bathed in sunshine at St Peter Port  so CI must definitely be British!

 Dined out at a quirky Italian on the esplanade, Da Bruno, run by an eccentric older couple (including the aforementioned Bruno).  VERY highly recommended – fabby grilled sardines followed by a crispy Piccante pizza.  Washed down by lots of vino de la casa. Of course.

Another empties photo for you.  

 I’ll be glad that the booze cruise finishes soon😥

Day 76, 19 September, Cowes to Weymouth, 57nm

Another sharp start at dawn under the skipperage of Rob.  

 No wind but a beautiful morning. 

 We went past an old prisoner of war camp where in World War Two Polish prisoners were held, and past the famous Needles at the Isle of Wigh.   

 Then a long passage past Dorset’s Jurassic Coast to Weymouth.   

 Spot also the measured mile posts.

 Weymouth is a cute little town very sailing orientated with a lot of fishing and pleasure boats. Also a lot of pubs😜

ps. If I’m not answering email, it’s because Apple have had an upgrade!!👿😬