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 ………
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.