When one approaches the launch of what has been the dream of half a lifetime,...
Our chosen date for departure was 16 June, but it should not be left undescribed as just another insignificant date, as it holds many special memories for us.
When we set sail from the Isles of Scilly, Siobhán and I were confident and composed about being totally self-sufficient ... in the alien environment of the Celtic sea...
What a pure adrenalin rush and adventurous derring-do for both of us, to launch ourselves into the Atlantic in a very sound craft...
The night we arrived on the Spanish coast, we were sailing from Cape Finisterre to Portosin, running for shelter before the hurricane struck.
Our sojourn in the marina at Leixoěs enabled us to visit the ancient city of Oporto, the centre of the world’s port trade.
At 2230 hours, we furled the lightweight genoa and unfurled the working jib, going at the same speed but more upright with a north-easterly force 4/5.
This was it then, the day had arrived, the moment for which I had dreamed for so many years and for which Siobhán and I had worked and prepared for the previous two to three years or more.
For the next three weeks we saw only one other yacht and that on the horizon.
We have arranged to spend New Year’s Eve at a party on the beach ... and to barbecue on the beach on New Year’s Day.
... but what of our further dreams, will they come to fruition?
On 10 January 2007, we lifted the anchor and turned the bow towards Grenada and the Caribbean proper, since Barbados is an island on its own in the Atlantic some 100 miles from the nearest Caribbean island of the Windward Islands.
..., as it was still morning, we headed out again towards Mayreau, the next in the chain of the Grenadines.
We arrived in Cul de Sac du Marin, Martinique, having had a fast and windy crossing, at 1220 hours, and then piloted our way between the reefs up to the head of the bay, by means of the excellent French buoyage system.
We were heading for the Iles des Saintes, a group of idyllic small islands just south of Guadeloupe.
Two days after sending our last chronicle, we left the Dutch side of the dual-ruled island of Sint Maarten/St Martin and headed for the French side and anchored in Marigot Bay.
We switched onto starboard tack with the full main and lightweight genoa and headed north-west in search of the southerlies on the west of the high pressure area.
We arrived in the United States of America on 27 May 2007 and sailed up Rhode Island Sound, calmly, sedately and unhurriedly after 12 days of ocean life. We surveyed to port and starboard the sumptuous mansions, whose grounds ran down to the water’s edge ...
After four relaxing days in Jamestown, we cast off and headed north towards Plymouth, Massachusetts, along Buzzard Bay, stopping in a couple of places en route.
We had planned to travel gradually along the Sound and chose Mystic River as our first point of entry on the Connecticut side. I had noticed a slight juddering in the steering wheel when under pressure and wanted it examined before it worsened.
It was an exciting day’s sailing in respect of our entry into the Big Apple. The East River was calm and unchallenging, so we enjoyed the New York skyline gradually appearing out of the haze and later found ourselves dwarfed by the skyscrapers on our starboard side.
At 1300 hours on 30 July, with mixed emotions, we cast off the shorelines at Brielle Marine Basin. We waved goodbye to our relatives, most of whom had come to wave us off and had posed for photographs with us and “Light Blue”. Our hearts were in our throats and tears in our eyes, as we put on a brave face, ...
A Chesapeake skipjack sailed out majestically as we were anchoring. A cool breeze is cooling the saloon and reducing the 85º heat to a more liveable temperature thanks to Siobhán’s handiwork in making the wind scoop, which works perfectly. ...
We stayed in the anchorage at “Mile Zero” in Portsmouth for four days from 5 to 9 October and visited Norfolk on the other side of the Elizabeth River, walked miles and enjoyed our visits to the Chrysler Art Gallery and the Argentinian sail training ship “Libertad”. We were awoken early one morning by a super cruise ship tying up on the other side of the river ...
... but into every life a little rain must fall, or rather, in our case a 57-foot mast, rigging, sails etc., ... without warning and little noise, the whole lot went over the starboard side of the boat.
Tony and Parson Jack Russell 'Schooner' spent Christmas Day with us while Dave was visiting relatives in Spain and a wonderful time was had by all, with turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas pudding and loads to drink (some nightmare — ed.)
Eventually, with all prep work done and our new crew aboard, we said all our goodbyes, with emotionally charged lumps in our throats, filled up with diesel and cast off, headed out across the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) and out into the inlet towards the Atlantic Ocean. Head into the wind, we ...
By midnight, the wind had risen to 21 knots, so we furled the LWG, unfurled the working jib, put one reef in the main and settled in for a fast bout of broad reaching. I wrote, ‘Good to be alive’.
The promised gales eventually arrived. While Siobhán, Kent and Mary Lou went into Hamilton to provision, I stayed on Light Blue, just in case lines parted and I needed to move her, and experienced winds up to 59.8 knots. We had tied up to three of the offshore anchor lines and were protected on the starboard side by the Hallberg Rassey, ...
... we slipped our lines and passed out of the marina and headed off at 035º towards the western tip of Graciosa and onwards to Kinsale about 1,200 miles away. In a virtually cloudless sky, we motored until 15.00 hours, when the wind picked up to force 4.