It’s certainly been an interesting year! Not many people get to take an overly extended vacation. Fewer get to experience a transatlantic crossing in their own sailboat, fewer still then have such good relationships with their bosses that they’re able to take back their jobs and carry on as before! Blessed indeed!
The highlight for me for the whole trip was tying up in Whitehaven, back in the UK under my own steam. http://toodleoo.com/?p=347 Very silly I know, but the sense of accomplishment was just fantastic. Of course there were other memorable experiences 5 of which stick out particularly:
1. The sail down the Sakonnet river in the early morning as we left Portsmouth and started our journey. It was a gorgeous morning with light winds, clear as a bell. Our friends Peter and Diane were there on the rocks below Fogland and waved us off. http://toodleoo.com/?p=76
2. The 20+ foot seas that we encountered about half way to the Azores from Boston. In spite of the challenging conditions, we kept our heads and the event was weathered with some ease – though we did indeed take sensible decisions to deal with the conditions at hand, towing a weighted warp to keep the boat pointing appropriately and preventing her from riding the faces of the waves. Toodle-oo! remained steady throughout.
3. Landfall in the Azores. Not only had we managed to cover the 2,000 mile journey, but our planning and execution had been great. The last day of the trip we sensibly slowed the boat and had a wonderfully relaxed day aboard, arriving the following morning at first light, albeit in windy conditions. Having made port, we anchored initially to take a breather and then radioed in to some boats that we’d begun an SSB dialog with, thereby securing some much needed assistance to get us into a slip whose fingers were only half the length of Toodle-oo! and secure us without fuss. A well executed ending to a great passage – a passage that earned us full membership of the Ocean Cruising Club. http://toodleoo.com/?p=120
4. Friendships established in the Azores with OCC members. In particular, Tony and Rachel aboard Saltwhistle III, Steve and Chris on Chewsy, Mark aboard Lone Rival, Jen aboard Pakeia, Mick aboard the ill-fated and diminutive Simo and of course Commodore John and Leading Lady Jenny aboard Al Shaheen. The comradeship that quickly developed between long distance cruisers has been talked about – but now we were finally experiencing it. We look forward to the prospect of meeting up with all of them again – sometime in the future in some distant port – and hopefully we’ll be able to remember each other’s names! http://toodleoo.com/?p=224
5. The passage from the Azores to Ireland. Albeit with much help from Tony on Saltwhistle III, this passage marked the first where I was truly in charge of the routing myself. Put it down to beginner’s luck, but we managed to secure wind and consequent fast passage of under 8 days whereas the rest of the OCC fleet that left a day or two either side of our departure, struggled to find any wind. The downside of this luck was a constantly heeled boat making life down below just a little challenging. http://toodleoo.com/?p=299
We’re now back in the US and working for a crust – but I’ll be updating the site from time to time…