So this is it, our last night in Port Solent, Portsmouth – we leave the harbor at noon tomorrow. There has been some (ok, a lot of ) stress but also lots of fun and a really steep learning curve – which we love.
Not having written a blog before I thought I would give some thought as to what I would and would not cover. However, in the end I decided to go with a flow of thoughts, feelings and news as it happens. Sometimes I guess there will be not much going on but just at the moment there is a lot going on so I wanted to capture it.
We were advised to stay the winter in the UK in order to get to know the boat and ensure we had all the work done – We chose to ignore that advice and stay for only 3 weeks .
Having a deadline has meant some stress and pressure but it has also meant that we got what we needed doing done – we even managed to get some things we didn’t ‘need’ doing – our TV, our Team Magic Gear, our LED lighting – fun things that will ensure that it really will be home from home and not a compromise.
As for getting to know the boat well we will get to know her crossing Biscay and during the whole of our 8-12 day journey to Lagos. We are delighted to be travelling with the very calm and experienced Simon Phillips from Seaway – he is a Yacht Master and RYA instructor and a pragmatic and intelligent leader.
We also think that the added benefit of not staying in the UK during November, December and January can be summed up by the toughts of our Christmas lunch – Sardines on the pushpit BBQ with some Port…..
urm I do think we are making a good choice.
Christmas without our family will be a first , however . ….The kids are all busy with their fantastic careers and happy lives – they all have plans for Christmas this year – so this is the first year that we will have Christmas on our own after 25 years of family rearing. I am not sure how alone we will be however as the Cruising fraternity in Lagos is already welcoming us – they have a membership called ‘The Navigators’ and we already have invitations to the Christmas Carols and Portuguese lessons.
Today was fantastic – I loved working with the innovative and positive leaders at Essex County Council and it reminded me of how very cool it is to support people who support people. I am looking forward to hearing how their success continues – whist I was there I got a call from Morgan Sindall telling me that they had made a fantastic bid based on the work we did together– so, I can leave feeling happy that the work I have done prior to our trip has all been successful and positive – now, even though it is now 7.30pm (I left this am at 6am) and I am still on a train not yet near Portsmouth I feel happy and contented – the stress of the last few days has melted away and I am excited to join our Skipper – Simon and Crew as well as our neighbor and some of the many people who have helped us – including the now famous ANDY KIRCHER!
In the morning I will swap my work clothes for Oilskins and boots and switch planning trains and tubes for doing a passage plan and checking tide tables not time tables.
We leave at noon – Mark wants to slip the lines – (as that was the prominent part of his dream). Then, we sail out to sea – past the Isle of White and away. The passage plan from Simon so far is:
Dependant upon wind direction either staying closer to the UK coast and then crossing shipping lanes in the western approaches, or crossing the channel sooner and following the French coast. I would like to stop in Camaret, which is a pretty little French fishing town just west of Brest. Here we can obtain the latest forecasts before crossing Biscay. After Biscay, dependant upon fuel / food supplies, a nice place to stop is Baiona, which is just in Spain. Earlier places to pull into if weather is no good are Vigo and surrounding rivers. From here it is a relatively straight trip to the majestic Cape St. Vincent, where we turn towards Lagos!
So that’s that – we leave at noon.. but before we go
… thank you to all our friends and family who have supported and encouraged us and also thank you to everyone in Port Solent Marina and to Brilans for all the printing of course thanks to ANDY KIRCHER – did I mention ANDY enough !! and a big cuddle to DAVE who finally fixed the heating – what a star ( apparently every marine heating engineer on the South Coast knew who we were!!) with that tought in mind a BIG thank you to the white knight who is TOBY HAGUE from Keto who, dispite being very, very busy – spoke to me and Andy and Dave several times to help us get the heating working – that certainly will make our crossing a lot more comfortable.
Now nearly 8pm – I hope I will join the guys and May soon for our leaving do!
So if you want to find us on Ship Finder or similar you can – I think you just use that number to find us. If you do follow us on that – and are wondering why we have stopped it will most certainly be due to the discovery of a good bar!!
How excited are we?
Photos taken today of what I will NOT miss…..