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January 24, 2014

Live for the moment

I first started ‘sailing’ in Firefly dinghies with college friends, bouncing from bank to bank on the Norfolk Broads. Ten years later in Hong Kong I was on the trapeze for Ian racing his 16 ft Hobie Cat, but always with San Mig in the cool bag. Ian and I could capsize and right the Cat after the 10 minute gun!

In 1992/96, while working in London on the Jubilee Line Extension, I sailed on the STS Arethusa, a 59 ft ketch, based at Upnor on the Medway. At every opportunity I sailed with Arethusa who had up to 14 voyage crew and 4 permanent crew. We had weekend and week sails around UK coast, channel crossings and a memorable week crossing the Gibraltar Straits between Spain and Morocco. After a W/E on Arethusa I was very relaxed returning to site on a Monday morning! At this time I learnt about the RYA Day Skipper and duly completed the course.

Also at this time I sailed an offshore passage from Portugal to the Canaries, 3 hours on and 3 hours off watch for 6 days. At the end of the passage the skipper and mate were to be found with heads down in the yacht. I resolved ‘Done the offshore sailing and Never to own a boat’.

Then I went to work on the tunnels for the Xiaolangdi Multi-Purpose Dam on the Yellow River in Central China – great walking but no sailing there, nor in the other places of work like Poznan in Poland or Beirut in Lebanon.

So in 2004 I was determined to have a holiday sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean and joined a flotilla in the Ionian Sea Greece on a ‘Pot Luck’ yacht, ie it was pot luck with whom you sailed. Wendy and I were on the same boat. As the saying goes, the rest is history – sailing together at every opportunity – fantasmagorical!

Never to own a boat?! Done the offshore sailing?!

And so, together we have ‘Carrig Hannah’ a Hunter Legend 40.5 yacht. On Sunday 1 June 2008 we sailed Carrig Hannah out of Plymouth away from UK waters south across Biscay and down the Atlantic Coast of Portugal. We have taken 5 years to sail east through the Mediterranean to Turkey where she is now – ‘the art of slow travel’.

And why STW6 for me? Wendy.

Having signed up – live for the moment as ever, together with Wendy and all aboard Lord Nelson.

I wonder at the phenomenon of this nucleus of 47 disparate seafarers coming together for 61 days on this epic voyage on a special ship utilising old square rig techniques combined with modern technology brought together with innumerable skills and abilities of all aboard to have the confidence and ‘can do’ expectation to undertake this epic voyage.

Very many thanks to STS Lord Nelson, her benefactors and JST.

Fair winds, Bob


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