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January 24, 2014

Why am I here?

Adventure is for grandmas too!

I caught the sailing bug at the age of seven. My father had hired a tiny gunter rigged, clinker built dinghy from Dorman brothers in Salcombe. I recall being rowed out to this craft by George and left to work out how to rig and put up the sails. It took us so long, by the time we were ready to set sail we found ourselves high and dry on the Salcombe mud!

Of course we soon got the hang of it and several happy family holidays were spent exploring the estuary and even once venturing beyond the bar (the sand bar at the estuary entrance, for those readers unfamiliar with Salcombe).

University days gave me the opportunity to race Enterprises in Swansea Bay and against other Welsh University sailing clubs.

For the usual sorts of reasons of career, and a young family, several years passed before the purchase of a 14 foot dinghy to take my sons sailing. We explored the Solent rivers of the Hamble, Beaulieu and Keyhaven, before these beautiful spots became parking lots for yachts and once ventured up to Newtown from Cowes with the tide.

As the boys became interested in pursuits other than sailing with Mum, I caught another bug, this time cruising yachts. My first beloved ‘Mano Amica’ a 26 foot Superseal, which I kept in Neyland, Pembrokeshire with the sailing areas of the Bristol Channel, up to Lundy, across to Padstow in Cornwall and across the Irish Sea, not to forget the amazing wildlife islands of Skomer and Skokholm, just beyond Milford Haven and across St Brides Bay towards St Davids.

A few years later, Pembrokeshire seemed a long way to go sailing from Milton Keynes, so I changed my sailing area for a short time to the Solent. Together with a change of vessel 35 foot ‘Kassiopia’, this move enabled me to take part in a number of Blind Weeks, which in alternate years is hosted by the Royal Southampton and Royal Falmouth Yacht Clubs. I am very much in tune with the ‘can do’ philosophy which Blind Week and the JST share.

My husband, Bob, and I bought our current vessel, ‘Carrig Hannah’ together at the end of 2006, and have adventured together since 2008 when we left Plymouth. Having taken 5 years to sail to Turkey, we still have some Mediterranean adventures to come, so any longer sea voyage would have to be with a different ship. Hence I found myself on the Canaries to Azores voyage with Lord Nelson. While aboard, JST announced this amazing Round the World voyage …..

On watch last night, with the near full moon appearing spasmodically from behind the clouds, Orion in a different aspect to that normally viewed at home, the Southern Cross, and our nearest human beings being those in the Space Station passing overhead just after we came on watch at midnight – I wonder whether they looked down at this tiny speck on the Southern Ocean as we looked up at them?

Grab a chance … and you won’t be sorry for the might-have-been!

 


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