Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…

February 8, 2015 at 9:01 am

Winter is a time for the yachtsman or woman (or gardener) to rest up and plan, and plot and dream of the next coming season… I haven’t posted here since the end of November and I hope you haven’t worried that I have lost interest in my little Duet, I just had to prioritise some other stuff first.  But I’ve got heaps to tell you!

Firstly, I am very nearly through the purchase of a little cottage on the West Coast of Ireland (and as of last week have sale agreed on my place in Bristol). It’s been a bumpy ride, full of twists and dishonesty (and I’ll tell you all about it if ever we meet). Duet and I (and of course my dog Erin) hope to be relocated there fully by the end of the summer. It was very cheap but needs a lot of work!

Secondly I have gone and entered the Jester Baltimore Challenge, which is on the 14th June and goes from Plymouth to Baltimore in Ireland. I’ve joked to people that it will be my delivery trip but it’s 250 miles single handed with no engines allowed for propulsion. It is recommended that skippers have undertaken a 100 mile single handed passage beforehand. My longest passage with Duet was the last passage I did last season – 45 miles overnight from Helford to Plymouth, so I need to get that in early in the coming season.

I went to the Jester symposium and dinner in Ipswich last week and was really heartened by everyone’s very warm welcome and support. I’ve been given so much great advice and encouragement and would like to say thank you. You know who you are.

My plan for the season at the moment is to cruise back up to Poole, and then hop across to Cherbourg (which is 63 miles) and then back to Plymouth via the Channel Islands for the start of the Jester in early June. At the minute I’m thinking that I will cross Lyme Bay from Dartmouth to Weymouth straight.  I feel much more confident at the start of this season than I did last season, which I suppose is how it’s supposed to be… and of course testament to what a great little boat the Hurley 22 is. I (finally) bagged a Navik windvane on eBay this week (4th time lucky) which is going to enable me to increase my distances massively.  I helmed pretty much all the way last season.

When (not if!) I get to Baltimore I will take a more leisurely cruise round and up to our new home port, which will either be Galway or Westport in County Mayo. Great cruising, and it’s all a bit of an extension of last year’s Plan. I wasn’t ready for it then, but should be this year. Dare to dream, guys…

Before all that though, how can I resist a music video? Here’s Seu Jorge’s cover of Bowie’s ‘Changes’, sung in Portuguese in the film ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou‘. One of my favourite films. Wes Anderson, Bill Murray, very whimsical…