Norfolk Broads

I did my first sailing in the Scottish lochs in my fathers dinghy, but really only got started Sailing when I bought an Enterprise dinghy Clod in the Norfolk Broads in about 1990.

I kept the boat at Horning and sailed with Horning Sailing Club during the summer months and Snowflakes Sailing club during the winter months. Strangely there was more interest in dinghy sailing during the winter months as boats came in from other clubs in the Broads that didn't have a winter season.

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Preparing for our round the world voyage

I still vividly remember when Bev asked me what I wanted to do with my life. Flippantly I said that if I had the money I would like to sail round the world.

'Well what's stopping you?" she said in that skilled way that HR people have.

In my head I thought, plenty of things really, like being able to sail, being able to afford it... But it seemed like a gift of a question since I seemed to be drifting a bit in my job at that time. It was 2000.

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First Charter - Flotilla holiday in the Ionian, Greece

For our first yachting holiday we decided to do a flotilla cruise. We were comforted by the idea of sailing in company with other yachts and with an experienced Flotilla leader to help us see the best spots and help deal with the tricky parts like berthing the boat.

After a bit of research I decided we should go to Greece. I bought the excellent Greek Waters Pilot by Rod Heikel, which is one of the best pilot books I have ever owned and it was invaluable, particularly when we went to the Cyclades in 2002.

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Charter in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

We were fairly confident that we wanted to buy a Fountaine Pajot Belize catamaran but decided we would do a charter to try out catamaran sailing and also Fountaine's product.

It was not long after 9/11 and all over the world, but particularly in America, people were putting their travel plans on hold. This meant I was able to find a seven day charter in the Caribbean in December for pretty much half the usual rate.

There were no Belize available to charter as it was still a relatively new design, but we were able to get a recent  Fountaine Pajot Venzia 42 Inordinate at the Sunsail base in Saint Vincent.

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Charter in the Cyclades, Greece

August 2002

As a last "practice" before we picked up our own boat in 2003, we decided to take a charter out of Athens for two weeks. We selected a fairly recent Sun Odyssey 37 called Anonymous because it was a newer version of the boats we had done most of our tuition on down in the Solent.

Leaving from the port of Piraeus, there are several options for a cruising itinerary.

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Setting off, France and Portugal

 

Tuesday 24th June 2003

Finally we are off !  We’ll leaving England at any rate….

Packing the house and putting everything into storage had been a nightmare. Thank goodness Bill and Joyce were there to help. The week before had been full of trips to the storage facility, giving stuff to charity, heavy lifting, selling items we had no room for anymore and cleaning. We managed to secure a garage for the Renault Sport Spider with only days to go, I couldn't part with it. House contracts still not exchanged ! 

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Arriving in Tenerife, Canary Islands

Monday 1st – Tuesday 16th September 

It’s been a hectic and frustrating couple of weeks. The Marina Del Atlantico is adjacent to the centre of Santa Cruz so it makes up for lack of facilities in the Marina itself. We’ve decided not to use the toilets or shower blocks as they are pretty basic and infested with cockroaches.

Everything in Tenerife seems to take a long time. The chandlers don’t have the bits we need but can always get things “in a week”.

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Tenerife

 

Thursday 2nd 

Bill and Joyce Stratton, Bev’s parents, have come to stay with us on the boat for two weeks. As usual they kindly arrive laden with tons of post for us (mainly bills !) and items we cant get from the UK like Branston Pickle :)  Best item by far was the mini hand held vacuum cleaner – so much better than unsuccessfully chasing crumbs round the boat with a dustpan and brush.

Today is Bill’s 65th Birthday. For the first time we broke out the code flags to dress Bagpuss and tied up balloons to help mark his special day.

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Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Start of the ARC Atlantic Crossing

 1st – 6th November

The solar panel arch took 2.5 weeks to make rather than the one week as promised but final product was pretty good. Luckily the original guy that we met didn’t actually do much of the work but the local welding teacher did. Our original man turned out to be captain clumsy which is pretty scary when you are wielding big tools and bits of metal.

Read more: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Start of the ARC Atlantic Crossing