Sometime in 2010, I thought it would be a "good idea" to buy a small second hand boat and sail her around Britain. Somewhere between the gestation of the idea and its execution, the goal posts moved. Now read on....
Saturday, 18 February 2012
I've always worked on the principle of never doing anything today that can't be left until tomorrow, because by then it might not be necessary. So I had not really given too much thought to planning the route of this circumnavigation. As the delivery date for Vagabond draws near (sometime in mid March), I can't really put it (the planning) off much longer.
The bad weather last week stopped all work in the garden so, apart from an interlude with the grandchildren (remind me never again to go to the London Science Museum at half term), I spent a few days reading the accounts of previous "Round Britain" sailors, finding out which ports they had visited and pondering my probable route.
I still haven't determined a complete route but have made a few decisions.
The first is that I think it will be silly to try to do the whole thing in one year. This would mean a number of long days sailing (45 plus miles a day) and would lead missing out a lot of interesting little ports. Surely, if you're sailing a small boat that can be run ashore (under control!), you should visit small harbours that dry out at low tide....
It also seems to me that trying to do the whole thing in one year would add pressure to sail in dodgy conditions. Whilst I am not one who requires a G & T on a stable quarter deck at 18:30 each evening, I have agreed with the Owners Agent not to batter on in Forces 6 or above!
Having established the ground rules, I have selected the start point (Burnham on Crouch), the direction (keep turning right) and the start date (on or around 10th May). This is just after the spring tide peak so the next week or so will see the tidal currents decreasing as I flog it down The Channel. It also means that my first challenge will be a successful crossing of the Thames Estuary which is either 'easy' or 'not for the faint hearted' depending on which account you read.. Then on down the channel to The Solent at the end of the first week of sailing. Plymouth should be within reach by the end of the second week. It will then be time to leave the sea for a few days to return home to cut the grass and weed the patio and, of course, take the Owners Agent out to dinner.
Anything may happen: should the wind turn Southerly on that first day I may modify the direction to "keep turning left"!