I've had some really nice notes of congratulations to our efforts, so some people are still reading this blog and I thankyou all for the compliments. I'm now feeling very embarrassed!
I put it down to being a wimpish sailor, really. I had three rules (a) don't go to sea if there's a sniff of F6 in the forecast, (b) don't sail at night and (c) try to go round pointy bits at slack tide, preferably during neaps!
I think the tributes should really go to the design and build quality of the boat. Despite being in a few uncomfortable situations (mainly because I ignored rule (a)), I've had every confidence that the boat will "take it". OK, a few things didn't work as well as expected (roller reefing - now fixed) but nothing broke at a critical moment. My confidence in the boat has been increased by the adoption of the "spreader" mast configuration. It has stiffened the rig considerably and (I think) improves the upwind performance too.
I wouldn't want to do it in an open boat. The idea that I was carrying with me a snug cabin, that would be available to me once we had got somewhere quieter, buoyed me up a few times!
Vagabond is now in a barn in Buckinghamshire, beside a renovated Gypsy caravan and the body of an old Bentley that has seen better days.
Vagabond is looking a bit the worse for wear, too. Her rubbing strips have been rubbed several times and the gel coat has a few crazes and biffs. The sails probably need cleaning and several pieces of cordage need replacing. As for Freddie, he's covered in salt, needs a wash and another service. Doris is in her cover and probably growing some excellent strains of mould.
I'll have to pay them all some attention in the next few weeks.