Monday, 18 August 2014

Captain Jon's Final Log

It was quite emotional sailing into Dartmouth yesterday after such an adventure; seeing so many different parts of Britain and sharing this with so many friends. In all we travelled 3345 miles, with surprisingly good weather (only stormbound for two days in total) and managed to keep to the passage plan almost exactly. The windiest part of the trip was the first and last week of the trip along the south coast - quite unexpected. 

Thank you to all 43 crew members for making it all possible and for their help and friendship. We managed to raise over £1000 for Dartmouth Lifeboats (helped by the numerous pound fines for crew members not wearing the team hats ashore). It certainly has been an incredible 14 weeks... a fantastic and exciting journey that I shall remember for the rest of my life. 
Julie took some photos of us coming into the mouth of the Dart river
Flags up to celebrate!



Sunday, 17 August 2014

Just Plain Sailing

After the bumpy start to the week, the wind lessened slightly on Thursday and we had a few great days sailing. On Friday we travelled just over 70 miles from Lymington to Lyme Regis (not the planned stopover point) and saw the moon rise as we arrived. John joined us at Gosport (see below) and Alistair and Alison came aboard yesterday as we travelled from Lyme Regis to Torquay.

Al and Al joined us for a day of this leg
Today is my final day - a short but windy sail from Torquay to Dartmouth. We arrive in Dartmouth about 5pm tonight. A strange feeling as set sail on the last part of the journey...

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

A Bumpy Ride

The hardy crew!
After a slightly 'sickening' journey on Saturday we were getting rather used to lumpy seas and revisiting lunch! Monday saw another force 8 and it was difficult to see those wondrous white cliffs when the waves were 20 feet high! A south westerly wind meant the wind was on the nose (again) and our passage to Eastbourne took a stomach-churning 10 hours, travelling at around 3 knots...
I spy with my little eye something beginning with W C of D. Nope... can't see them.

Yesterday we did well to sail the 22 miles from Eastbourne to Brighton. Still a force 7, with gusts of 8 but a nice sunny day and we did see some scenery this time!
Beachy Head
From afar

Monday, 11 August 2014

Leg 14

As you may have heard, we have been forecast a rather windy week ahead so a change of plan was in order to stay on schedule. The crew arrived on Saturday and we headed off straight away to Dover to sail in force 7 rather than the force 9 forecast for Sunday.
Therefore we spent all of windy Sunday ashore on Dover, visiting Dover Castle and preparing ourselves for a long, tough sail today. We were off at 6am this morning heading for Eastbourne, travelling 45 miles straight into the wind! It may be slightly uncomfortable...
Hope you've got your sea legs!

Saturday, 9 August 2014


New crew Isobel and Danny

The past two days have been pretty calm (the calm before the storm :/ ) and we had a great journey back down the Thames, seeing the sights in the sunshine. New crew Isobel and Danny each had a turn at the helm and both enjoyed sitting at the bow of the boat. You can just see the Thames Barrier in the picture above.

Our sailing week came to an end today and as we drove home (stuck on the M25) I thought about my favourite part of the week. To my surprise, I found it was being at the helm when sailing; boat tipping, wind rushing and the crew rushing round trying to find the correct colour sheet! I'm not saying I'm converted yet (if I did, Dad would already have booked me on a sailing course) but we certainly had a fantastic week and I'm very proud to be part of my Dad's exciting journey. 

Good luck to the next crew... hearing weather reports on the radio, I think you're going to need it!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Family in London

Today we spent the whole day in London, exploring the Tower Bridge and visiting the incredible ceramic poppies laid in memory of the lost soldiers of WW1.

Mum and Emma left this evening and Danny and Isobel (Dave's children) joined us this afternoon for the rest of this leg.

Up the Thames

Dad holding up the QEII Bridge!

Phew! A very busy and exciting day yesterday - we travelled 40 miles from the Medway River up to St. Katharine's Haven Marina, immediately next to Tower Bridge.
It was a fantastic journey with so much to see and we even managed to sail quite a bit of it…the Thames Barrier, the O2 Arena, the Cutty Sark, the Royal Navy College at Greenwich, the Shard etc. I felt pretty privileged to be a part of Dad's first sail up the Thames - it certainly wasn't easy when we reached St. Katharine's Marina. The wake from speedboats made trying to moor against the wall of the lock very difficult indeed… I'd be lying if I said it wasn't slightly stressful!

Once we were in, we found our berth near the Royal Barge and in spitting distance of Tower Bridge… yes, this is the life!

Me using the little strength I have to hold us to the side of the lock!

A Peaceful Contrast

Thankfully, Monday was very different weather-wise to Sunday and we had a peaceful sail from Shotley to the Medway River just off the Thames - about force 3/4.

I know all the previous crew will appreciate the picture below of Dad actually relaxing! A very rare occurrence indeed! 

We moored to a buoy overnight in the Medway river. To be honest, it is a pretty grotty place but we saw a few interesting 'sights' in the nearest town - ambulances, drunk locals etc. 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Leg 13!

Well, I have to admit I had been waiting for this week to come - where I could write the blog from my perspective rather than my Dad's. Yes… as you may have guessed, it is time for a new crew and this week it is Dave and I (Laura - Jon's daughter).

Dave and I pretty terrified as the other two members of crew (the experienced sailors) were at last minute, unable to come aboard this week!

Our first day sailing. A force 6 wind for 40 miles with gusts of a force 7… Not a particularly pleasant trip, especially as the swell of the sea was extremely strong. My highlight was when Dad had to go and fix the light at the bow of the boat. I was left at the helm and went straight into a huge wave. Safe to say, I didn't really enjoy seeing my father disappear into the ocean with the bow of the boat. Whoops!

We are currently in Shotley Marina next to Felixstowe Port. We saw many many cargo ships unloading using enormous cranes. Tonight we are sat in the pub watching them still working. Impressive.
A tiring but exciting first day!

Leg 12 continued…

On Wednesday lunchtime we anchored in Runswick Bay and then went ashore for a pint in the lovely village. Later that day we stopped at Finley Bay (south of Scarborough). Thursday saw us sail round Flamborough Point (see the photo below of the white cliffs). 

On Thursday night we set off on our first night sail of the trip - Grimsby to Lowestoft (110 miles). It was a lovely night sail although we were closely hauled with a force 5 wind all the way. Incredibly, we sailed all but the last five miles!

 The bridge below opened up as we sailed into Lowestoft Haven Marina at 3pm. Phew! Well done crew! A great week had by all!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Leg 12

We are now onto the last three weeks of the trip...sailing down the east coast of England. We started at Eyemouth and sailed past Holy Island at Lindisfarne. There we saw a castle and impressive 100ft concrete transit marks. In the evening, the new crew were lucky enough to enjoy some alfresco dining... a first for this trip!

Welcome to Tim, Fraser and Sandy!

Beady-eyed Beauties

On the last day of leg 11, we visited Bass Rock near North Berwick. 
Here is a picture of just one of the 20,000 beady-eyed inhabitants..

Eyemouth Traditions!

We witnessed a Eyemouth traditional festival last week when we saw the 'Herring Queen' enter the town by sea, welcomed by waving crowds and music. This was the 70th festival held in the town so we got in the spirit and decorated Raven to celebrate her arrival!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A Foggy Day

We have had a foggy week with very little wind. You can just about see the boat moored at Stonehaven. 

To the left you can see our view of Dunnottar Castle this week.
To the right is the Castle in glorious sunshine (unfortunately this is not our picture!)

Stonehaven is a lovely little town where you can moor against the stone wall in calm conditions. 

All that fog is a bit much for the crew....

Another week, another crew!

This week's crew: Richard, Graham and Simon. Welcome aboard!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

4am Fright!

Last week (sorry for the delay of this post):
John joined the crew last Sunday as we continued to sail around the Shetland Islands and anchored in Sumburgh.
Monday was a sail to North Orkney with an anchorage at Otterwick on Sanday Island. We had a fair bit of drama in the middle of the night as a sudden squall developed at 4am causing the anchor to drag and the boat to drift! Luckily, we woke up and managed to get the engine on and manoeuvre away from the approaching shoreline...phew! A close one! All was then well for the rest of the night.

Pierowall  - a village off the coast of the Scottish mainland

Later in the week we spent a few days in Kirkwell (capital of the Orkney Island) where we spent the days exploring the island on bicycles!

A 24 mile bike ride!