Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Reflections on a successful circumnavigation

"So how was it?", people ask.

I would say it was an intense experience with no let up from the physical and mental burden which all skippers feel. There are other words I would use too. Responsibility, for the safety of each of my friends and crew, and the boat. Great fun, recalling the many moments of humour, some dark, some irreverent, some directed at me! Great friendship, shared with crew who are not always at their best at 4 in the morning, or who are feeling sea sick but still contribute without complaint. Humility, when I recall that 20 people gave up hard earned family and work commitments to take part in my challenge...which became their challenge too.  Gratitude, to West Suffolk Hospital for monitoring my INR levels while I was away. Admiration, for the fantastic Broadblue boat itself which sailed and looked after us so well and never caused us any worry, however big the sea and hard the wind. Awe, for the beautiful island of Britain which we inhabit, but so little of which we had visited. Appreciation, for the professional standard of care extended by the Coastguard who looked out for us all the way round. Thanks, for my family who indulged my obsession and took up the slack while I was away.

For those who like statistics, here are some which might be of interest:
Distance traveled over the ground: 2,211nm (we added on a few locations as we were running ahead of schedule).
Of this, the tide gave us 243nm.
53pct sailed (though sometimes no sailing for several days of there as no wind)
42 places visited.
43 days of sailing/motoring.(England, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland, Orkneys)
1 overnight passage.
135nm longest non-stop passage
1 day lost for bad weather.
1 proper emergency (jammed rope needed to be cut in Grimsby lock to prevent us hanging)
9 may days and 5 pan pans overheard within a 20nm radius of us.
37 knots highest gust of wind
34 knots highest sustained wind speed
14 knots highest speed SOG while surfing
12.4knots highest sustained speed SOG
Minimum people on board, just me during my solo
Maximum people on board 4
20 crew met and despatched around the country
12,650 approx crew miles travelled to/from the boat/home.
0 No. of scratches or damage to hull
0 fishing nets or pots snared
Wear and tear to boat: one mis aligned lower spreader, one galley drawer needs attention.
10,000 approx litres of water used
1,100 litres of fuel used (2 engines)
0 medical complications
£1,200 so far collected for Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra.
0 the number of paper charts used (we had the complete lot all the way round Britain, just in case).
8400, the number of people from all over the world who have visited the blog.

This is the link to a video taken by Wandering River of our arrival back at Shotley as the curcumnavigation ends. Click on this link.

Sailing past Shotley lock, about to drop sails

19m air draught is a lot of mast!

The reality dawns. We've done it!...

Three cheers, horns and sirens greet us at the lock, and Champagne in our berth.

We fill the lock. No room for error...

Alexandria reverses into her home berth

Pleasure mixed with relief.

So, in the spirit of an honesty box, and rather like one of those restaurants where you pay what you want, I need your help, please! I have spent a lot of effort maintaining this blog, sometimes falling asleep over it. I hope I have successfully reached out to sailors and non-sailors alike. If you have read the blog and you enjoyed reading it, PLEASE DONATE A FIVER (or more) to the Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra. To donate, the link is: or just click on the green SPONSOR ME square at the top of this page

This has been an exceptional challenge, the planning and execution of which, has briefly taken over parts of my life. I would be delighted to help any others who are planning a circumnavigation if they want to contact me on

In the meantime, carpe diem!

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