I set out on this adventure primarily to sate my desire for broadening my sailing experience. The UK’s coast was an easy choice due to close proximity, much natural beauty and wanting to experience parts of Britain and coastline that I had not visited in person. The secondary goal was as a fundraising exercise for charities associated with sailing.
This second goal has been achieved, though I would have to say requiring some determination. Had this not been an aim I would probably have looked for a cheap mooring up on the west coast of Scotland and left Ardent there for the winter, returning to enjoy this spectacular sailing area in this coming year. The down side of that plan would have been the constant worry about leaving a boat somewhere so far from reach, let alone the cost implication of doing so. So bringing Ardent home again has been good, even if only to rectify problems from wear and tear and alleviate worry.
The charity issue has circled around in the back of my mind for some time. Had I simply donated the money spent on this trip straight to charity they would have been better of by a factor of five! I would, however, have been the poorer for experience.
It need hardly be said that coastal sailing can be challenging, even in reasonable weather. I guess that it is a bit like driving - the more you do the more confident you become. I have no qualms now about setting sail for anywhere around these coasts and what would have seemed like a major trip to me a year ago now appears like a weekend jaunt!
I have been asked what part of the coastline would I class as my favourite. That would be an unfair question to answer as I have spent much more time in some parts than others and in quite varying weather conditions. The jewel that stood out on this trip though would have to be the Scillies. This is not just because it is an area that I love and know well but also because that week, by chance, heralded the best week of weather of the 2008! I was also in the company of two very close friends, and what more could you ask for than a beautiful location, fine weather and good friends? A few weeks later I was very much alone sailing around Scotland and I was pleased to find that I coped with my own company without problems or too many arguments (though I did have a tendency to talk a lot to myself or any other creature – fish/dolphin/bird that would listen). I would have to say that this part of the trip was made so very much easier by the continual stream of support that arrived in the form of emails, text messages and phone calls from so many friends whom I would sincerely thank.
Regrets? Very few. I do wish that I had had time to make the passage out to see St. Kilda off the far west of the Hebrides, but this must be anticipated in a future trip, along with the Shetlands! Hardware wise I was repeatedly convinced that the expenditure on an AIS transceiver and a SeaMe radar transponder was a good move. Not only did this technology assist me in good decision making when plotting a course amongst shipping but gave me the confidence that they should know I was there. Of course, I would regard reliable self-steering as part of the basic necessities for single handed sailing and both my hydraulic Autohelm and Hydrovane performed as hoped.
Ardent is now on the hard at GYC while I repair a stern-tube leek that progressively worsened over the last couple of months of the trip. I already have an itch to get her back in the water and head downstream in some of these beautiful January days. However, that won’t be achieved for a month or two yet.
Compiling and analysing the
data both recorded from the navigation system and of costs and expenses incurred
on the trip has been a long job but the results are interesting. The ‘tracker’
web page http://aroundardent.com/tracker now shows my course exactly in a minute by minute log (with a few gaps
in data that have been approximated). If you click on any part of the track you
can see a note of which hop of the journey it is and the date and time of that
hop. You can also view a listing of all ports visited along with dates. Thanks again to brainchild Joe for helping to get this working. This
is a sobering
revelation into what costs a trip like this can incur. Don’t
look if big numbers frighten you, as they have me! Naively I did not anticipate
anywhere near this expenditure, but a large part of the costs was funding the running maintenance needed with such heavy use of an old boat. Included, however, is the cost of the engine rebuild, done
hastily the month before departure having found major problems, as well as all the costs incurred enroute up until my
return to Greenwich.
is a sobering revelation into what costs a trip like this can incur. Don’t look if big numbers frighten you, as they have me! Naively I did not anticipate anywhere near this expenditure, but a large part of the costs was funding the running maintenance needed with such heavy use of an old boat. Included, however, is the cost of the engine rebuild, done hastily the month before departure having found major problems, as well as all the costs incurred enroute up until my return to Greenwich.
I must thank all those who have sponsored this trip. The running total can be seen at
and I will shortly be totting up and sending the proceeds off to the RNLI, MCS and BLESMA.
Finally, I apologise to my
Mother and my Aunt, for giving them so sleepless nights over the last few months. The
Spot Tracker, which enabled the realtime tacking of Ardent on the website along
with an emergency PLB facility proved to be worth every penny in helping to alleviate their stress.
Finally, I apologise to my Mother and my Aunt, for giving them so sleepless nights over the last few months. The Spot Tracker, which enabled the realtime tacking of Ardent on the website along with an emergency PLB facility proved to be worth every penny in helping to alleviate their stress.
Until the next trip, thanks for sticking with me thus far.