We had a fantastic sail from Hartlepool to Scarborough and (almost) caught a few people on the hop as we arrived ahead of the predicted time having had a slow start before wind from the West kicked in and we started to average something above 6 kn. It was wonderful to complete a full sail without requiring the services of SUB to get me into Scarborough on time.
The local lifeboat came out to meet us just as Arty was misbehaving and broaching terribly, which was ironic! Fortunately I soon had her pointing in the right direction again and managed to use the GNAV, which adjusts the height of the boom, to depower the mainsail. At the same time I let the jib all the way out and continued blowing to bring it all the way in. This meant that, whenever I sheeted out the mainsail to stop a broach, the jib came in at the same time. Essentially this meant I could turn the boat back into the direction I wanted her to go rather than the direction she wanted to go in! I've been very lucky on this trip to have Toby and some other fantastic sailors who have taught me a huge amount. Of course, this was only a temporary solution and I soon needed one of the wet crew onboard to put all three reefs in.
We arrived to a fantastic reception, organised by the Lions and Pindar. Coming into the harbour was like entering "Lionsville", with banners at every point. The Mayor came down to meet us all and I managed to stop Jo and Toby, my "mafiosi" who make sure I don't get overtired at the end of each sail, from whisking me away before I'd had time to have a chat. It also meant that Robin Gray, who lent me his Soling when I sailed across the Channel in 2005, had time to make it down to the harbour along with his two sons and his daughter.
"Malin", Robin's Soling, was on the pontoon just a few feet away from Arty. The following day I was lucky enough to be given the guided tour of the boat I had fallen in love with the instant I saw it by the new owner. When Matt Debecki set it up for me using my old electric wheelchair parts we used every block (pulley) under 2 inches that we could lay our hands on in the whole of Cowes! I think they'd only just finished filling in the holes and she had had a new paint job, so was looking great. It's strangely emotional to see a boat you've loved - in my case because she gave me my first taste of complete freedom on the water - after a few years. It's fantastic to see that she is still sailing and racing.
Pindar had arranged for us to have two rooms in a beautiful hotel and will Jo spent an evening bouncing around her hotel room! At least she had one night of complete luxury before leaving to go away for a few days for a friend's wedding. Helen Finn, who looked after me and the whole team last year, has kindly come back to fill-in for her. It's lovely to see her again.
The Lions, meanwhile, had arranged for the rest of the team to stay on a lovely campsite. Terry kindly "babysat" Lotti for most of the time. Fortunately she pretty much behaved herself except once, when she got him out of bed just after he'd got into it so she could go for a walk around the site. He was kind enough to take her - I probably wouldn't have been... :-)
We left the campsite early on the morning of 14 August (4:30 AM) which was particularly tough on Helen as it's a year since she had to get me dressed in all my kit - not that you'd have known it as it feels like she's never been away. We just about managed to leave the harbour, although it meant pulling the keel up part of the way to clear the mud. Robin Gray came out in a powerboat. He was onboard the standby vessel when I sailed the Channel, so it was great to have him alongside as well.
Page last updated on 16 August 2009 at 17:28