Friday, March 21, 2008

Forthcoming Cruise?

It's Good Friday 21st April and there's a blustery, bitingly cold wind while the forecast is for snow flurries. There are yet ten days to go before my proposed start to a cruise along the south coast of England. Most likely I shall set out from Burnham-on-Crouch on or near 1st April which will give me a month and one week to reach Plymouth before the start of the Artemis Transat Race on 11th May; not that I shall be a participant except in spirit, rather I want to watch the spectacle and share the experience with Al who plans to accompany me from that point in his Paradox sailboat. Our boats are almost identical apart from for their colour. (For details visit

Only God knows how this cruise will pan out. I can prepare and do all the planning, but I cannot predict the weather nor any event which may affect the cruise; indeed, it may not even get going. I have intentions of setting out with optimism, and yet I know that achieving my first objective of reaching Plymouth in time for the start of the Artemis Transat Race will mean considerable effort on my part. I hope that in the main I shall have an enjoyable cruise, but from experience I've learned to be a realist who realizes that there will be testing times, but that's what makes it worthwhile – meeting and overcoming challenges. There will be moments when the sun shines and times when there will be rain; there may be storms, there may be calms and if Providence graciously provides, there will be fair winds, wonderful things to see, interesting places to experience and fascinating people to meet.

If I have the stomach for it after the start of the Artemis Transat Race my second objective will be to sail to the Scilly Isles along with Al in his boat for company and our intention after exploring the Islands will be to return to Plymouth to watch the start of the Jester Azores Challenge Race on 31st May. Such a cruise on its own would normally present a considerable challenge for me in my tiny boat, and if I am still fighting fit at the end of it I may attempt a third objective which is to sail back to the East Coast. Regarding the three objectives there are many unknown factors which will be revealed in time and only then will I know if what I believe is feasible is indeed the case. Hillary and Tenzing knew that climbing Everest to the summit was feasible and they proved it was possible. I wonder if I have found my Everest.

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