It has always been the plan to sail across the Atlantic as part of the trip. My dad and 2 brothers have both done it and everyone who manages it says it is an unforgettable experience. Night sailing under canopies of stars, getting hit in the face by flying fish, lingering sunsets, whale spotting and all ending up in the Carribean in time for Christmas on the beach.
We had always figured we would just find a way to get on a boat. The challenge of getting our day skipper qualifications came first and we just figured we could sort the rest out after that. Well, courtesy of Ben and Sean the Cornish sea gypsy of Nonstop sail in Dartmouth we now have the qualification and now need the boat. It was an awesome course and could recommend them to anyone. You are steadily taken from navigation, radio, GPS, emergencies and meteorology rght through to night sailing, man overboard drills without using the engine and comprehensive passage planning. This was all carried out with a bonus secondary education of lesser known Cornish phrases. Checks of 'How you diddlin'?' were interspersed with 'That's the kitty' (this seems to mean you've done very well) and regular stops for 'scran' (food, generally onion based). I never worked out if Sean's patience was due to a regular diet of marmite and sweet chili sauce sandwiches, but wherever it came from it remained inexhaustible.
However, over a few pints of Tribute in the Dolphin in Dartmouth it became clear that finding a boat at this late hour was not going to be easy. The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers that leaves in November has always been the aim. Several hundred boats head across the Atlantic with the favourable trade winds taking them from their summer homes in the Med to warmer climes for winter and with it several hundred spots for crew to work their way across. However, most of these would seem to have been taken. This leaves us with a tough job to beg, badger and barter our way onto a boat. Shamelessly trying to sell yourself never feels that good, but i guess this will be good practice for later in the trip. The current angle is saying i am strong and Holly is small and so I can do donkey work and Hol can fit into small gaps. We shall see.
Until next update watch this space, and if you know anyone from 3rd cousin with the gammy leg through to guy from work's mate you met in pub who might be looking for two recently qualified Day Skippers for company on the high seas, please send them this way!
Sailing CV: please send to... everyone