Page 32 - Yachter Autumn 2023
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                                 LEARNING TO RELAX
I don’t profess to be an expert, but having sailed for around 40 years, I thought I had a reasonable idea of what it was all about. However, the last year has reminded me that I still have a lot to learn.
With my long-suffering family, we’ve discovered that there are three important lessons that we still need to grasp about cruising, into which we have recently immersed ourselves.
Firstly, all boats are “Project Boats”, whatever you think. Our previous boats were knowingly cheap, but by the time we sold them, they were pretty sorted. However our latest purchase, a 36ft trimaran, was meant to be different. Stretching our finances to
the limit, I was genuinely hopeful that there would be more sailing and less fixing. Oh no..
Second, cruising is never a holiday; it’s invariably an adventure. This summer, we lurched from mild entertainment (minor breakage) to full-on excitement (major breakage); never a dull moment.
And lastly, that this cruising game is actually harder than it looks. After lots of racing all over the world, inshore, offshore and transoceanic, I was looking forward to a stress-free life of gentle meandering. However, it takes a conscious effort to slow down and relax – something I still need to learn.
This year’s cruise to Brittany left me mildly mentally bruised and exhausted, yet our children saw a very different side of it, relishing the adventure...
Arabella (12yrs), with input from
Toby (11yrs)
We’d been on a few trips on the last boat (Papillon, a Beneteau 30) and last year, we sailed to the Channel Islands and France. We
loved it so much that we wanted to do more. Dad bought a new boat (Solan Goose) and sailed it down from Inverness in the spring. We were looking forward to further adventures on the new boat, which had more space (inside and out) and luxuries like hot water, a fridge,
a windlass and an enormous rear cabin which was quickly claimed as our bedroom.
Our plan was the Pink Granite Coast in Brittany, via Guernsey. We left for St Peter Port at 8pm into a headwind (no problem on Solan Goose!), planning to arrive in the following morning. I woke up the next morning to the smell of offshore bacon butties but quickly learnt of what I’d missed while sleeping.
Somewhere deep in the shipping lanes at 2am, the steering had locked. Sails down, engine

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