October 2021: Our sabbatical cruise begins

The adventures of Chili III
Peter & Belinda Vernon
Thu 7 Oct 2021 18:02
55:11N 005:32W

After many years in the planning we are aboard Chili III at Ardfern, Scotland waiting for a weather window to head south for our extended cruise. Covid has lead to planning and replanning this trip several times. After plans A,B,C and D we are now executing plan Z: there can be no more options! We feel like migratory birds who a bit late departing - we need to head to warmer climes. 

For some time we have been planning a North Atlantic Circuit beginning with an Atlantic crossing to the Caribbean in November / December. After much deliberation in the summer of 2021 (when we would have had to sail to the Canaries) we abandoned this plan due to the high level of uncertainty related to Covid disruption in the Caribbean Islands. With each island having its own rules, Island hopping looked challenging.  As it turns out, vaccination rates there remain sadly low and infection rates high.

Ignoring plans B-Y, plan Z (big picture) involves sailing to Milford Haven to pick up our crew member Kier-Louis. Then across the Biscay to Vigo in Spain (a city we really enjoyed on our last visit). From there down the Spanish and Portuguese Coast to Gibraltar and into the Med hoping to arrive in the Baleares islands by end November. After a couple of months at home in the UK we will return to explore areas of the Med that are new to us. The plan evolving but likely to include the Adriatic. In June (heat and tourists increasing) we will leave the Med for the Azores which we have long wanted to visit. After cruising these beautiful Islands we plan to return to the UK by end August. 

The boat is in great shape and the last few days of wind and rain has been a good chance to finish of various jobs from making up more secure sea berths in the aft cabins to making and fitting a pig stick to hoist to the top of the mast with the RCC burgee attached, (the last one was so over engineered and heavy it was lethal if ever accidentally untied!)

My retirement from Grosvenor was a wonderfully generous occasion. The ships barometer and clock I was given have now been mounted in position and look very fine!

Tomorrow, Friday, will be all about planning and weather forecasting, provisioning (including top quality chocolate), filling with water and diesel and preparing some food the journey. We can’t wait to cast off and get underway!