Signing Off

Alan & Mary Phypers
Wed 7 Dec 2011 19:41

Sadly this really is the last posting, for this adventure at least.  On Wednesday 12 October, we hauled Stella out of the water at Lymington Yacht Haven, where she is now laid up ashore for the winter.  And if that isn’t enough to bring our adventures to end, Alan has returned to work and spent five of the last six weeks in India!


We spent the week prior to hauling Stella getting her ready for the winter.  We removed 5 full car loads of ‘stuff’ that has been buried away in lockers that we didn’t really need to cart 12,000nm around the North Atlantic.  The sails were taken back to the sail maker for servicing and washing (I assume they have a giant washing machine!) and all the running rigging was removed and taken home to get a fresh water soak in the bath (one of many winter projects).


Once Stella was out of the water, Mary gave her a massive spring clean down below, whilst Alan wet & dried the hull and put on a coat of anti-fouling ready for next season (and to smarten her up below the water line as we didn’t want her letting the side down in the boat yard!).



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Manoeuvring to our winter parking spot and looking smart(er) with a fresh coat of anti-fouling


We then stripped the varnish off the cap rail, taking it back to bare wood, ready for re-varnishing in the spring.  Although it’s tempting to leave the wood bare, she looks so much smarter with some varnish, even if it means committing to a life of eternal varnishing!


The final job before returning to London and back to work was to tuck her up snugly under her cover – a job which took a bit longer than we expected as we had to remember how it fitted.  Graham from Indra (the Bowman 42 that we spent a lot of time with on our travels), came over from The Hamble (by car!) to lend a hand and give valuable guidance about the winter job list.



Stella tucked up for the winter for a well deserved rest.


Stella has been an amazing boat.  She has looked after us incredibly well and despite Alan’s pessimistic assumptions at the start of the trip she didn’t present us with any major problems or gear failure that wasn’t easily fixed.  We have total confidence in her and feel privileged to have been entrusted with such a splendid boat.


So now, for Alan at least, life has returned to pre-adventure normality.  Cycling into work in central London 5 days a week and getting used to having virtually no free time.  After only the first week, he was off to India for 2.5 weeks and getting to grips with airports and atmosphere less, ubiquitous business hotels, where unlike our experiences over the previous year no one talks to anyone.  It all felt somewhat alien.  Although there are some things to feel happy about.  Whilst sitting on the plane, reading the standard issue travel magazine filled with amazing pictures of swanky hotels overlooking boats anchored in crystal clear blue water, he couldn’t help but grin to think that for 6 months we were that boat anchored in the bay.   And we wouldn’t want to swap Stella for the featured posh hotel.  You simply can’t beat life afloat!


Meanwhile Mary is busy getting the house and her CV straight with the aim of finding a job (although strangely she seems to be spending more time on the former than the latter!).


Although we are naturally sad this adventure is over, it’s nice to be back in our house and to see our family and friends.  It’s also time to exercise our brains at work to make sure they don’t stop functioning and of course to start saving, rather than spending money!


Since we returned, we have been amazed and somewhat touched at how many people have been following our blog, some of whom are friends of friends we don’t even know.  When we posted each update, we always wondered whether anyone was actually reading it, so we owe a big thank you to you, our readers for your continued interest.


People often ask what was our favourite place, which is of course an impossible question to answer!  But places that particularly stick in our minds are:


The NW Coast of Spain



Tobago Cays

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Antigua, the Caribbean 600 and Classics week regattas


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St Barts










The Isles of Scilly






And the good old UK west country – on a good day, it’s every bit as good as the Caribbean!



All the photos from the each blog entry and a few more are on our photo website:


But far more memorable than the locations we visited, are the memories of the people we’ve met  and the new friends we’ve made along the way.  Without a single exception, everyone has been such fun, interesting and generous.  We know it’s going to be impossible to keep in touch with everyone, but we’ll do our best.


The other thing we miss is the simplicity of life afloat where we can just anchor where we please for free, we generate our own power, we make our own water and all we have to worry about is keeping Stella maintained and finding the nearest supermarket and bar.


As for the future, we’re planning on keeping Stella in Lymington for the next few years and enjoying her as a weekend escape from London and some mini adventures around the SW of the England and The Channel.  But we fully intend that this is not our first and last blue water trip on Stella, and we have plenty of ideas (if not the funds!) for the next adventure.


If you were one of our regular readers, we hope you’ve found our irregular ramblings interesting.  If so do drop us a note to stellablog {CHANGE TO AT} phypers {DOT} net so we can let you know when the next adventures begins.  If you are reading this thinking of planning your own similar adventure, do get in touch, as (in case you hadn’t noticed!) we love talking about our experiences.


If you are lucky enough to be continuing your adventures afloat please please keep us updated with your news as we are now the interested land lubbers avidly reading your blog in an attempt to keep the magic of our last 18 months alive.


So it just remains for us to wish fair winds and safe passages for everyone still at sea and we sincerely hope that once again we will have the chance to share a rum punch (or similar) somewhere in the world.


This is Alan, Mary and S/Y Stella signing off for 2011!


Bon Voyage!








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