Tue 16 Dec 2014 11:00
14:04.55N 060:56.89W

Not at Sea At All

This photograph was taken at 06.34 on Saturday 13th December 2014 as we crossed the Finish Line for the ARC. Rarely for Doc, he has his life jacket on. It was the end of a twenty day, 3,350nm odyssey in the open sea.

When all is said and done, we did not journey to the centre of the earth, venture to the land that time forgot, nor attempt forays into outer space; we merely took part in a rally to make an "in-company" crossing of one of the world's great oceans, the North Atlantic. That is enough understatement for now. I have a big Thank You to say.

The planning for this event began with the laying of Juno's keel in June 2013. She was immaculately prepared by Discovery Yachts and many of the inevitable kinks in the multitude of new OEM kit were ironed out on the delivery trips from Lymington to Gib and beyond. I am so very grateful to John Eustace and his team for their dedication in getting her ready for the off. No stone left unturned, no heads left unblocked.

For the crew, much of the preparation was mental (in Nav-man's case it was going to the dentist) - there was no opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the boat as a unit. It is amazing that the first time the five of us actually sailed together was when we made that fast getaway into a F8 -> F9 -> F10 on the Non-Start Start Day for the ARC on Sunday 23rd November. First outing - only outing, so to speak.

Despite this lack of prep, I was blessed with the best of crews. Each man was unerringly cheerful, quick to spell their mates at the helm, diligently watchful in the wee hours and all leapt up whenever there was anything that even remotely needed doing. No job was ever too dull (silver polishing, deck licking, bread making) nor too messy (oven cleaning or fish gutting). Better even than this, good humour and sharp-witted banter persisted throughout. I will miss those mood meetings. Wherefore art thou Engineering? Who will catch me a little fishy Gunnery? Quo vadis Foredeck? 

I have now cleaned the boat a little before the real hit squad get it ready for a full "bottom inspection" from Lady A in January. The Library was quiet - all reading material present and correct (the top-shelfer discretely mid-pack). The Paul-Man Cabin was empty and, frankly, seems really really tiny without the two of them squeezed in (How would they have got their kegs on together in an emergency?). Further aft, Nav-man's vast quantity of male grooming kit was no longer blocking half the rear heads. What a difference a day makes. Boats are still coming in quite regularly to honking horns, cheers and applause, but Juno is still and quiet. Only my Bjorn Borgs grace the guard rails.

So Nav-man, Doc, Schnoogle and Shrimpy please be sure of my eternal gratitude for your company, your efforts and your valuable time away from your loved ones, your probation officers, your payday loan agents and normal life. You made a stiff challenge really easy.You made it real.

Thanks boys.


[PS To Alison - Thank you for the boat Darling - she's cracking. Those suckers have done the delivery leg; now let's go and have some fun.]