02 February 2014 | Plogastel Saint Germain
Well, I’ve not heard I WON’T have the 5 weeks off work I hoped for. So, I’m assuming I WILL have 5 weeks of in May and early June. Here goes...
Some of you may remember a post a couple of months ago regarding the 2015 AZAB. To participate, you need to have completed a qualifying cruise of no less than 500NM. And I’ve been giving this some thought: where and when to go and the composition of the crew in particular.
I was hoping to take either one of the children or the wife along. This now seems highly unlikely and/or impractical. Time off work/exams/... In short: real life interferes with my sailing plans – once again. Outside crew? Not if I can help it. At times, I’m not the easiest of people to get along with and I’m pretty much set in my ways. Even more so when on the boat. We do things my way: like it or lump it. Up to two weeks can be a long time to be stuck on a boat with some-one you don’t get on with.
Singlehanded it is then. Guapa can be sailed singlehanded, it’s only when it comes to ‘parking’ her that an extra pair of hands come in handy.
I’ve only sailed Guapa once singlehandedly before: a cross-Channel trip to Ostend. I still remember to this day the immense feeling of satisfaction and achievement. Wouldn’t mind experiencing that feeling again.
Where: 500NM from the East Coast in any direction.
Heading South and West?
The Channel. Arguably one of the busiest stretches of water anywhere in the world. As I will need to put my head down from time to time, I’m not exactly looking forward to it. And with the prevailing westerlies it would be a long and hard slug to windward. I could motor, but that’s not the point of sailing a yacht. On the plus side: I do know the waters and I would be able to get the boat to Brittany.
Given the fact that the prevailing wind direction in the North Sea is West (SW to NW) this looks more likely. This leaves more options too: wind NW-W -> Norway. Or alternatively: wind SW-W -> Shetland Islands (and beyond - if at all possible the Faroe). I must admit that I’m secretly rooting for the latter option. Should I get to the Faroe, Rockall is within spitting distance. For some reason, Rockall is on my ‘bucket list’ of sailing destinations. But let’s not get overly ambitious. On the other hand, ‘dreaming big’ doesn’t do any harm either.
When to go:
To get there and back, time off for R&R and allowing for time spent waiting for a weather window I think 4 weeks should be sufficient. As it happens, I have five weeks off work in May and early June. That’s going to be my target. All, of course, very much weather dependent. Ideally, I would have preferred a few weeks later in the year but this will have to do for now. If nothing comes of it, I will try to talk Brigitte into going with me later in the year, but I fear my powers of persuasion may not be up to it.
Got most of the hardware for the trip, now it’s all down to preparation: practical and mental. So much still left to sort. I want everything sorted before the boat moves onto her mooring in April. It feels like ‘so much to do and so little time’. Best not waste it then.
The next couple of weeks will mostly be taken up by work and ‘real world’ commitments, so after this flurry of activity it may be quiet on here for a while. Talk to you soon people, most likely by the end of February.
Hang in there.