In a couple of short weeks Ju will be off on the voyage of a lifetime, sailing from Plymouth via Panama to New Zealand, aboard a 40-foot steel-hulled boat called Donata Polo (after Marco Polo's wife, apparently).
This chance came along when someone else dropped out of a three-person crew and professional delivery skipper James got in touch with us to find out if one or both of us might be up for it.
The itinerary is in stages, Plymouth to the Canaries, then across the Atlantic to Martinique, then through the Panama Canal and past the Galapagos islands to Easter Island and Pitcairn Island, through French Polynesia to New Zealand, starting at the beginning of November and arriving in March.
Hopefully she'll be sending me blog entries which I will post here
Today we borrowed life preservers (flotation aids) for our three grandchildren and took them out on Little Else for the morning on a lovely sunny day with not much wind and a flat sea. They were OK with it, even when we put up the sails and shut off the engine for a bit, but weren't terribly impressed by the tippy tippy of the boat when we tacked into what wind there was, ie not much. Tully was busy telling me while sailing was very nice she didn't really like it, and I was tellling her that was fine, lots of people don't like it, but she was brilliant to have given it a try, when our DSC radio sounded its clarion beeping noise. I asked Tully to hold the tiller while I went below to sort it out, having first checked that we were at least five minutes from any possible hazard. Having sorted out the radio call, I went on deck to observe the previously unimpressed Tully hanging on to the tiller. I suggested that she might like to helm for a bit and she readily agreed. During the next few magical minutes I remember poionting out how to control the tiller and aim for a given heading. She understood, immediately, with no further explanation, and this wonderful smile spread on her face. She knew she was controlling a 7 tonne boat, and she loved it! A sailor was born, in that moment, and I nearly cried!
Eddie wanted a go, because Tully had tried, and he lasted about four minutes before saying he had had enough and it was boring. Connor didn't even want to try, and was convinced that the boat was drifting anyway!
So let's hear it for us girls! Tully was brilliant! She may only be 8 years old but she was more of a sailor than her two siblings, and it was amazing.
Above are the very stripey Osbornes, shortly before heading back home with Mum and Dad
Back home again after a busy summer. The new two-speed winches have arrived (mysteriously labelled 'winch handles'), so we can at last fit them to the boat and return the single speed winches to the supplier. The whole saga has taken almost a year!
Little Else looked snug on her mooring as we drove into the village. We'll get her sorted out next week, as this week we'll have three children to entertain.
Raining today, although yesterday was lovely.