Set off for Falmouth Marina very early with me on the helm in my pyjamas! Short trip across the bay and into the marina.
A strange finish, despite the harsh conditions we had faced there was no real sense of collective achievement - perhaps because a team spirit had never been created. I think we all in our different ways just wanted to get away and get home as quickly as possible. I was lucky of course having Hilary with me, but Dale and Michael had missed their wives dreadfully.
I think we all enjoyed bits of the trip, possibly me more than the others. On the positive side we gained a huge amount of experience, particularly of planning and carrying out passages, and of coping with night sailing, heavy seas and strong winds. We also got more experience than anyone would really want of entering strange harbours at night (don't!). It was surprising too that going up the East Coast, which is usually written off as the boring bit, actually had some hidden gems, Ramsgate, Lowestoft, Amble, Whitby, were all good places to visit, even Peterhead, which is generally reckoned to be a depressing town in a depressed area, was saved by the extraordinary friendliness of the people (not to mention a fish and chips lunch for two, complete with mushy peas, a pot of tea and bread and butter for the grand total of £9.99). We also learnt to appreciate our own boat (which is only 22' long) all the more and even though she is a little cramped inside she has the virtue of being very stable (long keeled as opposed to fin keeled) and with sails that can be relatively easily handled. On the Bavaria 46' it took two strong men all their strength to get the headsail furled in a gale.
We also went to some truly lovely places, many of which I would like to go back to and explore properly (on foot). Particular favourites would be the Outer Hebrides, Jura, Isle of Man and the Isles of Scilly and I think we could easily get to the other Isles of Scilly in our own boat - but not this year...
Distance travelled: 1910 nautical miles
42 days of which probably 26 were at sea
94 hours sailing at night
Strongest winds: Force 8
Worst sea state: Rough (4m waves)
Fastest speed: 11.5 knots (sailing, with Hilary on the helm!)
Usual speed: 6.5 knots motoring or motorsailing
Time spent sailing without engine assistance: 34 hours (a very low figure as the wind was nearly always against us, particularly coming down the West Coast, though when we did get the chance the sailing was fantastic)