Always be ready for change

OoH Jul 10, 2014, by Phil Gowers in Yacht
From the event: "La Rochelle, France"

Tonight we sailed two nights in a row for the first time. Yesterday (Tuesday) night posed severe difficulties for many of us due to the strong breeze – more than 25 Knots (28.8mph) when it was strongest - so I think we were all affected in our own way. Tomorrow (Thursday) we are looking forward to having a short stop at a secluded bay where we can drop anchor and might get an opportunity to take a swim off the boat before we sail on to La Rochelle arriving with the afternoon high water.

When sailing many factors need to be taken into consideration, and based on these you can make a plan, but remember it is only ever a plan.

The day before yesterday we left Portsmouth to sail to Guernsey. We passed through the mythical ‘Solent’ where the concept of pleasure sailing was born back in the 17th century.  It was here that America won the ‘100 Guineas Cup’ (later to be known as the ‘Americas Cup’) and Queen Victoria allegedly turned to her Flag Officer to ask who had come second to be told, “There is no number two Ma’am” .

On exiting the Solent we were expecting a rough sea state, but it surpassed even our expectations and we decided to divert to Yarmouth, Isle of Wight to spend the night.

The following day looked better and we cleared the Needles just fine along with our new sailing comrade Phil, from Portsmouth. Because of our diversion, we were delayed, missing a day in our plan to reach La Rochelle by Thursday. 

The lesson is that whilst you always need to have a plan when sailing you also always need to be ready for changes.  And this was why we needed to put in the extra night of sailing to make up the lost time.

I’m looking forward to my graveyard night shift, from 00:00 – 03:00, even if it we will be motoring it will be nice.

The moon is out and almost full so we can see all the stars. The Boat is moving smoothly through the dark swell which pushes us from behind, requiring an alert helmsman to keep us on course. There is an inertia which reminds me of the long continuous pull, perseverance, insistence and demand required of us all to live life - especially when facing yet another night of sailing on only a little sleep.

Some find this easy but for others it is a real challenge, but we all see it as an integral part of this journey we have embarked on.


This article was written by