A record of our adventures between Pipit and her successor...
It's that time when it's customary to look back on the previous year, and in this case the previous decade, and we think it's fair to say ours has been an eventful 10 years, and a 'journey' in the true sense of the word. It really started for us early one morning in May 2010 when, waved off by our friends Kim & Trudie then of Liberty Yachts, now of Plymouth Yacht Brokers, we nosed our little 36 ft yacht out from behind the breakwater of QAB marina in Plymouth, headed for Greece. Actually we were headed for Fowey, where we arrived safely some 4 or 5 hours later. Some 3 years later, via France, Spain, Portugal, Spain again, Gibraltar, Morocco, Spain for a third time, Sardinia & Sicily, we did indeed arrive in Argostoli, Kefalonia - in a thunderstorm, but that's a whole different story...
Departure from Plymouth - photo courtesy of Kim Vasey
Along the way, we visited some wonderful places, and met some lovely fellow sailors, a number of whom we are still in regular contact with. It was a fantastic experience, and we sometimes have to check ourselves that we really did do it - fairly inexperienced sailors as we then were, we crossed Lyme Bay and rounded Portland Bill, crossed the Channel, tackled the extreme tides of Brittany, crossed the Bay of Biscay, handled the swells of the Portuguese coast, and had some of our most enjoyable, and also most demanding, passages in the Mediterranean. Rarely does a day go by where we don't hear something on the radio, see something on the television, or cook something that doesn't take us right back to somewhere we visited on our 5 year journey - we have so many memories.
Sunset crossing the Bay of Biscay
Arriving in Vathy
In many ways, all the above was somewhat out of character for both of us - we had absolutely no doubts about 'selling up & sailing' and enjoy travel and adventure but, at heart, we are both 'homebodies' - my logic has always been that as I spend approximately 48/52 of each year at home, that proportion of available funds should be assigned to where I live. And so it was, in the winter of 2014-15, having achieved what we set out to do, that we decided to leave Greece, which had been our home for the previous 2 years, and return to England, specifically the Cotswolds, to look for either our 'dream home', or a piece of land on which to build it. Initially we 'struck gold' in the form of Plough Cottage, a beautiful Cotswold stone cottage in an equally picturesque Cotswold village, that we were able to rent. We may have bought it had it ever been for sale, but unfortunately our landlord had other ideas and wanted his cottage back after just 12 months. We were very upset about this at the time but, in hindsight, he may have done us the biggest favour by strengthening our resolve to find our own house or land. In the meantime, we did manage to find a very different but very nice house in Minchinhampton to spend the following 2 years.
Our favoured option had always been to return to Cornwall and have another boat, kept maybe just 20 or 30 minutes away. In the spring of 2017, we viewed a promising plot of land, and had arranged a second viewing with a builder to discuss our ideas. The day before we were due to make the 400 mile round trip, we were told the plot had been sold, but we decided to keep the appointment anyway - no harm could come of it, and perhaps we would glean some information that might be useful? Having expressed our disappointment that we'd missed out on the plot, the builder said "well I have a plot for sale" - an immediate viewing set us on a 2 year path to building our 'dream home'. Serendipity? Maybe, but sometimes we put a fair bit of effort into making our own luck... Prior to starting the build, serendipity struck again and we found a lovely barn conversion to rent just 10 minutes from the plot.
So that was the previous 10 years, who knows what the next 10 hold? Our immediate priority is to continue landscaping the garden and perhaps get back on the water in some form or another but other than that, only time will tell...
Happy New Year!