f Yacht Ningaloo

Chichester Harbour

Our sailing opportunities may be limited but thankfully we do now have access to our boats. Technically we need to return to our "primary residence" overnight, however my only bricks and mortar residence is 9,000 miles away in Australia, so this isn't practical. Fortunately I can show that I have lived on my boat during the (northern) summer months since 2004. For me, my boat is my only summer home.
I launched from my winter storage on Hayling Island last week and now, a week later I am back in Chichester Harbour. No gale force wind today and the sun is doing its best to keep us warm. Water temperature is 18C - a little marginal for swimming?
We are anchored off Pilsea Island which holds very special memories for me. I learned to sail in Chichester Harbour and this was one of first places we sailed to. The older boys (and girls) who were helm made us novices jump out to hold the dinghies. I'm sure that they took delight in getting us to jump out in neck deep water when a few meters further would only be knee deep! I started sailing here as a 13 year old, almost 50 years ago. Almost as unbelievable, the same Bosun dingies with yellow sails are still in use teaching the current generation of teenagers the delights of sailing.



[Edit 15/06/2020 We woke to a peaceful morning. Little wind but some sunshine (always a plus in the UK) and a friendly seal swimming around the beach. We watched him for 15 minutes, in which time he must have caught (and eaten) at least six fish.]

Sad world

Over the last month our lives have been changed. My friends are losing their jobs or losing their businesses. Fortunately no one I know has yet had any severe symptoms from COVID-19 but I fear this may only be a matter of time. At the moment all I have lost is my freedom...

I have made the difficult decision to leave Western Australia, one of the safest places in the world right now, and return to the UK. My boat is impounded in the yard and I have no access. Even if I were to be able to launch there are few marinas that will accept visitors at this time. As a part-time liveaboard I am stuck!

I guess everyone has their own views on what is happening in the world. I am numbed and saddened by it all.

Ningaloo For Sale?

With Brexit reducing the time that I can cruise in Europe after 2020, I am having to re-think my future sailing plans. Right now it is clear that there are benefits in having Ningaloo over-wintered within the EU to avoid possible future VAT payments if I resume cruising in Europe.

But I still feel that Scotland (my original plan for 2019) is 'unfinished business' so I am currently planning to try to get there in 2020 and have identified New Ross, Wexford in Ireland as a possible option to over-winter 2020/21.

If this comes about I'll be looking for crew to get from Portsmouth to Belfast in June.

However a more radical alternative that I am considering is to sell Ningaloo and upgrade to a Hanse 455, a larger boat that would allow me to cross oceans, possibly sailing to Australia in time for the next Fremantle-Bali race in 2022. If you might be interested in buying Ningaloo (or you know of anyone selling a 455), please contact me.

Watch this space!



[Update 12/04/2020] Clearly, even if we manage to launch, this is going to be a very short season! Everything is on hold but I'll be ready once the current restrictions are lifted. In the meantime please stay safe.

Final Sail 2019

My final sail of the year to Newtown Creek ended with a spectacular sunrise before I headed off to return to Hayling Island for my winter lift-out.

SW Ireland

I had three different sets of crew join me whilst I was in Ireland. Kinsale proved a good base for change of crew, being a short bus ride from Cork airport.
Highlights included Glandore, Baltimore, Valencia Island and the Skerrig Isles on the way up and Schull, Glandore, Cobh and Ballycotton on the return trip.

 
Baltimore craic

Sunset over Baltimore

Leaving Valencia Island

Skillig St Michael
 

Cobh

Anchored off Ballycotton