We are now coming to the close of our circumnavigation of Great Britain. We really enjoyed our two days in Falmouth, catching up with family and friends, cleaning the hull of the boat and re-oiling the teak for the winter.
We particularly enjoyed the fun of fishing on the quay, the mackerel come right to the shoreline following the whitebait in. In the evening at dusk we were amongst a number of fisherman on the quay watching the water ‘boil’ with the swirl of the fish. Our daughter Cassie and her husband Ben joined us one evening for dinner, and then came with us and Cassie caught her first fish, there was much laughter and squealing.
We left Falmouth on the 5th of September, all aware that this was the final leg of our journey, our circumnavigation was over. We glided out of Falmouth in the mist, and headed off to Fowey, for what seemed like a really short hop of only 22nm. Because we are familiar with the waters, Marian did a rough passage plan, we paid no heed to the tidal streams just glanced at the weather forecast to make sure we weren’t heading into anything ‘nasty’ and off we went.
Within a short while the mist began to burn off and as we came past Dodman Point having motored 9.2nm at 148′, then changed course slightly to 143′ for the next 4.9nm straight across St Austell Bay, heading past Fowey; which is where we started.
As we approached the entrance to Fowey Harbour we opened the champagne and thanked our friends Marian and Simon, who have been with us since Peterhead. They broke into song and sang a welcoming home sea shanty, it became a really emotional moment for Sean and I, even now as I sit here typing this I feel the goosebumps. We did it, lots of people claim to have sailed round Britain and then you hear them say, they have cut through the Caledonian Canal, well we went right round, taking in the Orkney Islands as well, and I’d recommend the adventure to anyone.
That evening we anchored in Lantic Bay, where we picked up Mike Davis, who had sailed with us from Inverness round to Ullapool, so it seemed fitting that he should be with us for the home coming celebration. We all swam and then headed to the beach for a barbecue, of fresh fish and Kebabs, we had what could only be described as a memorable night.
So here are a few of our statistics and thoughts for others to consider.
We allowed five months for the journey and took 152 days of which 79 were spent on the water. There were a number of occasions where we were held back by poor weather, site seeing, or where we had to fly home. These were five days in Newport on the Isle of Wight, five nights in South Dock Marina, London, Lowestoft for another five nights. Grimsby for five, which was pretty grim! A trip to Bournemouth to see our son graduate, and a quick trip to see family in London, that was a week. Dublin for five nights and Cork for a week, due to poor weather.
If you are planning a trip like this, you will then need to cover a number of ports in quick succession to catch up, otherwise you will end up fighting longer distances towards the end of your trip. How we did this was to sail early in the morning, which meant that we would arrive lunchtime to late afternoon, allowing either an afternoon or a morning in the new town to explore.
We did a massive shop before leaving, but other than places like some of the remote Scottish lakes and islands, we were able to pick up food wherever we went, so I would recommend that you don’t overstock the boat because of the weight and its effect on your fuel consumption and speed through the water when sailing.
We used a MIFI by Three on the boat, which meant that we could all use the internet and when Three didn’t have enough signal or we had used our allowance, we tethered to each others phones, there were not many occasions when we were all offline. We did find that practically all pubs have wifi! For weather checks, and marina guides and local information, not to mention blogging and business, internet is important.
We anchored for twenty nights, used quay walls for nine nights, visitors buoys for eight nights and the rest of the time we were on pontoons. As there were four of us sharing costs, this seemed like a much better option for us. But if you are sailing solo or as a couple there are safe anchorages and buoys everywhere, so using these would cut your costs. Whilst in Scotland we got hold of a publication called ‘Welcome anchorage’, which shows you a variety of free, safe anchorages all around the Scottish islands and lochs.
All in all the cost of anchoring, visitors buoys, harbour walls and marinas cost us £1798.41. for the five months. We spent 1183.06 on diesel, and we put 390.5 hours on the engine.
There are additional expenses that should be considered such as washing, electric cards, and a number of marinas’ charge for showers. You will also need to factor in the cost of your gas bottles, this will depend naturally on how much cooking you do! But a top tip from me is that if you plan to use marinas, get yourselves an electric hob, toaster and kettle. We met someone who had a microwave on board, which I think we will add next year ourselves.
The best equipment other than the GPS, (Sean’s reply) was our software on board, this is a computer programme that you can install in a laptop. Which gives indepth information about your passage and port/anchorage. (My reply tongue in cheek) The plastic draining board we picked up from betterware!
If you are considering a circumnavigation of Great Britain yourselves and would like to discuss any aspects of your trip please feel free to ring on 07814444981 and Sean and I will be happy to help if we can.
I hope you enjoyed reading the blog
Ps… we handed out 7,500 leaflets for Static Boat Holidays
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