You’re stronger than you think you are

We’d been sailing all night and were coming up 17 hours on the water.

It had been a night darker than coal; no moon, thick dense cloud. I couldn’t even make out the bow of the boat.

The wind had been keen and the waves had whooshed. It was anyone’s guess what they looked like beyond the ghostly froth of bubbles that stirred as the boat ploughed through the water.

It felt like the waves were big. It felt like we were going fast.

Come the grey of morning, we were exhausted and the sea was a confused mess, as if it was throwing a temper tantrum at the injustice of the early start to a new day.

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5 things I’ve learnt about sailing

Beachy head and the Seven Sisters

It’s two weeks into the adventure of sailing around Great Britain and I’m adjusting to being on the water and living in a 28-foot space. 

I’m a newbie to this sailing game so it’s been a full-on introduction to the rigours of sailing. 

Here are five things I’ve learnt so far: 

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Adventure alert: I’m going to sail around Great Britain

I’ve spent no more than a handful of days in a sailing boat. I don’t know if I will get seasick. I forget my port from my starboard. And the toilet is a bucket with a toilet seat.

Yet from May 1st 2022, this will be my life for four months onboard a 28 foot (8.5m) long yacht named Speedwell as my partner Mark and I sail an estimated 2,000 miles (3,218km) around the coast of Great Britain.

Mark has been sailing for more than 20 years so is a dab hand at this floating thing but I’m coming at it new and green – and just a little bit nervous.

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Learning to sail – the baptism-by-fire way

I can count on one hand the number of times I have been on a sailboat – and that’s with chopping two of my fingers off.

I know nothing about boats. I can’t remember port from starboard, stern from bow, gybe from tact (opps I mean tack).

I have no idea if I get seasick.

The toilet is a bucket with a toilet seat, the contents of which I have to chuck over the side of the boat.

There is currently nowhere to decently wash my hands and I don’t do dirty hands.

And dirty hands are part and parcel of sailing – disgusting, wet, dirty, muddy, mouldy ropes wherever you look. As well as large, copious amounts of gluggy bird poo. Yuck!

So, when my partner Mark, who has been sailing for 20 years, bought a new boat recently, I was suddenly introduced to a whole new and scary world.

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