Lanzarote lockdown day 34
Posted on 17/04/2020
Thank you to all the care home staff around the world.
A lot of people asked me about my boat trip back to England in the early 90s . Well the picture isn’t of the actual boat but one very similar, she was a Barbary Ketch called SiriKit after a Taiwanese queen and I can vividly remember a picture of this lady hanging in the galley. Some friends of my Dads two brothers John and Lesley who had a villa on The Oasis De Nazaret, also had a boat that they had spent many years on sailing as so many do sailing to marinas and anchorage is all over the world. After finding themselves in a heavy storm off Grand canaria so severe that it broke the main sail mast. They put into port at (GC ) and the elder of the brothers John decided his sailing days were over. As time went on they advertised SiriKit in The Daltons Weekly in the U.K. A Dr from Swanage in Dorset answered the add and bought the boat on the condition that it was sailed back to Swanage.
John and Lesley approached me initially to crew for John and bring her back to Lanzarote from Grand Canaria, which I jumped at. We flew over and did our safety checks and set sail for Porto Calero it took about 24 hours to bring her home, and I loved every minute of it. I got to know John very well and we worked well together. So I wasn’t a surprised when they asked me to help crew SiriKit back to Blighty. I had kind of decided to go back to England as I was missing my children and wanted to reestablish myself back in England and I saw this a great opportunity and adventure.
So we set sail for Lisbon Portugal and the first weeks sailing were pretty much text book stuff. I loved it we had a small electrical fire which I managed to fault find and repare ,and also the self steer broke . Once again I proved my worth and repaired this also, so we hit Lisbon and after a nice shower and some proper food we set off for Vienna de Castelo which is the most northerly Marina in Portugal. We had some bad whether on this bit of our passage and decided to stay in port there till the weather changed. I remember this beautiful little town had a lovely feel and there was even a Vinicular cable car which took you to a church on the mountain top. After about 4 Days I can’t remember exactly how long we were in port ,we decided to carry on with our passage. This turned out to be a big mistake. We were about to cross The bay of Biscay and the weather was not favorable. I remember 2 hour’s on and 4 off ,every shift was noticeably rougher ,I started to feel very sick and stopped eating, because I knew I would not be able to keep it down. Sure enough the unrelenting sea kept getting worse we were now committed to carrying on on our course. Any deviation of our course would bring a deluge of water into the boat. It just so happened that our trip coincided with the 50 anniversary of D Day, and there were many ships in the Channel at this time. We had to at one point to radio our position to one of these huge vessels we couldn’t deviate from our course due to the fact we would of taken on too much water. I remember the message coming back on the Radio “I’m the Captain of the HMS Invinsable and I believe I am the vessel in question do you want me to steer to port or starboard? “And then this huge ship started its engines and got out of our way. I was now a total mess, I had brought up what felt like the entire contents of my digestive system ,and my only worth was to use every muscle in my body to try and stay in my bunk. I can remember praying to God to help me through this. It gave me a healthy respect for the sea and my faith in God himself as we finally sighted Falmouth . We put in the Falmouth and I said to John and Leslie that I just couldn’t even think about carrying on to Swanage and we said our good byes as I got on a train for London. I had lost nearly half of my body weight and because I had used every muscle in my body ,was as fit as a butchers dog. I did see Lesley antill many years later, he had bought another boat and I hugged him warmly remembering that he had saved my life. He told me that his brother John had died from cancer some years before which was very sad, as he was such a lovely man. So I still sail but now only as and when people need crew , and then it’s very tame by comparison. I now continue to have a very healthy respect for the sea would have to have a long think about another long trip or get myself on a bigger boat. I have however started to do my yacht masters course.