December 27th 2022
I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and are now enjoying a well deserved rest.
At times like this we often look back on the year that is about to slip away. For a while, I felt like 2022 was a bit of a failure after I decided not to push on towards Scoresby Sund. However, on reflection, I’ve decided it wasn’t really a failure after all. Not many 26ft wooden boats make it to the North Coast of Iceland, so the years achievement can’t be counted as a total disaster.
The year has passed very quickly. In the spring, I spent almost a month preparing Sumara for the big voyage towards Greenland. Then a few summer months were zapped by sailing to Iceland and back, followed by a couple of weeks in the autumn laying up the Good Ship. Wooden boats certainly keep you busy!
In a feeble attempt to keep fit, each year Grit and I enter three half marathons. They are normally at Deal, Steyning and Marlow. Deal and Marlow are chosen partly as social events as my sister lives in Marlow and our good friend Philip lives in Deal. It gives us the opportunity for at least an annual meet up.
The Steyning Stinger Trial Run is our absolute favourite event with the hilly rutted route normally blessed with lashings of mud. There was a time when I would train like mad to try to beat my times. Nowadays, I am just rather grateful to get around, and I don’t care about the time.
I still enjoy Military Outdoor Fitness on Blackheath. I try to do something super active three times a week. Sometimes that might be a long run and just occasionally I go swimming in the docks.
I decided to completely withdraw from my work with Arthur Beale. I used to rather enjoy working in the authentic chandlers shop in Shaftesbury Avenue, but the new online “gifting” market is definitely not for me.
To take care of various work projects that tend to come my way, I have had to set up a little company. I’ve completed some interesting rigging jobs for the Royal Opera House but because of last years sailing commitments I avoided looking for too much work.
In the autumn we had a grand West Country Adventure meeting up with our friends based on their boat at Mylor, and then going for a long distance walk to the Lizard. We met up with so many friends, it was a lovely sociable couple of weeks. We hope we can complete another section of the South West Coast Path in the spring.
At the end of each year I go along to the annual Arctic Club Dinner. This year was the 90th year anniversary of the clubs founding by Sir James Wordie. He was part of the team that made the first ascent of Beerenberg in 1921. It was great news that Olly Sanders will be President of the club for 2023, I am sure he will make an absolutely excellent President.
I normally finish each year with the rigging of Andrew Logan’s “Constellation” at Southwark Cathedral but it was getting quite old and without masses of recertification, or complete replacement of the rigging, we decided it was best to rebuild the whole shebang. That is probably a project for the Autumn. I rather missed the routine of the Cathedral rigging followed by coffee in Borough Market with my friend Ali Walker. It will be nice to see it happen again.
I often give talks to yacht clubs and I really enjoyed my trip to Dun Laoghaire to give a presentation to the Royal Irish Yacht Club. It almost tempted me to divert my planned sail of Sumara from sailing down the East Coast of Britain over to the West Coast. That way I would have had the opportunity to hop over to Dun Laoghaire under sail. I was obliged to change back to the shorter East Coast route when I received a call from Will Stirling: –
“Would you like to join us as the forth member of the crew to sail Integrity
through the North West Passage?”
That was an offer I couldn’t refuse!
So next year (2023) I will bring Sumara through the Caledonian Canal and back down the East Coast visiting as many friends as we can on route. I will settle her on a mooring or in a marina somewhere near Harwich and then I’ll join Integrity in Resolute ready to spend two months hopefully sailing through North West Passage if the ice doesn’t block our way.
These adventures certainly make time fly by. Another exciting year coming up!