Planning the shakedown cruise

Before setting off on the planned Atlantic adventures later this year, I feel it prudent to run a few shakedown cruises closer to home. I’ve mentioned some of the anticipated destinations in earlier blog posts, but this is the first time I’ve started to actually get the charts out and plan the trips.

The idea is, on the whole, to avoid marinas where ever possible and live “on the hook” making the most of dried provisions, our new (yet to be installed) watermaker from Spectra (ordered at the 2020 boat show and delivered at the end of December).

The mission of the shakedown cruise is to work out the best camera angles, and to get a load of b-roll for my upcoming documentary series, to work out what does and doesn’t work on the boat and find ways of fixing / re-modelling what we can, and to train the crew ahead of trips where we may be out of sight of land for 2-3 weeks at a time (instead of 2-3 hours or worst case a day).

The UK West Coast leg

The planned excursion totals roughly 2,200 nm – which is quite a trip, and would take 18 days if we were to sail it none stop. The actual plan is to spend between 1 and 2 months doing it, starting on the South Coast, working our way up the West Coast until we hit the Isle of Man, spending a week or more exploring the Isle of Man (and seeing my mum) before heading up to Scotland to explore some of the Islands there and then heading South again, ideally down the West Coast of Ireland (weather and seas permitting) before making for the Scilly Isles, Guernsey, Jersey and then back up to Weymouth or Portland – or South to Gibraltar depending on how well the shakedown went.

Current plans are to dip our toes in the water with small overnight trips during February and March before heading off on the longer trip towards the end of March/beginning of April – although as with all things sailing, there is no hard and fast schedule as we are always at the mercy of the weather (and technical issues).

Gibraltar

Route to Gibraltar

If all goes well then the next journey will be roughly 1,450nm to Gibraltar via the Channel Islands, and a number of ports and marinas en route as we bimble along the West Coast of France, Spain and Portugal until we arrive in the Meditteranean and the Straits of Gibraltar. The anticipated journey time is 3 weeks (although, again, we could do it none-stop in 8 days – but where’s the fun in that?!)

Following Our Travels

It is my intention to try and post fairly regular updates on YouTube both on a special channel for SV Pamela C as well as on my own channel SeaSwabJon as we progress around the West Coast, detailing the issues encountered as well as the sights we have seen.

I am also encouraging Jack to write a book on the Gibraltar leg, along with details of ports and routes, which we will then “fact check” en route and hopefully have more YouTube exploits for your viewing pleasure as we undertake what will inevitably be one long pub crawl from Brest to Gibraltar – checking out the marinas, the restaurants and the bars as we go!

Thanks to our Amazing Patrons!

  • Margaret Morby (Gold Patron)
  • Steve Taylor
  • Bev Freed
  • Robin and Marja Crowther
  • Sam Wright
  • Melanie Smith
  • Martin and Gillian Heath
  • John Bointon
  • FidoNet
  • JFDI International
  • Jack Case
  • David Clarke-Williams
  • Hannah Cadec
  • Joanne Thompson
  • Alex Bush
  • Sierra Callaghan

Heading home, all partied out!

Jan 5th and we have been partying like its 1999 all over again!

Leaving Weymouth

Forgetting COVID for a few days, the world felt almost normal again! Heaving dance floors, packed pubs, it was like the pandemic had never happened. Irresponsible? Maybe, but after 2 years of lockdowns and 3 jabs, it was time to try and get back to a semblance of normality – even if only just for a few days.

It’s now Jan 5th and time to move on from Weymouth (Weybiza!) and go for a sail before returning to Portland to continue the upgrades and repairs … only 1 thing though, Jack needed some wet weather gear!

  • Margaret Morby (Gold Patron)
  • Steve Taylor
  • Bev Freed
  • Robin and Marja Crowther
  • Sam Wright
  • Melanie Smith
  • Martin and Gillian Heath
  • John Bointon
  • FidoNet
  • JFDI International
  • Jack Case
  • David Clarke-Williams
  • Hannah Cadec
  • Joanne Thompson
  • Alex Bush
  • Sierra Callaghan

Impossible Journeys

The only impossible journey is the one you never begin ..

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As we start a new year, we reflect on what was and then we look forward to what will be, always remembering that our past does not equal our future!

These past 3 years since I quit my job and started on a journey of self-discovery, I have come to realise that so much time was wasted in the never-ending rat race, working to live but actually living to work.

I had been mildly successful and had a couple of lucky breaks, but like the gambler who always thinks they’re on a winning streak and who keeps going regardless, I didn’t know when to stop, walk away and say “enough is enough”. I kept ploughing on, re-investing the money I’d made into new ventures, only to find those fail one by one and my cash reserves disappearing rapidly as a result.

More than ten years of my life was spent trying to replicate the accidental successes I had in the midst of the dot com bubble. Instead, I should have walked away and banked my winnings. To be honest, I did try to do this when I was in my late twenties, but without life experience or any real idea of what alternatives were ahead of me, I just carried on doing what I knew best. I think I lacked the imagination or had already had most of it beaten out of me in the early years (I had pitched a number of ideas for services such as YouTube, Netflix and the like only to be rejected so many times, I started to believe these things really weren’t possible)

It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I finally began to appreciate that there must be something better – an existence that doesn’t involve working 100 hours a week, sleeping on the floor of the data centre because I was too tired to drive home or even walk to a hotel nearby. I had truly gone from one extreme to the other with work, but I was addicted, I couldn’t let go or switch off. I was hiding from life in my work.


Middle Age:

That time when you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart

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Five years later, however, I have finally managed to switch off – possibly a little too successfully – as I am now living almost full time on my boat, slowly starting to explore the coast of the UK and planning my next “impossible journey”. Money is running out, but my inner peace and mental well being are better than they have been in a very long time.


Your past doesn’t equal your future

In the past, I was guilty of doggedly holding onto a losing cause, whether it was the failing business, my failing relationships, or just the fact that I needed to work no matter what. I still exhibit some of those “addictive personality” traits, but I am looking forward to ways of continuing the journey and not looking back at the quicksand that had become my career – the more I struggled and fought against it, the faster I sank into the sand.


I love asking kids what they want to do when they grow up because I’m still looking for ideas!

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The Future

Initially, I plan on learning my new boat inside and out. I need to work on my personal fitness (I was unfit before spending 18 months in lockdown!)

I need to find a small crew who can help with general handling, ideally, someone to share the experiences and the costs with, but primarily someone to spend the cold nights with and stop the cabin fever setting in!

Once general handling is second nature, then we set off on one of those “impossible journeys”. Heading off in search of warmer climates and exotic foods, golden sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of the Caribbean.

Life is a journey, and just as in Life, I don’t want to get there and complete the trip quickly, I want to enjoy the experience and make new memories, travel and make new friends along the way. Gibraltar (for example) is 1,000 nm away. We could do the trip in 5 days, but where is the fun and adventure in that – instead it should take maybe a month, as we meander down the coast stopping off at little villages and ports along the way, dropping the hook and exploring. The same with the Mediterranean, spending just one season exploring the Med seems short-sighted, ideally, this should take a few years (if funds permit). No more rat race, no more rushing to the finishing line travelling at Mach 1 with my hair on fire!

There is a lot to be said for travelling at 5 knots. You see the world in a different way when it passes by so slowly, and there is so much to see out there!

Exploring the World

One of the beauties of owning a boat and sailing is that you can move your home to a new location without any fuss. The feeling of waking up in the morning in a new location, opening the hatch and looking out at a different neighbourhood every few days, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures … is truly priceless.

  • Margaret Morby (Gold Patron)
  • Steve Taylor
  • Bev Freed
  • Robin and Marja Crowther
  • Sam Wright
  • Melanie Smith
  • Martin and Gillian Heath
  • John Bointon
  • FidoNet
  • JFDI International
  • Jack Case
  • David Clarke-Williams
  • Hannah Cadec
  • Joanne Thompson
  • Alex Bush
  • Sierra Callaghan