22nd March 2020
So here we go! As a keen sailor and wannabe adventurer it is of course blindingly obvious to say that the thought of untying the lines fills me with a palpable, nervous excitement for the journey ahead. However, amid the eeriness and uncertainty of the Coronovirus, being on a boat and sailing off somewhere has another completely separate and distinct feel to it. Are we escaping? Well from one port yes but only to arrive at another on mainland UK but it seems that it really doesn’t matter where we land. The virus is here and at this stage it ain’t going anywhere!
So normally I would expect intimate goodbyes with friends and family but I don’t think this is going to happen. My Mum is in the age bracket described as being vulnerable and whilst I don’t have much of a concern about surviving this virus personally, and nor I believe does Asha, why would we want to take it along for the ride if we don’t have to?
With that in mind and the potential for goodbyes to be conducted from a distance, we are now seeking a weather window to make our escape from the River Crouch in Essex.
Despite some pretty dirty looks, sideways glances, head shakes and a few tuts from people in Asda who assumed my full shopping trolley was an exercise in ‘panic buying', I managed to get the provisions we need to ensure enough non perishable supplies to last for the next 5 years. No! Of course I’m joking! I do like to have supplies onboard to last for the best part of a month as a base and then plan to buy fresh produce as and when it is possible to do so but nevertheless, you can understand why some people were shooting me evils!
It also seems that this strategy was correct as some of the major retailers are now restricting the number of items any one customer can buy. Thankfully, multiple tins of everything you can imagine are now safely onboard!!!
As for the crew, well Asha and I are fairly new to each other but united by a desire to sail, sail and sail. That was a sound enough common denominator for us to find a reason to do this in a world that seems to present a million reasons not to do anything out the ordinary whatsoever. So lets give this a shove in the right direction and see what we make of it. Things are looking good.
Ideally we would like a stiff northerly breeze to make the first leg a 120 nautical mile affair to Eastbourne. A northerly is really the only wind direction that would work considering the route to Eastbourne from Essex is East, then South, then West. So this may be a tall order and perhaps too tall as the wind is not often blowing from the North at this time of year. If the order is indeed too tall we will just concentrate on getting to Ramsgate as a first stop and then wait for the next opportunity to proceed.
Altor is nearly ready and will soon be as ready as any boat ever is to go to sea. Boats are never completely ready or completely finished. In fact, the best way I have ever heard to describe the challenges of keeping a boat shipshape is this ‘Everything on your boat is broken. You just don’t know it yet’. 😳
So for now, that’s it. The plan is set and you won’t hear from me again until this Polish / British Altor of Down crew arrives at the next destination, representing a European Union despite Brexit for the masses!
Altor of Down