Thursday, 26 September 2013

One last post, two final photographs that capture the essence of Capraia's Round Britain Challenge and some final reflections.

One of the most exhilarating sails was from Arbroth to Eyemouth.  We awoke to a miserable rainy morning with little wind and limited visibility - getting going in the early morning to catch the lock gates, with the noise of the rain on the cabin roof, was a challenge in itself!  By mid afternoon Capraia was romping along in 25 knots of wind doing 8.5 knots despite her shortened sail.  A reluctant start had turned into one of the best sails yet.  So often on this trip unexpected changes have surprised, delighted.....and even scared or horrified us! 

As we neared Eyemouth we were approached by a local fishing boat, the crew of which took this photograph.  That evening, tied up alongside in Eyemouth Harbour, the young man who had taken the photograph found Capraia and came aboard.  A generous and spontaneous act which thrilled us since we so seldom get decent shots of our own boat in open water - especially in conditions like these.

A few weeks later, and over 300 miles further South, we were approaching Southwold in very different conditions when Edgar and Elsa from Windbreker took this photograph in the shimmering heat of a perfect summer's day.  Later that day they invited me aboard their home and gave a slide show of Capraia's approach to the harbour.  This lovely couple gave much to the Round Britain Challenge in camaraderie, humour, song, knowledge and expertise.  They, and the other crew from the fleet of eight Dutch boats that completed the Challenge, gave us so much and asked for nothing in return.

My overriding emotion now that it's all over is a feeling of immense gratitude.  Gratitude for having had the opportunity to take part in this adventure - 3 ½ months away from home is a big 'ask'!  Grateful to my 13 crew who travelled, some from Switzerland and France, to join me and Capraia for various stages around our coast. Grateful to those we met on our travels who welcomed us and offered assistance, whether it was taking our lines or providing invaluable local knowledge.  Finally thanks to family and friends who have followed my progress and provided encouragement and support.  It has been a truly fantastic adventure.

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