This is the First Part of Nerys and Rob Kimberleys adventure (most definitely not a microadventure) of sailing her boat from Canada to Pwllheli
Subject: Sackets to Halifax
Phyllis joined us, flying in from San Diego via New York where she had been catching up with friends and relatives, to be greeted at the train station in Watertown. I don't think she knew how relieved Nerys and I were to have someone with us, to have someone we trusted, but also to have someone who spoke the language with enough experience to know what was right or wrong in a situation. It was a bit daunting to set off, but we had worked up momentum and had the sails up 50 yards from letting go. I still wasn't used to the sail plan, with the jib cut high in the foot and not the deck skirting No 1 that I was used to racing on Bob's J46 or Dave's Columbia 50 (friends we used to sail with in San Diego). I was itching to make as much ground as soon as I could and kept looking around for signs of more wind. We had a decent enough breeze, 10 knots to start with but I could feel it dying and was debating getting the green spinnaker ready. Instead I was instructed by the crew to conduct some training. Outnumbered and seeing the complete sense of it, we started doing man overboard drills as soon as we were in open water and I had reassured myself of the sea room I had.
The next part of our journey was going to be without assistance. We had to make sure we were ready to make a three week trip, provision food and water that would last us, fuel to power the generator, gas to cook with, and more importantly we had to prepare ourselves to face what was ahead of us. Only then could we set off for home. What was obvious to both Nerys and myself was that we needed crew to share the burden. We were lucky, since we got two of the best. Ken was 68, a seasoned sailor, had skippered a Swan 46 for many years and was also a RNLI engineer, his sailing CV was enviable. Pete was 65, had chartered a few yachts, still had a rebellious streak and used motorbike boots wrapped in plastic bags for waterproofs. Pete and Ken were old friends and both were keen and mentally prepared for the journey. For Ken it was his love of the sea and the boat, the Frers hull is very similar to the Swan and although she is the poorer cousin in terms of outfitting, she would have the same feel under canvas. For Pete it was the opportunity to sail the Atlantic, a long and private ambition he was running out of opportunities to fulfil, and to do it with someone he knew and trusted made it a trip of a lifetime for Pete. It is important to understand people on a small boat, it is usually the little things that upset the balance and can have drastic consequences. I didn't know Pete, scarcely knew Ken, but within a day of them arriving I was at ease in their company. Ken was energetic, would get on with what needed doing and was at home on the boat. Pete was keen, at ease in any company, learnt quickly and always had a story to tell.