Miles logged: 47
Total miles logged: 1,674 nautical miles (circumnavigation of the coast of Great Britain completed)
Days since leaving Fleetwood: 60
Days at sea: 38
This will be a brief report. Over the next few days I will publish Bubble’s log in detail with averages and other statistics and will offer some reflections on our adventure. But first I need a rest and some time to look back on our experiences over the last sixty days.
The final leg turned out to be one of the best sails of the entire circumnavigation. Whitehaven to Fleetwood is a passage we both make regularly; it is a pleasant one because, as was the case for many of the legs over the last sixty days, the coast is visible for the entire 47 miles. It is a coast with interesting features to look at including St Bees Head, South Head, the beach at St Bees, the fascinating beach houses at Nethertown, the ever-changing nuclear site at Sellafield, the mountains of the Lake District and, though it difficult to discern from the sea, the entrance to Ravenglass Harbour. Later on the course passes the entire 11-mile length of Walney Island. The passage can be, as it was for us, with a favourable tide throughout and as one closes in on Morecambe bay the pull of the tide increases, so the final few hours are always fast.
When I first sailed this passage there was just one wind-farm, the Barrow Wind Farm. Now there is a second one nearby, the Ormonde and, offshore, the colossal Walney Wind Farm means that turbines are in sight for practically the entire passage. I used to look for the first sight of one of the Barrow turbines but now I tend to look for the first sight of the huge submarine-manufacturing shed at Barrow as the feature that confirms that we will soon be approaching our home port.
The weather was more-or-less as forecast, with a reasonably steady north-westerly of about 12 kts. We could have done with the wind being a little more westerly because as we rounded St Bees and set our course for Morecambe Bay the wind was not far off the stern. Our genoas just about filled, at least until Morecambe Bay, but with the tide on our side and the decent breeze we made excellent way, rarely dipping below 6 kts.
A few friends had awaited our return on Fleetwood beach; it was good to see them. We arrived in the River Wyre shortly after 1330 at which time the entrance locks to our home marina of Fleetwood were due to open. For some reason there was a delay in the opening and it was not until around 1400 that we were able to enter. In the meantime we had heard from one of our friends within that there was plenty of space on the alongside pontoon on C-section for us to berth bow-to-bow for a photograph. In the event, as was inevitable, a visiting yacht – which was at the entrance lock before us – entered the marina ahead and took a berth, as directed, on the alongside berth. She very kindly moved as far back as she could, but Mike and I then had to berth alongside in a space which was barely long enough for us both, allowing for a margin of error. It was a momentous occasion for us so we proceeded.
Whilst berthing it was a delight to see on the pontoon my yachting friends Martin and his wife Niccy; Martin had visited me at Shotley some weeks before. My wife Catherine was there as were a few friends from the yacht club. Mike and I managed to berth and I will treasure the photographs of us, the circumnavigation completed, standing between the bows of the two yachts.
Martin, Niccy, Catherine and I celebrated aboard Bubble with Champagne as Pagets Lady moved to her berth in the inner dock. As Catherine and I left Bubble, we went over to see Mike, just as we did on the night before departure, and enjoyed a few moments with him. Our adventure is now over; I want to reflect on it a little before writing further, so please remain subscribed or, it not, look for new posts in a day or two.