Who are our heroes?
Erm? They're Clive and Les aren't they?
Yes, but wouldn't you like to know more? Read these biogs.
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Read more about Quintet, the boat that will carry our adventurers on their journey.
See the boys in action sailing Quintet outside Poole
The Green Keeper's Cottage
19th September, 2005
For the last three months I have watched Les, in the cabin, pounding away at the keyboard of his laptop while I have been outside sailing. Of course this has not always been the case. He has been zealous about plotting a position every hour and marking it on the chart, and sometimes it has just been too bouncy to type. Then again he did do all the foredeck work! Some has been written post prandial while on a mooring, so I have been asked for the occasional suggestion and shown pictures. He does seem to be an enthusiastic writer, so I am looking forward to seeing the final result.
When Les first said to me "If you had a 30ft boat we could circumnavigate Britain" I did not take him very seriously. After all I was still looking for a boat and it would be dependant on him not getting a job this summer and I knew if he was not working in our winter he would be off to Australia to sail there.
Well I did get a 30ft boat, an old one but full of character. She is generally sound but did need re-fitting. Some things, like the table top, were purely aesthetic. Some, like the cavity below the table top, too shallow to take a wine bottle, absolutely essential. Some like the galley, with a gas bottle in the cupboard under the cooker, urgent! There was a lot to be done and my home is not near a mooring. I took Quintet to Fosdyke Yacht Haven since it was the shortest drive from home. It was a good move though it can be a bit bleak there when the wind blows over the fens. I put coal in the stove and stopped a lot of, but not all, of the time.
I was beginning to think I would never get it done. The end of May was the goal and I missed it. Les turned up to assist at this point and we worked together so as to get her into the water as soon as we could. He even called on our friend Tony to lend his professional skills, at the weekends, with the painting.
Well, on the 19th June we set off for three months and three months is what it took. That estimate was very accurate. The more observant of you may have noticed that to achieve this we had to miss out most of Scotland. This is a pity but one could spend an entire summer just exploring the western isles and still miss a lot.
I have spent most of my working life living out of a suitcase in a different hotel almost every night, always in a hurry, never having time to just stop and stare. Now I can travel at my own pace in my own boat and go where I want, for the first time. Lovely.
Although I have been about boats all of my life, I was first taken out on one by an uncle when I was a babe in arms, I have only a small fraction of sea miles behind me when compared with Les. I have valued his nautical experience since we first met and I would not set off on this trip had he not suggested it, and I doubt if I would have been as confident with anyone else I know.
Three months is long enough to be cooped up in a small space with anyone, but we are still talking to each other. Forty years ago I had a friend who I have been avoiding ever since, and that was after only two weeks on a boat together!
I just hope you have enjoyed reading about our experiences. I certainly enjoyed living them.