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The Artful Dodger II

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

S/V Chelone

John Blair
I have included some pictures which John Blair sent me as well a copy of his email, he sent me the other day of is report on sailing home to Wales.

John Blair aboard his S/V Chelone

Hey Pat!

Sorry I’ve taken so long to write, the boat I use for my business here at home got badly damaged and I’ve been trying to sort it all out - back to reality with a bump!
Well, after we sailed from Quidi Vidi we had a bumpy 24 hrs but as forecast the wind direction soon became more favourable and remained so for the whole way across the 'Pond'.
The sky was grey and cloudy all the way across and we had some days with winds of 30 knots but on our quarter mostly so 'Chelone' just loved that! other days the wind was insufficient to maintain 5 knots so we would motorsail to keep our daily average over 120 miles. The weatherfax via SSB was fantastic and we were able to download surface pressure charts at all times, firstly from Boston and then Northwood (UK). After 3 days the mercury rose and we also felt the benefit of the Gulf Stream as predicted with an extra knot and a half in our favour.
In that first week I think we all felt the same in that we were heading further from the safety of land and increasingly vulnerable should stormy conditions arise but at the same time, 'Chelone' sailed so well we had full confidence she could cope with whatever came our way.
I was fortunate to have a great crew in Laurel, Steve and Chip, We all got on so well and of course this is so important. Having had the sail from Halifax gave us time to see if there were going to be any such issues as so commonly can be the case. We performed watches as pairs based around sharing the 6 hours of darkness, ie Laurel/Chip 2200/0100hrs, Steve/myself 0100/0400hrs and so on. Cooking duties performed together or otherwise, there was never a problem. There was plenty of food, indeed I reckon I could live aboard 'Chelone' right now for over a week without extra provision of any sort! Even the freshwater lasted out and we had no need to break into the reserve in the drums on deck. The Newfoundland Fruit Cake given so kindly by Dave and Paulette Fong was by far the best treat onboard and we savoured every slice with it only being presented during the ours of darkness!.
Apart from seeing Whales and Dolphins almost daily there was not a lot to report in the log apart from sea/weather observations, broken rudder on the Monitor Windvane was cut, drilled ,bolted thru and refitted, we lost a fender overboard, half way across (around 900nm) we enjoyed the only alcoholic beverage onboard and toasted our own achievement with some of the Quidi Vidi beer. (I have one bottle of 'Iceberg Beer' left that I will treasure).
Land was sighted on the 13th day and we sailed into Kinsale (SE Ireland) the day after that at 07.00hrs. We spent the day in Kinsale, a small, pretty harbour and had the obligatory pint of Guinness together that evening before slipping our berth for the final 24hr passage across the Irish Sea to Wales, a passage I have sailed many times myself that was a stroll compared to what we had just undertaken. British Customs were informed on our arrival but didn't come to see us and we were 'cleared in' by telephone, Immigration clearance for Laurel was the same story!
Laurel stayed with my brother and his family while I had some explaining to do to my girlfriend as to why I had another woman onboard the boat! (I had only told her about Laurel the day before in the phone call from Kinsale!) Explaining (and groveling) done I showed Laurel the sights around my home area before handing over to Chip who took her surfing, out on the Seal Safari boat and visit to Caldey Island. Laurel also spent a day with Steve before traveling to London and Catching the flight to Halifax where she immediately joined another boat with friends for another passage to the Bras D'or lakes!
Old friendships reinforced and new friends made, it's the cruising life for me Pat! I just want to get back to it but arriving home a month late to the busiest part of the summer season and a boat with five planks 'stove in' on her port beam (thankfully above her waterline) i have not had time for much else, now the weather has deteriorated so I can't work on her today and can focus on other things. 'Chelone' is languishing on a mooring 20 miles from me and I have only visited her a couple of times since our return, I have so many people to email! All the friends we met along the way, my friends and family here all want to sail on 'Chelone' too.
I wanted to write a 'personal' email to each and every person that we met and feel awful that I haven't done so yet.
My brother suggested today that I should have compiled a brief 'hello' email and mailed it to everyone on the list immediately on my arrival, of course he's right and with hindsight.....

Please accept my apologies for the delay in writing, I treasure your friendship and I sincerely hope you give me the opportunity to repay the hospitality shown to myself and my crew during our short stay.

I hope you like the pics, if they don't come thru right then don't hesitate to let me know and I'll send them some other way. Saw the posting on your blogg and have yet to email Peter we spoke on the SSB once or twice but the reception was very poor, we were glad to hear he’d made it safely to Greenland, sailing alone, truly hardcore!

For now,

Kindest Regards,


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