Sailing Trip

The second post Id like to write today involves a 2 (that ended up being 3) day sailing trip with a friend of mine, Ben. Last year we did a weekend trip on his little Corribee (a 21ft yacht with barely room for the two of us and gear but great fun all the same) down the Medway river to Chatham where we overnighted at the marina there before returning the next day.

The next step up from this we thought was a crossing of the Thames, over to Essex. The distance didn’t seem too much further than our last trip (about 30 miles we calculated) and so planning got under way. The only free time I had was the last weekend in May (4 days before my bike trip!) which meant I had no real free time so I ashamedly left most of the planning and preparation to Ben and his dad.

The 21ft Corribee, Evening Star
Ben at the Helm

This meant that on Saturday 28 May I got up a half 5, met Ben and his dad at their house and we were on the boat and away by 7. So much for taking it easy now Id finished work and no longer had to get up a 6 everyday.

The first day involved a slightly windy and rough crossing of the Thames with big container ships popping up all over the place, but we crossed fine and rounded a huge sandbank (that we hadn’t accounted for initially, this added many more miles and hours to our trip) before heading up wind. At this point the wind was STRONG, the waves were BIG and we were SOAKED. So, in a state of probable mild hypothermia we decided to take the sails down and get motoring.

Unfortunately motoring meant relying on a 3.5hp outboard that barely had the power to push us upwind into the waves. And needed refilling every 40minutes after it cut out and left us floating backwards. And spent half the time out of the water as the boat rocked backwards and forwards so wasn’t really much use anyway. Our speed over ground (after the tide and all that) was barely above 3 knots and it took us a good 4 hours (while still cold and miserable) to crawl into Burnham-on-Crouch.

Thankfully they had warm showers. Unluckily their tumble drier was pants. 3 cycles at 40mins (and 50p a time) nothing was dried, or warm, it was all just equally damp. The boat was soaked inside in most places but we managed to find a couple of cushions that weren’t too bad, and after some food and a few drinks we eventually slept.

Food and drying things out
Sunset at Burnham-on-Crouch

Day two we left a bit late (considering the previous day had taken 12hours, we were not on our way till 11ish) and had the tide and wind behind us down the river crouch. Conditions seemed perfect and we were making 6+knots with just minimal sail. Turning upwind past the sandbank, making progress became impossible. The wind was ridiculous, the waves were huge, and we didn’t like it at all. Clothes that were still wet from the day before became drenched, moral sunk and fearing for our lives, we decided we’d had enough. We turned to head back to B-o-C but couldn’t even get there. We ended up eventually (again many many hours later) crawling into Bradwell Marina.

This meant we were further from home than if we had just stayed in the previous marina! The boat was a state, everything was damp and the thought of another night on-board was soul destroying. Thankfully Bens dad had booked us into a local pub, so after a wash we headed there for a great meal and a few pints. All paid for by our parents as well, excellent!

We woke up the next day, conditions were much much much better and we headed home. It was a 46 nmile trip back, travelling at 4knots it did take a while but we eventually got back to the home mooring, packed up our stuff and got home. Phew! Although it had cost us an extra day (and a day of precious pre trip time less) it was a great adventure and tested us to the limits, which I loved as its not often I’m faced with a challenge like that.

The Forts, old military buildings, halfway across
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Rebecca Stephens gives a talk at my school

So yesterday we had Rebecca Stephens (http://www.rebeccastephens.com/index.htm) come into school and give a talk.

She was the first British woman to climb Everest and gave us an account of her adventure, how it all started, her training, her arriving there and her climb. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was really in awe of her. She is a person who in my mind has achieved something really huge, to climb mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. Its something that some day I hope to try and her talk has really motivated me.
The basic message was, I think, that if you really want something, get out and do it, nothing is stopping you it just requires hard work and determination on your behalf. Any thing is achievable you just have to apply yourself to it. And with that I guess I should really start working! I just need to get my exams out of the way and I can then really concentrate on my expedition. I did talk to Rebecca about my trip after her talk and she was very supportive of it 🙂
Anyway Thanks to Rebecca for her talk and motivation.
Time to get to work…….

The beginnings

Hello all, my name is Alex.

I am currently at school, in my last year of 6th form.
When my exams are all finished, in exactally 65 days from now, the secondary school chapter of my life ends. I then have 14 months to do anything, everything and nothing. I cant wait.
The plan is to cycle to Asia. As I was born in the Philippines I thought why not try and cycle to the place I was born, to my old neighbourhood, my house, the hospital I came into this world from. One problem though, there is a large bit of sea to cross, which I either try to cross from mainland Asia (China or Vietnam, although I cannot find any official ferries/boats that do this) or I cycle round (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia?). But these are just tiny details, I need to get to Asia first!
Why am I doing this? Well why not, this might be the one real chance in my life where I have an opportunity to take a trip of this calibre. Although I really hope not, nothing excites me more than getting out, being in different places, seeing new sights, smelling new smells, being completely immersed in a new culture. I have been lucky in my life so far in that my fathers job was based all over the world and so I have already done a fair bit of travelling, but I still want more. I want to have my own memories of places I have visited (being too young to fully understand and take in where I was and what I’ve done, I’ve just been told about it from others) and so I hope to devote my life to getting out there, seeing the world and enjoying everything it can offer me.
And so to start this I plan to cycle through Europe, through Turkey, through Iran, Pakistan, India and onwards. I have attempted to plan a very very basic route, the trouble being I know where I’m starting, but not where I am ending. But I’m not really too bothered, the point of this trip is to enjoy the Journey.
My limits are obviously money and time. Money wise I will earn up to the point I leave. I have farm work I can do or I can find a full time job somewhere. I “should” be able to earn enough between the end of exams and when I leave, in about February/March sometime, to last me the entire journey.
The biggest issue on my mind at the moment is where do I end. Obviously unless I cycle back (which isn’t really the plan) I will have to fly, and so really need to book a flight back, but from where and when? This clearly needs more thought.
Any way for a first post I think I am doing all right. I’ve laid out the basics of my trip and now just need to get down to some more planning which I will post about here, once I’ve done it. Till next time, Alex.