Jane and I have been married for 43 years. I often refer to her as my secretary, wife and best friend. There is no one else I would wish for (yuk I hear you say, but it is true).
My working background was originally a tradesman within an electricity company, as well as training others in various work scheduling software packages. Jane was a Medical Laboratory Scientist in the N.H.S.
We live on two boats, Jane-G is our sailing boat and currently resides in Ayamonte Spain. Autumn Mist is our motorboat and resides in Portishead Marina, it’s used for mostly inland fun. We chose to berth at Portishead Marina in 2014, having sailed Jane-G abroad for 16 years.
We’d have to say our biggest achievement to date was sailing Jane-G around the world, stopping to smell the roses on a restricted budget. We took 16 years, but that time could have easily been extended.
Initially the marina was chosen so we could be close to family and friends. We soon decided to take Jane-G back to sunnier climates but wanted to enjoy summers afloat in the UK as well. Where better than Portishead? As a base it has easy access to the upper reaches of the Seven, Bristol and even London via the Kennett and Avon Canal. The marina offered all we needed and has great accommodating staff.
In Portishead most know me for talking too much, enjoying my guitar and being a jack of all trades. Many may not know that I am the Ocean Cruising Clubs Port Officer for the area. A great club that endeavours to help visiting yachtsman of all nationalities.
Jane got into boating through me but my passion for boating started atthe age of eight, canoeing on the Thames. From there it seemed to naturally progress via dingy, a trailer sailer through to sailing vessels.
Our perfect days afloat was probably our longest trip from the Galapagos to Marquesas - travelling 3,100 miles with the wind just aft of the beam in a calm sea was just incredible! Beating up to Bucklers Hard in our 17ft trailer sailor on a beautiful afternoon was also magical. With Autumn Mist, chugging up the river and off to the pub for lunch takes some beating.
For a not so perfect day, remember the saying, “Gentlemen never sail to windward”!
Our biggest inspiration is from within, as we have believed for many years that it is better to regret what you have done, than what you have not. It is also our belief that if an opportunity arises, take it as it may not come around again.
If I could give one piece of advice to my younger self it would be to stop renovating cars to make extra cash and put that effort into buying property to rent out (we had to sell our home to finance our trip).
I would certainly recommend getting afloat to anyone. Pottering around safely in a rowing dingy is a good way to start. The purchase of a used, sturdy and small family sailing boat is in relative terms, less than ever. Buying new would be lovely, but mistakes will be made so scrapes are inevitable. If you are considering long distances, buying a sturdy, second-hand boat will enable you to learn maintenance and some repairs.
We learnt by experience and feel it is a must to be able to do the basics on engines and repairs as problems will occur. The only courses we took were an offshore theory and a weekend celestial navigation course. We had the benefit of time and experience. We also possess an ICC (international certificate of competence). Most of boating is logical, but if time is not on your side, going on the requisite courses is strongly advised. Remember too, that passing a test and getting a piece of paper does not mean you have all the knowledge needed. Getting out and practicing is very important.