Over the next few weeks I will be sharing with you my experiences of the maiden voyage of my brand new sailing yacht, “Lothian Sky”. That’s me (right) with my younger daughter Ruth who will crew for a good part of the passage. There are five other crew members, but more of them later.
Below you can see our whole family (left to right) me, Joan, Ruth and Jen and Jen’s husband Garry. Joan and Jen are not keen on sailing but we will work on them. We have photos of Joan on the helm but I don’t have permission to publish!
She is a Hanse 455, one of the new models from Hanse in 2014. 45ft with a sloop rig, self-tacking jib, a bright blue ginnaker and as many bells and whistles on as I could afford! As we go through the passage I will explain more about her. The photo is the Hanse generic as she is still being built as I write. I will add a proper picture once I get to Portoroz.
So “Lothian Sky”, what is that about? Well Lothian is that area of Scotland famed in ancient story which embraces the capital city of Edinburgh and where I was born. Gorebridge is an unremarkable place I would suppose but it is the happy place where I grew up. Situated on a rising shoulder of land to the south of Edinburgh it looks out to the North-West to the Pentland Hills, to the South the border hills and to the North a sky that stretches high across the Esk Valley to Arthur’s Seat, the Forth Estuary and the hills of Fife beyond – Lothian Sky. There is also a reference to it in the song from the Proclaimers, “The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues”, which is where I got the idea.
THE MAIDEN VOYAGE
From Portoroz in Slovenia, through the Adriatic, the Greek islands and then finally to Cyprus, a distance of over 1200 nautical miles. Those interested in more detail can have a look here .There are many waypoints on the route map but essentially the passage will be in six parts:
- Portoroz to Murter in Croatia to service the engine and other repairs as necessary
- Murter to Dubrovnik for R&R
- Dubrovnik to Kefalonia to pick up Ruth
- Kefalonia through Corinth Canal to Athens to pick up Alistair
- Athens to Rhodes
- Rhodes to Limassol
Lots to do to prepare.
- organise essential safety equipment, e.g life-raft, flares etc. – its amazing how much the boat builder does not include in the price! But there is a great chandler in Portoroz (“Skipper”) and Marijo has been brilliant in providing cost-effective solutions to my various problems.
- coordinate the gathering of the crew (more of that later)
- transport the boat by road, rig it and copper coat the hull (much appreciation to Xavier Bouin from Tan in Dubai for getting that sorted)
- register the boat, license the radio, obtain an EPIRB
- documents for the crew, photos, passports etc
- courtesy flags
- launching and naming ceremony
- and on and on and on ……
The plan is to leave Portoroz around 28/29 October and I expect the passage to take about two weeks. Ruth will join us at Kefalonia on 7th November and Alistair Cameron will join us in Athens. That means we will have a crew of six for the long stretch from Rhodes to Limassol (two days non-stop). Details of the crew will be posted later.