Up about 7:00ish as had to be off the Town Pier by 08:45. Had initial tea/coffee/cereal etc and woke boat up. Ready to leave so Phil went to the (still closed) HarbourMaster’s office in order to pay the mooring fee. He should have tried The Cherub Inn: at least someone would have been there – and they serve better food.
Having cleared Dartmouth, Phil ran through the ‘Man Overboard’ procedures and then everyone had a go at picking up the unfortunate Bob while under sail. The wind was light and, by the time of the author’s turn, had died away completely. Having occupied the cabin next door for three months, Keith found this remarkable.
With the practice done and training boxes ticked, sails were lowered and bunting hoisted. Keith then brought RBE (now “dressed overall”) onto the Events pontoon in Brixham and parked her immaculately. 2500 miles and not a scratch – not bad!
Soon afterwards, Duncan strode down the dock. All the crew were pleased to see him – possibly because he was carrying a bottle of champagne and six glasses. Greetings were exchanged and libations offered. Job done!
Keith and Richard helped Phil carry his kit on the not inconsiderable walk to the bus station. He was then faced with two bus and multiple train journeys before reaching home in Pompey at 21:30. He left with our sincere thanks for all his expertise, hard work and good fellowship and with our very best wishes for the future. As for his jokes…(!)
Most of the crew packed up their kit and transferred it to various cars. Contact was made with family: Sue with husband Nick and their beloved Maisie and Richard with his wife Nuala and their daughter Laura. Much needed showers were had and then festivities started with a second bottle of champagne courtesy of SWMT. The party transferred to the Buller’s Arms to meet the estimable Duncan and Tank and then on to The Market House to meet Keith Felton of SWMT and his wife Jenny. Keith’s wife, Liz, joined us having driven up from Plymouth. More drinks followed and eventually food.
After the meal, Keith F bade everyone welcome and said some very nice things about the crew. Duncan, slightly atypically, also said some nice things and then handed out the official certificates of circumnavigation and the all-important tee-shirts. Richard replied on behalf of the crew and offered their sincere thanks to Southwest Marine Training and to the individual skippers. Fond farewells were bade to Jackie and Sue who were driving to their respective homes that night.
This must begin with our thanks to five excellent and truly expert skippers: Duncan Bridgnell, Symon Cater, Peter French, Sheila Lauchlan and Phil Brown. They have shared their knowledge and humour with us and helped us grow.
And now the crew: Keith Brooker is going back to driving SouthEast Trains, Jackie Rice will be tending her patients and Peter Rice will be starting his Yachtmaster training, Sue Russell will be starting her retirement and Richard Godfrey will be trying everyone’s patience – nothing new there, eh Dunc!
So that’s that then! Thee months ago, five people met as strangers. Since then, they have travelled 2500 miles in close company, eaten a vast amount of food and now part as friends. What a wonderful experience!