Liz and Tim Dodwell took part in the OGA Round Britain Challenge from May – August 2013, sailing their Cornish Crabber Pilot Cutter 30 built in 2001 ‘High Barbaree’.
As the Round Britain Challenge fleet sail their separate ways, Liz reflects on the adventures aboard ‘High Barbaree’ and shares some statistics of the voyage with us.
It was really sad to say goodbye to everyone and wonder when and even if we’ll meet again. Of the 20 boats that went round England (16 of us went through the Caledonian Canal so only four went round the northern Scottish mainland so circumnavigating Britain) we became quite close to many of the owners and the crews, and certainly we plan to keep in contact with our new RBC family. Here are some general comments and statistics (but I don’t guarantee it’s all correct):
The 20 boats were of different types, size and ages. Four were smaller than our 30 foot, and most of the rest were just a bit larger. Five of the eight wooden boats were over 70 years old; five of the Dutch boats and one English were steel; one boat was concrete and five were modern, made of fibreglass, like us.
Personally we travelled 2,318 nautical miles in 107 days or about three and a half months. We were moving for over 500 hours but with sail only for just 29% of the time. Our average speed was therefore about 4.5 knots. Most of the time we were motor-sailing and this was mainly because of the tight schedules under which we travelled and the need to continually think about the tides. Different people on the trip had different objectives and restrictions, like some were still having to do some work whilst others were content to wait for a fair wind. One of our ambitions was to visit as many places as possible. So, apart from the organised events which usually lasted several days, and those occasions when we were wind-bound, having decided that the forecast was such that we’d better not travel, we only spent an extra night in three places.
We visited 68 different places, only 20 of which we had been to before. One of the main challenges was navigation and I think there were tidal restraints on entry times at 37 of our destinations. Another of our ambitions was to see some of our family and friends who don’t live near us, and we met up with over 30 of them, plus the eight who came to welcome us home in Cowes. 14 people came as crew, staying mostly about a week on board, eleven of these were family. We were one of the few boats who rely on paper charts, and don’t have a chart plotter, but I definitely think we’d try to get one before we tackle another long trip!
What have we missed most? Not much! We’ve eaten and drunk very well. We consider we’ve been pretty comfortable on board. We’ve slept well and our cabin is homely and cosy especially with the oil lamps burning. We’d little idea of what was happening in the world outside, not bothering with radio or newspapers though I did watch Andy Murray win Wimbledon on a hotel screen. We’ve come home to lots of rather tedious jobs!
Definitely a brilliant and memorable way to spend the summer.