The Voyages

Working for a Living

The North Sea and English Channel are probably most famous for their weather and for the volume of shipping that passes through them every day - whereas the Irish Sea is just famous for its weather!

But if you live in England and want to go foreign, then you just have to cross them!

During the 1980s I logged thousands of miles running regular sailing charters to Europe, Ireland and the Isle of Man. These were generally with novice crews but we always had fun, even if the weather was occasionally a bit boisterous!

My runs included

The Thames Estuary to Belgium & France

Ostend - Calais - Dieppe - Boulogne

From Plymouth to France & the Channel Islands

Cherbourg - Alderney - Jersey - Guernsey - The Scilly Isles

From Anglesey in Wales to Eire & the Isle of Man

Crosshaven - Cork - Kinsale - Arklow - Port St Mary

Just for Fun

Sunset in The Mediterranean

In 1992 we set off to visit my sister who lives in Greece. We'd previously been there by car, driving through Europe and what was then known as Yugoslavia. This time we decided to go by boat! That meant motoring across the English Channel in our new yacht, Loquax, the mast on the deck, so we could then cross France by way of the rivers and canals. That leg involved 1000 miles of motoring, during the winter, to ensure there would be enough water for our 1.8 metre keel.

After exiting into the Mediterranean, our first task was to rig the boat and see how she sailed. We covered many hundreds of miles over the summer of 1993 - little suspecting we would then head for the Caribbean

The Mediterranean

Sophie goes aloft in the bosun's chair to check the rigging

From Plymouth we motored across The Channel to France (210 Miles) then up the Seine from Le Havre to Paris, then the Marne, Saone and Rhone to Port St Louis du Rhone (775 miles)

By sea to
... Corsica: Ajjaccio (200 Miles)
... Italy: Civita Vecchia (200 Miles)
... Sicily: Messina (350 Miles)
... Greece: Levkas then via the Corinth Canal to Halkidiki (950 Miles)
... Turkey: Cesme (250 Miles)

And Back to
... Sicily: Cefalu (650 Miles)
... Spain: Almerimar via Sardinia (1,170 Miles)

6 countries around the Med, 1 year, 4,755 miles

The Caribbean and back

Th sun setting over the Caribbean as we make landfall

From Europa Point, Gibraltar we sailed across the Atlantic to the beautiful Caribbean where we cruised for 6 months before returning to England via the Azores.

Gibraltar to
... Lanzarotte: Arrecife
... Barbados: Bridgetown

Then 6 months around 11 Caribbean countries.
... Bequia
... St Vincent & the Grenadines
... St Lucia
... Martinique
... Dominica
... Guadeloupe
... Antigua
... Nevis & St Kitts
... Saba
... S Martin.

before heading North to Bermuda an across the Atlantic to Europe via
... British Virgin Islands
... Turks & Caicos Islands
... Gt Exuma Bahamas
... Bermuda
... Azores
... Plymouth England

19 countries, 9500 miles

Working with Sightsavers International

We were very lucky to be asked by the British-based charity Sightsavers to take hundreds of Intra-ocular lens kits to West Africa, where we motored 200 miles up the River Gambia to supply makeshift eye-hospitals with cataract replacement equipment.

The week of our arrival was designated Blindness awareness week by the Gambian government and we had the privilege of being involved with surgeons restoring sight to almost 300 Gambians. Cataracts are a common cause of blindness in Africa but a simple, if intricate, operation can restore sight for about $25!

After our expedition up one of Africa's great rivers, we set off for the The Caribbean, South America and, via the Panama Canal, The South Pacific, en route for Australia.


Mangroves growing in the mud of the River Gambia

From Plymouth in England we set sail for The Atlantic port of Brest in France (180 M)

And then on to
... Spain: Bayona (480M)
... The Canary Islands: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and S Sebastian de Gomera (1080M)
...The Cape Verde Is: Palmeira on Isola de Sal and Sal Rei on Boa Vista
Cape Verde Is (850M)

Before setting off for Banjul, the capital of The Gambia in West Africa
... Half Die Dock, Banjul (420M)
... Nyassang Forest Park, way up river (180M)
... and back to Half Die Dock - named after a Chlolera epidemic, Banjul (180M)

6 countries, 3 months, 3,350 miles

To Panama

The beautiful Caribbean Sea

From Banjul we crossed the Atlantic direct to Barbados
... Bridgetown, Barbados (2,500M)
... Port Elizabeth, Bequia
... Tobago Cays and Union Island, St Vincent & The Grenadines
... Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
... Prickly Bay, Grenada
... Chaguameras,Trinidad
... Islas Los Rocques, Venezuela
... Willemstadt, Curacao (In all some 750M)

The on to South Central America
... Cartegena, Colombia (480M)
... S Blas Islands, Panama
... Colon and transit the Panama Canal to Balboa, Panama (325M)

11 countries, 4 months, 4,055 miles

The South Pacific

From Balboa we sailed a short distance to Las Perlas Islands on the Pacific Coast of Panama before setting off on a 4000 mile leg to the Marquesas Islands and across the South Pacific to Sydney Australia.

The only view we had of the Galapagos Islands was lowering the sails to eat dinner under the towering cliffs of Culpepper Island (now renamed Darwin Is). As sea birds streamed home in the evening light, dolphins and whales spouted in the ocean beside us.

From Balboa we sailed a short distance (30M) to Las Perlas Islands before setting off for Sydney, Australia.

We stopped at
... Culpepper Island, Galapagos Is,Ecuador (970M)
... Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, and Nuku Hiva - Marquesas Islands (3382M)
... Kauehi - Tuamotu Archipelago (690M)
... Papeete - Tahiti (660M)
... Bora Bora - Society Islands (155M)
... Raro Tonga - Cook Islands (590M)
... Niue - Niue (610M)
... Vava'u - Tonga (220M)
... Suva - Fiji (450M)
... Port Vila - Vanuatu (590M)

And then in Australia at
... Chesterfield Reef (620M)
... Bundaberg (220M)
... Brisbane (480M)
... Coffs Harbour (220M)
... Sydney (280M)

13 countries, 8 months, 10,217 miles

Since then

We've crossed over to Whangarei, New Zealand and back -twice (5000M), been up to the Whitsunday Islands (2000M), Lord Howe and back twice (2400M), down to the Bass Strait, New Caledonia and back(2500M) and we're off from New Caledonia to New Zealand in October,returning to Sydney in November 2017 - call that another 2000 Miles.

Take a look at the page called the "Ends of the Earth" for our next voyage!

What other people said about the trip

BBC coverage

Loquax in the Pacific