After 11 days at sea, beating into winds and waves, we arrived in the sunshine into Falmouth on Thursday, very glad to make landfall. The crossing from the Azores, whilst no problem, was an uncomfortable one with us heeling over at 30 degrees much of the way. I can't tell you how frustrating it becomes to be at an angle for days on end ... cooking, sleeping, bathing, even just moving around the boat. Needless to say we are all covered in bruises!
As we sailed futher north, it got colder and colder at nightime. The first week we stayed in the cockpit on watch 24/7 but the last few days so us retreat inside at night, only coming up every 10 minutes or so to do a 360 degree scan for other shipping and then back down below. We had AIS (Automatic Identification System) running which sounds an alarm when any commercial shipping comes within 24 minutes travel of us so we were well prepared for avoidance measures. Fortunately the sun shone just about every day and so it was pleasant sitting in the cockpit out of the wind.
I've noticed that the more we sail the less we actually hand-steer, instead letting the auto-helm take the strain. Whether this is because we're covering much greater distances or the novelty of helming has worn off a little, I don't know, or maybe we're just getting lazy in our old age!
Falmouth was a delightful place to arrive back in the UK. Not only was it sunny and warm, but we enjoyed excellent fish & chips (something we'd all been looking forward to - how sad is that!) and I loved pottering around the boutiques. With little wind on Friday, and what there was still coming from the east, we motor-sailed along to Fowey in the afternoon and spent a very pleasant evening on a mooring buoy with a bottle of wine watching the sun set. A German cruise liner arrived at 7am on Saturday morning waking everyone up so we were ashore by 9am and spent a couple of hours reacquainting ourselves with this charming town.
We motor-sailed back to Plymouth that afternoon arriving just gone four o'clock. Paul was even thwarted being able to sail into the Sound - the wind was still on the nose! So after over 10,000 miles at sea, crossing the Atlantic twice, Jay Jay is now back in her berth at Plymouth Yacht Haven and we're at home again. It's been the most fabulous adventure: A real sense of achievement, an opportunity to revisit some favourite places in the Caribbean and explore new countries too, and the chance to be part of the cruising community and meet interesting people from all around the world. Real life is going to feel rather dull after all that I'm afraid. Roll on the next adventure!
And finally, a word of thanks to all the blog readers for your interest in our trip and words of encouragement along the way. We're incredibly lucky to be able to undertake these sailing adventures, but a big part of our enjoyment is keeping in touch with friends and happenings at home. Thank you!