I’ve now lived aboard Henrietta for over five years. For about four of those years I’ve been single handed. But many friends and family have joined me for parts of the journey, both friends I have known for years and others whom I encountered (or picked me up), and more recently through the internet.
Although sailing singlehanded is a wonderful and richly rewarding experience (and I’ll write a separate page on the realities of solo sailing and explain more of my thinking), my happiest days have perhaps been with crew – the ‘right’ crew.
Who were these people? When I start to recall the days and nights since June 2015 when I bought Henrietta and moved aboard, and think who has visited, I quickly appreciate how many there have been. I can’t name you all, or rather I could but I shan’t. In approximate order of appearance……and not including everyone ….and I can’t find photos of all you.
2015: Anna, George, Andrew, Margie, John, Paul, Nigel, Stuart, Bob
2016: Anna, Johnny, Roz, George, Stephanie
2018: Caroline, Joyce, Anne, Adrian
2019: Armelle, Margie, Martin, Peter, Josephine, Jenny
2020: Judith, Laura
Over thirty people have now slept a night or more on board. That’s probably more visitors than I ever had when I lived in a house (which might I suppose show that friends come for the boat, not me)
For some it was just one night or a few days, as their work or plans did not give longer. For others it was three months or more.
Nothing is perfect in life. Neither sailing boats nor us people are without fault. But usually, with tolerance, adaptability, understanding, humour, goodwill, tact, patience, calm, cleanliness, generosity, hard work, diplomacy, tongue-biting and perhaps a bit of love, both boats and people are utterly fantastic.
After a good sailing passage or a demanding mountain hike, in mellow moods of fatigue with a golden sunset, we feel we can indulge in glowing tributes to everything and everyone.
Trouble is, it’s hard perpetually to maintain the behaviour we need, even harder to find it.
Henrietta is a wonderful boat, seaworthy, beautiful and comfortable. But she lacks some of the refinements that a few folk deem essential. She has a small fridge but no freezer (imagine gin and tonic without the ice), not much space for personal stuff, no private bathroom, not enough fresh water for more than occasional showers, no microwave or coffee maker or cocktail shaker, an old and slow moving tender, and so on.
Add to that the fact that I’m a vegetarian who’s not rich and who’s no longer very young and beautiful, and you’ll appreciate that the people who’ve joined me are pretty special.
Thank you to all of you who have come along. It has been a privilege to get to know you better and whatever happened I have valued sharing many wonderful and beautiful experiences. (Even though alas none of you were the tolerant, generous, patient, clean, tactful, capable, hard working, loving, adaptable, liberal vegetarians (who also loved sailing life and me)).
Thank you again.