Sunday, 23 December 2007

2007 in review

Well, what a year its been....January started as a cold an unpleasant month, with mixed feelings.... we didn't have a boat after Maggie had been sold the previous September, so I was somewhat glad that the annual delights of antifouling could be missed out, yet I was watching the weeks tick by on the calendar with our house sat stubbornly on the market and showing no signs of selling... and starting to see a saeson starting with no boat to use... it wasn't nice.Matters came to a head in January when we attended the boat show, and realised that this was an untenable position, so reviewed our finances, slightly reduced our budget and declared loudly 'sod it' and started looking for a boat...Several came on the market, including a rather appealing Sun Magic 44, that upon viewing was rather disastrous, with massive cracks in the keel grid. My heart was looking for a solution, but fortunately my head won out.... so we kept looking.... eventually a rather nice First and Feeling popped up down in the Solent, and we rushed down to take a peek.... not what we were looking for in either case... well actually the Feeling looked nice, but the decks were shot.... but alongside the First lay a rather nice looking Oceanis 400.... we asked for the keys in passing, wandered aboard... and there was our boat... we knew almost instantly.... it was just 'right'...A deal was constructed.... and with a bit of a last minute panic caused by the broker screwing up, but eventually solved, we collected the boat over Easter...I'm still waiting on the final bit of paperwork/letter... Ancasta, I haven't forgotten.... you clearly have.... shoddy. You didn't do a good job.A long windless trip back to the East coast with Jim, Lynn, Chris and John, and she was back in our new marina, Shotley....We made a few trips to start to get used to her.... what a wonderful experience... space, heating, hot water, comfortable berths, space in the cockpit... everything we'd dreamed of....By late May, as June crept in, we set off on the now annual Oostende trip.... great fun... what a pleasure crossing the North sea in comfort... and so much quicker!We proceeded to have a great week in the company of Sirenia and crew culminating in a brilliant BBQ on the beach at Stone Point... one of the highlights of the year for us....June too was a very special month.... besides a number of lovely sails, our dear friends Jim and Lynn hitched the knot in spectacular fashion, using their boat as transport to the wedding... another highlight of the year.... one we'll remember fondly for many years....July appeared rather quickly, and the weather hadn't been living up to the expected standards, but during the month, we organised the Pirate weekend, for which the weather relented, and we had a superb fun weekend, with a massive bonfire on the beach... marvellous stuff...As August approached, the summer cruise plans were being developed... a romp down channel was on the cards, but a slightly less than ideal forecast, along with pleading kids saw us back towards Holland... we ended up again on the lovely Bastien de Langeplaat island, spent a few days there, completely and utterly chilled out, cruised on a bit, visited some great destinations including Veere and Goes and then headed back to Ramsgate, crossed the Sunk (another big tick in the box) and then on to Burnham for the last few days of Burnham week with our friends.... great fun as usual, and then finished off with a wonderful night sail back to Shotley.... a first really for SWMBO... she's now done quite a bit of night sailing, but never set out in daylight, and sailed into the dusk and night.... she loved it!September saw our other annual event, the 'girls and boys' weekend.... as usual, a riot.... the boys were on Morgana this year... a bit of drama....miscalculating the depths over the Ore/Alde bar and loosing the steering... but nothing too exciting!!!!!!!.. as usual, we drank too much, ate too much unhealthy food, and generally misbehaved....Along the way, we all met up at the Deben for a lovely weekend at anchor....a good month.In October, the weather was frankly, rubbish... so it was with some surprise that Jim and I, after driving to Scotland to sail with Silkie, experienced superb blue skies and gently breezes to see the West coast at its absolute best.... another of the big highlights of the year....But by the end of the month, the weather had deteriorated to the extent that the planned 'last sails' of the season turned into trips to prep the boat for winter....November saw her lifted, and there she sits ashore, stripped out, with dehumidifer onboard, waiting forlornly for the end of Feb, when she'll be woken up, put back in her natural element, and the season begins again..... can't wait!Happy Christmas and a great New Year to everyone... hope '08 is everything you wish for!

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