The final day of our circumnavigation and a very pleasant coincidence occurred. Life long friends of Nigel and Nettie (Nigel’s wife) were getting the ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth this very morning and would love to visit us for a short while as they were conducting a day trip around the island, and understood that we would be wanting to get going.
We hadn’t had numerous visitors to the boat, this was a strategic decision, getting underway and taking advantage of good weather and sea states was the priority, I would have been spitting nails if we had missed a window of opportunity for the sake of being social. Apologies to anybody we missed or we hadn’t invited, the mission was to get around safely and efficiently and be back in our home waters before the autumn Atlantic lows might have made it impossible or foolhardy and the boat was stuck somewhere for the winter.
Today was not a problem (obviously) and we were delighted to show Jackie and Paulo (her Brazilian husband) over Start Me Up. Their ferry was expected to arrive by 09.30 and they were on Start Me Up by 09.45. Yarmouth Marina is 200 yards from where the cars roll off the ferry, it couldn’t have been simpler. They thought Start me Up was lovely. Nigel told them of his conversation with our neighbour on the raft, leading to his excellent joke regarding turning left having exited Gosport on our way to Yarmouth.
Jackie and Paulo headed off to Osborne House (Queen Victoria’s seaside holiday home on the Isle of Wight) and even though we were in the most familiar of surroundings in the most frequently visited and favourite harbour, we decided to go through the same routine as we had on all of the previous departures. This involved me in the meticulous check of the engines and ensuring that all objects capable of flying were properly battened down. Nigel calculated the waypoints and resultant courses to steer back to Gosport through the Solent, which of course we new like the back of our hands. Further, in his capacity as the chief cook and bottle washer, he prepared and cleared up after breakfast including the dishwashing before tidying up and conversion of the saloon back to being a wheelhouse.
On this trip and broadly my responsibilities were for the outside of the boat, hosing down, general cleanliness and upkeep, the engines and systems including the GPS plotter and overall functioning of the boat. Nigel’s were as the navigator using the paper charts and noting on them our position every 60 minutes. Acting as principal crew, taking care of the mooring lines, fenders and stowage of same, this in addition to the chief cook and bottle washer role. Needless to say, I”m very grateful to Nigel for the fact that there wasn’t a scratch on the boat from the trip, this as a result of his care and experience in the fender and mooring lines department.
Our neighbours on the inside of the raft kindly helped with the lines and wished us well on our last leg and we made our way out into the very familiar Solent.
We needed to get back to Sussex and thought it would be lovely if Peter Wingate Saul, who had dropped us off at the beginning of our adventure, could pick us up and complete that circle. He was available and was happy to oblige.
One hour after leaving Yarmouth we came alongside Start me Up’s berth at Gosport, the marina having been warned of our return after two months. It was good indeed to back home. Nigel had decided to go and get some bubbly from his favourite Aldi supermarket, a short walk through the marina car park. He had aimed to do this in Yarmouth but the Ј43 pricetag for the ordinary Cuvee on offer was not happening.
Peter arrives and the car consumes seven bags of stuff plus of course Nigel’s electric scooter.
We return to Start Me Up and pop the cork, we toast the boat for delivering us safely around the shores of Great Britain, the engines had not missed a beat and other than the plotter problems at the beginning of the cruise, everything had worked without any problems whatsoever.
We toasted each other, neither of us had ever lived in such confinement with another human being ever, let alone for the duration of this trip. We had managed to get all the way around without any falling out, we were the very best of friends at the beginning and the very best of friends at the end. We toasted Peter for picking us up and kindly delivering us back to East Sussex
Thank you Start Me Up, you are the ballsiest 8.5-metre motorboat on God’s earth and I love you.