Cruising & Racing
When I started planning in November 2003, it soon appeared there would have no shortage of volunteer crew for a Baltic cruise: “Put us down for St.Petersburg” was the frequent response.
I considered the option of leaving the boat in the Baltic over the Winter but, just in case I changed my mind, detailed planning was based on a 3-month trip. All the pilot books seemed to say the same thing: the Baltic season is short – consider June, July and August as comfortable. So I started filling in the likely passages and matching them with possible crew-change ports, courtesy of Ryanair and EasyJet. Rather like compiling a crossword from scratch.
Early summer 2005 and I’ve spent a lazy day pottering around on our Maxi 33 ‘Kjempekjekk’. Just two years ago Liz and I had been doing much the same sort of thing, completing preparations for some extended sailing and we were almost ready to go. Although we’d signed up for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) we still harboured the thought that in due course we might prefer to head towards the Mediterranean. Then our son Mike phoned to tell us that he’d just booked flights to St. Lucia for himself and partner Hannah and they would see us there at Christmas!
August 5th 2003 was a bright and blustery day and we left to a wonderful send-off from family and friends; within an hour we were overtaken by a black thunderstorm and with lightning striking the sea no more than 25 metres from KJ’s starboard quarter we wondered what other new experiences our journey would bring!