Being out on the water is a wonderful way of recharging. Whether swimming in a lake or lido, paddling along a river, or sailing on the sea: experiencing the intersection of the elements, coast, wind, and water, brings me a lot of joy.
Compared to just jumping in the lake, going on a multi-day sailing trip is a bit more involved - both in terms of organising and developing skills to run a trip safely. Whilst yacht sailing might seem daunting, CUYC, run by and for students, makes sailing trips as accessible and affordable as possible. And I was fortunate to be able to take advantage of that during my Ph.D. — despite Cambridge being about as far away from the sea as is possible in the UK, I enjoyed numerous sailing trips!
After some years of enjoying the easy life of being crew on someone else's trip, I passed my RYA Yachtmaster Coastal and RYA Yachtmaster Offshore exams and now relish the challenge of being responsible for crew and boat on my own trips. As the skipper, my task is to keep everyone safe, well-fed, happy, and engaged. As with leadership in other areas, it is about passing on as many tasks to my crew as I can, making best use of their skills, and teaching them what they don't know already. The crew is happier for being trusted and involved, and I am free to focus on the unexpected (and at sea, there is always something unexpected). I also qualified as a Shorebased Instructor, teaching my students the skills required for navigating safely, both to Day Skipper and Yachtmaster level.
I have been very lucky with the crews that accompanied me, happily enjoying whatever the weather may throw at us, whether calm nights at anchor or strong wind in the middle of the sea. Below you can read up on some of the trips I've been on over the years.
Reports from some of my trips
Raring to go on a sunny Saturday afternoon in late July after journeys from all over the country, eight budding young sailors stood in Oban harbour beholding the good ship Skylark at the end of the pontoon…
After a gale killed a previous attempt at the same a few years back, this year there was finally another CUYC trip that went all the way to London’s Tower Bridge and back - in a weekend! With a police boat call-out, impromptu boat lift, and a nice force 7 on the way back, this was an adventure indeed. Read on for more…
Tidal races and overfalls and rocks galore (of which we hit none, proving that it is perfectly possible to go into exciting cruising areas without damaging the boat!), sunshine and beaches and crazy shenanigans. Does that sound like your cup of tea, coffee, or other beverage of your choice? Read on …
“What did you do on the weekend?” - Well, we paid a quick visit to Ostend, Belgium. Where ‘quick’ refers to how much time we spent IN Ostend, and most definitely NOT the time it took to sail all the way there - and back! Read on for what happened…
Easter 2013 - the coldest since 1962. Nevertheless, two crews braved the wind and had lots of fun sailing around the South Coast. You can also watch a short video about our trip on Vimeo!