The last leg of the trip is always tinged with a bit of sadness as the epic journey is coming to an end. For crew members who had done the entire trip it was significant having to say goodbye to their home of the last seven weeks.

The boats left Plymouth after a lovely weekend in Mayflower Marina where the hospitality on offer was much appreciated by the crews. In particular the ladies were wowed by the luxurious bathing facilities - so much so that many pictures were taken!! The journey continued with a glorious sail to Dartmouth, home of the Royal Navy Officer training school. 

The pictures do not do justice to the glorious weather the crews enjoyed as they sailed from Dartmouth on the the journey to Portland. The Boatfolk staff welcomed the crews to the home of 2012 Olimpic sailing venue.


What next - the crews decided to make the long passage from Weymouth to Eastbourne. The winds were a little tricky but the vessels made good progress considering the headwinds and entered the Lock at Soveriegn Harbour the next afternoon ready for a well deserved rest.

 

 

 

 

From Eastbourne the vessels enjoyed the pleasure of passing Dungeness, Dover and Ramsgate before  sailing through the London Array wind farm and negotiating the the formidable sandbanks of the Thames and before a night at anchor in the River Roach.  Paul and Phil produced a couple of superb "last night dinners" and even conjured up a glass of wine to be enjoyed before the yachts made a quiet entry into Burnham Yacht Harbour and the customary BBQ.

This years event, as many people know is the first without James being present somewhere on the route. It is also the first since his brother was diagnosed with the same illness and so the homecoming, lovely as it was, did have a sombre element for the staff at Premier Sailing and for some of the crewmembers that have been affected by Cancer.  Living with Cancer is a challenge for all involved and many people need support of some kind - and Macmillan can help - even if it is just someone to talk to.

If you would like to donate to Macmillan the do follow this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/premier-sailing23

Premier Sailing would also like to thank all of our sponsors and crews for this year’s endeavours. Their generous donations are all going straight to Macmillan, so they can help those who need it most.

Volspec Ltd, Marinestore, MOB Lifesavers, Tiptreehttp://www.whitehillsmarina.co.uk/,http://clarkeandcarter.co.uk

What a fantastic few days of sailing interspersed with great hospitality and picturesque harbours. Departing Milford Haven the decision was to visit Padstow and so we did. On the way the boats enjoyed fresh winds and pods of dolphins for much of the day.  To see the Video of Dolphins playing in the boats bow wave click here.

Padstow, the home of Rick Stein's famous restaurants, provided us with fish and chips and the Harbour supported the cause  by donating the berthing. It is much appreciated.

The next day the boats set sail for Falmouth. This is a challenging sail with fresh winds from the North East which would mean once round Lands end the vessels would have to tack to windward.  The forecast for the end of the week was not looking very promising with gusts of 35+ knots so a long sail now was the preferred option.

It is hard to describe how amazing a day, and night, it was to sail down this stunning coastline, rounding Lands End and then tacking our way to the Lizard point and bearing away for Falmouth.  Sure enough the forecast was correct and the winds on Thursday were decidedly strong. Some boats were bouncing around even in the marina and so it was time to indulge in Cheese.   

 

Word had it that the crew were practicing knots while in Falmouth but there was definitely to much laughter for that! No one seemed to understand what the chaps were doing on their knees. To see what the crews got up to later click here:: https://vimeo.com/835341671?share=copy

Then suddenly we arrived in Plymouth and it was time to say farewell .. till next time.. Here is a note from one crew member:   "Thankyou to everyone involved in the sail4Macmlan campaign. What a privilege to have spent such a fun filled week with lovely friends.. old and new for such an important cause ???? 

Thankyou especially to our brilliant skipper Paul .. we’ve learnt so much from you this week. Hoping to join you again for this special cause "????⛵️

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to donate to Macmillan the do follow this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/premier-sailing23

Premier Sailing would also like to thank all of our sponsors and crews for this year’s endeavours. Their generous donations are all going straight to Macmillan, so they can help those who need it most.

Volspec Ltd, Marinestore, MOB Lifesavers, Tiptreehttp://www.whitehillsmarina.co.uk/,, clarkeandcarter.co.uk/, 

After some discussion the crews opted for a long sail overnight to Peel on the Isle of Man. This visit coincided with the famous TT although no racing took place on the boats day of arrival. The crews spent a pleasant day on this wonderful island and at least one skipper pledged to return for a longer stay. The islanders were extremely hospitable and the Marina waived fees which was a lovely gesture of support for the work of Macmillan in helping people living with cancer.

This leg has some long distances to cover and much of it is in the Irish Sea which has a formidable reputation.  On this occasion the sea was beautiful and the night sailing spectacular. The boats left Peel and sailed the short distance to Ardglass  - to enjoy a Guinness, before sailing down the coast across Dublin Bay to Dún Laoghaire in Eire.  Where there was a difference of opinion regarding what liquid refreshments should be enjoyed.

It was here that a glitch occurred with the instrumentation on Florence. All the instruments went off suddenly and the fuse was found to have blown. Investigation by the crew found that there seemed to be a short circuit within a Raymarine cable.  Our thanks go to Mantsbrite of Maldon for supplying a set of spare parts and also to Marinestore Chandlery for arranging overnight delivery for a Saturday.  The crews then spent a long 19 hour sail from Ireland across a stunning Irish Sea to Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire. The crew of Florence did a brilliant job and sailed "old fashioned style to Milford Haven where the electronic repairs were successfully completed.

Here you can see the damaged cable and on looking inside the manifold it was obvious that the pins were damaged due to a short circuit.

The crews had the ubiquitous group photos and then it was clean up ready for the new crew to take Florence and Galliver round Lands End and the Lizard on their journey back to Burnham.

If you would like to donate to Macmillan the do follow this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/premier-sailing23

Premier Sailing would also like to thank all of our sponsors and crews for this year’s endeavours. Their generous donations are all going straight to Macmillan, so they can help those who need it most.

Volspec Ltd, Marinestore, MOB Lifesavers, Tiptreehttp://www.whitehillsmarina.co.uk/,, clarkeandcarter.co.uk/,

After a day of rest at Oban the new crew arrived to join Florence Agnes and Galliver.  The first day was a lovely sail down the coast to Crinan.  The Crinan Canal is renowned for being the prettiest canal in the UK. The boats spent the night moored in the canal basin before making the transit to Loch Fyne. and the Clyde Estuary.

There was a special surprise in store for the crew of Galliver as Richard amazed everyone by producing puff pastry - getting up at 2am to ensure the job was done perfectly.

The recipients of these delicious offerings, complemented by Tiptree Jams, were ecstatic in their praise for Richards efforts. We believe he has been asked back as head chef!!

The trip through the Crinan Canal was an absolute joy  with some amazing views across the countryside.

Florence, seen here showing off her sponsors logo ( Volvo and Volspec) joined Galliver  at a peaceful anchorage in Loch Fyne before spending a night at Tarbert - one of the loveliest  publicly owned marinas.

From Tarbert the two boats made their way to Bute and Rothesay.... There is something special about Rothesay... apart from being a lovely place to stay the public conveniences are something to behold and remind one of a previous era of opulence and grandeur.The boats have now arrived in Rhu near Helensburgh ready for a crew change and preparation for the journey down the Irish Sea to Milford Haven.  The total raised for Macmillan has now topped £47k since 2016 so our thanks to all involved.

If you would like to donate to Macmillan the do follow this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/premier-sailing23

Premier Sailing would also like to thank all of our sponsors and crews for this year’s endeavours. Their generous donations are all going straight to Macmillan, so they can help those who need it most.

Volspec Ltd, Marinestore, MOB Lifesavers, Tiptreehttp://www.whitehillsmarina.co.uk/,, clarkeandcarter.co.uk/,

Florence Agnes decked out in her splendid Volspec decor is seen moored in Clacnaharry sea lock ready to make her way to Loch Ness and the Great Glen.

The Caledonian canal is a real feat of engineering and as one commentator said - Thomas Telford didn't even have a hard hat!!

The new crew members soon settled in and the boats motored through swing bridges and up two locks before stopping for the night at the Eastern end of Loch Ness.

The sail after entering Loch Ness was exhilarating as the vessels sailed close to the wind  on their way to Fort Augustus and the next flight of Locks.

Galliver seen here on Loch Ness - showing off the sponsors logos . And below the opportunity wasn't missed to collect for Macmillan as the vessels transit the Fort Augustus flight of locks.

The facilities on the canal are, in many cases, not really up to modern standards and appear to be stuck in the 1970's but improvements are slowly being made. The cost of a two week licence at over £420 per boat seems a lot when you often can't connect to electricity at night.

The scenery is absolutely stunning and with very little rain the journey was idyllic. There were some spectacular castles and manor houses to admire on the way and sailing past Ben Nevis is a bonus... even if the summit is shrouded in cloud! After traversing Loch Locky and Loch Oich we arrived at Neptunes Staircase, the flight of nine locks that take us almost back down to sea level.

Then, after what seemed just a couple of days rather than a week, we were approaching Oban.

There was an opportunity to do 52 tacks on the way - not a mean feat!

Last year the crew tacked 38 times to transit Loch Ness and this years crew felt they had to better that, although not on Loch Ness. We think the picture to the right was staged!! No one would look that fresh after 52 tacks!!  The boats, complete with new crew members, are now exploring the Scottish west coast on their way to Rhu Marina where the Boatfolk staff are looking forward to welcoming them.

If you would like to donate to Macmillan the do follow this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/premier-sailing23

Premier Sailing would also like to thank all of our sponsors and crews for this year’s endeavours. Their generous donations are all going straight to Macmillan, so they can help those who need it most.

Volspec Ltd, Marinestore, MOB Lifesavers, Tiptreehttp://www.whitehillsmarina.co.uk/,, clarkeandcarter.co.uk/,

Asked if he had enjoyed the journey Trevor commented " I had a fantastic time and want to join again" It was sad to see the crews depart for home but great to welcome new crew members ready for the border crossing into Scotland.

Here the boats are seen entering the lock at Royal Quays Marina, part of the Boatfolk group, where the staff were super helpful in getting the boats refuelled with diesel and gas ready for the next challenge.

As with any journey of this type there were minor repairs to be carried out while in North Shields including replacement of a battery charger and mainsheet block. Our thanks to Marinestore for their support and to one of our customers (Lukas) who, after DPD's failure, kindly stepped into the breach and took the spares to Florence.

Once the vessels left the Tyne the first stop was a peaceful anchorage at Holy Island in the lee of Lindisfarne Castle.  This really is a magical location to anchor and take in the calming atmosphere.

The night at anchor was not that long as the anchor was brought up at 0400 and Florence and Galliver set sail for Arbroath. The promise of Arbroath Smokies provided the motivation and the vessels made good speed with some fantastic sailing to arrive in Arbroath late afternoon.

The following day saw an early lunch of the promised smokies.  If you eat fish and have never had them then a trip to Arbroath is a must. They are best eaten straight from the smoker and beware:: they are big!!

Click here for the video.https://vimeo.com/825817461

And then it was to be a long sail from Arbroath up the coast, past industrial Aberdeen, Stonehaven and Peterhead into the Moray Firth and a visit to lovely Whitehills.

The night sail was more of a motor sail due to a lack of wind but click here to see who joined us the next morning.

And that was after this glorious sunrise!

The journey along the coast from Fraserburgh towards Whitehills was a  downwind sail requiring total concentration to avoid gybing. It was also a tad chilly and the Gill offshore waterproofs were put to good use.

Whitehills is a lovely little fishing port with a delicate entrance but run by the village for the benefit of all. We always get a fantastic welcome.

This year the community, when they heard from a crew member of James's passing and the situation with his brother, made an unasked for donation to Macmillan. A donation that brought us to tears for its generosity.  If you would like to donate to Macmillan the do follow this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/premier-sailing23

The boats left Whitehills on a flat milk like sea with zero wind an motor sailed for most of the morning. Later in the day the crews enjoyed a downwind sail with a preventer rigged mainsail and poled out genoa.

On arrival at Inverness a quiet evening before the departing crews packed their bags for the trip home.

The final picture shows a happy bunch of intrepid adventurers - many new friendships made and experiences shared.  I am sure memories will be talked about for years to come - sailing does that to you!

Premier Sailing would also like to thank all of our sponsors and crews for this year’s endeavours. Their generous donations are all going straight to Macmillan, so they can help those who need it most.

Volspec Ltd, Marinestore, MOB Lifesavers, Tiptreehttp://www.whitehillsmarina.co.uk/,, clarkeandcarter.co.uk/,

Bank holiday Monday saw the crews gather together for the final safety briefing and then join our Macmillan Coffee morning guests, which included a number of previous Sail4Macmillan participants, for some light refreshments.

After a quick photo call, the two vessels departed in pleasant weather and, with favourable wind and tide, made their way to Shotley.  In the words of Sarah, who had never been on a boat before: "It was fantastic!"... and that was just day one. Click here for video day one.https://vimeo.com/824403824

Florence suffered a minor breakage with the back stay tensioner failing. This was repaired overnight as day two started quite early, enabling the boats to take advantage of the tide. Tacking into a headwind for much of the morning was tiring but when the wind veered to the east, as forecast, it was a glorious sail to Lowestoft. The crews made use of the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club facilities and enjoyed the members' hospitality. The following day was going to be a long sail of between 27 and 30 hours crossing the Wash and passing Flamborough Head on the way to Whitby.  With a forecast of south easterly winds, this looked like being a fantastic sail.

Click here for more video. https://vimeo.com/824406497

The night sail  was amazing. The crews were split into two watches and sailed through the night navigating their way between gas rigs and wind farms before enjoying a glorious sunrise approaching Flamborough Head. In this stunning picture, you can just make out the lights of Florence Agnes behind Galliver.  The crews had to slow down later in the morning as the entry to Whitby is not possible at low tide.  Once tied up in the marina, it just had to be fish and chips.  A day of rest and exploration beckoned as there is lots to see and do in Whitby. Famous not only for Captain Cook and the Endeavour, it is also the inspiration of Bram Stokers Dracula and much more.  The crews met an inspirational lady at the Sandgate Café in Market Place where the owners had been impacted by cancer, and Peter commented, "I feel gifted to have met this lady. All because I went sailing".  If you visit Whitby do call in and have a coffee - it will be worth it! 

The crews also enjoyed some evening refreshment ashore before the last day of sailing to Royal Quays marina and the Tyne.

On departure from Whitby, the crews were left with little wind and a long slow swell of up to two metres so, although the boats were motor sailing close to each other, they would pretty much disappear from view every few minutes.

Click here for more video. https://vimeo.com/824409972

If you would like to donate to Macmillan the do follow this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/premier-sailing23

Thank you.

Premier Sailing would also like to thank all of our sponsors and crews for this year’s endeavours. Their generous donations are all going straight to Macmillan, so they can help those who need it most.

Volspec Ltd, Marinestore, MOB Lifesavers, Tiptree, clarkeandcarter.co.uk/

The two Macmillan vessels, Galliver II and Florence Agnes have been undergoing maintenance for the past couple of weeks and now it is time to load stores etc.

Today we took delivery of the engine spares from Volspec, one of the key sponsors of the event. Over the next couple of days we will get deliveries from Marinestore and Tiptree Jam.

We look forward to departing on Monday 1st May for Leg 1 of the journey which takes us to Newcastle. For those that want to follow the vessels then you can use vessel finder https://www.vesselfinder.com/ and search for Galliver II  MMSI number 235077164  or Florence Agnes II  MMSI number 235093309.  When the boats depart Macmillan are having a coffee morning in the Swallowtail Restaurant - all welcome - no need to book.

If you would like to donate to Macmillan the do follow this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/premier-sailing23

Thank you.

Premier Sailing would also like to thank all of our sponsors for this year’s endeavours. Their generous donations are all going straight to Macmillan, so they can help those who need it most.

Volspec Ltd, Marinestore, MOB Lifesavers, Pantaenius, Tiptree,

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