In Monnickendam (NL) North of Amsterdam on the 29-3-2019 the Saltram Saga 36 “FULMAR” belonged to me for the first time. It was a lovely place to stay for the first few days going over the boat to make sure she will be seaworthy and shipshape for a trip down the English Channel, then down the Bay of Biscay to Les Sables d’Olonne. I was delighted with her condition.
A few days later my lovely brother Jim arrived, and the next morning we sailed in a light frost to Amsterdam. Fantastic to be able to go through the middle of the city with the mast up. We got to Sea-Port Marina that afternoon, on the edge of the North Sea.
In the morning we sailed out and down to Boulogne-sur-Mer, next was Dieppe, then Cherbourg. Jim went home, I did miss him. But sailing alone was needed to get ready for the GGR22.
When I got to Les Sables d’Olonne, I was treated so well by the Port Olona people. I was tied at the main pontoon with the GGR18 boats. It was fantastic to be a member of the Golden Globe Race family. After a nice week there I sailed back to Ireland, getting in just before a well forecast storm.
It was fantastic to be home in Dingle. The next weekend I sailed up to Limerick for Riverfest and back home to Dingle. Logging around 2,000nm over a month. I picked the Saltram Saga 36 because she is such a safe boat, perfect for the Southern Ocean. I was amazed and delighted at her speed. Once I prepare well, then there is a good chance of really doing well.
During the summer, I put down a mooring in Dingle Harbour, did some sanding and varnish work, fitted a wood-burning stove for the cold weather and some small woodwork jobs. I sailed around the lovely West Kerry with friends and family from time to time.
But the best of all is how kind the people of Ireland are. I have received over €5,000, the stove, the loan of a sextant and a photographer came down a few times from Limerick and took photographs for me, and much more. I will try my best to represent Ireland and my sponsors well in the GGR. The boat is mighty, so the rest is up to me now.
It is mid November now and I am working on fitting two chain-plates for new running back-stays and one for a new inner fore-stay. When they are fitted, I will sail over to Murphys Marine in Valentia Island for a lift-out.
Mast and Rigging Ireland will sort out the new rigging for me while I do work on the hull. After around two weeks (weather permitting), She will be put swimming again for some winter training. I also plan to form a support committee over the next while. There are a number of items in my wish list that I will need for the GGR22. People might have them tucked away in the back of a press or in the attic, because modern technology has replaced them. Be great if I can use them.