#77 Sail across a sea with the boys

Following our first foray into sailing a few years back it would have been easy to consign it to the done and dusted pile and get on with something more sensible and down to earth. Anyone who knows me will know that I struggle a bit with down to earth though and have a strong love of everything outdoors. It’s a trait that seems to have passed from father to sons. Although by no means a regular pursuit, sailing has provided me with an escape and time to think when I’ve needed it most. There is something liberating about escaping the sight of land, leaving behind the day to day and making headway under the power of the wind.

As with life it is important to prepare for the voyage, set a course and expect the unexpected. Whilst we may know the destination it is not always possible to know the exact nature of the journey to be taken with external forces pushing and pulling us as we steer our course.

Having completed the trip on many occasions I’ve always wanted to sail across a sea with the boys as I believe there are some really good lessons to be learned whilst satisfying their abundant sense of adventure. The chosen trip was a 14 hour sail south from Peel in the Isle of Man back into Holyhead and the homeland that is Wales. To add to the excitement departure was in the early hours with a night sail to get us underway as we rounded the breakwater into the Irish Sea. The boys woke shortly after dawn with sleepy eyes turning into excited smiles swiftly followed by churning stomachs. Not to be deterred however they headed up on deck to embrace the experience sitting eagle eyed in the hope of spotting a seal, a porpoise or a passing whale. Despite being few in years they quickly matured into seafaring sailors taking the helm under the guidance of the Captain.

With the end of the voyage nearing and land in sight, the day trip took an expected turn as the wind died and almost in unison the engine warning light flashed on leaving us bobbing on a flat sea.┬áThankfully our Captain comes from the school of ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ and quickly set to work on the engine, however despite his best efforts in getting us going again the safest option was to call in the coastguard for a tow home, much to the excitement of the young crew.

A great adventure for the boys and their first sea sailed (albeit with a bit of back-up to finish off the trip). Next up the Atlantic!

* The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is funded by charitable donations, the lifeboat crews and lifeguards of the RNLI have saved over 139000 lives at sea since 1824.

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