We both want explore the West Coast of Scotland, Southern Ireland, the Baltic and the Norwegian Fjords. However, the Mediterranean is also full of exciting places to visit. The climate is attractive, it's relatively easy and cheap for visitors to get out to us and, if we need to, we should be able to get obscure yachts parts from the original suppliers in the UK relatively easily. The logic is that once we have got 'BV' all set up for hotter climates, and we are confident that we have the right kit on board, we can head out across the oceans.
So, the Mediterranean it is. However, it seems an awful shame to bypass the lovely Spanish Rias on the way so we will probably spend most of the first year just getting to the Mediterranean. That's pretty much as far as the planning has got to.
May 2018 Update:
Well, we now have our fist ocean crossing under our belts and have enjoyed a fabulous season exploring the Caribbean islands. Sailing from south to north we have ended up on a small island just east of Puerto Rico. The more northern islands have been particulalry intersting because they are still recovering from the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in Sep 2017. Whilst it would be lovely to stay in the Caribbean longer we need to be clear of the hurricane belt by 1 June 2018 to keep our insurance company happy. So, with that in mind, it's now time for the next big step in our adventure, a 1200 mile sail northwest to get us well up the eastern seaboard of the USA. Thereafter we intend to continue clocking up the sea miles with an aspiration to sail as far north as Maine before returning to the Caribbean. 2018 loooks like it will be a very high milage year!
August 2017 Update:
When we set off in April 2013, we thought that we would be spending a couple of years in the Mediterranean and then be heading west across the Atlantic. Well here we are four and a half years later and we still haven't crossed an ocean! Since buying Blue Velvet 10 years ago we have sailed her over 24,000 nautical miles and in doing so seen some wonderful places, learnt a great deal and met some lovely people. However, as our sailing experience has grown, the urge to take on a greater challenge has also grown; without having experienced an ocean crossing we feel that we are missing a big part of the yacht sailing experience. As a result we have spent this summer sailing from Greece, across the western Mediterranean, and Blue Velvet is now positioned ready in Gibraltar. The charts and pilot books for the Mediterranean are going home to be replaced by charts for the Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, the Caribbean and the Bahamas. It's an exciting time with a lot of new adventures ahead of us, and in the very near future at that! The best time to cross the Atlantic is at the end of the year when the Trade Winds have established themselves. So, by the beginning of 2018 we may well have cracked that lifetime adventure of our first ocean crossing.
October 2016 Update:
We spent 2015 and 2016 sailing around the Aegean trying to cover as much of them as we can. There is so much history here and so many fabulous archaeological sites to see as well as all of the beautiful islands; Turkey and Greece are just amazing cruising grounds. Despite our best efforts, over the last few of years there is still more to explore here. We can absolutely understand why people have spent 10 years cruising this fantastic part of the world.
January 2015 Update:
Well here we are nearly 2 years on from having set off. Like all plans, ours has evolved. Originally we expected to find a good location in the Mediterranean to live on board Blue Velvet during the winter months so that we could properly enjoy a new region. However, the combination of a family bereavement, moving to a house in Guernsey that needs a lots of redecoration, plus the reality of getting the boring admin like tax returns done has meant that we have returned home for the winter months. We probably won’t have that luxury when we explore further afield but for now the decision to start our sailing adventure by working our way into the Mediterranean has proved to be a good one.
September 2014 Update:
2014 has been a fantastic sailing experience. Starting in Gibraltar we have sailed 4000 nm, as far east as Cyprus and are now based in Turkey. Initially we thought that we were progressing a little slowly and, in crossing oceans terms, we probably are. However in our travels we met a couple that had spent 4 years sailing from England to Sicily, so from that perspective we are probably rushing along far too quickly. There are certainly places where we feel we have not explored enough but then that was to be expected. Part of our plan was to move quickly east in the Med to spend time in the Aegean before revisiting, more slowly, our favourite locations as we work our way back west.
Right now we are perfectly positioned for exploring the Aegean Sea in 2015 and so I guess the overall plan is working well. We charted a yacht in the Aegean with friends in 1999 and both loved it as a cruising ground. Our escape from a normal working existence has very much been fuelled by a desire to spend a good length of time exploring the islands in the Aegean and that is our plan for 2015. We may not be planning to cross oceans this year, nor clock up too many sea miles under our keel, but we are hoping to get a fascinating insight into the different character of the islands as well as scratching the surface of their rich history. With so much in the way of ancient ruins to explore and warm anchorages to swim in crossing oceans can wait until at least 2016!