We met on a school trip to the Eden Project as squeaky voiced 11-year olds back in 2003. Since then, we’ve shared school dormitories, lads holidays, ups and downs, and a beer or two.
Now we’re sharing 32 foot of boat, every meal, the experience of new countries and far horizons… and a beer or two.
James aka ‘Hagg’
My early memories of sailing are rather haphazard to say the least.
My first memory of being around boats, was a cold winter’s day in a boat yard, as a 3-4 year old, and my Dad was painting the underside of the boat. It was generally deemed that I was unable to help with the painting, although I’m sure my Dad would’ve put me to work if he could have done!
So off I wandered doing a bit of exploring, as I guess you do when you’re an inquisitive toddler, and I started to walk down the yard’s slipway towards the water’s edge. For some reason I decided that the best place to walk down the slipway would be right at the edge. The inevitable happened, I slipped, I fell. Although, rather miraculously I managed to hang on to the edge of the slipway. This was just as well, as I wasn’t wearing a lifejacket and couldn’t swim.
Another memory I have is of an inflatable dinghy ride that went a bit awry. As Dad’s boat was moored in the middle of a river, getting down into the dinghy was a requirement to be able to make it to shore. I had already been plonked into the dinghy by one of my parents again as a small toddler, and it was then Mum’s turn to step down and get in. Unfortunately, balance was never one of Mum’s strong points (sorry Mum!), and so when she stepped down onto the dinghy on the same side that I was sat on, the small rubber inflatable became very unstable and flipped over. This caused me to be catapulted out of the dinghy and bob along down the river. Next thing I know, I’m being fished out of the drink with a boathook by a guy on the next boat downriver from us. A scene somewhat reminiscent of floating ducks at the funfair. Meanwhile, Mum unfortunately also fell into the drink and had a bit of hard time clambering back aboard. My father actually found the whole scene quite amusing, and I think that I now empathise with him on that one. However, needless to say, I think that that was probably one of the last times Mum went out sailing…
So, apart from a couple of misadventures as a small toddler, I’ve got some great childhood sailing memories. Every summer we would head out across the English Channel and spend a couple of weeks exploring the Channel Islands and Northern France. However, unfortunately Dad sold his boat when I was about twelve years old, and I didn’t step on a yacht again until I was in my twenties. Although, during this gap I did manage to get a fair bit of small dinghy sailing in, and so gained a solid grasp of the principles of sailing.
So in the Summer of 2014 and after realising I had absolutely no clue which career path I wanted to follow, it struck me that sailing around the world sounded like a good thing to do. Following on from this sudden thought, I distinctly remember sitting down at my computer and googling: ‘How to sail around the world,’ and went from there to where I am now.
And as they say, the rest is history…
Tom aka ‘Teed’:
I think up until May 2014 the only boats I’d ever been on were ferries across the English Channel and a Mediterranean cruise liner on holiday with my dad. So it was pretty ridiculous that in that month I became employed on a boat, not knowing my bow from my stern. Up until that point all I had known was school, sports (not water based ones either) and university. A degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics is yet to prove directly useful…
And yet, over the prevailing 18 months I fell in love with boat life. I learned which end the bow was and all sorts of other useful things, mainly surrounding making the boat particularly shiny, but also seamanship, nautical theory and general deck work. It helps of course when the work conditions are pretty cushty, but experiencing the oceans and the places they can take you was something I knew was for me.
So it was with some luck that back home Hagg was purchasing a small boat for big adventures.
I was in. I left my job and set about helping to get Blue Eye ready for August 2016.