Job done

The Anabella saga continued until late, when the life boat finally reached her. The Holyhead CG had done a fantastic job advising, supporting and arranging help, all credit to them.

Dinner was eclectic though none the worse for that; stag bol without the spag, with chopped banana and heavily buttered French toast. My meal was interrupted by a very large blob on the radar that morphed into a huge superyacht, approaching at perhaps 7 knots. Following behind it like a faithful hound was a powerboat, probably full of minders, bows sometimes pointing at the sky as it could neither plane nor go at hull speed! I could just imagine the conversation of the disgruntled heavies on board and was surprised they didn’t pop over for a little light relief.


Arran slipped darkly by as my 67th Birthday arrived without fanfare, unnoticed by anyone but me; this leg was was becoming quite challenging navigation wise, requiring experience, a sharp lookout, total trust in the instruments and regular marking of the chart. I had a number of emergency anchor spots in mind for I was knackered, but it never got totally dark, so I was able to continue, unlike my attempts to sail which were repeatedly doomed because Boreas teased but never blew, so I dropped the mainsail before I got too busy with navigation, as a yacht motored 1/2 mile off clear on radar but no AIS. A little later a second one slipped by also without sails, again showing no AIS signal.

Miss Lemon and Hercule beavoured away, though frequent corrections to the course over ground were necessary as there seemed to be inumerable currents, eddies and skipper errors all combining to push us off course.

Up ahead, 2 miles from Rhu, bright white lights aboard an approaching ship blinded me such that I could not see its navigation lights. Too close, it’s bow wave clearly visible, I finally saw its red port light and grabbed the helm from Miss Lemon and swung Pippin out of danger as the large dredger slipped past 100 metres off.

I found it confusing that there are so many lights along the many channels on this route for it is nuclear submarine country, though fortunately they seemed to be in bed that night. I knew enough not to pass between two approaching tugs as they would have a sub slung between them! Mind you, the 2 sinister back RIBS full, of Royal Marines that shadowed these little convoys would be on you before you could say “cup of tea chaps”?

The first flush of dawn lit the sky as I prepared for docking and at 0400 I secured Pippin in her new home and stepped ashore. I was pleased as I had planned on 20 hours and it had taken just 15; a moment later, totally exhausted, I joined Gollum in the dark deep caves for a couple of hours.

It had been a trip of 650 miles, not all of them pleasant, but as ever the journey was highlighted by the friends and people I had met along the way – not least keith, Pippin’s new owner – generating wonderful memories I shall treasure until time steals them from me.

Pippin in her new home
Pippin’s sister ship, Wren

Job done.

By ajay290

7 comments on “Job done

  1. Belated birthday greetings from someone also fast approaching 67!

    All the best Nick

    On Fri, 3 Jun 2022, 08:07 The Solo Voyages of Pippin, a Frances 34

  2. Happy Birthday, John.

    Only 67! You have many years of boating ahead of you yet. And many memories yet to be made, so cheer up. Life’s not so bad when you think of the alternative. Rhu is a delightful spot to end the sailing bit of your boating activities, so take a bunch of photos while you are there.

    Don’t forget, events don’t have to be enjoyable at the time to be enjoyable in the retelling, and you have lots of tales to tell, and enjoy.

    See you soon,


    Sent from my iPad


  3. Well done John, it’s bitter sweet… a relief to deliver her safely, sad to say au revoir, who knows, she may visit your waters some day?! But now full steam ahead on to your next adventure 😁 As long as you have another project lined up all will be well and exciting, we’ll drink to that! 🥂 Cheers!

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