1. Meet the Skipper

We’ve decided to go to sea,

PTSD, Arthritis, and me

Away we go foreign lands to see

But NOT before that cup of tea…..”


Tea Tastes Good after a Channel Crossing

Who is me“?

A 6th generation ‘Guernsey Donkey’, working life began at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst followed by 19 years as an Army Officer, during which our children Sarah and Sam – or should that be Sam and Sarah? – were born.  Fortunately they both take after their Mother and are now successful professionals.



Sam & Sarah

Working life continued in an eclectic series of roles spanning private finance, business, charity appointments and nearly 9 years as Bursar of my old School in Guernsey, Elizabeth College.

These days I am accompanied like many others by a few uninvited guests aboard.  In my case these include PTSD (not induced by military daring dos), a soldier’s back and arthritis.  None stop me voyaging, though they insist on a little thought before I do certain things, like raising sail or pulling up the anchor.

Anyway, ships and boats are in the family gene set and my paternal grandfather was both Chief Wharfinger of St. Peter Port and joint principal of  the Alderney Steam Packet Company.  Boat ownership followed my return to Guernsey in the form of a pretty little red sailed Drascombe Drifter named ‘Seaweed’.

‘Prime Time’ a Hunter 27 followed, to be replaced by ‘Shadowfax’ a Westerly Discus, possibly the best sea-boat of its size afloat anywhere.  Ideal for tricky Channel Island waters, ‘Shadowfax’ patiently bore all I could throw at her, seeing us safely to France, UK, the Scilly Isles and Ireland, plus a number of Channel Crossings, one in a Force 7 with 4 metre waves.

Sailing mainly on my own and being something of an unfit, irritable little chap, downsizing seemed a sensible option so ‘A-Jay’, a Sadler 290, came along, ‘Shadowfax’ having sold herself after the first viewing.   The long-held plan to sail around the British Isles began in April 2015 and as ever, I was well supported by my long-suffering, lovely wife Angie ……….. Sensibly she avoided the ‘wet, cold bits’ and will joined me instead in Dublin for my 60th Birthday, and the later on Caledonian Canal.

Morocco 014

First Mate Relaxing in Morocco

A-Jay also sold immediately and went off to her new home in Teignmouth to make way for Pippin, my Francis 34 Pilothouse.  We seem to get along just fine.

Anyway, half the fun of voyaging is the dreaming before you go …..

Skipper at Rest



4 comments on “1. Meet the Skipper

  1. Hi John

    You’re making good progress … And we are about to cross paths.

    I’m just about to start my 3rd stage which involves my first passage to Mallaig – ETA noon on June 29, tomorrow, Monday! Which is where you are I gather. So if you are still there tomorrow I’ll look for you…

    All the best


  2. Dom, I was going to leave first thing but that would be churlish if you are coming. Or we meet at sea – where are you coming from??? Can you call me on 07704220356 this evening??

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