Between 40 and 50 people celebrated the Intrepid circumnavigation yesterday. Pina Coladas, the general exuberance and the sheer pleasure of seeing so many people who had been involved make me a little hazy about the exact number.  People like Dai Williams and Trish Adams who sailed the legs down to Canaries (just 1000 miles..) to veterans (if he will forgive me calling him that) like Jim Clarke (engineer supremo who came back later to sail Azores to Lagos and later with Hester through Gibraltar), Chris and Carolyn Gilsenan, (Carolyn did the hard bit through tough Caribbean waters, while Chris breezed across, sailing the Atlantic with us in 2001), Beryl and Bernard who not content with crossing the Atlantic the 2nd time with us in 2003, did the Indian Ocean as an encore. (Bernard arrived fresh from DIY bicycle based cosmetic surgery in France), Pam Martin who traipsed into Cuba, Indonesia, and places in between, Phil ‘the Marsellaise’ Cheeseman who got us into buying a keel boat in the first place sailed with us in the Med, Maeve who braved the Azores/Lagos run, then came back for Caribbean fun then Indonesia.


Ben and our son James who crossed the Atlantic the first time with us aged 18 when I still wasn’t sure I could keep Intrepid together across 3 weeks of rolling 12 foot seas, were there, also Janet who has the most frequent intrepid sailor points of anyone I think, and is a favoured premium traveler with us. Nadir drove James down from hospital, we will always be grateful for that. Gemma who had ‘the best holiday ever’ on Intrepid in the Med came en route to a 10 mile run in Southampton. Mark Wade came with us in the Dominican Republic and liked it so much he bought Kittiwake another beautiful Westerly and sailed the Atlantic and back last year.


Eric Atherton who was our photographer on the Panama Canal transit (as well as the challenging Cuba-Panama leg) was there, and my sister Hilary and husband Alan who sailed offshore Miami (well someone has to) then Hilary came back for the British Virgins, and even more Intrepidly to hand steer between Sri Lanka and Maldives. Chris and Jill who sailed with us 10 weeks across the Pacific then up the Red Sea had come all the way from Sydney to be here – then had to fly back to NZ to see Jill’s Mum who was ill and therefore couldn’t be there on the day – but they did the right thing and Jill’s Mum is now much better.


Everyone met Elaine and Denis from Oregon who sailed the other part of the Pacific and Australia and … made the Halloween mask, cooked the Turkey and myriad other dishes and were as talented and indispensable on land as they were on Intrepid. Then there were the supporters which as every football club knows make the difference between a win and a loss. Brian Cook who has been everywhere before us, and turns a deft phrase, Damian (and Jacqui) who I met when we were both in Ernst and Young, and whose fervent desire to sail oceans glows through his emails to us, , and the villagers who with the exception of JR (who has crossed just about every ocean there is) and Eileen are bemused by why we want to sit in an ocean when we could be down at the Swan, but who humour us, a bit like escaped lunatics which in a way I suppose we are, being entranced by the full moon over the Pacific or whichever ocean we happen to be on at the time. Mark and Sue, Ken and Rosemary, and Chris give us indispensable village gossip, and Noel who has owned a much bigger boat knows just what maintenance is involved and can’t see why we don’t just drive round, Peter and Helen, John and Rachel, Phil and Sue, and Simon and Sharon who just like (and make) a great party.


The fish I am afraid was not caught from the rods of Intrepid, but tasted good, and a 240V AC blender made lethal Pina Coladas a piece of cake, or should I say fudge brownie a la Intrepid which actually was made in a washing up bowl because this was the only container big enough to hold the mix. Turkey and ham made it almost a Thanksgiving Day celebration which in a way I suppose, it was.


James’ employer provided the projector to shine photos of faraway places on the wall, and Dai and JR provided guitar accompanied songs as the day drifted into tomorrow, the evening shift drifted away and the diehards of the night shift debated everything under the sun (moon actually). We had all sorts of bodies sleeping in various rooms round the house, and after I had taken James back to hospital at 7am and collected the Sunday papers, we all collected for breakfast of Cappuccino, scrambled egg and smoked salmon and more talk before we began cleaning up at 2pm.


May I just say again how genuinely grateful we are to everyone who sailed with us and made the trip so much fun, we hope you had the chance to meet some of the other characters who shared Intrepid over 2001-2007, and we thought of those like Lanah who couldn’t make it all the way from NZ for the party, (but is already planning another trip) and Tim who is in Dubai and sailed with us from Bali to Singapore, Christian who has passed his Master’s ticket from the huge private yacht he is more or less in charge of, and is now….taking a sabbatical as a barman in New Orleans, (well, what else do you do) and Caroline who had her major Barber’s shop competition at the Albert Hall on the day, and Ric Brown who is always the first to respond to emails (via blackberry of course).


Elaine and Denis are off to Intrepid today, in Turkey, and we will be visiting Intrepid again soon. Being in the Med makes Intrepid much more accessible, so whilst we can’t promise anything, let us know if you are interested in any cruising and we will see what can be done as we plan ahead.


Andy and Nicky Gibb.


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