This was a sail in only the loosest sense. We put the sails up and the boat moved. It sounds like sailing but the boat was moving at less than a knot so I am not sure it counts. This voyage – and it was the first Isabella and I had been on – was an unmitigated failure. The aim being to sail the boat from Portland down the coast to Southampton fifty-five nautical miles away. The boat made it one nautical mile before being forced to return to port.
I thought that everything was ready and all would be perfect. On that note I was very wrong. On the day the wind never showed up and the air was clogged with fog. Defying the elements we tried to push on but halfway to the harbour wall the engine died and couldn’t be resuscitated. Sails up we eventually got back to the harbour essentially drifting for four hours to cover the one mile it had taken up five minutes to motor. In among all this I learnt that navigation is very important when sailing. Winging it is not an option.
While the voyage was a failure, as a learning opportunity it was very successful. I learnt about disappointment, engines and the importance of knowing where you are going. Lessons I will not quickly forget.