Cruising England to Australia: Gosport to Grand Canaria [Part 1]

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MULTIHULLS Magazine • March/April 2003

Hi, dear readers! So, you’ve just flicked your new issue of MM, and this article is in there. What’s it doing there, taking up space? Well, I’m cruising around the world at the moment, with Dad (Gary) lover of all things that sail; Mum (Jane) you should see what she can cook at sea; plus my twin brother (Lorin) age 11, strongestsea stomach in the world, who can’t understand why sister has head in bucket! And of course, there’s me (Alix), I’m a girl age 11. I love the cruising life and I’m just getting used to the tons and tons of salt that everything around here absorbs! We have a lovely Shuttleworth 40’ catamaran called Zazen [named by Mr. Shuttleworth], and we areheading from London, England to Sydney, Australia. So, to see what cruising is like from a kid’s perspective… how we survive together… and hear about the annoyingly brilliant weather… read on…

At the beginning of August my family will set off on a cruise halfway around the world. We will be stopping at wonderful Australia and be living there (Dad was born in Australia). On our voyage we will set foot on many tropical and amazing islands. Living on a boat with my family for 18 months willbe hard, fun, and (when it comes to a twin brother), very annoying. Our sturdy boat will battle against winds, glide through crystal-clear water and slip through the waves of the Atlantic Ocean and carry all my make-up! (Don’t tell my Dad I said that.) My goal in life is to be a journalist and MM’s very kind Avahas helped me to one day complete my ultimate goal by allowing me to write from Internet Cafés and from on the boat, whenever it is possible along the way, and publish it in MULTIHULLS Magazine. I am not the most brilliant sailor in the world but my father has been sailing for many years of his life and my mother has also. My brother and I do know how to sail and enjoy it a lot.

Here is some information about my family and friends who will be sailing on this voyage: Dad (Gary Pearce) Age: can’t fit all the 0’s on! Funny, hard working, and brilliant. Occupation at home: Working 24/7 on Zazen Occupation on boat: The captain of our fine vessel. Mum (Jane Pearce) Age: 20 and holding (that’s what she says} Cleans and cooks, very lovable. One of those mums who is amazing and seems to have 8 arms! Occupation at home: Works for Sony Occupation on boat: Galley slave… oops! I mean navigator. Twin Brother (Lorin Pearce) Age: 20… JOKING! He’s 11 Annoying sometimes (what do you expect, he is a brother!) he’s funny and has that little cheeky grin Occupation at home: Going to school Occupation on boat: Cabin boy Me (Alix Pearce) Age: 11 Ahem… I’ll let you decide what I’m like. But, I suppose I am funny, relaxed, and a fashion victim! Occupation at home: Student Occupation on boat: Cabin girl – If there is such a thing. Other crewmembers that may be joining us for some of the legs: Uncle Viv (Welsh). He is looking forward to this trip and can’t wait to put up sails, steer the ship, and have an excellent time! John Shuttleworth(boat designer) This man is a brilliant designer and designedZazen. He may join us and see how his well-designed vessel can sail. A good friend named Shelagh, who is the kind of friend whom we have sailed with for many years. She is prepared to teach us music while on board. Uncle Gum(Dad’s brother) – a funny Australian who will liven up the cruise and will always be there to help during his stay on Zazen. Alastair, a good friend and good sailor who has sailed many yachts and seen parts fall down, including masts. (Let’s hope he doesn’t experience this during our voyage!) Charles, another good friend and good sailor. He is a mature, friendly sailor who it will be a pleasure to sail with.

Our journey to Australia has begun. As our vessel pulled smoothly away from the pontoon, I knew a journey full of amazing things, places and people was waiting for us. Was it just luck that the Red Arrows streaked across the sky, and the Tall Ships came sailing into the Solent as we left our home? We soon reached our first main stop, Falmouth, where designer John Shuttleworth joined us to cross the Bay of Biscay. The Bay of Biscay was amazing. There was phosphorescence, seabirds, whales and the most wonderful creatures… the dolphins. John and my brother Lorin went for an ocean dip at 19 degrees and Mum suggested we make a Spanish courtesy flag, which we set about doing. The flag with its red, yellow and green looked wonderful. Sadly, it was then that we discovered this was not the Spanish flag but the Bolivian one! Not many cruisers have made it to Bolivia but now we’ve got the flag – just in case!

After our tiring journey across the Bay we were all glad when we approached our first Spanish port called Camarinas. While staying there we met up with a boat called Canina which was also participatingin the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers), and Mercator is planning to join that as well. It was really weird meeting other boats with children on them, because when you first plan a trip like this, it is like you are the only person in the world doing it. With the taste of Spain on the tips of our tongues we soon set off for more rias and islands (for anyone who was wondering, a Ria is a sunkenriver valley. We dropped John off in Muros, and carried on exploring Spain. The Spanish have this delicious sugary snack which is like a long doughnut, called Churros. We also did really well on our first day ever of being taught by Mum, instead of by a school teacher. It was extremely odd being taught by Mum, but lessons are creative and fun, and are the best way of learning ever! We hopped down the coast of Spain and had lots of inland trips (or as we like to call them school trips). We visited the spectacular cathedral in Santiago; and, in Islas Cies, we scaled the mighty Mount Faro lighthouse – 175 m high! Although in Spain, don’t be fooled… the sun did not shine all the time, we had squalls,thunder, rain and wind. Our time in Spain started to draw to a close with fantastic ice creams and the best showers since England; our memories of Spain will be pleasant. Our stereo on our boat works really well on the outside speakers. So, while sailing, my parents enjoy cranking up the volume on their (corny) music and race along through the waves. So, just as we were crossing the Spanish border, some geezer called Al Stewart started singing about crossing the Spanish border. I didn’t like it, but the dolphins obviously did, as about 40-50 of them surrounded the boat diving clean out of the water. What a sight!

Portugal is nice but they really need to look at their pollution problem! As we pulled smoothly into Leixoes marina we had to dodge the odd railway sleeper (railroad tie) and dead seagull. If you think that was a tad bit on the grossside, then listen to this (and make sure you are not just about to eat), the water was chockablock with sick, rubbish, oil, dead rats, railway sleepers, knickers, weed… well I think you get the idea! Also, while staying in Portugal we decided to dry out on a cool little sandbank in the Algarve (in a place called Alvor). We stayed there for 2 weeks and fixed, scrubbed and cleaned our fine 40-foot cat. After cleaning Zazen we picked up our two friends Peter and his wife Toni. They also own a Shuttleworth, but it is a Shuttleworth 43. We had a 3 1/2-day sail to Madeira where we explored the fantastic landscape, but soon moved on. That brings us here to Grand Canaria. As we raised our A.R.C. flag, Dad, our skipper, officially declared thefirst little bit of our journey completed. Yeah! So will the Pearcqe family make it across the Alantic? Will they still be talking to each other? Find out in the next issue!

Categories: Sea Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Cruising England to Australia: Gosport to Grand Canaria [Part 1]

  1. I am really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one these days.

    • Hi, thanks a lot for your kind words!

      A number of people have asked me about the layout. It was just a free default theme which I managed to customize a lot to my liking. Its all about changing the pictures to your own ones which allows for a high level of personalisation.

      And i’m glad you like my writing, I try to write as comprehensively as possible.

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