My sailing finishes – time for the next adventure!

I’m sitting on a train heading to Wales and thinking about my time spent sailing around the coast of Britain and thinking how enormously lucky I am!

I have had some fabulous instructors during this trip, met some very interesting, yet strange people along the way, seen parts of our beautiful country most rarely glimpse, spent an intense period of time with my fellow crew members and learnt to sail a yacht!

If you have been following this blog, I hope you have enjoyed traveling around Britain with me!  If you haven’t, let me take you on a little journey right now!

The trip – well, how blessed I am to have travelled around the coast of Britain!  So, lets summarise – I have spent 99 nights on a boat, sailed 2,800 miles, visited 56 different places, seen dolphins, porpoise, minke, orca, seals, many birds, taught 2 men to cook, contributed to numerous local economies, sailed past the main headlands of Britain, stood on Giants Causeway, walked in the gorgeous Scilly Isles, eaten kippers on the Isle of Man, sampled numerous types of beer and whiskey, taken a tour of Belfast, brought a boat virtually sideways into a lock in Hull, spent 6 days with Royal Yacht Brittainia as my neighbour, visited the Orkney Islands and sailed in Scapa Flow, got a sun tan in Northern Scotland, drank in the most remote pub in mainland Britain, brought a boat into a lock with a broken gate right in the centre of London, became a loyal customer of The Coop!  Oh, and I have also learned to sail!

A big thanks to John and Mike, the other 2 crew members with whom I shared this trip.  Mike Graham

(Picture to be included here)


is a most interesting character.  I described him in my first entry as “still waters running deep”, this was my first impression, and was a pretty accurate description.  He was very quiet, but would silently and patiently listen to those around.  He loved walking, and had spent 6 months last year walking the Appalachian Trail in America.  This is a very long trail on the East coast of America, 2181 miles long, starting in Georgia and ending in Maine.  He lives in Shrewsbury (spooky this Mike, as my train has just stopped at your town as I’m typing this!)  I called him “Catalogue Man”, (it may even have been a Littlewoods catalogue at some point!), although Mike thought this to be an insult, it was in fact a compliment, as he always looked pristine and gorgeous in his photos, with his well defined and coloured lips the envy of every woman!

(Photo to be inserted here)

John Varty (sorry I kept saying it with an “F” Rev Varty!) is a lovely man who lives in Stoke, and despite this, has managed to retain a lovely sense of humour!  He has served his local parish for many years, now retired, but continuing his work in his resting years, and frequently taking calls from the Bishops PA (hiya Margaret!) along the way.  I hold John in high admiration, as completing a trip like this is an enormous undertaking for the fit and able bodied, but John has had health problems in the past, so for him, this was a fantastic accomplishment – well done John.  John could always be relied upon for a level view on things, for keeping positive, and for slicing onions whenever neded!  The thing I like the most about John is his infectious laugh and the fact that he takes a bit longer than everyone else at getting the rude jokes!

(photo to be included here)

Both boys were fabulous to travel with, there was never a cross word between all 3 of us, despite living in close quarters for 12 weeks, often sleep deprived and little privacy, and I feel very lucky to have shared it with them.  They were also both fabulous at putting up with a bossy midwife looking after them!

As for the instructors, well, again, I feel blessed.  Lets have a little look at them –


(photo to be included here)

Easy to see he is exe-navy, enormously experienced sailor, very quiet but doesnt miss a trick, loves splicing and making Turks Heads and his facial expressions speak louder than his words and is a great person to share a beer with!

Next there was FFFFFFFred!

(photo to be included here)

Well, another good beer drinking companion and a font of rude jokes and funny anecdotes.  He has a great way of teaching by turning the dullest of nautical facts into little stories you will remember for the rest of your life, a vessel restricted in its ability to manouever will never be forgotten!

“Air Hair Lair” Fred!

The next victim, sorry instructor, was Rick.  Nicknamed “Headwind Rick”, he certainly made the boat a more attractive place to be!  Another experienced sailor and this was his first time sailing around the Western Islands of Scotland.  He was very methodical and paid great attention to detail, liked his early nights and even earlier mornings and seemed to get a real buzz when one his students nautical lightbulbs lit up!

We had met our next skipper for just half a day when we sailed from Dartmouth to Brixham so we already knew we had a special person next!  Tank is a very skilled teacher and so relaxed on a boat.

(photo to be included here)

He was fabulous at instilling confidence in us newbie yotties, was fabulous fun, and really knows how to say goodbye to friends!

Our final skipper for Round Britain Experience was Chris Bracewell

(photo to be included here)

An Old Salty Seadog!

Again, fantastically experienced, with a wicked sense of humour and a glint in his eye, and could move about the boat really well without a zimmer frame!  He taught me many things, including how to ferry glide and found us the most strange fish and chips Whitby had to offer!  As you can see, just like the other skippers, he too has a great sense of humour and handles me poking fun!

I couldn’t finish without mentioning the instructor for the yacht master prep – Alan Haynes.  Alan has a lovely style, never shouts, (unless you are about to inadvertently gybe of course!) and works so hard to prepare his students for the assessment which could give them such a lovely qualification to pop in their pockets!

(photo to be included here)

A big thank you to all the instructors THANK YOU !!

I’m so glad I have taken this trip, it really was one of a life time, and if you are thinking of doing it, well just do it!

As for getting a yacht master at the end of this, well what can I say.  I have learnt so much during my 14 weeks on the water but its a tough exam for someone who is very new to sailing, and you really need to feel confident in your skills.  I have said before that it is important to believe in yourself, a self-fulfilling prophesey – if you think you are going to fail you probably will – and I did!  I know I can do it, but just not yet.  At the beginning of July, I had never really sailed a boat, and now I can spin one around on a sixpence.

I am flying to Oz on 24th October to start my new adventure over there.  I have already been in contact with the local yacht club and offered to crew for them, once Ive spent time racing, I will learn so much about sailing and gain all the confidence I need!

Please continue to follow my blog, for the adventure continues………..

Happy sailing!

About Jill Beckett

I hope you enjoy reading this blog, it is written purely for entertainment value! Its just a way of keeping a journal for myself as well as staying in touch with family and friends around the world. I try to "live life to the full", "think out of the box" and any other cliches for making the best of it that you can think of! I started writing this blog in 2011 when I gave up my job in the UK as a midwife ("The Baby Catcher"!) and began circumnavigating Britain in a 45ft yacht and trained as a skipper prior to going to Australia to live for a year. I then returned to the UK for 17 months where my feet became itchy once more and I moved to Bali to take my scuba diving to a professional level ("Jilly Fish") and trained as a Dive Master, then a Dive Instructor. I then sailed from Malaysia, through Indonesia diving along the way eventually making it to Townsville, Queensland, in October 2014, a 4000+mile trip, on a 50ft Catamaran! Following this I spent a wonderful year living in Australia, working on a casual basis as a baby catcher (midwife), and as "Jillyfish (dive Instructor) on the Great Barrier Reef as well as sailing as much as I can on a beautiful 44.7 Beneteau called Shazam. My newest chapter finds me back in the UK, living on the South West Coast in gorgeous Devon! Drop me a message, I would love to hear from you and what you think of my blog! Mwah x
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My sailing finishes – time for the next adventure!

  1. Margaret Andrews says:

    Hi Jill

    I’m sorry you are disappointed in your adventure’s ending but I want you to know that I have followed your journey and have nothing but admiration for you! My mum was a district midwife all her life and I couldn’t image her doing what you have done….

    You might not have the outcome you wanted but I do hope you have a sense of achieving so much. Your blog and photos have been brilliant and you have really had an amazing journey.

    You’ll be off to Australia soon…. another adventure! All the best….

    love Margaret

    • Jill Beckett says:

      Thanks for those lovely words Margaret. Yes, Im disappointed in the final end, but I do know I can do it. Im busy writing a summary/reflection at the moment, talking about how Im feeling (you get a mention in it!)

      Im glad you have enjoyed reading the blog, it has taken many hours to write, but has been a journal for me.

      Im off to Oz a week Monday, and have so much to do and many goodbyes to say! Please keep in touch


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *