At Sailing Trilleen as I train and plan for the Round Britain sail in support of the Andrew Cassell Foundation my latest workup phase has been based around trials to help me learn how to balance the needs of disability against the universal masters of all sailors: tide and wind. Matching medication and care process schedules with the demands of passages is frankly difficult. While over the counter medication is littered with warnings of causing sleepiness etc, some of the prescriptions I take routinely do cause great drowsiness. It isn’t ideal to take those before running a pilotage plan into a new port. Nor is it ideal to have to deal with continence issues and a sail change at the same time.
This training period started with a gorgeous night sail from Cowes to Lymington, overnight as the tide dictated, after a session of training with the Andrew Cassell Foundation in the Sonar. The stars were breaking through scattered cloud above and the boat was beating on her own down the western solent. I’m both getting getting better at short tacking Trilleen and more tolerant of what a heavy cutter will and won’t do, and enjoying getting into the rhythm and patterns of sailing which will take me round Britain. I’m learning the relative costs of miles of passage compared with making an approach and mooring up, and how much rest I need per mile travelled.
After catching up with some of my family for the first time in ages I managed to escape Lymington on passage to Poole. I fought my way out of the Needles via the North Channel into the teeth of a Force 6. Once we were clear of the Shingles it was possible to relax a bit and leave Trilleen to steer herself to windward, have a cup of tea and to prove that, in the moderate sea and wind I could deal with the necessities of changing incontinence pads and dispensing medication. Sailors will wonder why I was seeking out a beat into that sort of wind with night falling. Primarily its because Sailing Trilleen will be going round Britain in the autumn and winter I can assume that there will be long periods of fairly active weather, and assurance about the way the boat performs in that weather is really important.
The next phase of the Sailing Trilleen’s project development is to rough out the passage plan for getting Round Britain and to get a schedule together for the project launch and start firming things up at that end. I’ve also got to do some thinking about the right combination of lighting, radar reflectors, radar target enhancers and AIS transponder to improve Trilleen’s ‘visibility’ as she is small enough to disappear into the wave clutter in many conditions. Alongside that I’ve got a lengthening list of fixes that Trilleen needs. Some of them are tiny – like adding security lanyards to lockers to ensure that in severe conditions the doors stay shut even if the whole weight of the contents lands on the door. Some are larger like reworking my shower area and fixing protections around some cable runs that couldn’t be completed on the hard because there were still major pipe and cable runs to go in.