Updated: Jan 6
October found us trialling a new destination for Shadow Wind and for myself as a skipper as we sailed to Conwy in North Wales.
Leaving at two in the afternoon on Friday we flew most of the way there under Genoa only, sailing through the night and arriving in Conwy marina 12 hours later after a heart stopping sail up the channel. Along with Chris, Mario, and Lisa the crew we had taken John along from Area 164 to give him the experience of life onboard a sailing boat, and so far he had managed to survive the rough ride!
John has not had an easy time of life so far, but his determination to change along with the opportunity to become involved in something that gave him the opportunity to do so has brought out the best in him. Having worked hard on the refit of Shadow Wind and with some spectacular results he was now enjoying the fruits of his labours and doing something he had never dreamt of doing before; Sailing. Turns out he is quite at home on the ocean wave (well the Irish Sea wave at least). Fish and Chips in Conwy and a walk around the old town made for a nice break from bouncing around on the water. It's a lovely old town with an impressive castle and walls from the 12th Century, interesting shops, and the smallest house in the UK bizarrely. It's also a very peaceful walk from the excellent marina to the town too, which gave a feeling of going somewhere every time we went out. Chris took this a step further and walked to Llandudno for the day too. As always though time flew by and we were soon preparing to slip our mooring by 3am in the morning on Monday.
A final cup of tea and we were motoring out of the channel and the River Conwy and punching hard against the wind and tide to claw our way back up past the many wind farms along the North Wales coast. Thankfully though as we turned East we were able to sail with 2 reefs in the main and half a genoa, and we soared towards the entrance to the Mersey. By the time we arrived at the main channel and the 15 mile track to the marina the sun had come out, we had shaken out our reefs, and we had a very gentle run back in to the lock.
Sailing has long been known as one of the most powerful character and team building experiences. Every person on a small boat at sea must learn to face their fears, overcome problems, and carry out tasks to ensure the boat can sail. They must also learn to live and work with others in a very small space day after day which builds a great level of tolerance for others and an understanding of what other people may feel. Working to a routine in a team builds self discipline and the whole package leaves anybody who experiences it with increased confidence, self respect, and a level of inner peace due to the closeness of nature felt. The benefit to the community is the increased good character and self confidence of the people who have been sailing, and how they realise that they can go out and live, work, and make a positive difference to their community. This is what Shadow Wind does.
"A man is never lost at sea." Ernest Hemingway