Just back

I was asked to write  a blog of my recent trip with the Corinthians in the US.  Unfortunately several marine mishaps made it impossible for me to do that, so this is more of an overview – an over view and then some:I have been sailing with Corinthians for nearly 20 years and it has been enormous fun.  I have been involved from the start.  I remember when Clint Springer turned up at Bell Wharf Lane and suggested that our two clubs sailed together.  Our  Commodore at the time, John Stonham hesitated.  Some people in the club were reluctant.  Who are these people, they asked?  Did they know how to sail? Perhaps we could teach them a thing or two?I suspect similar conversations took place amongst the Corinthians.  Anyway those of us who were enthusiastic carried the day and, in 1995,  I was one of 10 LSC members who joined their cruise in the Chesapeake, when Fred Wilson was Master. We had a wonderful time and  immediately invited the Americans back to the Solent in 1996.   Since then the  official exchanges have continued bi-annually back and forth across the Atlantic (Maine in 1998, Normandy in 2000, Boston n 2002, East Anglia in 2004, Chesapeake in 2006, The West Country in 2008, Maine in 2010, The Solent in 2012).  And some years in between we have had informal cruises in company in the Hebrides, The Channel Islands, Croatia, Desolation Sound, the River Lot.   I have been involved in the organisation of 2 these official cruise weeks in the UK and sailed on the organiser's boat on at least 6 of these cruises on both sides of the Pond, so I know, I really really know, just how much work the organisers do - not just during the week, but for months and years beforehand.  I know how much time and effort it takes to find suitable venues for dinners for large groups, to organise interesting guided tours, to gather up all the information and draft cruise books. So my heart felt thanks go to this year's committee for all they have done to make it possible for us to come and just enjoy the sailing and the company: to Peter Veira, Bob Heidenreich, Blase Reardon, Dave McConnell, Dick Woods, the Pasleys, Larry Blount and Jim Gibbs, Duncan Todd and all the others on the team.Almost everyone who has been on one of these joint cruises will have an anecdote illustrating how they do things differently from us and everyone will have a story to show how we are actually much the same.   The fact that we speak similar versions of the same language does not always help on  a boat.  Over the years, long term close friendships have been formed.  Some of the early sceptics have changed their minds and enjoyed the cruises.  Many of us have gone again and again.  In fact, 3 of the original 10 were on the 3 Colonies Cruise in  2014.   Only poor health has prevented some from signing up and it is with great sadness that I noted that  quite a few friends who have worked so hard in the past to make these joint cruises a success  were not there this year.   But there were many seasoned joint cruisers and a lot of new faces who had taken a step into the unknown and invited complete strangers to sail with them.  I hope both skippers and crew found it an enjoyable experience and one they would like to repeat. My skipper this time was Dave McConnell.  You will find us listed under two different boat names (Blue Cielo and Chateaunef-du-Pape) but we were actually on another (SolMate).  This should give you some idea of the problems we encountered.  By day 3 of the cruise we were on our third charter boat and had missed a couple  of the social evening events.  And, yet it has been a delight.   I have given up all hope of a decent cup of tea and developed a taste for Dark and Stormies.    We have cemented old friendships and have begun new ones.  WE are immensely grateful for the thoughtfulness and generosity of our Corinthian hosts and we look forward to welcoming them over here.I am sure there are many others who feel the same.  If you want to know more, talk to one of the people who went over there.  They will be easy to recognise they will be lightly tanned, sporting huge grins and over flowing with tales of their escapades.Editorial NoteThanks for the MemoriesAlthough I have mentioned the founders and this year's team, I know there are others who deserve praise for their efforts over the years both as organisers and for promoting the link between the two Clubs when they were Commodore or Master :  Brian and Lois Cope, Andy Barrett, Richard Keen, Malcolm Malir, Bill and Joan Thomas, David Roache, Mike Gill, Alice Neily Mutch, Duncan McMillan.  There are countless others, of course.  You only have to look at the back of the Cruise Books (available in the Library) to see that each organiser headed a team of hardworking volunteers. 

Deborah Wheeler, 11.11.2014 | More from Deborah Wheeler’s blog