Welcome Home Party….the review is in!

For months every time we have discussed the Elinca ‘return home’ party we haven’t been able to stop myself referring to it as the ‘leaving party’. For us onboard we are leaving the boat that has become our home and the way of life that has been so all consuming for the last 9 months. As we sighted Pendennis Castle on Friday there were cheers of excitement but more than one crew member had tears in their eyes. We saw Nicks parents and James mum waving from the top of the cliff (even though it was 7am) and my parents were  just around the corner in a Cornish Crabber that they had hired for the weekend to see us in. I’m finding it very hard to write about this incredible weekend in a way that does it justice. There were so many reunions of old crew members, of families that had not seen each other since September or in some cases much longer, so many stories and thoughts that I can’t fit them all into a book let alone this blog.

We tied up at Port Pendennis Marina in nearly the exact same spot we left last September. At the wheel was Nick, the longest serving member of the crew who had just skippered us across the channel from Brittany whilst James and I hovered in the background putting things into boxes and trying to sort our nine months worth of lost property. We knew the moment that we touched land that we wouldn’t have a moment to ourselves and sure enough they began to arrive. First came crew members from previous legs. They collected belongings that had been leant to or abandoned on Elinca leaving gaps in the familiar scenery. The barograph and barometer are now gone, the guitar is back with Andrea, the books are gone from the bookshelf (with the exception of a few paperbacks so terrible  that no one is confessing to owning them). Next came Peter Flutter who’s was smiling as he took our broken forehatch away to be fixed leaving us stress free to enjoy the Falmouth sunshine and the steady stream of people that had begun to arrive. Richard and Jane Thorpe (my mum and dad) tied their little boat up to the side of Elinca and presented us with some ‘Wordles’ … more on these later as they are better seen than described. As we were not due in officially until the Saturday, Fridays celebrations took place unofficially in the bear garden of the Chain Locker where 30 or 40 people sat until closing time with a view of the river swapping hugs and stories. With a few exceptions we saved our energy for the Saturday evening.

Zoe, Andrea, Andy Taylor and Andy Kitching  must take credit for Saturday.

Andy T:

Elinca’s triumphant return to Great Britain was celebrated on Saturday with a very special garden party, video screening and evening dinner. It was glorious day and a lot of fun!

From 2pm Friends, family and crew packed the boat to feat on a selection of picnic delights and have a final look around, performing  an impromptu buoyancy test . Guests left feeling refreshed, and in high spirits!

From 5.30 Adventure 2013 trip highlights were shown in the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club. There was high praise for the immense effort by Clare, Zoe, Linda and Andy K in the preparation of these videos. If “Cliggy Potter” ever sees the light of day you’ll understand just how professional their work was. The results were outstanding and with so  much of the footage breath-taking, you really do see why this trip was worth the full-on  2 years of planning and 8 months at sea.

At 8pm we sat down for Dinner with speeches, awards and an even a sing song. There are so many people who have provided time and support to this project, in-fact we think that everyone in the room had contributed!,  that they couldn’t all be thanked but special recognition was made to Colette, Jon and Clare who each received engraved sailing knives. James our skipper received a hip flask and there were flowers and photos for other contributors. After being so nice we then played dirty, with Clare making a series of special recognition awards. These included the “Foghorn” award for vocal volume and the “Tinder” award. Enquire discretely for further details! We wanted to give a special award to StormGeo for their help in forecasting but forecaster Wouter had retired early. We will post our thankyou to the office and thankyou to Wouter for making the effort to come down, it was nice to meet you and put a face to a name. Rounding up proceedings Dick Patterson led  us all in a rendition of a fitting sea song celebrating Elinca’s safe return and we played piñata with a giant cardboard penguin!

Maybe one day we’ll bash a giant cardboard something else..?


This morning we are motor sailing up a suspiciously calm Irish Sea. The mood on board is subdued but quietly happy. We are doing a rolling watch system that allows for three hours on and nine hours off to help us catch up on sleep with just two people on deck at a time. This is giving us rare opportunity to talk one to one. I’ve spent an hour or two at the wheel chatting to Raffe and recounting many of my favourite moments from the trip and from the weekend. I was worried that I would be struck with depression on leaving Falmouth and leaving Nick on the dock as we sailed away with a skeleton crew of 8 was certainly hard. This trip is different though, it’s a gentle wind down to the end. We have Clare, James, Raffe, Andy T, Alice, Jon and Cliggy (all of the unemployed crew). We also have Pete Lamb to add some enthusiasm and remind us that even a trip up the Irish Sea is still an exciting sea voyage. We are heading for Holyhead where we are looking forward to seeing my Grandparents and being joined by Jane Thorpe (mum) and Lynda. We will keep writing the blog a while longer, whilst the boat is still sailing… and then maybe we’ll log back on at some point in the future to let you know how sailors returning from Antarctica adjust to the real world. Hopefully at some point in the not too distant future this page will be alive again with details of the next adventure…

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The Journey North…by car!

Well, the welcome home weekend is over….and i’m sure there’ll be a review of this weekends festivities, but for now, here is an accurate log of the journeys home from the end of the world (Falmouth) for some of the party…

The Journey North

Falmouth to Manchester

Log book entry
Car 1 Jess and the Ridgway’s

Car 2 Jenn, Suzi, Ian and Adele


Car 1 Hour 1: car is making funny noises.
Ian’s friend rang but Ian couldn’t hear him. so, assuming that his friends phone rang in his pocket we all yelled abuse down it, only to find that his friend was listening. Friend apologises profusely without knowing why.
Ian and Tom are constantly saying everything is fine. When, as a person who says ‘fine’ a lot, I know it’s complete rubbish.
I’ve cracked open a bottle of beer with a key i was that desperate.
Stopped after half an hour of driving as Tom got hungry. When stopped Ian broke his liquid deodorant over himself so I’m glad one of us smells nice. Ian also went to the toilet and came out with his hands bleeding and when receiving his change from the cashier, he put the change down his top.
Tom has also breached the panda chat ban. Mentally, I’m doing okay 🙂
Position: just leaving Truro
Car 2 Blog No.1 position Falmouth, course north, speed 30mph, cloud cover 2/8 m2. Spent the morning having coffees in the cafe and then beers on the boat. Approximately 30 minutes given for goodbyes, again! Fuel collected for vessel and crew! Mood relatively high!


Car 1 Hour 2: location- lost.
Ian and Tom are disputing the definition of a tractor.
Tom took wrong turn, so we are in process of getting back on track.
Discussion of 3 man driving has commenced.
Standby for hour 3 report
Car 2 Blog No. 2 position dartmoor, course continuing north, speed 40mph, Altitude ear popping. No stops require in this vessel. On the look out for a swerving punto. Discussions generally surrounding weddings, hen party’s and the faces we finally put famous names to. Mood remains good.


Car 1 Hour 3:
Tom didn’t want to helm anymore So we stopped at a servo. Jess has resorted to buying Tom and Ian ice cream and coffee so they stay awake. It’s a strategy for operation IWMM (I Want My Mummy).
Ian is briefing us on his hate if bushes and I fear that that he’s going to make a new lane on this motorway by demolishing the bushes along the side
Mental state: deteriorating.
Car 2 Blog No.3 position m5 jct 23, course still north, speed 70mph, no cloud. All calm on board, some of the crew are preparing for the afternoon nap. However a pit stop may be required soon for refueling. Mood, anxious as approaching Bristol! Black mini spotted.


Car 1 Hour 4. Location: M5 Jess perspective:Jess needs a wee. Tom and Ian have decided to test Jess in how long she can hold it for. They have given me a target of 16miles.
Due to lack of aircon, it’s pretty hot in here. Jess has taken her tights off and Tom has taken his too off and then handed his top to Jess. Jess isn’t quite sure what to do with it.
Ian has been given the finger by a fellow driver. We stopped at a servo so Jess could pee. Jess got stuck in a cubicle and radioed for support. We have removed Ian out of the driving seat.
Ian Perspective: Designated naked hour. Team Baked beans have gone down a storm after taking advantage of the natural car oven. No hope from for passing greenery as lost nipple in the butter. Operation Iwmm has been abandoned after car park angels. Stockholm syndrome near perfection


Car 2 Blog No. 4 position just north of Bristol, average speed slower due to blinking Bristol traffic, it’s no wonder it has a stool chart named after it! The crew were right to be anxious. Following a quick pitstop to change the helm this crew are back on track, passing the mr and mrs Thorpe car. The crew seem to have woken up again just in time for taste test, where each team had to analyse the ingredients they could taste in the crisps.


Car 1 Hour 5: stopped at another servo for sugar reload and we also lay on the ground and did angels. The fact that I am onto my third beer makes me blend in a lot more with the ridgeway species. Mental state: Stockholm syndrome.


Car 2 Blog No. 5 location spaghetti junction, speed damn average speed checks, course are we nearly north yet. Cloud cover 5/8, L2. The cards are out and so far Suzi has stripped jack naked twice, whilst a lot of rum-my has been happening! 3 further black mini’s have been spotted, and at the last minute a red BMW made an appearance.
Car 1: Day 7: I asked Ian what time operation IWMM will be completed. He told me that I’m going to a new home now.
Car 2 Blog No.6 location The North 15miles from home, speed made very good time in comparison the the journey south, course east? A little swell on the last leg making cards a little more difficult, however there was time for a little tat shopping online ensuring souvenirs to commemorate the journey back to the mother land, the beloved north! Goodbye and goodnight! Hope a pleasant journey was had by all.


Car 1 Day 28 in the ridgeway car. Tom asked me if I like walking. I think fear they are going to dump me on the side of the road soon.
1 mile from home!!
500m from home and toms I tears and Ian’s having an emotional breakdown. I was close.

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Final landfall…

And so we’re back.

Falmouth – La Coruna – Lisbon – Las Palmas – Sao Vicente – Rio de Janeiro –

Mar del Plata – Ushuaia – Puerto Williams – Antarctica – Ushuaia – Puerto

Williams – Antarctica – Ushuaia – Stanley – South Georgia – Piriapolis –

Isla Grande – Rio de Janeiro – Ponta Delgada – La Coruna – Falmouth

21500 nautical miles, 235 days, MWF10, 1200 night hours


It seems like ages ago and like yesterday that we left here, and it was strange and brilliant to see my mum and Nick’s parents for a glass of bubbly as we arrived. I had to walk away for a minute as it was a bit overwhelming being surrounded by people! We owe a huge thanks to all you guys who helped make this possible, and for looking after us whilst we were gone. Now back to real life and plotting. Thank you. James


Feelings are mixed. There were a few tears when I saw the land for the first time and a few more when we saw Nick and James’ parents waving from the cliff top. I’m still waiting for mine to turn up… apparently they are sailing here. I guess this will be our last official blog as the adventure ends tomorrow although we’ll keep on posting until the last of us leave Elinca in Stornoway next Saturday. I’m planning to spend today sitting on the deck with a gin and tonic waiting for people to arrive and watching the world go by.  Clare

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They’re home…

Elinca’s in Falmouth, and crew are, as ever, eating – this time a full English!


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Scampering home

48.46N 04.82E 028 degrees 6.8 kn, half way up the Chenal du Four.

Today’s blog – sorry, “slog”  has a slight air of the demob-happy about it.  Somewhat more informal, slightly less precise , but it paints a wonderful picture of how motley our motley crew has become 🙂

The Slog

Today’s blog is coming to you in the form of a slog, or a song blog.  Over the last few months, during my time onboard Elinca, some of my favourite moments have been shared through the medium of song and lyrical genius, often in moments of utter madness.  Today we would like to share with you some of these songs which have been created by various crew members of Adventure2013.

The Oaty Goat Song

This short blues riff/song was inspired by Clifford who sailed from the Azores to La Coruna.  He was a demon on the guitar and encouraged a daily “ging gang gouly” in the cockpit.  This song was an improvisation created in one of these special moments.

I’m on a boat,

There is a goat,

He has oats,

In his throat.

The Torpedo Disco Dolphin

This song is a personal favourite of mine.  It was inspired by the frequent pods of dolphins riding our bow wave at night, through the impressive phosphorescence across the Atlantic.  It goes like this:

Torpedo disco dolphin, how wonderful you are,

You ride the flumie lumies like a mega moviestar.

Torpedo disco dolphin, the first time I saw you,

I thought you were a torpedo, but then I saw you move.

Torpedo disco dolphin, so sparkly in the sea,

So wonderful and beautiful, you make me so happy.

Torpedo disco dolphin, I’m glad you’re here tonight,

Coz crossing the Atlantic without you wouldn’t be right.

Unfortunately I have forgotten the 3rd verse, invented at 4am, apologies.

Cotton-Eyed St Hernot

Following our crossing of the Bay of Biscay, we spent some time in the tranquil fishing village of Camaret-sur-mer.  This recent creation was inspired by crew member Emily on a foray into the French countryside, to the sleepy village of St Hernot:

A ding-a-dang-a-dang-gang-dang-ohhhh,

I’ve been married long time ago,

Where did you come from, where did you go,

Where did you come from… ST HERNOT!

(Cue crazy dancing)

La Bamba/Twist and Shout MASH UP

Whilst winding our way along the scenic French coastal path, keeping ourselves entertained with song, a magical moment occurred when we realised the following two songs blend beautifully into audible harmony.  We’d like to share them with you.

Sha-la-la-la-la-la-bamba, doo doo doo doo,

Twist and shout, twist and shout,

Sha-la-la-la-la-la-bamba, doo doo doo doo,

Twist and shout.

You know you look so gooooood, look so good,

You know you look so fiiiiiiiiiiiiiine, look so fine,

Sha-la-la-la-la-la-bamba, doo doo doo doo,

Twist and shout….

All song and jokes aside, I have had a wonderful time on Elinca over the last few months and am incredibly grateful to have been a part of Adventure2013.  I also thank you all for reading my blogging drivel.  Until next time… Rachel xx

Having booked to come on this trip 2 years ago, knowing that it was the last and shortest leg (and the only one I knew wouldn’t clash with work exams, 2 years in advance), I couldn’t be more thrilled to be on board.  I have been in desperate need of escaping from the office for 5 months and I had not imagined how much we have been able to squeeze into the week.  My first victory was finding the boat in La Coruna without getting lost, despite trying to find the wrong marina, and not having to call James to say I was lost.  My Spanish is embarrassingly poor.  Sailing across Biscay in ‘watchleader watch’ with Nick, Jon and Cliggy has been fantastic.  Exploring Camaret and the coastal paths in the blazing sunshine (after failing to find the man to hire a bike from) with spectacular views was astounding. Next stop – Falmouth! Thanks to all who have made this trip possible.  I am so grateful for being part of it, even if only for a week! Emily x

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Snail-free salad and other culinary delights

After a bit of a rolly Biscay crossing (well that is what the Bay of Biscay is famous for) we arrived in Camaret yesterday afternoon. It may have been a short crossing, but the crew sprang off the boat as soon as we touched the dock, excited by ideas of cycling, walking, French cheese, pastries and wine tasting – some have been dreaming of French or British cheese for months after spending so long in South America, where the cheese is rubbery and flavourless . Camaret is a pretty little seaside town across the bay from Brest. A walk through the town shows that tourism and art are the biggest industries in the town. The waterfront is a long street of restaurants and the picturesque narrow streets behind, arched by wisteria branches fully laden with heavily scented lilac flowers, house numerous art galleries full of paintings of seasides, waves and boats.

The crew did not make it too far, and were found in some of the cafes tasting the local treats – unfortunately the local pastry, Breton Far, did not go down so well and was accused of being a damp Yorkshire Pudding filled with custard cream. A few did make it onto one of the beaches and went for a swim, but came back to report that the water is freezing. Even those who swam in Antarctica and South Georgia found it cold. In the evening, we went out for a delicious meal in a lovely local restaurant where scallop terrine, oysters, fish soup, mussels, steak, apple tart and chocolate mousse were all delicious. Nick and Emily were sad that their “Snail Garden” salad turned out to be just the garden without any snails in (I think something was lost in translation), but aside from this disappointment the food was all absolutely delicious.

Today some of the crew have gone to hire bikes while others are off on a coastal walk. I am enjoying some quiet time on the boat, sorting and packing my kit ready for Falmouth. This is perhaps the first time I have spent on my own in 5 months so it’s quite a strange feeling. As much as I love all the company, fun and energy from having all the others around, it’s quite nice to have some time to myself, though I know that soon I’ll be back in the “real world” and very quickly will be craving the chat, support and fellowship of my crewmates again. When I joined Elinca in August last year, I was very worried about how I would cope with so many people in such a cramped space after having lived on my own for 2 years in a flat much bigger than the boat. I can now say that it has been absolutely amazing to sail with every single person on board, and I have not once wanted to get off. Even now, when the long-timers are all exhausted from continuously sailing for so long, there is a wonderful harmony on board. While I look forward to being on Terra Firma, seeing family and friends back home, and eating good British food, I will miss all the people I have sailed with, and the close company of never having to walk further than 20m to talk to a friend. I think Sarah summed it up very well yesterday when she said “we have seen loads of really amazing and beautiful places and sights, but what has been the most remarkable and will stay with me longest is the friendships that I have made”. Hear, hear.  Cliggy.

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Cheese and snowglobe quest?

Position: 48.29N 04.59E doing 6.5kn 155 degrees

According to James, Elinca is barrelling in towards Camaret, hoping they’ve space. If not they’ll head for Brest (according to Marinetraffic.com, they have just changed course so it looks as though Brest is winning). They should be in by early afternoon, all going well

And our newest blogger says:

Hello! It’s Niamh here, one of the two newbies on board, along with my dad, Dan. I say newbie: I mean complete, total rookie…

And what a start to any sailing career! Elinca is enchanting, with a crew to match. After an initial bout of seasickness (bleaugh), we’ve settled into as much of a routine as can exist on such a short leg, which from my experience so far consists of eat, watch, sleep, watch, eat, watch, sleep, eat, and variations thereof. The phrase ‘rock-a-bye-baby’ has taken on new meaning as I’m lulled to sleep any time I lie flat, which is basically every time I’m below deck in order to evade the return of the dry heaves (bleaugh!).

Above deck is glorious. Miles of sparkling ocean, blue skies, and the occasional pod of dolphins flirting with the waves. We’re on the 4am to 8am watch as I speak, which began with an almost-full moon over the silver sea, and the sun is about to rise.

We expect to arrive in Brest by lunchtime, which for some people means a quest for all-important cheese. In my case, there begins a hunt for a snowglobe. Yes, a snowglobe; my boyfriend would otherwise refuse to allow me home without a contribution to his collection. I’m sure the fact that it says ‘Brest’ will be an added bonus…

Well, folks, I’m off to watch the moon set and the sun rise over the ocean before having something to eat, finishing my watch, and drifting off to sleep. Ah. life on the ocean wave!

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Alberto Rioja, gnome-extraordinaire

How do, Alberto here.  I’m YET ANOTHER new member of crew onboard Elinca.
I’m about 20 cm tall with a green hat and a great big bushy beard.  I’m a
gnomio (a Spanish gnome), found by Leslie and Raffe in Camarinas, and
thought I’d keep Barney company on the final leg back to the UK.  I’ve
mainly been hanging out in the origami garden, with the flowers, penguins
and the elephant-come-non-descript-upside-down bird where I feel most at
home, and I can watch everything that goes on in the cockpit.  However it is
a bit disorientating watching life go backwards.

Our lovely new crew members seem to have settled in well while the old crew
continue to talk about food, constantly.  There was a lot of consulting
about the quality of the dinner sausages, now that we’re back in Europe.
Barney continues to enjoy his trip and is slowly making more friends.  In
fact he enjoyed a lovely moment in Spain where a departing Raffe gave him a
hug goodbye, an extremely rare sight.  In other entertainment news… we’ve
seen the first vomit for a while AND the ever-popular game of ‘top 5’
continues with recent topics including ‘top 5 best wines to drink outside on
a sunny day’, ‘top 5 malt whiskies’ and to round it off ‘top 5 items you’d
like to eat at a BBQ’.  This caused much controversy as to whether to have
your halloumi alone grilled in slices or on a kebab mixed with onions and
peppers, and a torrent of terrible but amazing cheese jokes.  And arguments
about whether plastic cheese counts as cheese.  And general disapproval at
Rachel’s love of Dairylea Dunkers.  And a further 20 mins discussion about
cheese which I won’t bore you with…

So we continue to storm along towards France and it’s epic culinary delights
at around 8 knots.  Watchleader watch seem to have survived thus far and
Rachel and Sarah’s consortium have put in several slick reefs overnight and
kept us going in vaguely the right direction, vaguely.

Well that’s about all the news for now. Back to work I go. Until next
time… Alberto Rioja, gnome-extraordinaire xx

ps hey-ho to Leslie’s lovely mum
pps hi-di-ho to the 7 dwarfs

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On Our Way for the Last Time


We’re on our way again. This time it’s leg 12, La Coruna to Falmouth. It’s
amazing how quickly the last eight months have gone. In September it was
quite lumpy crossing the Bay of Biscay and so we stopped briefly in La
Coruna to get a good night’s sleep on our way down to Lisbon. This time it’s
more relaxed and we have six days to get from the north coast of Spain to
the UK. The plan is to sail 300 miles to Brest and stop there for a night or
two and then make the final sail to Falmouth from there, ready to see our
friends and family at the arriving party on Saturday evening. The forecast
is looking ideal with northwesterly winds taking us quickly to Brest and
then a lull followed by easterlies for the leg to Falmouth. After several
legs of light winds and motoring we’re looking forward to a good sail. A low
pressure system passed across Biscay a few days ago and so there was quite a
large swell as we left port this morning. The wind was too calm to sail and
so we had a uncomfortable motor until lunchtime (and being downstairs making
lunch wasn’t pleasant, even after eight months onboard). At three o’clock
the wind had increased enough for us to turn the engine off and sail. The
wind was still quite light and so we put up the Kukri cruising chute,
dropped the jib and we’re now flying along at 7.5 knots in force 3 winds.

To mix things around on this leg, the normal watch leaders (Cliggy, Nick and
myself) are on watch-leader watch with Emily (who often sails as a watch
leader on the Ocean Youth Trust boat John Laing). Alice and Lynda are
looking after one of the watches and Rachel is in charge of the final watch
with help from Sarah. There was an awkward moment after lunch when Nick,
Cliggy and myself had to do the washing-up. We’ve had a watch to do this for
us for the last four months. We eventually worked out where the tea-towels
are kept and I think that we did a reasonable job. We’ll have to see how we
cope together over the rest of a week.

Four crew left in La Coruna and so it’s farewell to Raffe, Benito, Cliff and
Richard. They’ve been keenly replaced by Jim, Dan, Niamh and Emily. We had a
great stay in Spain with lots of tasty food and wine and we’re excited to be
continuing the cheese tour to France and the eleventh country that we’ve
visited on Adventure 2013. It’ll be sad to leave Elinca in two weeks time
but I am looking forward to catching up with friends, a comfortable bed, no
more night watches and being able to cycle and run regularly again.

Looking forward to seeing everyone again soon!


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Last Change Over

Today we’re chilled out and hanging around in Coruna, giving the boat a clean and doing safety checks and shopping in preparation for heading out across Biscay on our final leg to Falmouth.  We’ve lost 4 crew – Benito, Raffe, Cliff and Richard have left and Emily, Jim Boyce, and Dan and Niamh Condren will join us.

Yesterday the Elinca crew did culture.  We visited Santiago de Compostelo, where St James the Greater is buried, wandered around this huge religious complex of seminaries and cloisters and cathedrals with all the dusty pilgrims and shiny mountain bikes.  We chilled out in museums of Galician life, had wine tastings guided by our very own sommelier, ate dinner down a tiny alley and got the last train back to La Coruna.

Now it’s time for my weekly shower whether I need it or not, and a break from the boat.

James, x

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