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Summer sailing with ‘Sonamara’ and ‘Ettie’

Tarquin reflects on the summer of 2022 as he recovers from a hip replacement. 2023 won’t go quite as planned and he offers best wishes to everyone taking part in the OGA60 Round Britain Cruise.

’Sonamara’ and I had a great 2022 season sailing when I had the chance. We took part in the smacks race at Tollesbury with ‘Ettie’, could have done with some more wind, but what a lovely day full of blue skies. June found us at Waldingfield in the mother ship, when we had a lovely sail up the River Deben. It was great to see so many boats with Jubilee bunting. We picked up a swinging mooring as we approached, after catching up with an OGA member who very kindly invited us aboard. There was a great barbecue, courtesy of the OGA. 

With plenty of wind at Swallows and Amazons we had a laugh. We managed to get from mother ship up the River from Titchmarsh to join everybody for the start at Walton & Frinton YC. I have to say it was a bit lively, but I had a great sail with my son. Conditions meant the race was shortened as we reached the final buoy to turn round and really went for it on a good run. Everything was set, we braved it and did not put a reef in! That will teach us. Just as we got back into Titchmarsh I remember telling my son, ‘Whatever you do don’t lean over to the starboard side.’ Catching up nicely with our pals, disaster struck. You guessed it, the dreaded sea coming in over the gunnel and, too late, we were gone over. My competitor streak was smashed, that was that, but we still went for a drink at the Yacht Club, all had a laugh, what a day.

Due to work and other things going on that was our OGA for the season. I was not too disappointed as I was looking forward to the preparations for the OGA60 Round Britain Cruise. Unfortunately that’s abandoned now due to having an operation which I’ve waited three and a half years for. During my recuperation I thought it best to put ‘Sonamara’ on the hard, have my last sail with great sadness, step our mast and take it home to keep me busy. Whilst completely chair ridden I thought I would attempt to paint a picture on slate with a load of enamel paints left over from some project years ago. I went to our back room which overlooked our garden and started painting. I pretended I was sailing around the UK and here it is.

Fair winds to all of you going round the UK in 2023.
Words and pictures: Tarquin Wildridge