Portugal to Gran Canaria: November 2003
Tired of control freaks and obsessive skippers this was to be Jamie’s last sailing trip should things not improve. His view of the sailing world had been marred by some bad experiences and this was his third and final shot at sailing. Fortunately he ended up on a fantastic boat, with a great skipper and a nuts crew.
At last. A proper skipper who’s fair, decent and genuine. Hailing from St Lucia Vincent is a world-class yachts-man who has won a number of races, including the Round The Island race around the Isle of Wight, and third in the 2002 ARC (both in the multihull class). What makes Vincent a proper geeza, however, are his skills behind a fishing rod. Within the yachting industry and beyond he is famous for his 900lb marlin he caught a couple of years ago. Yes, read it again: 900lbs! It took him 8 hours to wrestle but when he finally caught it I think he broke a few records. If that’s not enough he actually hooked a bigger marlin than that, but it got away. If you think this sounds like just another fishing tale, Vincent has the evidence on video! For those who need further convincing of Vincent’s fishing qualities then click the photo. Vincent is not the owner of Brigand, which is probably why he is so chilled as a skipper, but he’s about as close as you’ll get to a decent captain of a ship.
Of course you have already met Tim aboard Voyager, so he needs no introduction. Tim and I hooked up whilst back in Essex for our brief respite and then headed down to Portugal together to sail Brigand. Tim’s still a decent chap and he still can’t cook, but he knows how to trim a sail or two.
The petrol head from Manchester who now lives in Abersoch, Wales. Dave has owned more cars than I’ve had hot dinners, and he’s owned as many boats as he’s owned cars, so he’s got through more engines than I’ve had hot AND cold dinners. In fact he’s owned so many sea-faring vessels he can even boast to owning a pedalo. Until someone nicked it. Dave is a man of simple tastes, preferring “a bit of steak between two pieces of bread” to my exotic curries. He hates vegetables, which is probably why he went for one shit in the five days we were at sea. He claims this was because he couldn’t get comfortable sitting with his chin on his knees and a hand pump poking in his thigh, but we suspect it’s his paranoia at blocking yet another toilet on Brigand. Dave loves beer and hates Johnny.
The youngest of the crew (at 19) but with a lot of day sailing experience due to his father owning the Abersoch Sailing School, whose acronym is “ass”. Johnny’s favourite past-time whilst at sea includes bickering with Dave, asking what the time is every fifteen minutes and, like a five year old in the backseat of a car, whining “are we nearly there yet?”. Despite his habit of switching on lights, torches and anything else really bright whilst on night watch (thus ruining your night-vision) Johnny gets on with things without being asked, which is very useful for things like cooking and washing up. Tim clearly used this to his advantage! Johnny loves beer and hates Dave.
This huge catamaran, with a length of 56ft, was launched in 1995. It is owned by Peter Newlands who lives on the Isle of Wight and was designed by Derek Kelsall. With eight births (two in each corner of the hulls) it is the biggest vessel I have sailed thus far. To give you some idea of how big it is, think of Voyager and then stick two Voyagers together! This cat is quite a pedigree and is used to crossing the Atlantic, having done so many times and earning a few medals in her category to boot. Unfortunately it was not possible to cross the entire Atlantic on Brigand since it was entering the ARC (Atlantic Race for Cruisers which leaves Las Palmas at the end of November) and required an entry fee of GBP2000 per person! Still, a 700 mile jaunt from Cascais in Portugal to Las Palmas in Gran Canaria suited me fine.