12th August 2019
Departure day fell on 12th August 2019. Two years and fifteen days prior, we were 12 nautical miles off the coast of Palma de Mallorca signing papers and commencing our maiden passage on Fatjax III - a 1600 mile journey home to the East coast for a refit. Unfortunately, much of the yacht had endured a shameful level of neglect in its past life - a mammoth task lay ahead. Over the two year refit, every element of the yacht from the keel upward was either replaced, altered or serviced. This required non-discriminatory levels of meticulous devotion - a full time endeavour for Iain, who more or less lived on the boat throughout the process, only returning to Norwich for the occasional social engagement.
Help was on hand - Matt Moore was on the scene over various points of the project, adding several new boat building skills to his ever growing inventory of talents. Originally a carpenter by trade, Matt’s woodworking prowess was invaluable throughout the interior of the boat. Once the gruelling work on the hull was complete, Chris Agar visited frequently and provided many days of assistance, for which we are ever grateful (thanks for keeping Dad company). Also, thanks to the many small and large businesses, yards and marinas up and down the East Coast who facilitated the refit process in one way or another.
12th August 2019 was a momentous day, not only because it signified the successful completion of a huge project, but also because it was the culmination of a lifetimes ambition, marking the beginning of Iain and Jacqueline’s dream - to sail around the world together (I was lucky enough to stow away, they still haven't found me).
A few familiar faces came down to Ipswich in the morning just to ensure we left, and to say goodbye. After feasting on Grandma’s famously phenomenal fruit cake; Grandma, Aunty Susan, Justina, the Barrell family, and Clare & David all demonstrated the most excellent examples of farewell waves the East coast has or will ever see.
Fatjax was underway. Destination Ramsgate.
The battle flag was hoisted and we ceremoniously left the beloved River Orwell, passing Pin Mill where Aidan/Grandpa kept his yachts and the sailing journey more or less began for the Kirkpatrick family. Past the cranes and the sacred Costa del Stone Point where we spent countless weekends as a family, because ‘why would you want to go anywhere else?’. Once more past a few of our favourite sandbanks, Fatjax headed south as it (very appropriately) started to rain.