Venture complete, wrap up

posted 14 Sept 2015, 07:06 by Dominic Thwaites   [ updated 14 Sept 2015, 09:18 ]
OK, so here's the skinny on this whole thing.

First I am very satisfied to have done this. It's a good life's achievement to chalk up. I can't recommend doing something like this highly enough. It gives you fresh perspective and is truly invigorating. I've learned a huge amount and have some rich experiences to take away.

Second, I'm very happy to have paid attention to documenting the experience. Sure, my blogs, videos, photos and passage notes have kept people involved which is great, but it's now my own detailed record of the experience. I've a terrible memory for this sort of thing so I'm especially pleased to have taken the considerable amount of ongoing effort to record it all.

Third, I'm pleased that I involved Honeypot and to have raised money for children who are young carers. It added a challenging dimension to the venture which, I'm slightly ashamed to say, I've never really done before, i.e. actively trying to raise money for a charity. I'm particularly proud of the cause I chose and, having had no idea how much I could raise, I'm very happy how things have gone so far. It's difficult continuously asking for money from people! Many people have been very generous (thanks by the way).

Not only do I have my experiences and passages recorded but I have also recorded details of miles covered, how they were covered, the conditions, the costs ... and the cycling miles. I'm a quantitative kind of guy and with all this data I love to produce summary statistics. My graphs page breaks down these statistics in all sorts of ways which I find interesting but which, I hope, says a lot about what the venture involved. Check these graphs out - they're all up to date and new ones added since last time.

Equally important is I have a complete record of my track in google maps. Which is fun as you can zoom in and see my track in detail at any point in the venture. I've a pin for each stop which contains a link to the passage note associated with that stop (click on the pin). I've got white pins for each of my blogs as well (you have to turn them on at the bottom of the index bar). In total, I sailed 2,064 nautical miles (2,375 road miles) and cycled 707 miles in 82 days.

Spares and repairs cost a little more than I expected, but otherwise costs were fine, though getting back and forth between stages added somewhat to bill. All in all, it cost me £7,500 over 5 months. I've a separate finances page detailing this.

How did it compare with my expectations? Surprisingly accurately. I never thought it was going to be a piece of cake yet it was all quite manageable. It's a task that could be broken down. I broke it down into 5 stages and within each stage I had a passage to do. If you just take one passage at a time it's fine. I made sure I was fully prepared, had contingencies and basically was sensible about the whole thing and this simply meant that it was safe and achievable. I was never in real danger. Most of the time, I was having a really enjoyable time.

People are starting to ask me things like what was the best place you went to or your worst experience. I've not worked out an answer because of the diversity of experience. It's a bit like asking someone if they prefer chocolate cake over a good book. Depends what you're into at the time. But I can safely say that my time ashore far outstripped my time at sea in terms of enjoyment. The bicycle allowed me to discover our land. I didn't discover much at sea apart from a few distant views of the coast line and dolphins. And to be honest, one bit of coast line looks a lot like another from a few miles out (as my photos will testify). The sailing was a means to an end. The bit that made it into a challenge. My time on land was the reward. I'm very pleased to have taken advantage of that. Having said that, I now feel pretty competent as a coastal sailor.

Doing it on your own was also very liberating. You do what you want when you want. You can't beat that freedom. I'm not a gregarious type, but I did meet and get to know many people along the way and these encounters were very welcome. I was rarely lonely or bored (though long sails tended to be boring). Doing this with others would add a whole different dimension and I can honestly say that there were relatively few times when I really wished someone was with me. The experience was too diverse to feel that any one person would want to go through it all with me. Obviously, for lovely walks on the cliff tops or for quiet evenings on the boat I'd want my wife with me. But she'd not appreciate the sailing nor the bike rides! I adjusted my expectations accordingly because with company I'd expect to have gone to the pub or eaten out and things like that. I did none of that.

Has this given me a taste for further challenges? Not really. I'm no adventurer. Someone windsurfed round Britain without any shore support this year. Another started a solo row round Britain (and had to stop due to the horrible weather). These are the preserve of real adventurers. Not for me. This venture was a good balance for me as a relatively tame thing to do yet still quite significant and unusual. Fitted the bill perfectly.

Finally, of course, thanks to everyone who has supported me, for taking an interest and for donating to Honeypot. I'm building up a presentation so that I can give talks about my venture if anyone is interested and I will share that when it's complete.
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