My name is Dominic and I was born on Christmas Day 1958. I am married, have 3 grown up children and live in Buckinghamshire; A place as far from the sea as you'll find in the whole of the British Isles!
My sailing experienceWhen I was a boy I spent quite a few holidays on a sailing boat. Sometimes on the Norfolk broads and sometimes chartering a yacht for off shore sailing with my dad. I enjoyed those trips very much, though looking back I now realise that the off shore sailing was generally pretty devoid of any safety measures. Hanging over the side of the boat in a force 6 trying to catch a lost dingy without a life line or life jacket is not advisable.
Soon after turning 40, I suddenly decided I wanted to get back into sailing. So I started taking RYA courses, both land based and practical. Then I bought my boat, Principia. She's a Beneteau First 25.7. I gained more experience and took my Yacht Master exam in 2008 (and passed). Since then I've been sailing fairly regularly both single handed and with friends/family on Principia. I clock up several hundred miles every year and thus my total sailing hours must be in the region of at least 7,500 miles (I'm not going to trawl through all the logs to count them up and I'm not so disciplined to keep a personal log of miles sailed).
I like night sailing as well as day, winter sailing as well as summer. I've never done any extended passages (over 24 hours) and have only left British shores for France on a couple of occasions. This amount of experience is, I feel, sufficient for me to undertake a round Britain challenge, although I am aware that it is only that. Real sailors have much more experience than this!
Personal preparation - and the conclusionSo, having both learned how to sail and handle a boat with reasonable safety to the level of Yacht Master, I wonder what else I need to do to prepare for this trip. I know how to passage plan and navigate. I know how to handle the boat. I know my limits and what I need to do to be safe. Still, I will re-examine all this and check my knowledge and capabilities. I'm weak on long range weather forecasting and interpretation and so will need to improve my meteorological knowledge. I'm quite fit (I'm an active squash player) and of relatively solid build being 5' 11' and weighing in at 85Kg. But I need to increase my strength and so I have recently joined a gym. My only handicap is that I do not hear well. I have one ear that is completely deaf and the other cannot hear high frequency. So I don't hear at all well, especially directionally (where's that fog horn coming from?) and beeps (what engine alarm?). I can hear the VHF radio if it's on full volume as I have an outside speaker for it on the boat. Deafness is a handicap that I have to adjust for. So my personal preparation requires:
Check and update current knowledge
Learn meteorology properly