The calm after the storm.18/07/2011 06:39 GMT
It's been a hectic couple of weeks and I am enjoying the serenity of the early hours in Stornoway. It's a calm, misty morning and there is no sign of life out on the harbour.
It's quite a contrast from the colourful, maritime, musical mayhem that descended on the town over the past few days as 'The Perfect Storm' of festivals hit the island with the Hebridean Celtic Festival http://www.hebceltfest.com, the Sail Hebrides Marine Festival http://www.sailhebrides.info and the Tall Ships Race all happening at the same time!!! It was some party.
Plaque presented to me by Wiestaw Seioller who was sailing on 'Szczecin'
The Tall Ships made for a wonderful sight as they arrived into the harbour and the only disppointment was that the bark EUROPA didn't make it to Stornoway. I spent 2 months on this tall ship sailing from the Canary Islands to South America and it would have been very special to see her again. But there were plenty more ships that did decide to see what Lewis hospitality had to offer and the pubs were overflowing with sailors, musicians and beer. I met so many interesting characters from many different countries and I wish them all a safe onward voyage....I'm just wondering if any got left behind?! I did an interview with a Polish journalist who was travelling on one of the ships. He presented me with a little plaque from his city of Szczecin (I actually cycled through the city as part of my Copenhagen-St.Petersburg cycle in 2009) and we had a good chat about NY2SY and boats in general. A really nice guy and it will be interesting to see what happens once that article is published....I hadn't targeted Eastern Europe in my masterplan.
It's not the only foreign interview that I have done recently as I also did one for a Swedish newspaper when I visited my friends there last week. Johan was also on bark Europa with me and we have kept in touch ever since. He recently visited me in Stornoway, with his fiance Annsofie, and I jumped at the chance to go and see them in Sweden. It was a great trip and I am very grateful to them for finding some space in the newspaper they work for, NYHETERNA, to do an article about NY2SY.
One of the highlights of the trip was meeting the amazing Sven YrVind. This elderly, polite, unassuming gentleman has done many interesting and crazy things in his life and he shows no sign of letting up any time soon. He has made many ocean crossings in a variety of small boats he has built himself, he holds the record for sailing round Cape Horn in one of the smallest vessels ever and he has even invented a type of sextant. He has written some books of his adventures and they are being translated into English and I can't wait to read them. We chatted for quite a while, about lots of different things, and he showed my his latest project....a tiny sailing boat with no keel. He is preparing to sail her from Kinsale, on the west coast of Ireland, to Florida and will be leaving within the next couple of weeks. I got to sit in his boat and it really is small and he will surviving on sardines, bread and about a pint of water each day! He had a great outlook on life and I would encourage you to find out more about him and the things he has done. http://www.yrvind.com I wish him all the very best on his latest adventure, I hope I get to meet him again sometime.
Sven Yrvind with the tiny sailing boat he built.......lovely man.
When I came back from Sweden I was straight back into NY2SY. I was very kindly invited by the organisers of the Sail Hebrides Marine Festival to display my boat on the quayside in Stornoway for a few days to take advantage of all the visitors to the town. She sat alongside some more traditional boats and I had a great time meeting people as they stopped by to ask questions and have a closer look at the boat. I never tire of talking about NY2SY and I hope that people never stop asking me about it!! I had hoped to be able to join the many boats that were out on the water at some point during the week but it was decided that I might just end up getting in the way so we made the most of our time on dry land and I think it was a worthwhile exercise.
The boat on display at the Hebridean Celtic Festival.....we had a great night!
It was then time to move the boat over to the main site of the Hebridean Celtic Festival where I would be displaying her on the final night. We found a prime spot overlooking the Big Blue and had a wonderful night meeting the festivalgoers, signing people up for Faceboat (more info soon!) and enjoying the great bands that were playing. I was delighted to be invited up on stage by Colin Macleod aka The Boy Who Trapped The Sun, to talk about NY2SY and he gave a great performance of '"he Fox", I love that song. We managed to raise some cash for NY2SY and also made some good contacts that I look forward to pursuing over the coming days. Everyone was so supportive and generous and I can't thank them enough. HebCeltFest hve also been very good to me and Caroline, Murdo and their team delivered another memorable festival! Also, a big thumbs up to my friend Alison who helped me out during the evening, she knows more about NY2SY than me now...and I think that a few people actually thought that she was going to do the row! These events are a great opportunity to spread the word about the project and it's also good to have the donations bucket close by......every single penny makes a difference.
With that in mind, I will be travelling to Glasgow with the boat this week as I will be at the opening of SAMH's new Resource Centre in the city. It is being opened this Wednesday by Cat Harvey and Ewen Cameron from Real Radio's Breakfast Show and all the fun kicks off at 12.30pm. The Resource Centre is located on Wilson Street and there will be music and entertainment throughout the afternoon.....come down and say hello and see the boat!
Annsofie, Johan and me.....Frans is too mad to be let out!
I'd like to dedicate this diary entry to Johan and Annsofie who got engaged recently....grattis!! I also better not forget Frans, the maddest cat in the world!
P.S. This band is well worth a listen.......just brilliant! http://www.myspace.com/niteworked
Making waves, making plans.06/07/2011 12:13 GMT
As I write this, I am looking out of my window where I can see my boat in the harbour, standing out amongst the weather-beaten fishing boats and traditional wooden boats of Stornoway. It's been a busy few days since I put her into the water for the first time and I doubt that my life is going to get any quiter between now and launch day next May.
Tha launch on Friday was a great success and I was very happy to see so many people come along as I wanted to use the event to get the community more involved in NY2SY. I have to admit that I did feel quite emotional as the boat took to the waves for the first time, in Hebridean waters anyway, to the sound of bagpipes and cheers. It's a been hard work to get to even this point, but I am prepared to work even harder to make NY2SY a success. But none of this has been achieved on my own, and the same is true of Friday's launch. This was not the official launch, but a chance to celebrate a significant step in my preparations and I would like to thank everyone for all their help:
Angus Smith (and his crew!) www.beyondthebluehorizon.co.uk
Andy Ribbens http://www.hebridean-brewery.co.uk
Pipe Major Peter MacKay http://www.lewispipeband.co.uk
Also thanks to Kenny Inglis, John Laird, Edo, Alison Ross, Ian Stephen and everyone else who helped in whatever way!
(Photo: Lauren Maitland)
The boat is fantastic in the water and I am very much looking forward to a summer of training in the seas around the Western Isles...be sure to keep an eye out for us.
More exciting news soon with regard to Sail Hebrides Martime Festival http://www.sailhebrides.info and also the Hebridean Celtic Festival http://www.hebceltfest.com
I'd like to dedicate this diary entry to Steven and Nicole, best wishes for your future together!!
Boat meets water!29/06/2011 11:52 GMT
It has taken much longer than I had anticipated but finally, I am ready to put the boat, which I will be using for NY2SY, into the water for the first time at the end of this week!
It's been almost 2 weeks since I collected the boat from Woodvale Challenge in Devon and I have been doing some basic maintanence on her since. She has never looked particularly comfortable sitting on the trailer and I can't wait to put her where she belongs....in the water (or should that be "on the water"?).
The boat will be launched this Friday 1st July, 7.30pm at Cuddy Point , Stornoway, and everyone is welcome to come along and see her. If any companies or businesses are interested in hearing more about NY2SY and how they can become involved, then I would be deilighted to meet with them and discuss the challenge further.
NY2SY offers exciting and unique sponsorship opportunities and brand exposure, on both sides of the Atlantic, and gives companies and businesses the chance to be associated with, what will ultimately be, a historic world first.
More info about sponsorship can be found on the CONTACT page of this website.
Thanks for all your support and keep spreading the word about NY2SY!!!
(Please note that this is not the official launch, but is a significant step for NY2SY.)