Colin started sailing with his friends Paul and James at East Down Yacht Club in Northern Ireland. Went to university in Belfast and ran off to the cold dark place of Antarctica with BAS in 1991. Here the seed of cruising was born with
visits to his base at Faraday from Skip Novak, Jerome Poncet and others. He dreamt one day of owning a Rustler 31.
Back in Cambridge in 1994 he hit the gravy train of work and bought his first boat Possum, a Halcyon 27 in 1999. Two years of rebuild followed before the adventures began, including taking her up the Thames to Pentonhook Marina where he lived aboard for a while to be closer to his work.
In March 2002 he saw his next boat Galago, which was described as love at first site. She was bought, Possum sold, and he brought Galago down to Brighton where he lived about until meeting Nichola and reluctantly decided that ‘we’re going to need a bigger boat’ which brought us to Emerald.
Nichola hails from Sheffield, a city pretty much as far from the sea in each direction you can go in England. However, family trips to Cornwall each year developed a love of the sea and poor dad was roped into being the rubber dinghy power on many occasions. My first taste of sailing was with Summit Venture Scouts on Dam Flask near Sheffield when I was 17. This ended in a dunking in the water for everyone in the boat when a sudden gust of wind sent the boom across and knocked me on the head – ending in a capsize!
At Bradford University the water bug really hit when I took up scuba diving, completing my first dive in the Sound of Mull on a unseasonably warm Easter in 1991 (we even got sun tans). Since then I’ve completed over 450 dives – mainly around the UK from Scapa Flow to south-west Ireland, Wales and all along the Channel Coast – had a go at cave diving and been involved with mixed gas technical diving culminating in an expedition to dive the Lusitania in southern
Ireland in 1999.
A 3 month sabatical from work took me to Australia and New Zealand where more sailing was done and the only getting wet was intentional when diving off the boat. The Poor Knights has to be the most wonderful scenic diving I have ever done. The Barrier Reef was dissapointing – my fellow divers did look quite sceptical when I stated that I’d seen better visibility in the English Channel – but it was true.
Diving has taken a back seat now and with the completion of my Day Skipper I’m now working on my Yacht Master theory. I’ve sailed a few trips across to France, Round The Island in 2006 (coming 6th in our class and just clawing our way around the Needles before the tidal gate closed) and a few days at Cowes.