Name: Ian Bartlett
Age: Old enough to know better; young enough to do it anyway.
Started sailing at 14 when my Scout Troop in Romford formed a Sea Scout group. Caught the bug immediately and my Parents bought me a Gull dinghy. It was Gunter rigged and great fun.
I progressed to a Prout Shearwater Catamaran which I enjoyed sailing single handed. Especially when on the trapeze. I had a hiatus in sailing when I married and had a family. After some 26 years I re-entered sailing when I purchased a 19' Seawych. Soon longing for something bigger the 23' Virgo Voyager became my pride and joy for the next 10 years.
Sailing around the East Coast in the vicinity of Brightlingsea was the order of the day as, still working and my family not the slightest bit interested in my hobby, weekend sailing was my limit.
The local clubs Ostend Rally was entered and it was good experience to cross the North Sea in my little boat.
Apart from that I have been to Ostend a few times as crew on Ed Halsalls Ferro Smack "Pertwee" this is always an adventure in itself. When Challenge Business was trading I undertook the "Fastnet Challenge" as a 53rd birthday present to myself. Sailing from Plymouth, around the Fastnet into Kinsale then return to Plymouth. This was on a 67' yacht with 11 other crew and a brilliant experience.
In 2010 PureJoy was purchased for the journey to come. She has been prepared (as best as finances allow) for the adventure I am to embark on. The extent of my preparation, apart from practical experience, is in 1997 I undertook the RYA Day Skipper Shore based Course to learn the basics of navigation and safety.
Contrary to what most would call "best practise" I have not planned an itinerary in any detail. Weather changes and who knows what sights I will see and want to see more of? Suffice it to say this is a journey of discovery, about myself as well as the things I will learn about the boat, how she sails best, the places we visit etc.