We left Lowestoft in bright sunshine and it was a magnificent sight as the majority of boats sped away from us close to the shoreline. We took a course out to sea and ran down a long transit to Dover. We knew we were ahead of Xanthus and Swordsman as we turned down the Channel towards the West but after Dungeness the sea suddenly started to pick up and we encountered very steep waves and swell.
We continued until after we had rounded Beachy Head but then the starboard seat broke away from its mountings and the windscreen wiper stopped meaning that the navigator could not see out. The seas were beginning to break over us again so I made the decision to divert to Newhaven. We repaired the broken equipment and had a cup of tea (the British cure for everything!) and then resumed the chase but by now the others had passed us.
The sea state had improved with the turning of the tide so we made good speed and crossed the finishing line about 6.35pm but outside the allotted time limit and so came 5th and 4th overall in our class.
At the prizegiving dinner we were very pleased to be awarded the Brand-Crombie Family Trophy for outstanding effort in getting the boat back in the race and round Land's End which only three other competitors achieved and the celebrations carried on well into the night.
We brought the boat back to Lowestoft on Wednesday via Ramsgate and have now resumed living on land although it does feel a bit strange.
Each of us will have their own memories of the past two weeks - I plan to set mine down on paper with a view to publishing and raising monies for both RNLI and Prostate Cancer Society. I hope to have something available in time for our guest appearance at the Southampton Show in September.
We will be keeping this site open until at least after that event and - as long as things go OK - we will report on how we get on there.
There will also be lots of photographs available shortly which we hope will show Pirate as she is - a graceful lady not so young now but still capable of giving some of the younger, faster generation, a taste of life at sea and we will be calling for volunteers.
We covered over 1700 miles in two weeks (and have the bruises to prove it!) but we all now know a great deal more about the boat - and each other - and what we can take and that has been worthwhile. I believe that we have made some great friends and acquaintances during the race and I am sure that we shall meet some of them again.
Fair weather to all.