This is the first page of what I hope will be a comprehensive 'blog' of all our travels by water.
My name is Brenda Davison and I met my second husband, John, in 1987, I was 49, he was 53. We married in 1989. John had been a keen sailor all his adult life, progressing from small dinghies on inland lakes in Wales and the Lake District to, by the time I met him, a 29ft yacht which he kept on the river Mersey. I had never sailed before and did not think I would want to.
He was keen to introduce me to sailing and we had a near-disastrous day out on the Mersey in 1988 (which is described elsewhere). But he also took me to join some friends who had arranged to have a holiday with a flotilla company sailing between Corsica and Sardinia. This got me hooked. Sunshine, sand, turquoise blue seas what more could a sailor ask for. Perhaps a little less wind, as we were storm bound for 3 days in Poro Vecchio, Sardinia.
At the point at which it became obvious that our relationship was becoming serious we began to talk about having our own boat in the Mediterranean one day. We both loved Greece, and so the dream was born.
After many mishaps and changes of boat (one of them was stolen) we left Liverpool Marina in August 1995 and set off for the south coast of England. We overwintered at Millbrook in Cornwall and, after time spent re-painting, and re-fitting the galley, overhauling the sails etc. we set off for France in August 1999.
The story of our journey through the French canals was told in Floating Through France (details elsewhere). We left Chefren at Port St. Louis-du-Rhône for the winter planning to return the following spring and sail onward to Greece. Unfortunately I was diagnosed with breast cancer which necessitated a year at home for treatment, but my determination to complete 'the dream' played a large part in my recovery.
In June 2001 we finally set off for Greece, via Corsica and Italy and it is at this point that my blog really begins.
Rally, the boat that John owned when I met him and in which he had his Most Memorable Day at Sea. It was a 29ft Elizabethan and John owned it originally in partnership with his friend, Bill. I bought Bill's share after the boat was damaged and needed further refurbishment. Together John and I restored her to her former condition and were able to sell her and buy our next boat.
Double Vision. A 9m Catalac which we bought very cheaply in 1992, as she was in a distressed condition. We spent a couple of years getting her ready to take out to Greece and live aboard.
Sadly Double Vision was stolen in 1994 and wrecked on a beach in Cumbria together with our dreams.
This is Red Banjo an 8m Catalac which we bought following the demise of Double Vision. She was in beautiful condition, but sadly we found she was too small to consider living aboard for a long period of time. Reluctantly we sold her in 1997 and began looking for a bigger boat.
Our next boat was Chefren. A Prout Snowgoose which we found in Faversham, Kent in 1998. We had her brought by road to Liverpool Marina where we spent the early part of the year cleaning her out and refurbishing her before setting off in July to sail to the south coast of England. We over-wintered her in Milbrook, Cornwall and set about rectifying problems which had occurred during the sail from Liverpool, including refitting the galley. We left Milbrook in July 1999, heading for the French Canal system on our way to Greece.
We brought Chefren back to England in 2005 having found we were now getting a little old for the hard work of sailing. We decided to buy a canal boat and went over to Holland to look at suitable canal boats. We bought Liberty and when we had her re-painted a couple of years later we changed the name to La Vie en Rose (the rosy life).