After just over 8 days at sea, Firefly arrives home on a cold and grey Friday evening

Picture shows (l to r) Stewart, James and Robert, Captains Cantankerous, Calamitous and Courageous

At 1730 on Friday 4 July Firefly arrived back at her home port of Lymington almost two years to the day when we set off on her first long distance offshore passage to Lagos in southern Portugal, en route to Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, St Lucia and then virtually every island between Trinidad and the BVI.

She was laid up during the hurricane season at Power Boats yard at Chaguaramas in Trinidad before being re-commissioned in late November. After another season cruising the Caribbean her delivery crew, the three beards, Stewart, Duncan and Ross, left Antigua in late May, arriving in Horta on 10 June, a 15-day passage.

After a crew change we cruised to Terceira then Ponta Delgada before I left to return to London and James Jermain joined the crew.

They had a fast passage home, averaging 6.8 knots and went through a Force 9 gale. ‘We reached the whole way back,’ said Stewart, aka Captain Cantankerous, ‘and it’s by far her best point of sailing. She just flew, often with the speedo over 8 knots for hours on end. And just when we thought we were sailing slowly we flew past a 50 foot Jeanneau in the Channel.’

I joined them shortly after their arrival, as did Duncan and Ross and if our celebrations at the successful end of a 10,000-mile, two year cruise kept anyone awake I can only apologise!

Firefly will stay in Lymington for the rest of the year and I have yet to finalise cruising plans for 2004