A surreal month

What a surreal month I’ve just had. It started with the Round-Britain Race. After all the pre-race hype, it felt great to be out on MBY’s new Bénéteau Monte Carlo 37 witnessing the start of this momentous event. There were two people I was particularly excited about cheering over the start line – the pre-race favourite Fabio Buzzi in his incredible quad-engined Red FPT and our own contributor Derek Wynans aboard the restored classic Ocean Pirate. With helicopters clattering overhead, we watched them both thunder across the line only to see them pull up half a mile down the course after clipping their propellers on Portsmouth’s infamous disused submarine barrier moments before the start.

Thankfully, as you can read in our race report and the first part of Derek’s extraordinary diary of the event, this unfortunate episode did not detract from an otherwise truly epic race. From bonkers Belgians battling around Land’s End in a gale to week-long dices between 40-year-old classics, this wasn’t just racing; it was a nail-biting drama with a cast of hundreds and a plot line straight out of an airport thriller.

While all this was going on I rushed off to Mallorca to spend a day afloat on Eric Clapton’s refurbished superyacht for our new magazine SuperYacht World, then on to an equally spoiling Riva owner’s event. I felt like I’d entered a parallel universe as I sipped champagne in a beachside restaurant listening to tales from back home of storms, sinkings, heroic rescues and incredible feats of endurance. I got back just in time to hand the MBY Trophy for the first motor cruiser across the line to none other than Dag Pike, the oldest man in the race and another of MBY’s contributors.

My feet finally hit the ground the following week when I went to pick up my family’s 50-year-old pine motor launch from Salterns boatyard in Poole fresh from surgery to patch up its soggy hull and replace its old Mercedes engine. With my son at the helm and a new Yanmar purring away under the engine box, I motored out to Studland for a bracing swim and a hot cup of tea. After the previous week’s madness, this sudden return to normality felt equally surreal. Surreal but good.

I tell you this only because it serves to show what a rich and varied pastime boating is, and how lucky we all are to be part of it. If we can succeed in capturing even a fraction of that variety and privilege in this and every issue of MBY then I hope you’ll agree it’s a job well done.