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Neil Elam, one of our American HotRIBsters, callsign 'sirzap', recollects fond memories of his great achievement in circumnavigating Great Britain.
Richard Reddyhoff onboard
May 1998 - Meeting and Preparation
After lunch boats were launched and the crews began to arrive at the Bridge Tavern, on Camber Docks, Portsmouth. This was where Sir Walter Raleigh first unloaded potatoes from the New World. John Kennett arrived with his wonderful friend Becky Shaw and I got my first view of their boat " Phoenix of Portsmouth".
I was given a quick once over of the boats systems and where safety gear was stored, then a short ride to its berth for the night. The crews met later at the Royal Yacht Club for dinner and briefing of the next eight
to come. Refueling the gas boats in Scotland was going to be a
logistical nightmare where most ports only sell diesel according
to law. Alan Priddy welcomed all and gave the thumbs up to the
weather report for the next day of a following easterly force
I also met our third crewmember Simon Grantham a policeman who had spent some time on RIBs with a local patrol. We all soon departed for a good night's sleep despite the bar still being open.
May 1998 - Portsmouth to Falmouth
All crews assembled at Southsea Castle for the start, wind coming from the East force 3-4, and a beautiful blue sky around 70 degrees. Barry Templeman our 4th crewmember joined us this morning.
Around the world record challenger - Cable & Wireless came out to see our departure
was striking all around us
.... 4 and 5 bolts at a time"
Starting cannon is fired and we're off heading west towards Cornwall. The following wind helps to maintain good speed, but just past Portland Bill we run into two of the biggest electrical storms I have ever see. Lighting was striking all around us 4 and 5 bolts at a time; we were all relieved to come out the other side of these storms whole.
After 6.5 hours and 164 miles we arrive in Falmouth, amidst the rolling green hills of Cornwall. To the pub for a pint and dinner and many amusing stories from other boats about their run today. After 6.5 hours and 164 miles we arrive in Falmouth, amidst the
rolling green hills of Cornwall. To the pub for a pint and dinner and many amusing stories from other boats about their run today. Today's run was not very taxing and I am beginning to think this might not be so bad if the weather stays the same as today. But this is England and that is very wishful thinking.
30 May 1998 - Falmouth to PwllheliA good night's rest and we're off at 8:00 am. A nice calm run out to Lizards Point and Lands End but as we turn to cross the Bristol Channel the wind is right on the nose, force 4-5 for the next eleven hours.
steep head seas made for one long and uncomfortable day, all crews
glad when this day was done. I only wished I had brought an extra
thermos of hot tea.
Simon Grantham - John Kennett - Barry Templeman on 'Spirit of Portsmouth' at start of round Britain
the gas boats spent the night adrift out of fuel in Cardigan Bay.
Had a great Mexican meal for dinner and straight to bed.
31 May 1998 - Pwllheli to Oban
Everyone wants to know the weather for the run across the Irish Sea to Bangor, Northern Ireland, hoping not to repeat yesterday. What a change. Flat calm the whole way to Bangor.John invited me to take the helm for the first time, truly one of the highlights of my trip. Blasting across the Irish Sea at 38 knots is a gas. Lunch in Ireland then off for Scotland.
" breakfast in Wales, lunch in Northern Ireland, dinner in Scotland "Coming into western Scotland has to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Here you pass ancient ruins; stone walls that come down to the sea, one sees and feels the history of this place.