November 4th 2020

Dear all

Today, just after noon, I crossed a line to the west of Plymouth's famous breakwater and headed out into open sea aboard Rosalba, my home for the next few months as I attempt to sail solo around the world. I'll head west for the first two days, to use the northerly breeze and avoid stronger winds in Biscay. The forecast is for a low between Portugal and the Azores which I'll need to pass on the west to avoid strong headwinds. Then, after a week or so, I hope we shall be flying south at up to 16 knots of boatspeed picking up the North East trade winds. The trick will be not to turn south too soon or I may sail into adverse winds. It's a relief to set off at last (and the bad weather of the past week kept me in Plymouth for longer than I'd planned, although it did enable me and Tim Rogers, who's helped with every part of the preparation, to fix one of the satellite communication systems, vital for anticipating the worst of the weather in the southern latitudes). It's more than two years since I bought the boat and the preparations began then - and finished yesterday. It's almost sixty years since I first started sailing with my father, not far from Plymouth. I do have,  of course, a healthy anxiety about the challenges of this voyage - physical, emotional and technical. I would not have reached this point without the support of my family, friends and those who have prepared the boat with me. Thank you all.

Stay posted!