2020: Completing the circumnavigation of the UK

In 2020, our plans were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ruby Tuesday overwintered in Peterhead, and although not too far from where we live, we couldn’t get to her due to the national lockdown and subsequently to travel restrictions of no more than five miles from home.

Leaving Peterhead.

Eventually these were lifted in mid-July, and after a week preparing her and loading up with provisions, we set off with the aim of completing our circumnavigation of the UK, and then continuing on to Europe. Our biggest worry, apart from contracting the virus itself, was being caught in a quarantine or local lockdown, but we decided to deal with that if and when it happened. For that reason, we had enough supplies to survive for two or three weeks, although of course, we would still need power and water.

From Peterhead, we had a night in Stonehaven, then carried on down to Edinburgh, where we stayed for a few days to have some repairs done to the mainsail. That done, we carried on southwards, stopping at Eyemouth, Amble, Whitby, Scarborough, Spurn Head, Lowestoft, and finally Ipswich.

The longest stretch was from Spurn Head at the mouth of the Humber to Lowestoft, as, although there are several harbours along the north coast of Norfolk, they are not deep enough for our 2 m draft. Consequently, we had to do that leg of around 100 miles overnight, which was good experience.

The River Orwell. Circumnavigation complete!

We had bought Ruby Tuesday in 2018 from Shotley Marina near Ipswich, so reaching there marked the completion of our circumnavigation of the UK. After a few days there to meet friends, we carried on down to Dover, crossed the Channel and sailed up the western coast of Europe to the start of the Staande Mastroute in the Netherlands.

The following are blog entries for various stages of the voyage down to Ipswich, arranged chronologically from the start.

  1. Peterhead-Stonehaven
  2. Stonehaven-Edinburgh
  3. Edinburgh-Eyemouth
  4. Eyemouth-Amble
  5. Amble-Whitby
  6. Whitby-Scarborough-the Humber
  7. The Humber-Lowestoft
  8. Lowestoft-Ipswich: Circumnavigation complete!
Completing the circumnavigation of the UK in 2020.

As far as avoiding the virus was concerned, we had three rules which we adhered to as strictly as possible: (a) observing social distancing rules of 2 m, (b) wearing facemasks where appropriate in public places, and (c) washing our hands frequently, especially after touching anything outside the boat. On the boat, we were essentially self-isolated, and the few times that friends visited us, we stayed outside in the cockpit with plenty of fresh air blowing around us. It seemed to work, as neither of us had any symptoms at any time throughout the trip, or since we returned home.