First of all the Twister:
The boat was superb for the trip. The relatively heavy long-keel design, along with her renowned good manners, made it safe and reassuring to be out in the Atlantic swell and poor weather that this summer delivered. The sailing was memorable, and we loved the way that Sidewinder powered through the water when the wind was brisk, but also could be sailed delicately and quietly when winds were gentle.
Accommodation is generous for two. The cosy main cabin was big enough for our purposes, the storage was more than enough for both provisions and clothing. Difficult to dry clothes and wet-gear inside of course.
Best bits of gear for the trip:
The expensive Dubarry sailing boots won the award. Warm dry feet for the whole trip!
The Garmin 551 chartplotter was a delight to use - simple to set up and reassuringly clear in poor visibility. Martyn's swing fixing that allowed it to be used at the chart table and also swung round for cockpit visibility was essential.
Lined Craghopper trousers - water-resistant, comfortable and all-purpose (ie OK to go ashore in as well as sail in).
Least useful bits of gear:
Swimmers and t-shirts. (What were we thinking of!)
Educational insight for non-sailors:
Martyn insists that it would be useful for non-sailors to appreciate the process of using the heads (loo) when sailing. The number of actions involved is daunting, so it is a considerable disincentive to over-use!
For all those men used to the simple unzip, perform, zip, flush, wash hands routine - compare and contrast:
Remove gloves (release elastic closures and velcro fasteners); Remove lifejacket crotch-straps (2); undo life-jacket and remove; undo velcro outer jacket sleeve closures (2); undo velcro inner sleeve closures (2); release velcro waterproof front closure on jacket; unzip jacket and remove; unfasten waterproof trouser shoulder straps; unzip waterproof trousers; unzip fleece; enter heads (loo); open inlet and outlet seacocks; unzip trousers; perform; zip trousers; lower toilet lid and pump lever 10 times, wait 5 seconds and pump 5 times; wait till vacuum subsides and lift lid; operate pump to empty bowl; close seacocks; wipe hands with wet-wipes; use antibacterial gel; redo all those bits of clothing that had previously been undone; by which stage it is time to go back on duty. Don't forget that all of the above is performed while trying to hang on to a moving environment. When the pitching and rolling reaches the 'more than 30 degrees each way' stage, the above steps are truly challenging!
Thanks to all the readers of the blog for appreciative messages and comments.