Leo Goolden tells the story of his voyage from Falmouth, England to the Caribbean, much of it solo and without GPS, in his rebuilt 25-footer.
(Article of Courtesy Classic Boat Magazine)
I hoist the mainsail with the mooring lines still tied. A few curious faces peer over the railings. “Is that a Folkboat?” says an old fella’ with a bag of chips. “Where you off to?” “France!” I say. He gives me an odd look and wanders off down the stone quay. I hoist the jib, untie the spring, and flick the bow line over the bollard.
I back the jib, holding the clew to leeward on the foredeck until the bow falls off a little, and then give the wall a good kick from the stern. I take up the slack in the main sheet as Lorema bears away and the sails fill, the wake widens, and I hear the sound of the water accelerating over the clinker planks.
As I pass Trefusis point, I turn and wave goodbye to Falmouth and Cornwall and all the friends I have made there – until next time. After two years it feels like home, but I am finally embarking on the trip I have planned for so long, and I can barely contain my excitement and nerves. I am heading south, destination unknown, and it feels good.