Between 1999 and 2006, Tom Naylor and Christopher Gibson have spent most of their summer holidays circumnavigating Europe on their windsurfers. Departing from Christopher's home on Hayling Island, England, UK they windsurfed over five summer holidays, they windsuirfed to Africa, picking up each morning where they left off the day before, till the holiday ran out, and then the next year continuing again
2006 - 7
Thursday 7th August
La Linea / Gibraltar
2006 Day 1: Afloat Again!: 20 miles
Posted On: 28/08/2006 11:06:07
The drive back to where we left off is done.........it took three litres of oil along with six litres of water (and only one litre of beer!), but we got there just after five pm, and, though, having used all that oil and water, we no doubt should have spent the afternoon learning the Portugese for 'head gasket', we had a continent to cross, so we found where we'd carved our 'X' when we'd landed in the dark this time last year (now buried beneath a huge stage and sound system!), threw our kit together, walked across the stinking sewage low water mud of the river and were off....afloat again...albeit beating down a tiny little creek with speedboats moored everywhere, but we were afloat, pushing onwards, onwards towards Africa.
Tacking repeatedly in the narrow creek hurt my shoulder big time, but it felt worth it.
As we beat out down this little channel, the combined fleets of the 470 and 420 European championships ran in to windward of us, giving us a hard time as they diced up the wind before it reached us. Still, it felt homely to sail amongst other competitive sailors in this bottom most corner of Europe.
Out on the sea we had about ten knots of wind, which would have been perfect, except it was, of course (!) a run. But those ten knots slowly built to 12 and the coast line bent round a little and we soon we were in the back straps reaching for Spain.....sweet.....better than that, this was ideal, in the groove and blasting...how it should be...what a start.
When we landed, we'd sailed 20 miles in just two and a quarter hours. Tom's back was shot, my shoulder was agony, we'd dropped the odd gybe and I'd struggled to get sheeted in after.....well after anything, tacking, gybing, waterstarting....whatever....still, if we can do 20 miles in 135 minutes we ain't that decrepid yet. Conditions had been good.....the sea was fantasticaly flat - hardly surprising, the last half dozens miles had been less than a few feet deep, often not even that, resulting in a couple of spectactular groundings....and the wind had been solid. We celebrated camped up in a beach car park with our customary carton of Don Simon (now costing 2 euros a litre - inflation, eh?)... we'd made an early hole in the few remaining miles left to Africa.
Chris and Tom would like to thank all those that very kindly sponsored us in 2006 and donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee's sub-Saharan famine appeal. Many thanks.