2022 Underway

12th January Suffolk Yacht Harbour … My winter home

16th January ‘Talisker 1’ Suffolk Yacht Harbour

18th February early afternoon as wind speeds peak … gusting 80 Knots during Storm Eunice.

21st February.

14th March … My friend Peter Buchan removing the only damage from the storm … a bent pig stick.

8th April

My diary starts late this year.

It’s been very difficult remaining positive.  I’m not a very good invalid.

A friend compared her new hip and recovery to my heart condition!  I was lost for words.  If only it was just that.  The main engine of my body is not very well.  With little history of heart disease in the family I’m surprised.  I still think I might be one of the tiny percentage of people who have had a reaction to the Covid vaccine.  I was given a Pfizer booster in November and eleven days later I suffered a Total Heart Block.  On the 2nd December I was given a 3 wire Pace Maker.  A recent Ultrasound shows the same abnormalities that were found in November.  I am awaiting an MRI.  In case anybody thinks I am anti vaccine I am not.  Cardiology are no more busy than before Covid.  However, I will take medical advice regarding a further booster.  I would not have Pfizer again.

I thought I was doing quite well until I did the first coat of antifoul on my boat on the 30th March.  That was exhausting and a couple of days later I was breathless again just walking a hundred metres.  I was back in A&E on Saturday night to be checked.  Nothing alarming was found on the ECG, bloods etc.

I feel I’ve taken one step forward and two back.  I hope I will be able to do things like anti fouling my boat again.  It was a job that I trounced last year!

But it hasn’t all been bad.  And a lot of folk are much much much worse off than me.

I was unable to decommission ‘Talisker 1’ after my heart block so she was in the water at Suffolk Yacht Harbour until the 22nd March when she was immaculately hauled out of the water by Oliver and Ryan.

I was also given the chance to find out if I could handle the boat.  My very good chums James Robinson and Bill Hughes have been keeping an eye on me, lifting my spirits and lecturing me on being a good patient.  They felt I needed to get out on the water under their watchful eye.

On the 16th March we sailed out to the Gunfleet Sands and back.

16th March A beat out of the port on a very cold day.

16th March We sailed out to the Gunfleet Sands and back.

I was pleased that I could manage the boat without difficulty, with Bill and James on board.  I’m just going to have to restrict myself on how long I sail.  I doubt there will be any long passages too soon.  I get tired very quickly.

16th March … Bill and James Robbie

16th March Bill “What we doin out here in winter warfare gear?”

16th March

22nd March ‘Talisker 1’ immaculately hauled out of the water by Oliver and Ryan at Suffolk Yacht Harbour

22nd March

22nd March

8th April … making progress but the first coat of anti foul set me back

9th April and Bill has kindly done the second coat of anti foul while I completed anodes and the propeller.

10th April

Yesterday Bill came and put the second coat of soft antifoul on ‘Talisker 1’.  Bill, like James R, has been so so generous with his time and help.

We are nearly ready to launch.  I’ve slowly worked my way through all the other jobs below the waterline.  I just have the boot top to complete today and we are done.  Marvellous Andy Bennett polished the topsides.

10th April … boot top completed

Candy and ‘Endeavor’ in the company of James Robinson, Sarah Bell and Helen Adams left the Orwell on Friday bound for Cornwall.  Candy is hoping to sail back to the US.  James will see them safely to Cornwall before jumping ship and heading home, leaving the women to wait for a weather window for the Atlantic.  It’s getting awfully late in the year.

16th April

I was due to sail back to the home port this morning but my old Mum was under the weather and I’ve postponed the sail.

‘Endeavor’ has returned to Suffolk with some fairly major problems to resolve.  Her voyage postponed indefinitely.

On the 13th April ‘Talisker 1’ was immaculately relaunched at Suffolk Yacht Harbour by James, Ryan and Jack.

13th April …

13th April ‘Talisker 1’ immaculately relaunched at Suffolk Yacht Harbour by James, Ryan and Jack.

My boat is so beautifully looked after by the Suffolk Yacht Harbour Team.  Big James was also wonderfully helpful with adjusting the cradle so I could work below the waterline while she was laid up.

Evolution Rigging popped up the mast to refit my new, beautifully manufactured (by Tim at Mr Stainless) Pig Stick.

I’ve needed some extra help and everyone has been brilliant.

15th April Shingle Street to check on the Orford Bar just after LW.  Trinity House used to trust local knowledge in the placement of the buoys … and sadly they don’t … anymore.

22nd April

On the 18th April ‘Talisker 1’ left her winter home at Suffolk Yacht Harbour and sailed to Orford.

18th April Suffolk Yacht Harbour to Orford.

It was a lovely few hours on the water made special by having Sarah Bell as my crew and minder and also to enter the river with Doc and ‘Tuesday of Ore’.

18th April Sarah Bell at the helm of ‘Talisker 1’.

18th April approaching Orford Haven Doc and Rival 41C ‘Tuesday of Ore’.

It is not the first time that ‘Tuesday’ and ‘Talisker 1’ have returned to the river together at the start of the year.

18th April ‘Talisker 1’ and ‘Tuesday’ sail in to The Ore for the first time in 2022.

18th April

‘Talisker 1’

Doc came aboard for tea.

Two blue water sailors. Doc and Sarah Bell.

So lovely to be back home in Orford.


  • Dave ( ELGAR ) says:

    It’s a joy to see you resume the sailing activities in such a careful manner , look fwd to the day we might see TALISKER 1 up here in NE corner again in due course .

    • Dave. I’d love to come back to Peterhead. The kindness I received during my stay last summer was golden. And you were incredibly generous and kind with your time. See you soon … I hope. James

  • Bill Hughes says:

    You have far more grit and determination than you give yourself credit for. You’ve been through an incredibly tough few months and it’ll take time to find and settle in to what will become your new normal. Have a nice leisurely season and rebuild your strength and confidence. Clear the fore peak, I’m moving my gear in ….

  • Roger Bonnett says:

    Hello James,

    Pleased you are back on the water but very sorry you have problems with your heart. Reading your blog gave me some hope. I had my fourth jab or booster two weeks ago and have been under the weather since. Not ill, but feeling I’m fighting something and quickly get out of puff and tired. My first three jabs were Pfizer but the last Modena. Gradually getting over it but not there just yet.
    My Sadler34 is now back in the water and we plan some sailing soon.

    I wish you well with a full recovery .


    Roger Bonnett

    • Hello Roger

      I’m sorry to hear your taking time to recover from your second booster. I’m not a bit anti vaccine but I won’t have Pfizer again … just in case. I’m delighted your fine ship is afloat. Keep in touch with your sailing plans.



  • remember that in medicine, the worst is never certain!!! take care and sail happy

  • Irene says:

    Oh James, so sorry to hear that you have been, and still are Ill! Hope your recovery will be better day by day.
    Here on Askøy the spring has tightened its grip, so we hope the cold nights with frost is over for no. We have taken the tarpaulin off the Horizon Hunter and are ready for some small and easy adventures along the coast on the westside of Norway. Geir is still Ill, with constant pain, so we are going easy on the sailing.
    Enjoy every moment James, find a piece of happiness in every minute. Thats what keeps us going ❤️ take care!

    Lots of hugs from Irene

    • Hello Irene
      Please send my very best wishes and love to Geir, Jeanette, Fabian and Nikolai.
      I am so sorry Geir is so poorly. Huge hugs to the big man.
      I am still here! Heart failure is not easy to deal with but the Cardiology and medical teams do miraculous work. I have nothing to complain about.
      I am determined to make landfall in Norway at least one more time.
      I hope your looking after yourself.
      Much love

  • Jean Lenaerts says:

    Dear James,
    Following all your solo adventures with Talisker 1 on youtube I missed you the last months.
    Checking your website today I read about your health issues.
    I sincerely wish you all the best and a quick recovery.
    Hope seeing you soon back on Talisker 1.
    Kind regards.

    • Dear Jean
      Thank you very much.
      ‘Talisker 1’ is a house boat in the short term. I enjoy being afloat on my mooring in the River Ore.
      I hope to sail later in the year.
      Kind regards

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