When I posted that live in troubled times a few of weeks ago little did I know I would be adding add war in Europe, the renewed fear of nuclear Armageddon, increasing inflation and a cost of living melt down to the list already made up of the climate crisis, mass extinctions, political instability, eroded freedoms, and traumatic life events.
Someone tweeted the other day that they wished the Horsemen of the Apocalypse to at least come one at a time. But it doesn't work like that, war, pestilence, famine and death invariably ride side by side.
When we started the Snark project 6 years ago we thought we would be operational in three years then have ten years to return our investment and be sitting on a viable sailing charter business that we could sell on to a worthy successor. Little did we suspect that we would be hit by a series of problems and calamities and that the timescale and potential would be disrupted so significantly.
First we had to deal with serious fabrication and installation problems adding significant cost and delaying our start date by a year. Then, behind its façade of orderliness, our chosen home port turned out to be a nightmare of flawed bureaucracy and vested interests adding another year to our full start-up and restricting our scope of operation and the potential of the business. Just as we were getting on top of that, Covid struck and effectively wiped out a further two years of trading.
Plan B was set in motion with second jobs supporting us and the boat until we could plan for an un-restricted season and get our stalled plan back up and running. This strategy has worked and we are still here, solvent and in good shape. Plan B came to an end yesterday with Qiao's last day at her second job and her return as full time crew on Snark. The remodelling is complete bar the application of a lick of paint here and there.
The leeboards are reinforced, ballasted and rehung ready for some serious sailing. The barge's spreet (the white diagonal spar) normally holds out the main and top sails but in harbour it also acts as a derrick for lifting stuff around, in this case a 1.2 tonne leeboard.
Things are being cleaned and oiled, the engines and propellers are serviced, the bottom is cleaned and the rigging is being checked and serviced. New mattresses and bedding have arrived and the blinds and cabin lights are installed (and working!). Finally after months of slog the seemingly endless to do list is now reduced to manageable proportions.
To kickstart the Snark project again, we have put together an ambitious and exciting season of coastal cruises which will take us around all four nations of Great British. Then just as the bookings were picking up and the days start to get longer, we were hit by the triple whammy of runaway cost of living rises, war in Europe and the possibility of global recession. Fear of the unknown future, guilt at enjoying life while others are suffering and residual Covid caution all play their part in our collective indecision. But here on Snark we are nothing if not resilient and optimistic.
We know that everyone needs a place to escape to, a way to unwind, to gain perspective and unknot their stomachs! For us this is firstly the sea; eternal, surprising, beautiful, mysterious, awesome and calming in equal measure and then the land that borders it, the scenery, ports and harbours, sheltered anchorages, cliffs, sand banks and mud flats.
This is what we share with our guests. Why not check out our great value voyages to see if there's something to suit you. www.snark.limited