With the start of British Summer Time, the sailing season is truly underway for Jonty Pearce, as he looks forward to retirement

In late autumn when the clocks ‘fall back’ I go round all the timepieces in the house glumly, anticipating Seasonal Affective Disorder as the commute to and from work is denied daylight. The morning the clocks ‘sprung forward’ morning my heart was in a far brighter place; although we lost an hour’s sleep the sun shone and I relished the notion of light evenings. Darker mornings will affect me less; the joys of my retirement start on the first of April.

So, as I went round the house adjusting the time while the kettle boiled for Carol’s tea I was nearly whistling as happily as the kettle. But what a lot of clocks we have! Two in the bedroom, one in the bathroom, two in the lounge, one in the spare bedroom, and one in the kitchen. I thought that was it, but then remembered the cooker, the central heating, the remote thermostat, and the telephone. I trust that the television and recorder will sort themselves out – I can’t face delving into their menus just now. At least the iPhone, iPad, and computer sussed the time change automatically. Finally, hopefully, I realised that the car and outdoor light timers were still to be corrected. Thank goodness we are entering British Summer Time and not leaving it – I’d be right fed up otherwise!

The change of the clocks is always my final proof that the sailing season is getting under way. And this year my diary is full of sailing; at Easter our club is chartering its usual Good Friday cruise from Skye Yachts at Armadale – a fleet of four boats. I then have two weeks in the north when the Penguins (a colloquial name for the club) charter two boats in Shetland. Our plan is to complete a circumnavigation before calling in on Fair Isle and finishing with an Orkney exploration. Aurial, our Southerly 105 ketch, will see some exercise too. Apart from being able to enjoy long weekends, we plan to spend a month in the Isles of Scilly. It will be wonderful not to be held to diarised deadlines; the weather can be our master. Finally, I have promised to host some Penguin Cruising Club skipper training days, though heaven knows where we can fit them into an increasingly busy schedule. I’m already wondering how I ever found time for work!

One of my other challenges is to find enough time to complete my planned upgrades and repairs. A new onboard music system, chartplotter, and VHF are all sitting in boxes waiting for installation, and I fear that the sprayhood will not last the season. The standing rigging is coming up to ten years old, and the forestay runs through an old Rotostay furler that might not survive being dismantled. I suspect that some of the jobs might have to wait for the end of the season, though I may be able to shoehorn them in now I’ll have some weekday time free.

Am I complaining? No way. My retirement, the start of BST and the beginning of the sailing season are a trio that lift my heart and makes me sing. Bring it on.


Terrible weather, great sailing