A new season ...the editor's welcome to the latest issue of Yachting Monthly

The Beast from the East plunged the country into the depths of an Arctic winter. Green shoots of early daffodils naïvely preempting the first day of spring froze under a foot of snow. Sailors, in eager anticipation of the season, were caught blue lipped and icy handed attempting to ready their boats.

It was in this state that I found myself shortly before the storm arrived, kneeling on a pontoon in chilly February, scrubbing a sail cover to remove the detritus of winter. Somehow, it wasn’t a hardship though. I was free of the office, under an expanse
of sky and surrounded by the metallic percussion of halyards in a stiff breeze. I enjoyed it.

Then it got really cold. Yachts waiting on the hard stood over harbours that gradually froze over. Sheet ice covered the creeks of Maldon and Bembridge – for the first time in living memory – and when I took a bracing walk along the sea wall, there were chunks of frozen sea foam in Chichester Harbour.

In north Wales, hurricane-strength winds combined with high spring tides to wreak havoc in Holyhead Marina. While it was fortunate that no one was seriously injured in the horrific conditions, yachts are now sitting on the bottom of a harbour that is now covered in polystyrene pollution, and the loss adjusters are totting up the damage.

Questions will undoubtedly be asked about how this could happen and hopefully, bereft boat owners will be afloat again soon. It was truly a nasty barb in the tail of the Siberian monster.

Now, however, like waking beehives, boatyards are beginning to buzz with activity. The daffodils are in bloom and the air has lost its sharp edge. Spring is reasserting itself, finally victorious.