Sailors, like migratory creatures, long for the open water as the summer beckons - read the editor's welcome to the Summer 2020 issue of Yachting Monthly, now on sale

The itch to get back on the water has become almost unbearable. Whether you are a boat owner, regular crew or occasional charterer, this has been an unexpectedly long lay up ashore. As the COVID-19 lockdown kicked in, the typically perverse British weather dished up one of the sunniest springs of recent years, testing the resolve of the public at large, and sea-going sailors in particular.

But while the national newspapers shared images of deserted city streets and impossibly empty motorways, the Solent, normally heaving on a sunny bank holiday, was the most eerily quiet of all. Looking out from the sea wall, not a yacht, motor boat or dinghy stirred from Chichester to Yarmouth – a scene that was echoed around our coastline.

Instead, the cries of sea birds and waders echoed through the empty air, while incredibly, the lockdown held and personal restraint did not waver. As a collective effort, staying on dry land was enormously impressive and should be applauded. Well done all.

Now that the restrictions are being cautiously lifted, in some parts of the country at least, the urge to set sail is stronger than ever. I’ve just been given a launch date for my boat and it can’t come quick enough. Whether we’ll only be allowed to daysail, or string multiple days afloat together, I’ll just be happy to be back on the water.

If cruising to foreign waters is allowed, it’s worth reading Ken Endean’s advice on crossing the Channel for a holiday on the French coast (p40), and his tips on exploring close in to the coast (p33) will help you make the most of your time at home or abroad. Wherever you are, we could all benefit from time ironing our boat’s foibles (p26). It’s amazing what a few rig tweaks can do for your yacht’s temperament.

Theo Stocker