Monday, 15 July 2013

The 'Short Straw' - by Sian Bennett

When we signed up to crewing on Bonita for the Newcastle to Grimsby stretch, we thought we might have drawn the ‘short straw’ and got the slot no-one else wanted.  We were quite wrong.  The trip has been interesting, beautiful and it proved to be perhaps an under-rated area.

Sister & Skipper
We arrived in Newcastle to Mike’s smiling face and the magnificent Sage Gateshead building as a backdrop to Bonita.  Beautiful bridges spanned the Tyne on either side of her including the Winking Bridge and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.  A salmon leapt alongside us in the Tyne as we made our way out.

We sailed along by miles of stunningly beautiful, unspoilt and empty beaches as we followed the coast, and clown-like puffins, dolphins and a friendly seal accompanied us at various stages of the trip.

We found friendly people and a warm welcome wherever we stopped. Bridlington was a special stop and we were amused when we realised we had tied up Bonita in almost exactly the same spot in the harbour she had occupied when she was there in the 1920s and 30s.  (We identified her in an old photograph of the harbour we saw in the Yacht Club).  We also felt a sense of history as we had a drink in the RYYC where one of Bonita’s previous owners had been the Commodore.  We were intrigued too to discover whether her name is engraved on any of the splendid, antique Racing Trophies we saw in the Clubhouse!

It has been a privilege and a tonic to join Mike for this part of his UK tour.