Small-boat family cruising
Yachting Monthly|March 2021
Richard Bradshaw enjoys a cruise with his wife, daughter, baby son and dog aboard their Sadler 29

On discovering we were due to have a second child, being a teacher and with my wife having maternity leave, my mind turned to a summer’s sailing with my family.

My wife, Annie, was less keen so I resigned myself to doing some yacht instruction and a couple of weeks’ east coast cruising in Dawn Piper, our Sadler 29.

Then COVID-19 came along, my planned instruction was cancelled, and I was keener than ever to getaway.

After some persuasion, Annie agreed. So in July, instead of skippering a Hallberg Rassy 49 through south Brittany with 10 teenagers, I was beating from the River Deben towards the Solent in my Sadler, accompanied by my dad. I had arranged to meet my family in Keyhaven. Because of COVID-19, our intended stopovers were either full or not accepting visitors so we ended up sailing non-stop for 36 hours.

Once safely in Thorney Channel, the anchor had just about hit the bottom before my dad opened some much-wanted beers.

A few days later, high pressure arrived along with my wife, six-year-old daughter Rebecca, four-month-old son Dominic, and our ageing border collie Megs. Plus so much food and clothes it took several hours to load the boat.

SETTING SAIL IN SUNNY CLIMES

We set off from Keyhaven to Poole in fantastic weather and spent our first night at anchor in Brand’s Bay.

Having a settled forecast and being in no hurry to rush west we enjoyed overnight stops and swimming at Chapman’s Pool and Mupe Bay. After walking over to busy Lulworth Cove it was lovely to return to peaceful Mupe Bay where my daughter practised rowing our dinghy.

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