The Starting Gun
Where does one start? Well, I suppose you start by putting one foot in front of the other. So it begins.
It was my Uncle and West Wales Sailing School, White Horse's Saundersfoot and Tenby, Pembrokeshire. Toppers, Mirrors, Wayfarers, and my first boat; a Graduate sailed with Dad.
Then there was the racing. Well, sort of, trying t hide from Toms Father as we were Press Ganged on board Barracuda for the annual Round Caldey Island Race. So began my fear of 'shouty skippers'.
Having left the sea behind and finished playing on inland lakes at Dorchester Sailing Club with Lasers, the passion for Snow took over and still remains true. But the call of sea is strong, and years later the sea called again. Well, actually my cousin Giles whilst I was mountain biking in France. "Can you fly to Norway tomorrow? Dad needs help bringing Orbit back". And so we arrived in 24 hours later, the two of us with extremely rusty sailing knowledge in the fishing port of Bergen to meet one very tried Skipper returning from the Arctic.
Suitably enthused by an evening of Norwegian Hospitality, Pearl Jam in the Night Club and plenty of expensive beer consumed we set off across the North Sea to Inverness, Three Men on A Boat.
Then came the corporate sailing trips with Jean Piere Le Tissier and Seaways Professional Training Events. The heady days of the 90's, Cowes, Palma Majorca, and the odd 'Round the Island Race' with Mr Thompson making a guest appearance in his borrowed mates Clipper Round the World kit for our first race together RTI 2007. The fun was starting to come through, and the Wet Welsh Coast seemed a distant past.
So much so that a decision to live life, rather than corporate life was made, and some last minute life changing decisions finds me at Antigua Sail Week, with a chap changing life's path as well. So off we raced into the Carribbean on board his new business venture, a Swan 51 called Northern Child.
So the compass swung, with my first Fastnet Campaign and welcome to RORC. My RYA log book having long ago been washed overboard, back to school first with BOSS, doing my navigation course and race safety certificate with some of the crew from ICAP Leopard. A year in Sydney, Australia followed with Flying Fish culminating in 2nd in Class placing in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race, 2011.
A quick flight back to the UK, well Chamonix actually and off with Thompson to do the Aguile du Midi. And then final point of the compass, the Mediterranean. My final race having delivered Northern Child with Christian and Lucy from the Swan Europeans in Sardinia, to France via beautiful Corsica. The Voiles-deSain-Tropez completed, it was time to start a new business and start another journey.
Step forward Mrs Palmer with, the classic line; "If you want to go and play boats with Simon, thats fine but I want a new kitchen." And so it was on a wet weekend in March off we went to Key Yachting and step forward J'-Taime, a lovely J109, and Mrs Palmer has a lovely new kitchen. Yep you guessed it, first race out and its Round that Island again! Many RORC campaigns and races later, another Fastnet and job done.
And so the search for Snow Leopard began. Where does it finish? The journeys not at The Bitter End YC yet!