David Rainsbury

Words and Pictures

Piper’s Voyages

In eight seasons together, Piper and I covered more than 26000 miles, from Bergen in the north to the south of Brittany including the coasts of Britain and Ireland, parts of the Baltic and both shores of the English Channel.

Around Britain and Ireland

1998 was our first season together. Leaving Liverpool in early May I sailed first to the Isle of Man. During this first passage I encountered winds up to force 7 and gear failures but Piper showed what she could handle.

During the next four months we sailed clockwise around Ireland then via the Western Isles and St Kilda to Orkney before turning south along the east coasts of Scotland and England.

At Ramsgate we turned west into the English Channel, passed through the Solent at night and followed the inshore passage around Portland Bill.

On September 10th we finally arrived back in Liverpool having logged 3300 single-handed miles.

That was just the beginning...

The following year Piper made a visit to the Golfe de Morbihan in Brittany and in 2000 completed her own Whisky Cruise, visiting over a dozen distilleries in Scotland and Ireland.

In 2001 we headed north to Cape Wrath and the Northern Isles, crossing from Lerwick to Bergen, returning via southern Norway, Copenhagen and the Baltic Sea. Piper spent the winter in Holland before taking the canals through to Vlissingen. Back at sea Piper beat down Channel on the French side. From the Channel Islands she crossed to the Solent and made another rounding of Portland Bill. Leaving Newlyn Piper made a hard windward passage to Kinsale, covering 210 miles for a rhumb line distance of 135. For the final leg the wind veered to north-east giving us another long hard beat right back to Piper’s mooring in the Menai Strait.

Brittany and Bristol

2003 found Piper back in Brittany, returning home via an exploration of the Bristol Channel. The detour to Bristol and Sharpness added over 400 miles to the trip home but we enjoyed the berth in the lively centre of Bristol and with the run up to Sharpness added another chapter to “Fearsome Passages”.

France and Home via Scotland

2004 I received an assignment to photograph all the harbours and features of the North Coast of France. Having sailed south to Ouessant Piper and I turned east and by late August we were in Dunkirk. From here there is little in the distance home either down Channel or north via the East Coast and the Caledonian Canal. In search of a new adventure we turned North. The strong winds that had been a feature of the trip so far continued to blow and we played tip and run with storms all the way home. We arrived in the Menai Strait at the end of September minutes ahead of another gale.

Irish Sea Pilot

For the next two years Piper and I thoroughly explored the Irish Sea collecting photographs and material for this huge project. We still found time for forays into the Hebrides and along the South Coast of Ireland.

At the end of 2006 I spotted the Vancouver 274 “Kate” for sale but the delight at buying her was tempered by the sadness at having to part company with a trustworthy travelling companion of so many sea miles.