The Road To Dartmouth
The road to Dartmouth, for Gaynor and me, has been a long a winding one.
I suppose it’s fair to say, mine’s more of a return to Dartmouth, as I started my Naval career as a young Midshipman, Officer Under Training, at Britannia Royal Naval College in 1979 and then ended it in the late 80’s as a Staff Officer at the college, in fact First Lieutenant onboard HMS Sandpiper, one of the navigation training ships operating out of Dartmouth at the time.
The first place Gaynor and I visited
Years later, the first place Gaynor and I visited, as a couple, you see we’re both second time married, was Dartmouth. In fact we stayed at The Dart Marina for the weekend, coincidently when it was Music Festival and Gaynor instantly fell in love with the place, recognising what I’d found so enchanting all those years earlier.
‘One day I’ll live here and have a business on the river’
I remember as a Midshipman, whenever we were allowed out, spending hours in the Floating Bridge, ‘The Floaters’ with friends and every Sunday morning after church going to The Royal Castle for Scotch Eggs! Then later when I returned, sailing out of the river every morning in Sandpiper, saying ‘one day I’ll live here and have a business on the river’. There’s something about Dartmouth that gets under your skin!
We got married at The Dart Marina during Regatta week
We’ve visited Dartmouth several times a year almost every year since 2004, not only for Music Festival, Regatta, Food Festival and Candlelit Dartmouth but spending one or two week holidays with the children too. Always telling ourselves that one day we’d live here and have a boat on the river and in 2008 we actually got married at The Dart Marina during Regatta week. That’s a whole other story!
When we first considered buying a boat in Dartmouth, it was in fact buying a business. The Picnic Boat was put up for sale in 2010, the boat we’d had our wedding reception onboard two years earlier and we really thought that this was our opportunity to make the move to Dartmouth, so we began the process, only to be dashed by several unforeseen issues which meant that wasn’t the time for us.
Many will understand ‘family politics’, the pressure of owning a business and not least the difficulty distance causes, especially when you live in the North of England, our businesses were in Bury and Bolton in Greater Manchester, so the time was ‘never right’ to follow our passion and move lock stock and barrel to Devon, or so we told ourselves!
‘We’re never going back to Dartmouth unless it’s in a boat!” In fact after a particularly horrendous return journey taking over nine hours earlier this year, Gaynor said, ‘we’re never going back to Dartmouth unless it’s in a boat!” And so it comes to pass… Family circumstances have changed, the children are independent, the business climate was right, so we’ve sold up and moved South and while we’re not actually arriving in the boat, it is on its way!
We’re resident in Dartmouth, our boat is being built - I’ll explain that process at another time - and we’re set to hit the water early 2019 with The Fizz Boat, The Dart’s first and only dedicated floating Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, English Sparkling Wine - in fact anything fizzy, celebration boat and we’re so excited to be finally living the dream we’ve had for so long.
We look forward to welcoming you aboard and sharing in your opportunity to make memories.