Covid restrictions have prevented a practical access to my cherished ‘Hejira’ for over 18 months and she has been stranded in Baie des Anges Marina near Nice in the South of France.

Marina Baie des Anges

To cap this complication, Brexit has imposed an imperative to return the yacht to the UK as, despite having paid VAT on the original purchase, another tranche of VAT could become due under ‘re-importation’ regulations which have surfaced since the ill-informed Brexit vote and subsequent campaign to sustain the mandate despite the blatant lies and misinformation which was peddled during the referendum campaign. I despair at the ineptitude and arrogance of those that considered a remain majority to be a foregone conclusion and at the political opportunism of the current leaders who sacrificed the future of the British people and European harmony on the altar of their personal gain and short-term political advantage.

Anyway, that aside, and pragmatically accepting that the ‘die is cast’, I am now compelled to repatriate Hejira to the UK for not only financial reasons but to correct some of the awful workmanship suffered by French contractors and at the hands of the Antibes shipyard as it went out of business while Hejira was entrapped, and circumstances became increasingly fraught.

My necessity to return to the UK  to beat the VAT deadline (extended thankfully by one year because of Covid) is not unique and this has put a great deal of pressure on Marina places in the UK as a flotilla of biggish yachts are flooding ‘home’ to a limited number of berths.

Thankfully with the help and support of my friends Peter and Petra Morton, I appear to have secured a berth in Northney Marina (Chichester Harbour, Hayling Island) where I had previously moored for several enjoyable years. I am really looking forward to having my ‘baby’ so accessible within a one-hour drive of my home and in such a friendly environment. The added advantage is the access to some top-quality specialists who can hopefully correct some of the carnage inflicted by the French contractors.

So, the plan is to fly out to Nice with two friends, Peter Hoade and Richard Cracknell (both yacht owners) on Monday 9thof August, to complete the necessary formalities, check, test, prepare and victual Hejira to head off with best haste back to the UK. The passage is about 2000 miles and while it would be wonderful to just go along with whatever the weather and wind impose in terms of sail plan and speed, domestic pressures for the crew will dictate that this idyllic luxury cannot be indulged and the burning of fossil fuels will probably be necessary to some extent. Given the capricious nature of Mediterranean winds it is our plan to try to secure onshore sea breezes close inshore in the afternoons wherever possible which should enable mobile data contact and the posting of the ubiquitous blogs.

Hopefully, after this long period of silence, there will be regular updates as we negotiate the various challenges which will inevitably be presented as we make our way back to the UK. I will be seeking blog input from my fellow crew members which should help to lighten and entertain along the way. So, be prepared to receive a stream of communications over the coming weeks – you can always unsubscribe or just block the Emails but, hopefully, there will be enough of interest to maintain your connection.

23 thoughts on “Repatriation

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  1. Very informative website Nick – allowing me to track your progress from Cambodia. I see you are approaching Barcelona – any chance you could stop off and buy me a bottle of Cava?
    I guess you could murder a nice meal and a hot shower??

  2. We’re on the final lap of our journey home from Lisbon – couldn’t have put your ‘Brexit’ thoughts better!! Good luck and hope you manage some fun sailing!

  3. A good direction, Jules. My British built boat was VAT paid in France, and bought by me there and now resides in the Netherlands. I haven’t got a clue what would happen if I sailed it 40 miles across the English Channel for a beach picnic in the UK.

    Here is a take on the problems faced by British performers wanting to d gigs in Europe, not that that is a thing right now. This guy is an astro physicist who works as a high school teacher.

  4. I received this Email from Jules Dussek, President of the Cruising Association, the content may be of interest:-
    Hello Nick, good luck with the trip back. You do at least have until the middle of next year to get back but I agree it is ridiculous to have to do it. We (the CA) are meeting with both HMRC and the Treasury later this month to see if we can get things changed. It’s a long battle but at least we are now meeting people instead of being rebuffed by email.
    Best wishes,

  5. All the best on your journey from Nice to Chichester Nick – I will track your progress from Cambodia

  6. Happy landfalls Nick! If your navigational skilks are as outstanding as your journalistic ones you can be sure of a safe passage.
    I look forward to a very dirty beer together with colleagues in the autumn!

    1. So good to hear from you John, I hope you are well and I guess, you are now married, so congratulations on that. I look forward to meeting you and your new wife at some liquid rendezvous once I return. (Liquid could also mean afloat)

  7. Wow, Nick. Have a safe and comfortable voyage. Looking forward to seeing you again. I have a permanently empty aft cabin if you are ever in the Rotterdam area. Bill

    1. With all the ongoing Covid uncertainly and no apparent end to it all such that we can be confident cruising extensively and Internationally, I am looking at adventures in more local waters in the near future. Maybe you will be able to make some of the Southerly Owners Rallies and our wakes will cross on some of those.

  8. I have been trying to unsubscribe for over 3 years but the button must be hidden somewhere. When will this inane drivel ever end 🙂 ?????

    1. Enjoyed your comment Toad !
      If you were not my next door neighbour (you can’t choose them) and contributor to the earlier ‘Wind in the Willows’ blog, I might have been a little miffed by your comments – as it is they are nearly amusing!

  9. good luck nick; we too are on our way home. We hit some rocks near Vianna de castello were MAYDAYed in as the gearbox was stripped. We changed it there and limped into Vigo where our skeg was replaced and split rudder fixed amongst much other damage. So Vigo Marina Devila Sport is a good place for repairs.
    We have lost 5 weeks but hope to resume once the engineer replaces our prop tomorrow. Hope to see you in Blighty at the end of the summer.
    Dofesaba II

  10. Hope all goes well with the voyage Nick. We were lucky to get a berth in Beaulieu Marina for Kered, but know how packed the Solent area is now. Glad you got a berth sorted for Hejira.

    1. Good to hear from you Rob. I have missed an account of your travels – last I heard you were anchored somewhere off Panama… I look forward to catching up later in the year – maybe a mutual ‘dry out’ and I am only talking about the state of the tide !

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