Denys Rayner near Newbury, Berkshire. My stepfather, Jack Hargreaves, sponsored her design and construction at a time when there was great interest in pioneering affordable seaworthy small sailing boats that could crawl creeks at weekends, be comfortable for families, sail oceans, yet be hauled on trailers and sit upright on a mud berths. He christened her 'Danica' - Latin for his favourite fly. "Take her where you like" he said, wanting, with her designer, to see how she performed. "Get yourself a skipper" he added, knowing I had small knowledge of the sea despite explorations of the Solent in 'Hoppy'. Chris, my skipper, tutor and companion, sailed us from Lymington to Le Havre in April. With mast stowed, we motored through French canals and rivers via Paris and Lyons to Marseilles. In the Mediterranean we sailed along the Cote d'Azur, crossed to Corsica, then on to Naples (enjoying ice cream unknown in England), from where, via the Straits of Messina, we ran eastwards over wine dark sea making the same landfall as Byron between Zakinthos and Kefallonia - high shapes looming in a warm dawn haze. After anchoring for a welcome off the fishing village of Killini we passed immigration at Patras and then sailed and motored with day breezes and calms to the Corinth Canal. Passing through that astounding defile we arrived at Tourkolimano, Athens, in early July (heat I'd not experienced). A few weeks later, joined by Christopher's sister Elizabeth, we sailed homewards round the Peloponnese to Zakinthos. On to Syracuse in Sicily, then Malta, Bizerta in Tunisia, and northwards via Bonifacio in Corsica and on to Sète and the Canal du Midi. Via the canal we motored to Bordeaux, setting sail again up the Gironde estuary and entering the Bay of Biscay where south east of Finisterre we weathered gales (and my fear) before passing into the English Channel arriving in Lymington at the end of September.
Home from Greece ~ Liz Jameson, Simon B, Chris Jameson