He had been working hard on refitting his Sadler 34 when lockdown brought things to an abrupt stop. With many of his plans cancelled, Marc tells us about how he kept positive throughout lockdown and his joy at getting back on the water…
How did it feel to not be able
to sail during lockdown?
Lockdown happened really before
my sailing season properly kicked off. I’m lucky enough to have two boats. A
Sadler 34 called Star Chaser that I keep on a mooring at Quoile Yacht Club in
Strangford Lough and also an RS400 racing dinghy that I use for club racing
with my partner at Newcastle Yacht Club.
I’d spent the past winter doing
a refit on ‘Star Chaser’ that involved having a new engine fitted, rewiring
electrics alongside the usual annual maintenance. I had just applied first coat
of antifouling as lockdown was announced.
I had spent a considerable
amount of time and money preparing Star Chaser and was very disappointed as the
boat club effectively locked down meaning I couldn’t get to work on the boat
let alone think of launching. I’d also spent a lot of time preparing the RS400
racing dinghy and had taken it to my local yacht club in February and had it
sitting ready to go for the start of the season in April. I had two boats fully
prepared very early ready for the season however with lockdown were going
What did you do during lockdown
to keep busy, were you able to learn any new skills, either sailing or non
At the start of lockdown I was
furloughed from work. I ended up being off for around 10 weeks. I made a list
of things I wanted to do around the house and ticked each job off the list as
it was completed. This involved laying new patio, BBQ area, gardening, painting
fences, redecorating inside the house – the list goes on.
I also made a list of personal
things I wanted to achieve such as speaking to a family member daily or call a
friend. I also turned one of the spare bedrooms into a gym, I already had some
kettlebells/dumbbells and managed to have a pull up bar/TRX made. From this I
managed to do three or four gym sessions a week involving weights, HIIT classes
and Circuits. I also took up eSailing through my local club who ran an eSailing
This was great fun at the start
and one of our club members actually competed in the national finals
representing Northern Ireland.
What did you miss most about
being on the water?
Definitely time away cruising
the Scottish islands on Star Chaser. I had planned two weeks in Scotland in
May, but this had to be cancelled. I also missed the craic around the yacht
clubs and the exhilaration from racing my RS400.
How did it feel to get back
I was unsure whether we would
be able to launch Star Chaser at all at one point, but delighted to say she is
now back on the water and have already had some great nights onboard. I spent a
week cruising the east coast of Ireland in July and now looking forward to a
couple of weeks in Scotland in August provided everything opens up again.
What has been the highlight for
you about getting back on the water?
Sailing up the Irish coast
under full sail on Star Chaser on the way home from the July cruise. We came
across Dundalk bay averaging around 7.5 knots on a broad reach. Simply magic.
What are your aims for the next
year now that you are able to be back on the water?
I’m planning two or three weeks
cruising Northern Ireland and Scotland onboard Star Chaser at the end of August
and into September. I am hoping with the schools back by then things will be a
little quieter and I can get some great sailing in before Autumn and Winter
Do you have any advice for clubs and
sailors who are thinking of getting back on the water?
You will find once you have sailors back on the water it will
quickly evolve into the new normal navigating your way around the advice from
the NI Executive. You don’t really need club facilities. Look at what other
yacht clubs are doing and also look at how other facilities outside of sailing