Like every other day the day of departure was just as hectic. We managed to pack away almost everything and the last thing to be stowed was our 5m ladder. This doubles as a gangway as well as onshore access and also as a paint platform for the waterline. Should it go on the rail. the bathing platform or in the sail locker? Eventually we squeezed it into the sail locker so if a tin of carrots is required it is too bad as it is behind two jibs, a 5m ladder and a 3.8m tender! We took on just over a 1,000 litres of fuel before departure and are now doing our best to avoid using any of it; we would not usually accept travelling at 2.5 knots on a glassy sea but we are not under the ‘summer holiday’ time pressures of old. Spent last night criss-crossing ARC yacht Merlyn on the way south of the Isle of Wight. We hailed them at 23.00 but they were probably rocking so didn’t hear us. A bit disorganised in this our first few hours at sea for a full year. A couple of issues with domestic appliances but otherwise drifting in the right direction.