Our last boat, Florence, was an Oyster Heritage 37, designed by Holman and Pye and built in 1985. We bought her from a yard in Falmouth in January 2008, and finally launched her in August that year, following much refurbishment and after John had recovered from surgery to replace a faulty heart valve in May. Florence was not a particularly fast boat, but she was designed to be safe and strong and comfortable.
In 2008, 2009 and 2010 we cruised in Florence each summer to Normandy, the Channel Islands, Brittany, and the west coast of France.
Then, in 2011, Florence made it possible for John to achieve his long-held ambition of sailing to Denmark to visit our friends, Chris and Bente. They owned a little house on the coast, just south of Helingsor, and their village, Espergaede, has a tiny harbour, not often used by English yachts. John organised a strong crew of male friends to cross the North Sea to Germany and then through the Kiel Canal to the Baltic. I joined the crew about two weeks later, having wimpishly flown to Copenhagen. The two of us sailed around the South Danish Archipelago for a few more days before moving on to Copenhagen, and then to Espergaede, where we moored Florence by the little lighthouse in the harbour. And back, via the Frisian Islands of Norderney and Borkum, with the help of another sailing friend. It was a wonderful holiday.
The following year, 2012, was the last time we sailed in Florence, and we didn’t go very far, just to Normandy. After that, John’s health began to deteriorate and Florence was laid up under her cover in Larkman’s boatyard in Melton for the next three years. We finally made the decision to sell her in summer 2015 and were very pleased when, at the end of that year, she was handed over to her new owners, a young couple who had been looking for a suitable boat on which to live aboard and travel around the world. They set off from Falmouth yesterday, heading across the Bay of Biscay to La Coruna in Spain, then Portugal and the Canaries, from where they are planning to cross the Atlantic and eventually the Pacific oceans.
So Florence will be having many more adventures, and Matt and Amy are writing a blog about them. If you are interested, you can follow their progress.