In the summer of 1982 David Lowe and George Josselyn sailed their Ajax, Merlin (no.39) from Harwich over the North Sea to Ostende. In the space of a week, before returning in her to England, they managed to pay fleeting visits to each of Belgium, Holland and France.
Eleven years beforehand, in 1971, in the summer holidays after they left school, David and George had borrowed Osprey (no.37), then David’s father’s Ajax, for an exhilarating week’s cruise up and down the East Coast.
After that, while pushing the boundaries of Ajax coastal cruising and enjoying at the same time more long-distance voyaging in George’s father’s yacht, there had been growing in the backs of their minds a thought (mostly unsaid) as to whether it would be possible to take an Ajax across the North Sea. These were the days long before anyone had thought of GPS or EPIRBs for yachts and when hand-held VHF was a rarity.
What follows is David and George’s account, when they returned, of realizing their vision.
Their log won the Royal Harwich Yacht Club’s Cruising Log Trophy for 1982. It then sat in a bookshelf for twenty-two years gathering dust.
David wrote the Introduction, Potential Problems of Crossing, Problems of Living on Board and Potential Problems With The Weather. George wrote the remaining narrative of the voyage.