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Phillip Ford

I started sailing just over 20 years ago with a friend, in the Solent, who owned a 34ft Moody. I fell in love with the activity from the first day and over the next two years took the necessary RYA qualifications to skipper a yacht myself.

I then spent the next 15 years chartering 'Bare Boat' all over the world including the UK, Mediterranean, Caribbean and Australia, mostly with my family, but also with groups of friends. Towards the end of this period, I started seriously looking at purchasing my own yacht, but for various reasons never got the final purchase.

When I heard about Brighton Belle, to me it was the ideal solution, a beautiful yacht, renowned for its open water cruising abilities, and even more important, the chance to join and learn from a group of like-minded sailing enthusiasts - the experience so far has lived up to my expectations. The highlight so far was skippering her last year from Plymouth to north west Spain across the notorious Bay of Biscay, which on this occasion gave exactly the right balance between exciting sailing without ever becoming a white knuckle ride. I have now accrued just over 5,000 sea miles, and when skippering I try to get a balance between testing and exciting passages while at the same time making sure we also relax and enjoy ourselves at local hostelries and isolated anchorages.

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