We travelled as a group of 4 friends new to sailing, and had a great time. Credit to Mervyn who is a great host, and his lovely yacht Sita for helping to make our trip so memorable.
We were unfortunate with the weather, in that we hardly had a breath of wind in the 5 days we were aboard so motored 95% of the time on board. But it's definitely a mark of the man, that despite not being able to keep us busy as he would have liked with sailing, Mervyn proved to be an affable host and great company. He used the time well to get us to practice the main drills, and also took time to explain about navigation and other issues not covered on the competent crew syllabus.
Despite the lack of wind, I definitely feel I know enough of the basics to 'pick up the ropes' if I crewed another yacht in the future, although the lack of actual sailing was a disappointment as I may not be comfortable to move on to the Day Skipper course which was my intention - but again, the weather isn't under Mervyn's control!!!
Another drawback of the lack of wind, combined with the time of year (late April) was that the temperatures at night were hard to handle for me (even though I live in Saudi Arabia), and I found myself getting very little sleep during my time aboard.
We opted for the Thai chef, and it really did save quite a lot of hassle and helped us to enjoy the week rather than sweating away in the galley. Out of the 4 of us, there was one vegetarian, one who wouldn't eat fish or pork, and one who struggled with spicy food and cheese, which led to a pretty much impossible task for chef! As the only one who would eat everything, I found the food to be fantastic, although others in the group would possibly beg to differ as the dietary requirements really did confuse chef, but from my perspective, he did as well as could be expected short of cooking 4 dishes for every meal.
In terms of the location of the anchorages and moorings for the evenings, these were stunning, just jaw droppingly beautiful. Every morning we would wake up with a scenic bay or beach to ourselves, either to swim ashore or just admire the view of the sunrise, and the same in the evenings.
Given that the only disappointments were due to the weather, I can't recommend both Mervyn, and the experience he offers, highly enough.
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