Sam Steele: Having read the book Swallows and Amazons I got the sailing bug. Aged 11, my father and I built my mirror dinghy Hirundo (Latin for Swallow – spot the theme) which I learnt to sail and race on the Broads. I first went offshore with the Ocean Youth Club when I was 15. Having saved up all year to go on the 2 week cruise, I spent the first night being seasick – it was a F7 but thankfully I wasn’t put off and realised that I also loved exploring new places by boat. I passed my RYA Yachtmaster when I was 20. At that age you think you know everything but it is only later you realise how much there is to learn and am still learning. My most memorable landfall was sailing to the Azores in 85, before the days of GPS and finding them by sextant. We had a plan if we hadn’t found them after 30 days we would turn around. Much to my surprise we found them where they should be! I have been lucky enough to sail around the Canary Islands, round Britain in our first boat Ituna and cruised the Baltic extensively. After 20,000 miles thankfully I have only suffered from a few bouts of mal de mer. Thank goodness I wasn’t put off at the beginning!
I started a blog on our trip round Britain which to my surprise had a large following. I was persuaded to write a book about our story but when I approached my now publisher she told me “I wasn’t famous why would anyone read my book….. but you could write a How to book” and so UK and Ireland Circumnavigators Guide was published and I have also written several articles for Yachting Monthly.
Mags Campbell: Grew up a stone throw from the sea in Scotland and one her earliest memories was being very seasick watching the QE2 after its launch. This didn’t stop her learning to sail a dinghy though. But sailing didn’t feature again until we bought Ituna in 2002. Sadly Mags has been plagued with sea sickness since – and sea state slight offers no restbite and has even had to take tablets when tied up in a marina. When we sailed round Britain – she gained her sea legs – yippee but then she got landsick! So she has been a real star to continue sailing. But since the advent of the cattle prodder her life onboard has been transformed.
Mags is the engineer onboard, recently completing her MCA Engineers course. Which included stripping down the engine completely and rebuilding it. I hope we don’t require that skill. But it has resulted in many strange facts about diesel engines being quoted.
Mags enjoys cooking and so the cooker is key. On Ituna, the cooker was paraffin and she usually spent much of the cruise rebuilding it after a visitor had mashed the gears. But it was one too many times and she declared she was never sailing again until we replaced it with gas. At the cooker shop I was protesting at the price of the cooker she had picked….. but her retort was ” how much did you spend on the radar” and “how many times did we use it last year?” Hence our galley is equipped with everything we would use a home – it has been non negotiable. But the meals are always commented on in the visitors book, so I am not complaining.
We both love the Scandinavian way of living since we lived in Finland for 4 years and have kept our boat in the Stockholm Archipelago since 2015 and have been exploring more of the Baltic. Our intention is move the boat on to explore other areas – but we haven’t left the Baltic yet.