Jules Riegal – Setting Sail for the Summer
Bidding her colleagues and desk a fond farewell, and embarking on the next step of a longstanding cruising plan with three months in the Mediterranean, Saltwater Stone PR Account Manager Jules Riegal explains the appeal of a life onboard.
There have been rare occasions in my yachting experience when I confess to wishing myself elsewhere – a lonely night shift in an impenetrable fog bank off the Portuguese coast surrounded by erratic fishing vessels; or mid-North Atlantic, swept into a stanchion by a freezing wave crashing over the foredeck; or awaiting a seemingly inevitable strike in a fork lightning storm off Algeria just last year.
But, it is these lows which accentuate the highs. The challenging moments ensure the rewarding times are fully appreciated, whether it is a successful navigation and arrival to a new destination, a serene night at anchor in your own private bay, a smooth, downwind sail, or dolphins riding the bow wave. Most of the time, sailing enriches life in a myriad of positive ways.
Ever since I joined Saltwater in 2012, in fact from my first south west coastal voyages and channel crossings in a Leisure 27 over 20 years ago, the plan has been to one day set off for extended cruising. Saltwater’s founders, Georgina and Clive Bartlett, and my colleagues have always understood that a life onboard is beckoning, probably having expected me to set sail long ago! But, somehow, almost 11 years have passed, during which time I have become attached to the industry and to our clients.
I had entered the world of marine PR fresh from a west to east Atlantic crossing onboard our 42ft sailing yacht. The experience, along with a few thousand nautical miles already accumulated in the UK, France and eastern US, plus 14 years as a journalist, provided decent credentials as I found my feet. Appreciating first-hand the important features and benefits of our clients’ marine equipment or services, has given me great insight and helped in all aspects of content creation and communication with the media.
During my years at Saltwater, I have been lucky to fit in a fair few sailing adventures during my regular annual leave. Joining the leg from Malta to Greece during our first pre-Covid voyage to the Mediterranean stands out, followed by frequent long weekends out to the Ionian sun to explore the islands. Last year, we opted for a Mediterranean base once again, completing a challenging 3000nm trip from Portland, UK, to North Cyprus, including two 10-day passages, first across the Bay of Biscay to Gibraltar, and then to Malta. The tense, sometimes dramatic, rough, chilly days and nights of the Channel and Biscay, soon faded from memory as we passed through the spectacular Corinth Canal, and wended our way through the Aegean islands to our final berth on the Karpaz peninsula.
This June, the opportunity has arrived to take the next steps in the sailing adventure and step away from the desk to spend the summer onboard in the eastern Mediterranean. There is no doubt that there will be lessons learned, and unexpected trials and tribulations, to counter the idyllic days. After returning to the UK in the winter, there will be time to assess the state of our sailing ambitions, whether it be an Atlantic circuit or further round the globe, and to work out if those highs once again out-weigh the lows. Somehow, I think they will.