Pipistrelle is a Wauquiez 48 Pilot Saloon owned by Bob and Elaine Hazell (see About Us).
In June 2008 we set off on our travels, and sailed from the Solent to Scotland to join the Classic Malts Cruise before heading south for Brittany, Northern Spain and the west coast of Portugal, where we laid her up ashore in October.
In April 2009 we continued our voyage south to the Algarve, Gibraltar and the Mediterranean coast of Morocco, before heading north to Almerimar in Spain and east to the Balearic Islands. Majorca was as far east as we had time for because we also wanted to explore Madeira and the Canary Islands before arriving at Las Palmas in early November.
In November 2009 we joined the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), to sail from Las Palmas in the Canaries to St Lucia in the Caribbean. We were incredibly lucky with the weather, with constant trade winds for the whole of the 3,100 nm passage.
From early 2010 until June 2010 we sailed as far as the US Virgin islands, exploring the Windwards and Leewards en route and then returned south to the Grenadines and Grenada, from where we set off west to the Venezuelan islands and the ABCs for the hurricane season.
Having spent August and September in the ABCs enjoying the magnificent diving and snorkelling offered in Bonaire, we sailed further west to Columbia, and then headed for the San Blas archipelago (Panama) to round off the year.
In 2011 we transited the Panama Canal, and sailed the Pacific visiting the Las Perlas, the fascinating Galapagos, the majestic Marquesas, the atolls of the Tuamotus, Tahiti and the Society Islands. The Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga were equally as stunning as French Polynesia. Our plan to make landfall in November on North Island, New Zealand was fulfilled one day in advance – on 31st October! After being constantly conscious of the need to move on across the Pacific, it was now time to ‘potter’ and from our base in Opua explore marvellous anchorages in the Bay of Islands.
For the 2012 sailing season in the Tropics from May to November, we finally made the decision to return to Tonga and sail among the little frequented islands of the Ha’apai Group, from there to explore Fiji before spending another summer in New Zealand, this time sailing around the beautiful islands in the Hauraki Gulf with Auckland close by.
We left New Zealand in May 2013 and sailed first to Vanuatu and from there to the Huon Reef, at the very north of New Caledonia and on to the Louisade Archipelago in eastern Papua New Guinea. Having passed through the Torres Strait (Australia), we joined the Sail Komodo Rally in Saumlaki, Eastern Indonesia and sailed with other yachts throughout the Indonesian islands from July.
Our route then took us towards Singapore and on to Malaysia through the Straits of Malacca, the island of Langkawi being our final destination for the year.
Pipistrelle was laid up from June to nearly the end of October and then gradually prepared for another ocean crossing, this time the Indian Ocean in 2015 which we completed in December 2015 having sailed via Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Chagos, the Seychelles and Madagascar to South Africa.
2016 marked long passages in the South Atlantic from South Africa to St. Helena, on to Brazil, then French Guiana and finally to Grenada in the Caribbean, from where we set off in 2010 – see above. Quite an adventure!
Cruising the Caribbean in 2017, Pipistrelle took us to the Windward and Leeward Islands once more, to the British and US Virgin Islands and Culebra one of the so-called Spanish Virgin Islands east of Puerto Rico that we hadn’t visited before. Seeing them in their glory before hurricanes Ivan and Maria wreaked so much havoc was very special. Then we were ‘homeward bound’ via Bermuda and the Azores to the less distant shores of Eire, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Caledonian Canal. From there we sailed across the North Sea to Scandinavia – visiting Norway, Sweden and Denmark where Pipistrelle was laid up for the winter.
Plans were set for 2018 to cruise the short Scandinavian season through some of the Danish islands to Sweden and so venturing into the Baltic Sea – a first for us! The Stockholm archipelago is stunning, the anchorages mostly unspoilt and uncrowded, the navigation sometimes challenging. From there we weaved our way to the Åland Islands and on through the Finnish archipelago to Turku. August saw us sailing to the island of Gotland, then Bornholm, back to the Swedish mainland and Ystad before reaching our final destination of Fehmarn, Germany where we overwintered Pipistrelle in a shed.
What of 2019, our 11th year? From early June we will explore the north coast of Germany and sail on eastwards into Poland and Gdansk. Then Pipistrelle will turn west again, go through the Kiel Canal and out towards the Netherlands, and the Dutch canals before heading to Belgium, France and then …
Follow our journey on sea and land on other pages of the Pipistrelle blog! To see exactly where we are, click on: