Dear Nigel and Peter
I just want to record our sincere thanks for your efforts to make the delivery of our Island Packet Providence from Bristol to Whitehaven. Bruce arrived on the morning of the 28th, finding us both shattered from a very busy couple of weeks followed by a long train delay which meant we had not got to sleep on the boat until 2 a.m. He quickly and calmly took charge in the nicest way and guided us through the next very busy few hours, such that we were shipshape and Bristol fashion and ready, once we have fuelled up, to go out through the complex lock system in the Floating Harbour. His passage planning was meticulous and had included plenty of redundancy and back up alternatives. Earlier, he had gone through the boat’s systems with a fine tooth-comb and his assurances on her robustness and seaworthiness gave us much comfort. Having done the shopping with only the merest of questioning, he had victualled the boat perfectly, demonstrating his enormous experience as a skipper and he not only insisted on being in charge of the galley, he was able to conjure up the most delicious welcome meals every time they were needed. When we hit a bumpy patch off St David’s Head, he emerged from the hatch with a fabulous spaghetti carbonara – Sue and I could hardly bear to go below and yet he was doing a fine impression of a Masterchef in those conditions!
As we progressed on the voyage, Bruce organised the watches with great skill, always showing his leadership skills by making sure we always felt supported. We spent useful hours going through many technical questions and issues and he is a superb teacher who imparted his knowledge with a quiet and perfectly pitched level of advice which always felt inclusive and illuminating. I just felt like a sponge, able to absorb his insights and put them away for later, a feature of the trip which as I explained to Peter, was something I was hoping for, but not expected to this level of quality.
Sue and I came away inspired by Bruce. His energy, agility and vitality, his vast knowledge and experience and his disarming, warm manner were quite wonderful. We exchanged stories for hours and were just amazed by the breadth of his interests and the range of his skills. He is a great human being, a tremendous ambassador for PYD and we feel very lucky to have had him as our skipper. Thank you.