Andrew & Gina Hilton (known to some of our family and friend’s by their nicknames of Hilly & Peach) story with ‘Into The Blue’ begins with a chance visit to Fox’s Boatyard in Ipswich on the18th May 2012. On this day we met Robert Moore and his friend and sailing colleague Dr. Ed Southall. Robert was ‘T’ Cutting / polishing the transom and Ed was up his elbows in oil filters undertaking an engine service.
An hour or so later talking to them and being shown all the intimate details of the yacht we’d fallen in love with Into The Blue.
We live and work in Norfolk, home of The Norfolk Broads, a large expanse of beautiful raw and natural wetlands including rivers and lakes created by ancient man as peat excavations. Now a fantastic marine holiday destination for many people wanting to get away from the rat race and enjoy the diverse wildlife and the peaceful retreat that is Broadland and referred to by many as ‘Poppyland’ due to the profusion of poppies.
It is on these waterways that Gina, my best friend, wife and counter-point has the privilege of teaching people to sail, she teaches mostly everything and anything from children in dinghies to more mature women who love to just come out for a sail in the knowledge that they are in a safe pair of hands. Through the sailing school she takes groups through training to enable them to pass their ICC and pre flotilla training for groups wanting to charter yachts in the Mediterranean.
Our journey in to chartering begins here, It was at the end of one of Gina teaching sessions when Anne Whelpton picked her up from Ranworth Broad and she asked if we had ever sailed in Turkey? We hadn’t, but had enjoyed a couple of weeks in a villa in Kas along the South Turkish coast the year before. Anne explained that she and Tim were friends of the owners of Top-yacht, a charter company based out in Keci Buku and that they were going to Turkey in September and thought that we’d really enjoy it and wondered if we would like to try it.
We are no strangers to offshore waters. Obviously with Gina being a keel boat instructor with the RYA and teaching coastal and inland waters. She also has many other RYA qualifications including the (International Certificate of Competence) ICC. I myself have spend a working life involved with the sea through my work as a marine construction superintendent with oil and gas companies and latterly as project manager for offshore wind farms and latterly interconnector projects all around the UK. I am still involved in cross sea power cables as a marine consultant. I have a string of RYA qualification and the all important ICC, which is compulsory if you want to charter yachts in the Mediterranean. We both carry RYA First Aid, VHF Radio licenses and Power Boat level 2 qualifications. I am also an Advanced Padi scuba diver.
Gina wrote in her diary some years ago;
“It has long been a dream of mine to sail in the beautiful Mediterranean seas.
We gave it some thought and Gina did some research and we decided to book a weeks bareboat charter on a Dufour 365 called ‘Skylark.’ The week we booked was to coincide with the middle of a longer break that Tim and Anne Whelpton had previously booked.
So for our children and grandchildren the Hilton’s offshore sailing story starts here;
Hope you enjoy the story as much as we have enjoyed making it.
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