Britons come home after 36 years at seaFebruary 18th, 2012 - 12:40 am ICT by IANS
London, Feb 17 (IANS) Globe-trotting Britons Bill and Laurel Cooper have returned home to retire after spending 36 years at sea, The Sun reported Friday.
The couple have sailed the equivalent of four times around the globe since setting off in 1976.
They have been travelling around on boats they built themselves since Bill quit his high-flying job in the city and they sold their home in Chatham, Kent.
Over the past four decades they have notched up nearly 100,000 nautical miles sailing across seven seas, stopping in 45 different countries.
They’ve also battled 25 feet waves, hurricanes, winds of 100 mph and got close enough to dolphins, sharks and whales.
And they even once had a one-eyed cat called Nelson on their boat.
Former Royal Navy Commander Bill, 83, said: “We’ve had a wonderful time but I’m afraid I have been over-taken by what you could call ill-health.
“When I got to about 78, I thought this isn’t going to go on forever so we built a boat we could manage when old age really strikes - we call it the geriatric boat.”
“We will have to get used to the life here. I plan to write a book and decay gently.” Laurel, 82, added: “We have had an absolutely amazing life. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
“I’m very happy looking back at all the wonderful places we’ve been, the people we’ve met and the adventures we’ve had. “We’ve been very lucky, but we always knew it wouldn’t last forever.”
The couple met in 1945 and started sailing together on the Norfolk Broads two years later, with Bill as the captain and Laurel as first mate.
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