Charity Weekend–Character Building

The Charity weekend in aid of Knoticat with some of the Caribbean 600 team on board turned into a character building return leg after the oil warning sounded on the way to Cowes. Picture is of Sea Start who helped us off the berth at E. Cowes and past the Chain Ferry slipping the tow before we sailed back to Lymington with F7 ,gusting over 40 at times, against the start of the Ebb.

Despite Tacking we covered the distance in under 2 hours and sailed on to the Dan Bran Pontoon before Lymington Yacht Haven helped us alongside.

The sea state was a bit Gnarly at times and when deciding to make the trip the strength of the crew was an important factor. For budding YachtMasters, such as are booked on some of our Milebuilder trips, a quick review of factors to consider when considering a trip may be found on

The Ups and downs of Portpatrick

Portpatrick is one of my favourite overnight stops but it has a tidal range of 8m on springs. This is partly solved by fenders free to ride up and down on vertical fixed lines. When combined with long warps it is easy to enjoy a comfortable night there and we try and include it on Mile building trips. There are several good places to eat at ashore and great walks from the harbour. The entrance into Portpatrick demands care especially in a strong on shore wind and if you join us on a Milebuilder sailing trip it is a good excercise to undertake as you progress towards YachtMaster qualifications. We may well call in on the trip from Dublin to Troon in late April

Fair Isle, Mile Builder Sailing

Our second Mile building sailing trip in Scotland starts Kirkwall in the Orkneys and should take in Fair Isle going either to or returning from Shetland. This Mile builder trip should involve a Qualifying Passage for RYA YachtMaster and it might be overnight.

At 60 degrees North getting the weather right is important but both Shetland and Orkney offer numerous ‘Safe Havens’ and we have Fair Isle in between. We encourage budding YachtMasters to be actively involved in all aspects of planning the passages and if someone is ready the possibility of skippering the passage is open.

Caledonian Canal Mile Builder.

Picture is of us taking a friends Hanse 47 through the Crinan Canal, a bit tight at times with a stretch with branches touching both sides at once and zero on the depth guage. Our first Scottish Mile Building sailing trip takes us from Corpach through the Caledonian Canal and then North with a few days round Orkneys before finsihing in Kirkwall. Not so many miles on this trip but lots of good experience for those going for RYA YachtMaster including crossing the Pentland Firth.

Scotland Mile Builders, Harris or Lewis?

Picture is of Poll Scrot where we spent a night alongside a fishing boat. Only issue was that it pumped its bilges every hour against our hull and this induced the desire to urinate in one crew member. Solution was to place a Fender to break the flow of the water in both parties! Despite being one Island the characteristics the people of Harris and Lewis are somewhat different with the strong Calvinist, Sabbath observance, Temperance culture of Lewis, contrasting with the more liberal folk of Harris. During our third Scottish Mile building sailing trip we may well visit both and it will depend much more on the weather than the licensing laws. for those working towards RYA YachtMaster qualifications a pilotage into Poll Scrot is a very useful exercise.

Scotland mile builders update

Paul has now booked all his travel in respect of our racing and mile building sailing in Scotland. Judith is also booked on for the trip up to the Shetlands and some of the others are also booked. The mile builder from Troon to Barmouth works well for trains but Kirkwall has to be either flight or make the most of a scenic trip and catch the Ferry. Most of the mile building sailing trips can include Qualifying Passages for RYA YachtMaster, the best ones for this are Lymington to troon, Troon to Barmouth and Kirkwall to Troon. The trip to the Shetlands will probably have just one QP as we intend to stop at Fair Isle one way.

The first Mile Builder

Quite a bit of interest in the first Mile Builder from Lymington to Troon with 2 bookings already. The question of the qualifying course for a YachtMaster ‘Qualifying Passage’ has been raised again. Here is the RYA wording

A passage is a non-stop voyage from a departure port / safe haven to a destination port / safe haven. Where a passage must be of a minimum distance to meet exam pre-requisites, the distance should be taken as the shortest navigable route established when planning a safe and efficient passage.

As ever open to interpretation and I would argue that if the tides and weather forecast make it sensible then leaving Lymington and going east then round the IOW and into Poole is not only a Qualifying Passage but one which really puts navigation theory to the test. But you could argue that the shortest course is less than 20 NM, although if you accept this arguement then starting from Portsmouth and sailing all the way round Britian and Ireland and back into Cowes wouldn’t count either.(I have done this non-stop)

Fortunately our Mile building sailing up to Scotland has lots of non-contentious RYA YachtMaster Qualifying Pasages but if you are going to be Skipper on one of these then that is what you will do. If it has got my name on the bottom of it then it is going to be done right.

Successful RYA

The Day Skipper and Competent Crew courses finishing 17th November were successful but the Northerly winds that gave us such good sailing were also rather cold and we were grateful for the heating system. Both day skippers passed, the competent crews had done some pre-course study and learned their knots, they were a pleasure to have on board. Next course is scheduled for 3rd April After April 2020 our big focus is on RYA Mile building sailing with mile builder trips to Ireland, Scotland and the Shetlands.

3 Peaks Yacht Race and Sailing Scotland

Pic of us on our way to winning 3 PYR in 2018 when we took the Daily Telegraph Cup by just 3 minutes. As well as our Milebuilder sailing around Scotland 2020 will see us competing in the 3 Peaks Yacht Race. The finish is at Corpach at the end of the Caledonian Canal so we will re-start our Mile building sailing from there with a trip through the Caledonian Canal then up to Kirkwall in the Orkneys. After the Orkneys we sail North to Fair Ilse and Shetland with sveral Qualifying passages for YachtMaster.