Course Reports

Xmas –looking full

Looks like the Charity Sail at Xmas is full. Possibility of one place so do give me a call if you are interested. Not much of a milebuilder, but good experience and a chance to practice things learn’t on a RYA course plus a bit of mile building experience though nothing like a cross channel.

Photo is actually from February 2018.

Course Reports

A memorable RYA mile builder–4 rescues in one trip

This is from a memorable RYA Mile building trip to France and the Channel Islands last year. We slipped from Plymouth on Thursday 17th August and in a blustery South westerly sailed the short distance to the Yealm River and overnighted before running up to Dartmouth for the next night. After a good meal out and an early night we headed off to build some miles to Guernsey, when about 20 miles off our first rescue arrived in the shape of a weary racing pigeon (picture). After half an hour and having drunk some water, but refusing Graham’s famous fruit cake, he flew on again towards the North coast of France. From St Peters Port we sailed on to Sark then up to Alderney where we spent 2 nights.

The second rescue of this sailing mile builder was a crew member who overbalanced getting into the tender in Braye harbour, his life jacket inflated and with a little help we pulled him out took him back on board and dried out the contents of his wallet including the Guernsey £1 Note.

From Alderney we sailed quickly with the tide and against a light Easterly round to Cherbourg to celebrate a birthday in a rather good restaurant that I have found after years of selfless research. The next day we went from Cherbourg harbour entrance to Portsmouth in 10 hours on a big spring tide and up to F6 from the west. The ‘eat all you can’ in the Great Wall is one of our favourites and the meal rounded off the day nicely. Haslar Marina has a silting issue so we couldn’t really slip until 1000 the next day and we sailed up past the new Aircraft Carrier before heading west to Yarmouth on a big tide and into rather more than the F4/5 Westerly that had been forecast.

We were about a mile off Yarmouth when we heard there was a capsized yacht and 3 people in the water south of Lymington. We headed off towards them as fast as possible but fortunately a Folk Boat recovered them very quickly. We were impressed by the Folk Boats skipper on the VHF and the way he handled the whole rescue, but rather less so by the Coastguard who asked some questions that seemed irrelevant and distracting when you are trying to recover 3 people into a little Folk Boat. Under the old CG system the training officer sometimes brought new recruits onto Wild Spirit so they could get a feel for the limitations of visibility when using the main VHF on a yacht. The impression we formed was that this type of hands on training has been replaced by prompts on a computer screen. Useful experience but we can’t guarantee it on future RYA milebuilding courses.

Graham and I were stripping down a winch when a 33 footer came into the next berth. The conditions for berthing were a little tricky and one of the Marina staff had come to assist them by taking the stern line. The Yacht was a Freedom rig so the mast is cantilevered off the keel and there are no shrouds. The Lady on the rail was not ‘in the first flush of youth’ and as they came alongside the bows started to blow off leaving her hanging off a rather slack top rail and unable to pull herself up. I hopped onto the Pontoon and just managed to reach her under the armpits, she was a little heavier than me and the landing on the pontoon was not a pretty sight, but better . . . → Read More: A memorable RYA mile builder–4 rescues in one trip

Course Reports

Tides, France and RYA mile building

Dolphins don’t calculate tides, fortunately they often come and see us and did so in Lyme on our trip up from Plymouth at start of November.

Quite a few Day Skippers, particularly those who have sailed only in the Med, struggle to understand just how important tides can be so here is an example I use.

We are crossing to Cherbourg from the West of the Solent so it is 60 NM which will take us about 9 hours. The tides are stronger on the French side and the asumption that one side cancels out the other really doesn’t work even on a 12 hour crossing. At 60 miles a one degree error is a mile out at the far end. May not sound much, but let’s say you are 3 degrees out and the tide is 3 kts across the ‘Horns of Cherbourg’ plus it is wind against tide so you can only make 4.5 kts under engine or by tacking under sail. You are now only making 1.5 kts towards the hot showers and restaurant plus you are 2 hours behind target on this RYA Milebuilder. What happens if you are wrong the other way so you are up tide. You are still 3 miles out but now close on the entrance at between 7.5 and 9 knots which equals 20 minutes to half an hour late.

Even better if you get your RYA navigation right on the Milebuilding course and we correct as we go and end up just right with plenty of time for a shower and a good meal out.

Cruising Reports

Dyform Re-rig completed

Pic of Mast going back on. We have gone for Dyform/Dyneema re-rig to marginally decrease weight whilst still having at least as much strength as the cheaper Stainlesss wire. The amount of stretch is also significantly reduced. This is driven by racing requirements but it does mean that we are just a bit quicker on RYA courses and Milebuilder sailing. Combined with a furling prop and decent sails, we are at least half a knot faster than most Jeanneau 40s. Might not sound much but we often average 7 kts across the channel on a RYA mile building trip to France which puts us there an hour ahead of average Jeanneau 40 and even more than most sea school yachts. We like to have Dinner in one of the restaurants that I have identified by years of selfless research and this extra speed can make the difference between getting a table or not.

Cruising Reports

Isles of Scilly Milebuilder

In August 2019 we have a trip out to the Isles of Scilly. This RYA milebuilder is now on the site as are details of the other Mile building cruises we have which include Channel Ilsands and France. These trips include Qualifying Passages for those working towards YachtMaster exams.

Course Reports

More RYA courses and Milebuilders

The website now has the RYA Courses and Milebuilders on up to September and we have trips to France, the Channel islands and Isles of Scilly. On the Mile Building trips you can do RYA Competent Crew and on the longer ones it may be possible for one person to do Day Skipper as well. We have a few people getting ready for Yachtmaster and can put on a weekend or 2 to get you ready so give Paul a call if you are interested.

Pic of Nic and Candy on trip from Dublin to Plymouth.

Cruising Reports

Fastnet team Full

Picture, which my wife (and solicitor to whom I am very happily married), finds amusing taken outside of Titanic Hotel in Berlin.

The Fastnet team is now full for 2019. We will however have a space or 2 on most races due too the tyranny of work, weddings etc. We will also have several Milebuilders and RYA mile building courses for those heading towards Yachtmaster. The longest will be after the finish of the Fastnet and we will probably head out to the Scillies.

Course Reports

Plymouth RYA Milebuilder

Photo from succesful RYA course in October

Leave Lymington Tuesday afternoon 30th October and sail to Plymouth with one or possibly 2 nights there before sailing back, possibly with a stop at Brixham or Weymouth.Back in Lymington Sunday evening or if delayed early Monday morning.

Good for those heading for RYA Yachtmaster or wanting to do some mile building sailing. Not for novices. 240 miles and at least 2 qualifying passages for Yachtmaster.

This is weather dependent, if it doesn’t look at all good we will just sail locally and finish in Lymington for Sunday mid-day. Cost of £145 reflects this uncertainty but still includes all on board food fuel and marinas.

Cruising Reports

New RYA Muilebuilder sailing trip

Dolphins off Tasman Island during the Sydney to Hobart

A mile builder with a chance to see some Dolphins. We sail from Lymington overnight and are scheduled for one or possibly 2 nights in plymouth before sailing back again probably with a stop in Weymouth. Great for mile building towards Yachtmaster with at least 2 Qualifying passages.