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

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

Fastnet Programme published

Previous Fastnet

We have up to 11 races including the Fastnet race itself. we also have 2 training weekends.At £2850 we are considerably less expensive than many others but we are after committed team members. this doesn’t mean you have to be an experienced racer but you do have to really try on behalf of the team.

We will also have a few RYA mile builders including a mile building cruise after the Fastnet which will take in the Isles of Scilly and/or France.

Racing Reports

3 Peaks Yacht Race results published

The 3 PYR results are now on their website and the picture above shows how tired I was at the end. We have picked up at least 9 trophies including line honours and overall race winners. My thanks to Nick, Pete, Jon and Shelf for a great team performance.

We have a couple of races left for this season, the first to Cherbourg is full, but still places on the much less serious JOG Solent race weekend on 21st September meet Lymington Yacht Haven friday evening.

Racing Reports

Fastnet 2019?

Pic of us finishing Fastnet in 2015. We will have a team for 2019 and already have 5 booked but I don’t have all dates yet partly because not all the race programmes have been sorted yet. We will be less expensive than others as we are ‘not for profit’ but we are after committed team members, not passengers. We will also have RYA Mile building sailing and these mile builders will include France, the Channel Islands and possibly the Isles of Scilly.

Racing Reports

Man Overboard

Here we are practising recovering a MOB during a RYA course. It is warm and little breeze so it is easy. In the Volvo Round Ireland there was a real MOB on another yacht in the dark and nasty seas. They soon recovered him and continued racing. On RYA competent crew and Day Skipper courses plus mile builders I am often asked what our standard procedure is for MOB. The answer is good judgement by a skilled operator and so whilst you can practise on RYA courses and mile building sailing real life is different. Most of the written training material I have seen says ‘Turn the boat round’ which is normally a good call at sea but in my experience more MOBs happen in Marinas than open water.

Racing Reports

3 Peaks Yacht Race report

3 Peaks Yacht Race 2018—Winners plus Line Honours and King of the Mountains

Starting in Barmouth and finishing near Fort William the original Three Peaks Yacht Race is one of the oldest and most remarkable multi-sport endurance races in the world. It draws competitors from all sporting backgrounds & with sailing experience from off-shore cruising to round-the-world races. Sailing & sports clubs, military & company teams all enter & compete on equal terms.

Heading North I had first met Steve and the Irish team for the 3 peaks yacht race in Greystones Marina whilst taking Wild Spirit round from Lymington to Troon, which was to be our base for summer 2018. Steve wanted to pick my brains about the race, which didn’t take long, and I was interested in their preparations which involved new instruments and a very well turned out racing yacht.

The new secret weapon Barmouth was much the same as last time except sunny. Our preparations were behind as the University hadn’t built the new prototype pedal power unit designed by an MSc in time. So Shelf had knocked one up using the leg of an outboard and his wife’s old bike plus an electric drill bit connected with a flexible drive.

He was still working on it when I was asked to talk to a group of school children about the race. They asked the right questions and were clearly amused by Shelf’s impression of a mad inventor. At the end one asked will you win? I replied probably not and the Irish were the team to follow; prophetic words.

Crossing the Bar, The Three Peaks is a tough race with serious tidal gates and the second one is Caernarfon Bar which had stopped us dead in 2017 alongside 2 other yachts. Before this there was the YC Bar as well which we negotiated with care. The new pedal powered unit was very much a prototype and the gearing ratios were experimental, as we joined the parade out to the start in a rush we had not hoisted it from the water and it set off pedalling itself off the prop, designed to produce half a knot it was now operating at 7 and rotating with such vigour that we had to stop Wild Spirit to enable safe retrieval.

The start was reasonably good without needing to row, one unusual feature of this race is that you can row (or pedal) and in 2017 we rowed about 20 miles. The run up to Bardsey sound was without incident but the wind was dying and rowing was required, the pedal powered unit was briefly deployed and stayed with us through the race but any extra it gave us probably didn’t make up for its weight.

With little wind we struggled on, night fell and dawn came with Bardsey still insight We could see Baloo doing well in close to the shore but we had no way of getting there. The sun rose, the breeze came and we crossed Caernarfon Bar under spinnaker and sailed to the ‘engine on point’ then motored in to drop off the two runners.

Spinnaker run A few repairs a quick shop, half an hours rest and then back to pick the runners up. Most years we go north through the Swellies but the tide was just turning against us and there was a northerly wind. No one has won the race going round the outside of Anglesey before, we were first away; decision time. We went round but first we motored back to the engine off mark . . . → Read More: 3 Peaks Yacht Race report

Racing Reports

When the going gets tough…

Picture shows our Aussie team on the way to first in Division in Sydney to Hobart in about 30 kts of breeze.

The difference between offshore racing such as the Fastnet and coastal racing is about being able to hide when the going gets tough. We do both Caostal (includes cross channel) and offshore races plus occaisionally an Ocean one.

If you are interested in starting races consider our race to Cherbourg in September and bear in mind the sea is at its warmest on 21st September. It helps if you have done a RYA course plus some mile building sailing but it is really about attitude and whether you are up for it.

Cruising Reports

Starting Racing

Picture is from Caribbean 600 and shows the best of both Worlds, we are doing 12 kts in low 20s C and trade winds. But it isn’t always like that and the last thing a racing team needs are passengers. But here is the problem, you have completed a RYA course or 2 and perhaps a milebuilder trip with night sailing. You think you might like racing but you aren’t sure and don’t want to let others down. Its the last bit that matters, racing is very much a team game and you all need each other. A good start is a cross channel or coastal race of at least 30NM, if it doesn’t suit you it isn’t the end of the world and as long as you haven’t ‘bigged yourself up’ the rest of the team will understand.