Sailing, the meaning of life and brexit

Will it affect Cross Channel Milebuilders, races etc? My guess is that it might possibly make it difficult for Basil in the picture, sadly no longer with us, he would dip under the Boom and hook his paws over the other side as soon as he heard ‘Going About’.

I am confident that our RYA Mile building sailing to France and the Channel Islands will not be affected. Two main reasons. 1) The French want our money 2) The Channel Islands have never been part of the EU. Travel to and from France to the CIs has never been an issue, which just demonstrates point 1.

We already have a booking for the May Mile builder and if I am not available (due to some delayed keyhole surgery) then Geoff West a very experienced skipper will run the trip.

Civil Unrest in Somerset

The civil unrest in Somerset–see picture from Somerset County Gazette 10/1/19 has had no impact on our Milebuilder sailing programme, or inded it seems anything else. I love the dog having a scratch.

Keyhole alterations

Wild Spirit under Spinnaker in round ireland race

Paul has a keyhole Op on his knee on 10th January. due to this the RYA course/ Milebuilder on 1st Febraury is now just a weekend. The price of just £95 reflects we might have to call it off if he isn’t fit (unlikely as recovery period is 7 to 10 days) or weather is forecast to be horrible. Good opportunity for those thinking of a cross channel Milebuilding sailing trip later in the season. 2 booked so far and maximum of 6 on board including Paul.

A good meal out in Cherbourg

Quite a few new 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 on a RYA Milebuilder 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 assumption 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. doesn’t 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. As a result 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 sailing and we correct as we go we end up just right with plenty of time for a shower and a good meal out.

Full for Caribbean 600

We are now full for the C600 on Spirit of Juno a Farr 65 which Paul skippers in the Caribbean. We can get you on a competitive 40.7 for the race, call paul on 01823 433813 if you are interested.

The Fastnet has been full for several months and we have just 2 places left on the Round the Island Race meet evening Thursday 27th June. Still space on the RYA Milebuilders later in the season including the Mile building trip out to the Isles of Scilly in mid-August.

2019 Sailing Milebuilders

As well as the mile building trip out to the Isles of Scilly in August, we have several other trips and 7/8 day RYA mile builders, sailing across the channel on which you can also do RYA qualifications. These trips involve at least 4 hours of night sailing, often more and include 2 Qualifying Pasages towards RAY YachtMaster qualification.

RYA Comp Crew and Day Skipper


Like many schools we have RYA Competent Crew and Day Skipper students on the same course. It is a good combination and we prefer 2 of each. Comp Crew assumes no previous knowledge whereas Day Skipper requires at least 5 days of sailing including 4 night hours PLUS theory up to Day Skipper standard.As with our Mile builder sailing we end up with a mix of experience which means we can learn from each other. For Comp Crew they can see what comes next in RYA qualifications and for Day Skipper students they have top work with the same standards they may well have when they skipper for real the first time in the Med. It does help to have more than the minimum experience and we suggest learning a few knots plus reading the course notes for Competent Crew.For Day Skippers a mile building trip is a great way of gaining more experience and on one of our trips you can be very much involved, it isn’t so much about building miles, it is about experience.

February Course–Won’t it be Cold?

Yes, it can be cold so if you want a place on this one you may need thermals or several layers. As long as you have a reasonable sleeping bag you won’t be cold at night as we can leave the electric heating on. Unlike on some of our RYA Milebuilding courses, we will be in a Marina every night and there will be hot showers etc (I even know where there is a Bath). We have a diesel heating system as well and we sometimes run this if we anchor for lunch. Lunches always have a hot element, often a homemade soup and food on both RYA courses and milebuilder sailing is much better than most sea schools. On the February course we will eat out a couple of times, where will be a group decision, but due to years of selfless research I do know a few options. We do 4 hours of night sailing and this often takes the form of 2 evening arrivals about 1900 followed by Dinner ashore.

Coastal Skipper?

Picture is from Weymouth on one of our Milebuilding trips. This is the sort of destination you should be visiting on a RYA Coastal Skipper course that starts in the Solent. Every year I have people on board for mile building trips etc who tell me they are Coastal Skippers. I ask how they found the exam and in the majority of cases there are puzzled looks or “What exam”. Often this is followed up by finding they didn’t leave the Solent and also that there were people doing Day Skipper on board as well. The RYA syllabus is to be taught on Coastal and Offshore passages by night and day. The Solent does give good navigational excercises but offshore it most certainly isn’t. We don’t mix Coastal and Day Skipper students on the same course, it isn’t fair to either, it is just done to maximise income. I suggest that if you want to progress from Day Skipper to RYA Coastal Skipper you do a milebuilding trip or 2 with us. We can then see where you need to develop further and with some coaching help you acheive your goal.