Heading South

picture of Rockabill lghthouse just North of Dublin and as I type Wild Spirit is berthed in Dun Laoghaire ready for our next RYA Milebuilder back to Plymouth and we have 3 regulars plus one new person with us. Our Mile building passages have proved very succesful and have involved several rather good nights out in Ireland and the Hebrides. A bit different from our RYA courses where completing the course properly is the top priority. We do have fun as well but Day Skipper is a big course to fit in to 5 days and if it has my name on it then it is done properly.

Back to Ireland

Pic of a singing skipper and we normally have a good night or 2 supporting the local economy on most of our milebuilder sailing trips.The trip from Troon down to Dublin saw several such stops but the one from Dublin across to UK doesn’t offer quite so much opportunity.

More RYA mile builder sailing to come at Xmas and in 2019 plus space on the Plymouth to Lymington trip if you can’t wait to then.

Mile builder special offer

Pic is of Jon Morgan one of our team that won the 3 Peaks yacht race becoming World Record holder for Marathon as Cartoon Character. You won’t need to run for this offer but you will cover at least 4 times the miles Jon did.

The RYA courses in October are all filling (half the bookings come in the 3 weeks before the course) but the one starting on Friday 14th September in Plymouth has only two bookings at present. It is going to run, if need be my wife will crew, but I would like at least 3 plus me on board so special offer of £100 off for next booking only–just £225 and it is easy by train or coach to Plymouth and Lymington. We have just Comp Crew or mile building on this course though we will take Day Skippers providing you meet the RYA minimum requirements. Good for mile building sailing and those needing to do some mile builders for RYA qualifications. Paul a YachtMaster Instructor with over 100,000 miles will be skipper. After next booking it is back to £325 which is still great value. I can’t alter the web site when I am at sea so apologise if place has gone when you enquire. judith will do forms in my absence.

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.

To the Emerald Isle

Our next mile builder sailing trip starts Saturday and we have a place left. We leave Troon on Saturday and will probably run across to Arran for the night or down to Girvan before heading across to Ballycastle (in picture) Rathlin or Glenarm or PortPatrick and then south possibly by way of the Isle of Man which we have seen on several of our RYA mile building courses this year but not actually stopped at.

We work on ‘praise in public, b*****k in private’ and it gives me pleasure to record how helpful the staff at Troon Yacht Haven have been during our summer there. Marinas vary and there are some really good ones but the team at Troon have been outstanding, we shall be in next time we are on our way back south from the 3 Peaks Yacht Race.

New RYA Courses

Pic as a camera was dropped during team photo before a Sydney to Hobart—Not a reaction to our new RYA courses for September and October published 2 days ago. 2 bookings already for the 2nd course in October, one Comp Crew and one regular building miles for Yachtmaster. October is a great time for RYA courses as it is still warm (sea normally warmest on 21st September)low rainfall, everywhere open but days short enough that we can get our night hours in without sleep deprivation.

A welcome e-mail

We have been busy running RYA Mile builder courses and mile building sailing trips so haven’t done many Competent Crew or Day Skipper ones this summer.

One of my gripes is about Sea Schools not running courses properly and this summer I had 2 people on board who had Day Skipper but who’s Log Books clearly indicated the guidance issued to instructors had not been followed. We really do try to completely cover the syllabus and the following e-mail from 2 students shows why….

Just a quick note from Susan and me to thank you for the excellent training on both my day skipper and subsequently Susan’s competent crew training- it certainly has been beneficial . Last week we brought our new boat Sambuca of Ichenor ( new to us that is !) a Southerley 28 home from an extremely tidal mud berth in the upper reaches of Portsmouth to our location in Poole . We cannot overstate how much the training on Wild Spirit helped us to deal with what was actually an incredibly fraught and stressful collection without a single cross word or disagreement during the entire journey. Testament indeed to the benefits of good preparation and training. In all, we dealt with getting her out of the inaccessible mud marina at the highest point of the tide at 2100 on a Friday night with less than 6 inches of water under the keel and no higher tide for two weeks- on a boat that has been on the hard for two years. and which currently has no working depth sounder. It was a little stressful . This was followed by our arrival into Gosport Marina where upon returning from paying for the marina fee we stepped down into the cabin to discovered an electrical fire where the stop solenoid on the engine had shorted out and set fire to the cabling, destroying the solenoid and wiring back to the control panel ( Susan knew where the fire extinguishers were – we had briefed before departure ) Whilst jury rigging a solution to get us home and figuring out how I was going to stop the motor once it was running ,we then discovered a significant diesel leak ( of course emanating from the only piece of copper pipe in the entire system that I had not replaced before launching the boat). Our romantic dinner in Portsmouth was hastily substituted for a Pizza delivery and a warm beer whilst I hung upside down in the bilges stemming the flow to an acceptable drip with tape , spanners and mole grips . Next morning as per our training we were up significantly before our planned departure awaiting the favorable tide to take us over to Yarmouth, as trained VHF on , At this point Portsmouth harbormaster informed that HMS Queen Elizabeth was on her way in and that due to the 250 m exclusion zone the harbor would be closed at 8 AM for two hours. Susan had the boat prepared and we slipped from the marina in less than 10 minutes (coffee mugs still in hand ) and made our transit at the Cenotaph in plenty of time.. Due to lack of wind we motored most of the way finding ourselves off Yarmouth by 11 AM, After a quick consultation and a check of the tides we decided to push on for Poole where I could make proper repairs. Leaving the Needles Channel the wind came up on the beam we shut down the engine ( decompressors and a rubber glove required !) and had a . . . → Read More: A welcome e-mail

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.


Whether it is on one of our RYA milebuilder cruises or a RYA course we try and go somewhere a little bit special and Portpatrick in the photo is one of my favourites. We will probably call in on the first leg of our ‘Irish Rover’ trip at the end of August. After we return to Lymington in September we have a few RYA Competent Crew and Day Skipper courses coming up the first starts Friday evening 5th October and I will schedule more courses and mile building sailing next week.