All Blown Up

Wild Spirit Lifejackets in pic all blown up and seven CO2 Cylinders to change. We take our safety requirements seriously and 5 of our Lifejackets are fitted with personal AIS locators as well (as is Paul’s). These are the 5 we use on Milebuilder trips when we have a maximum of 6 on board. For our first Milebuilder due to start 2nd August we will probably only have 4 on board as we head out for some mile building sailing to the Isles of Scilly. Possibly a couple of Qualifying Passages for RYA YachtMaster and if you are capable the opportunity to skipper one or 2.

A Salty Question?

Pic of Salty Old Sea Dog–not me, though probably better looking, as I have just had a DIY haircut.

My wife normally says I am ‘beyond help’ but I could do with a bit of scientific input and my research isn’t providing the answers.

I am writing our Covid Risk Reduction Policy for when we resume Mile Building Sailing and considering surfaces on which Covid can settle and then be picked up by someone else. If it isn’t raining the surfaces of a yacht exposed to the weather have a fine layer of salt on. (Just run your finger along a rope or wire and taste). So, up top, if it is dry any droplets with Covid in landing on surfaces go on to a fine layer of Salt which seems likely to significantly reduce the time for which the Virus remains viable. But despite a few hours of research I am struggling to find much published research relating to Coronavirus (not just Covid 19) and inactivation by Sodium Chloride. Closest I have really found so far relates to Polio. Any help appreciated. Milebuilder sailing is due to resume in August if restrictions allow (which I think is likely) but as we are going to have to live with Covid for some time manging the risks require an understanding of them.

Covid Downunder

Pic of us on way to win Division in Sydney Hobart

I have just had an e-mail from my friend who runs a large Australian sailing company here is part of it

Fortunately, the Government has classified sailing as a form of exercise along with kayaking, canoeing, and paddling, so our members are still able to take advantage of this glorious weather and enjoy daytime sailing.

I am still in the research stage before writing our Covid Risk Reduction Policy but it is clear that it will be a Risk Reduction rather than simple Critical Control Points. I am optimistic that we can however end up with an acceptable series of ‘Hurdles’ which will significantly reduce the risk of transmission on our Mile builder sailing trips. The first of these mile building courses is scheduled for 2nd August with the Isles of Scilly as one destination.

Scillies Milebuilder Sailing

The Mile building sailing trip out to the Isles of Scilly is one which team members can help plan for and gives great opportunities for Pilotage plans and hands on Navigation. I have sailed out to the Islands more times than I can remember but have also had to run for cover a couple of times as the shelter isn’t that good in a gale. The Islands have 24 days a year when a Gale is reached for at least 10 minutes (UK Met Office) but the majority of these days are in the winter with July being the least windy month followed by June, August then May. I know where to shelter if it gets windy but the trick is not to get caught in the first place. These Milebuilder trips are great for gaining experience and you should expect to be an active team member. For those heading towards RYA YachtMaster they are a great opportunity to practise your skills and skipper a passage knowing that if it does start to go wrong I will make suggestions, then give advice then ensure we don’t park on the rocks!


Pic from Antigua bout 3 years ago when someone forgot it is IALA B area (Red Right Returning) not A–Left his Red Port at home.

This year’s revised cruising programme will be all IALA A with our Milebuilder sailing trips out of Plymouth and Lymington. Mile building sailing is great for those who have Comp Crew and above and who want to buiold experience and miles whilst being an active part of the team sailing Wild Spirit. Great for going on to RYA YachtMaster with Qualifying Passages and some night hours, but still time to explore ashore.

Fowey and beyond

Pic–Ship Inn Fowey

When the Covid restrictions are lifted we will have Milebuilders out of Plymouth. Fowey is one our favourite destinations and the Ship Inn is a great place for a Pint although the view from the welcoming Sailing Club is better. Mile Building Sailing Courses are very much hands on with all on board taking an active part in sailing Wild Spirit. Depending on experience and aspirations you may also be able to skipper a Qualifying Passage or 2 towards RYA YachtMaster. We give a Covid money back guarantee and if you wish to ensure you have a cabin for sole occupancy this is available from £150 per trip.

Mile builders out of Plymouth

A Covid change of plans means we will have Mile building sailing out of Plymouth this summer with the Isles of Scilly and Channel Isles as potential destinations. These sailing Mile builders will include some Qualifying Passages for budding YachtMasters, plus some night hours but we will also have time to explore ashore. We offer a Covid money Back Guarantee as well for these trips.

Round the Island Race September 26th

Covid allowing we will be doing this. Meet Thursday, practise Friday race Saturday and back to Lymington Sunday. More detail later.

Caribbean 600 2020 the race of the desperate corner

The forecast was ominous, normally when I use these words it means a gale or worse but for the Caribbean 600 it meant significant periods with very little wind. When you have a Farr 65 built to sail the Southern Ocean light winds are bad news. The team was well prepared and we had more strength in depth than most years, all but 4 had sailed with me before and we had 4 days of reasonable practice though with significant engine issues. Surely you don’t use the engine in a race? You do to charge the batteries plus it can be useful if you have a Man Overboard. With a reasonable start we headed up Antigua on the first leg and then put the wind behind the beam as we headed for the mark off Antigua, considering the light winds we were going quite well and were close to overtaking a Volvo 70, sounds good but they don’t like light winds either. At times we had no wind but we made it round the Mark off Barbuda and set off on a spinnaker plod down to the island of Saba. Lighter yachts were struggling and so were we, there is one thing more difficult than trying to sail 25 Tons into 5 knots of wind and that is trying to sail downwind. We persisted and after being becalmed a few times crept round Saba and headed north towards St Barts and St Maartens in a bit more of a breeze. Rounding St Maartens into the channel south of Anguilla we hit some serious wind on the nose and had to reef for the first time. I was down below when I heard the summons and Juno turned neatly round to return to a flashing light in the water, we came slowly alongside it but it wasn’t a MOB, just a light doing a good impression. But the engine wouldn’t start and had it been a MOB it could have been useful. We set off on the long leg south to Guadeloupe and Shelf, Fabian plus Yiannis battled with the engine, filters were changed, batteries were linked but for hours we couldn’t get it to start. FM went into consultancy mode but it still wouldn’t start and our efforts were draining all 3 batteries. Our calculations suggested we might not have enough left to maintain basic instruments and the Tricolour so I changed course towards Antigua plus spoke to ABSAR (Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue) about a tow in. After several hours and being quite a way from the Rhumb line I said if it doesn’t start this time we have to retire. The Glow plugs were used for 15 long seconds and then the key went to start, a distraught cry from a straining starter motor as it fought to turn the engine and then the roar of a Yanmar returning from the dead. The team cheered we turned to starboard, stood down ABSAR and headed towards the notorious wind shadow off the East coast of Guadeloupe. Our tactics were to stick close in and hope for katabatic winds, this worked well for several hours, but down near the southern cape we struggled as did others around us. Eventually we made it round the Ilses de Saintes and headed Northeast up the Atlantic side of Guadeloupe towards the island of Desperade fighting over a knot of current in very light winds. After several hours we were close to the eastern corner of Desperade which has a rock off it with just 1.2 m of depth. A few more hours . . . → Read More: Caribbean 600 2020 the race of the desperate corner