Cruising Archive

Cruising Archive

Caribbean 2021

As well as racing and Mile building sailing in the UK we also compete in the Caribbean 600 race in February. Paul has just agreed to skipper Spirit of Juno a Farr 65 for the 2021 race so if you want more detail please drop us an email. Whilst Juno was built to race RTW with a team of 19 we have a maximum of 16 on board and for the 2020 race all but 4 of the team had sailed with Paul before. If you can’t wait until February we have our first Milebuilder sailing trip scheduled for 23rd July out of Plymouth. Just 2 places left and we will have sole occupancy of cabins. More on main page.

Sailing again soon

Mile building sailing out to the Isles of Scilly means team members can help plan 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 qualifying passage knowing that if it does start to go wrong I will make suggestions, then give advice and finally ensure we don’t park on the rocks!

Out on the Water

Ian and I were out on Wild Spirit Sunday afternoon. The new Windex is working well virtually all jobs are done and the hand Sanitiser dispenser fitted (actually difficult to find the ideal spot). We are now ready to commence our Milebuilder sailing out of Plymouth. In my previous career I did a fair bit of Risk Management in Veterinary Public Health and I am comfortable enough with Statistics to know 3 Standard Deviations doesn’t mean Flogging a Dead Horse. I have been trying to estimate the probabilities of contracting Covid during a Mile Building trip and reached the conclusion that for many people it is lower than they would have in normal daily activities.

(Pic isn’t Ian but Corey a couple of years ago)

Why Plymouth for Mile buidling sailing

Why did we pick Plymouth Yacht Haven for this year’s Milebuilders? Well we were going to be based in Troon for the Scottish cruises and some racing (having won the 3 Peaks Yacht Race in 2018 we fancied a go at the Scottish Islands Peaks Race as well). We realised in mid-March that Covid would close things down for some time plus we wouldn’t be able to get Wild Spirit to Troon Yacht Haven before ‘Lock Down’. Running a sailing business involves significant fixed costs and berthing in Plymouth is £4000 p.a. less than Lymington. (Yes Four Thousand). Plymouth Yacht Haven is part of the same group as LYH and has good facilities plus free parking, it was ‘Marina of the Year 2018/9’ and is only 90 minutes drive from Wild Spirit’s Global HQ. The West Country provides great cruising, though cross channel trips take longer these are less likely this year, and we have the Isles of Scilly as a beautiful alternative. our first Mile Building sailing trip has just one place left and we offer a ‘Covid Money back Guarantee’ but I am pretty sure we will be operating by then.

See how the main sail sets

Pic is not Wild Spirit but I have put the main sail back on ready for re-starting Milebuilder sailing out of Plymouth. We have a fully battened main which makes bending on the sail singlehanded an interesting task. One of the tricks is to use a sail tie from the headboard to hold up the slugs as they go into the track, this means you can get all of the slugs in but only have about 1.5 m of sail exposed to the wind. This technique comes from experience and it is the sort of thing you learn on a Mile building sailing course. Depending on the weather and trip you may also get several qualifying passages towards RYA YachtMaster and if you are ready for it the chance to skipper one or more.

Milebuilders and Covid risks

A few years ago 2 Killer Whales came up either side of Wild Spirit and the one on the Starboard side had a good look at me from less than 6 foot away. Knowing that Whales sometimes sink Yachts I felt we might be at risk. The Whales then dropped behind us to play in our wash and my assessment of the risk they posed dropped dramatically. All this risk assassment (RA) was subjective. As we prepare to start Mile building sailing and racing again we are required to do a RA for Covid. We have some Science to go on but rather like the Whales there is going to be a subjective element. We have a RA for our Milebuilders so if at 8 June One in a Thousand people have the Virus at least we have a starting point (UK Gov) With test and trace plus social distancing the number should be lower by the time we re-start sailing. We can do simple Maths with big assumptions and your chance of catching Covid during a 5 day Milebuilding sailing trip is around 1 in 4000. In mid-March the chance of an individual catching Covid was about One in a Thousand per day. Put another way the daily chance of catching of Covid on one of our Milebuilders is about One Twentieth of that. Please do be careful how you drive to and from Plymouth.

Broach v Knockdown

Some sailors will tell you they have been knocked down when they mean braoched. The picture is John demonstrating a Broach in warm waters. John is a good helm and easily recovered from a simple error in Jibing the kite. Most broaches are easily recovered from as Yachts are designed to be inherently stable. In over 100,000 miles I have only been knocked down a few times, one was off the Mull of Kintyre in the 3 Peaks Yacht Race when the Guy on a kite broke, as the top of the Mast went in the spinnaker disintegrated and we came back up. Off Tasmania in 60+ knots with a fully reefed main we were pinned down by the preventer on the boom. It had been tied correctly so could be undone under load and we came back up as soon as it was freed. In our Milebuilders we have never been knocked down and I don’t intend to start now. Mile building sailing trips are about building experience as well as miles and team members play an active part in all aspects of sailing Wild Spirit. If you want to benefit from the sailing experience of a skipper/ instructor with 110,000NM then a Milebuilder on Wild Spirit may well suit you.

2 Places left for July Milebuilder

2 cabins left for the Mile building course starting Plymouth evening 23rd July. We aim to have at least two 60NM Qualifying Passages for RYA YachtMaster on this Milebuilder sailing trip but one or 2 shorter days as well and Fowey is always a destination I like. How long does 60NM take? Well it depends on several factors but if we work out the tides correctly and we don’t have lots of tacking it is often less than 10 hours even with berthing on arrival.

Cornwall Mile building sailing

Pic is of Pierre working away at Navigation, which he was good at.

Our Milebuilder trips are good for developing towards YachtMaster and most people on board are keen to progress. Some may already have YachtMaster, others want Qualifying Passages to work towards it. No problem if you just want to be an active team member but don’t want to be a Navigator, Sail Trimmer or Helm and if you don’t have experience it isn’t an issue as long as you are a team player with a sense of adventure. Whether with us, or someone else, a Mile building trip is not a Cruise on a Liner, so please don’t sell it to your partner as such just because you want to do it.