Racing Archive

Racing Archive

Mile builder destinations

Pic of us in a restaurant in St Vaast–this is race team we only have 6 max on for Milebuilding sailing trips.

Where do we go to on Mile building sailing trips? Well it always depends on the weather plus team aspirations and strengths but we do have some favourite spots. One of them is St Vaast on the Cherbourg Peninsular which can seem a bit daunting for those with limited experience as it involves gates, big tides and things to hit. The RYA mile buildwers don’t just give you miles, they also give you the opportunity to be fully involved with passage planning and sailing Wild Spirit, a comfortable fast cruiser that won the 2018 3 Peaks Yacht race.

More Mile Building sailing

Pic from one of last year’s RYA milebuilder trips.

A few more milebuilder trips this year and a few less RYA Competent Crew and Day Skipper courses. Possibly a YachtMaster as several regulars are interested.

Unlike some sea schools our Mile building trips are not deliveries. The nearest we come to that is after the Fastnet when we start in Plymouth and end up at Lymington 10 days later having visited the Isles of Scilly, France and or the Channel Islands. Many of our Milebuilders include a night passage and depending on the team aspirations perhaps 2 or 3. Normally there are opportunities for those working towards YachtMaster to skipper a qualifying passage or 2.

How many on a RYA course?

Picture is internal layout of Wild Spirit–with the table down it is 4 double berths.

When we get to 4 students on a RYA course we normally mark it as full. The RYA max is 5 and we might go to 5, if we do it may well be a regular who wants to build experience and this is a practice adopted by many schools.

Some schools advertise a maximum of 4 and this may be related to the size of their yacht. Think of the height of a half pint glass and a pint glass. By the time you take out fixed spaces such as the engine compartment the volume of a 40 footer is about twice that of a 35.

For RYA Milebuilders and our cross channel sailing mile building we normally have a maximum of 6 on board and this our preferred number if we are doing some night sailing.

Who is on the course?

Not the fella next to me in the picture (I am on right)

We like to get a mix on RYA courses and if we end up with 3 Day Skippers we normally won’t take a 4th as it works best to have a Comp Crew on board as well. Several reasons for this but the big one is that DS is a very intensive course and we want you all to pass. If we get one or 2 who need a lot of coaching over boat handling it starts to eat into the time available and it is a big syllabus to fully cover. The Comp Crew is more straight forward but we believe it is good for you to see what the DSs are up to as it is probably your next step in sailing. We prefer to have at least one DS with our Comp Crew as they should be able to keep a look out on day one and even Instructors have to visit the heads.

For RYA Milebuilders and mile building sailing trips we often have an experienced regular on board. We indicate where we are hoping to go but the aspirations and skills level of the team are important plus, of course, the weather.

Night Hours–what counts?

One of my Caribbean 600 team asked if all night hours at sea counted. My answer was ‘No, only those where you are an active team member’. So if you do a RYA Mile building sailing course with us the hours we sign off are those where you are up top, navigating or doing things down below. The number of night hours we do on a cross channel Mile builder trip will vary with team aspirations but we normally have at least one overnight crossing so you can understand collision avoidance and use of nav lights.

Nab Tower and back

Saturday 6th April sees our first race of the season out to Nab Tower which is East of the IOW. It is a JOG (Junior Offshore Group) race so always a fun event with good social scene as well but some really experienced opposition.

Our first big Mile Builder sailing trip is in May. Mile building sailing towards RYA qualifications such as YachtMaster is often confused with getting miles on delivery trips. We give all team membewrs the chance to be actively involved in the various aspects of planning and sailing the legs that make up the complete trip. This is so much different from a delivery where you may just listen to an engine for 2 days as you chug along under autohelm with the excitement of making a cup of tea from time to time.

Paul Away

Pic of pigeon that caught a ride with us on a cross channel.

Paul is away from 7th to 17th March but we won’t need a carrier pigeon as e-mails will reach us every day. All the RYA Milebuilders and mile building sailing courses will be running as per web site and these will include cross channel trips whether we Brexit or not.

Easter Rising

Pic of previous Fastnet team after race to Cherbourg

Our first big race is at Easter when we have the JOG Cowes to Cherbourg and return race. last year this was a very cold and often windless race with a high retirement rate. This year it is a morning start so we should be in before it has been dark for long. People often ask how long a race will take, it is hard to say, we have done the 75NM race to Cherbourg in under 12 hours but on one occaision we took almost 26 and crossed the finish line backwards on a slight tide and no wind.

It is a Fastnet year but we will still have several Milebuiders across to France, the Channel Islands and out to the Scillies. These RYA Milebuilding sailing courses are great for those working towards YachtMaster qualifications or those just wanting to build experience.

Caribbean 600 result

A bit of breeze normaly suits us on Juno a Farr 65 better than many other boats and this year was no exception so our start and run up the east coast of Antigua saw us near the front of the class. After this problems with 2 battens in our brand new North Sails 3Di started to occur and we had to reef to reduce further damage. The last 75 NM saw us on just a No3 Jib beating into a full Atlantic swell. We didn’t come last and we did finish and didn’t have the embarrassment of being berthed alongside with ambitious advertising claims like the one in these 2 pictures