Page 1















EXPERT ON BOARD Expert tips for stress-

free shorthanded sailing from professional skipper Simon Phillips, for when you can’t get crew



THE KNOWLEDGE What time is high

water? Conflicting data meant Mark Browse didn’t know. He looks into how sources vary

LEARNING CURVE ‘I saw flames licking out of the hatch’. Rosemary Young and family battle fire on board their Nicholson 35 in Spain


12 THE BIG QUESTION ‘We have a small cockpit. Is it worth investing in a folding wheel?’ 54 A QUESTION OF SEAMANSHIP How would you manoeuvre into a tight berth?



ADVENTURE Skiing from a yacht. Virgina Bird and family stow their skis and set sail for the north of Norway in the depths of winter



HOME WATERS Round Britain Challenge.

A crew of military veterans circumnavigate the British Isles with the charity Turn To Starboard



A LONG WEEKEND Explore the River Dart.

This stunning Devon estuary could be the perfect weekend cruise, says Katy Stickland

66 CRUISING LOGS Reader’s experiences on Sweden’s High Coast and a local trip along England’s south coast 76 PILOTAGE Peter Bruce invites us to a sublime secret inlet near the Solent – be sure to pack a picnic 79 ANCHORAGE Join Dag Pike at the Isle of Whithorn and discover a hidden anchorage, conveniently close to the pub


NEW BOAT Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440. Graham Snook tests a yacht that rocks the boat with innovative ideas and sails well too


GROUP TEST Nine pairs of offshore sailing boots put through their paces. We take our pick of wellies to keep your feet warm and dry


FIND ME A … £50K singlehanded cruiser to sail around the UK. Graham Snook scours the market for the perfect boat for the job


83 NEW GEAR The latest products on the market, from wireless chargers, to dry bags and MOB lights 3




elcome to the new-look Yachting Monthly! I’m sure you won’t have missed the lick of paint we’ve given the magazine in this issue; a new cover, a new design inside and bigger and more pages. You’ll also discover some new additions: Find Me a Boat compares four used boats and suggests the best one for a particular sailing goal; Pete Goss, made famous by his exploits in the Vendée Globe race, has joined the cruising fleet and is writing a column for YM as he sails; A Long Weekend finds an idyllic location for a short cruise. It’s still the same magazine, with many familiar features, so I hope you’ll find what you’re looking for easily enough, and that you enjoy reading it when you do. Practical sailing skills remain at the heart of the magazine, and this month, Simon Phillips has some eminently sensible advice for those of us who sail shorthanded. One of my more sobering solo sails was on board Grace, the family’s Hallberg-Rassy 31. One beautiful winter afternoon, I set off from Gosport bound for Newtown Creek. I approached as darkness fell armed with chartplotter, a good search light, and confidence. The problems began when I started the engine and dropped the sails. A figure of eight knot in one of the genoa sheets came undone and I didn’t noticed in the dark. The first I knew about it was when the engine groaned, coughed and stopped. Forgetting that I had a perfectly serviceable anchor, I opted to try my luck running into the little harbour under a scrap of headsail. Aiming at a mooring buoy, I missed it but managed to grab the last buoy in the line. Heart pounding and hands torn, I had avoided a grounding, just. Friends have since generously catalogued my many errors to me, but had I followed Simon’s advice to plan ahead, find a safe way of conducting a manoeuvre, and check my jib sheets (p40), I would have fared much better. Coming across people who really know what they’re doing is one of the joys of editing a sailing magazine. Bringing this issue together has been an exciting process, and it has reminded me how just much there is to discover aboard the boats we sail and around our coast. I hope you find the same in the following pages. Follow YACHTING MONTHLY online






Offshore legend turned cruiser joins Yachting Monthly

SUN ODYSSEY 440 Jeanneau dares to rock the boat

Yachting Monthly Editor

SKIING FROM A YACHT An adventurous winter cruise in Norway



Take the stress out of cruising without crew

FIND ME A BOAT sail solo round the UK



...put through their paces

EXPLORE THE RIVER DART ‘I saw flames licking out of the hatch’

Follow @Yachtingmonthly 4

Like Yachting Monthly


A LONG WEEKEND IN DARTMOUTH... Everyone has their own preferred cruising ground. Some people swear by Scotland’s rugged islands, others can barely be persuaded to leave the wide skies and muddy waters of the east coast, while many hold out all year for a blissful week or two on a crystalline coast somewhere blazing hot. Few, however, can argue that the clear turquoise water, rolling hills and deep river inlets of Cornwall and Devon hold a very particular charm. Estuaries and rias abound, from the red


cliffs of Teignmouth to the secretive creeks of Helford. Among the chief of these is Dartmouth. While the town may heave in peak season, the river beyond it is a magical escape into oak woodlands that grow down to the water’s edge, tidal pools where even deep-keeled boats can safely anchor, and first-rate pubs hidden at the end of creeks. And for most of the year, the hordes vanish and the river is quiet. Leave your boat here and you can have as many weekend adventures as you want. 5


If you have a news story to share, contact news editor Katy Stickland Email Tel 01252 555166

Jersey short of lifeboat cover as station closes There is now just one inshore lifeboat to cover the waters around Jersey after the island’s all-weather lifeboat station was closed by the RNLI. It follows a bitter long-running dispute between the RNLI and the St Helier crew over the sacking and reinstatement of St Helier’s coxswain, Andy Hibbs. As a result, the entire crew has decided to become independent from the RNLI, and the RNLI removed the lifeboat. Hibbs told Yachting Monthly that the RNLI had initially offered to support them in the decision, but then ‘pulled the plug.’ ‘We chose to go independent as we were told [by the RNLI] we would be assisted to be independent. They just then pulled the plug completely,’ he said. Leesa Harwood, the RNLI’s director of community lifesaving and fundraising, said that it was ‘impossible to run a station when the relationship with the RNLI and crew has broken down to this extent. ‘The crew has made it quite clear that they want to leave the RNLI and set up an independent lifeboat station. In the interim period, while they pursue that aim, I do not believe that they can fully commit to the RNLI. I no longer have confidence that the station can be run without constant challenges and without threat of crew resignation,’ she said. Hibbs was initially sacked by the RNLI in April of this year after allegations were made that he had self-launched a lifeboat – a breach of the charity’s code of conduct. The entire St Helier crew resigned in protest after Hibbs was dismissed. A subsequent investigation found the allegations to be false and Hibbs was reinstated in June and given a full apology by the RNLI. Hibbs said he has never received


Jersey’s Tamar class lifeboat (similar to the one pictured) has now been removed to the RNLI’s HQ at Poole in Dorset

St Catherine’s inshore lifeboat is the only RNLI cover left on Jersey 6

a full copy of the report and was not allowed legal representation during the investigation. He said that when he wouldn’t let the investigation go, he was sacked and then reinstated again. He added that the non-disclosure of the investigation had contributed to the breakdown in the relationship between the St Helier crew and the RNLI. He also cited the charity’s handling of a complaint against the lifeboat manager, Glen Mallen, and the RNLI’s decision to recruit a paid full-time station manager at St Helier, which the charity said will support the volunteer crew. ‘We’ve just become disenchanted by the RNLI management. It is like they have too much money and they think they can do what they like,’ said Hibbs. While Hibbs and the rest of the St Helier crew start working towards bringing an independent lifeboat to Jersey, the RNLI said the lifeboat station and shop in St Helier will be closed. Harwood said the RNLI’s ‘immediate focus’ would be on maintaining an

inshore lifeboat service in St Helier, while reestablishing an all-weather lifeboat cover would take several months. ‘We would like to reassure the Jersey community that St Catherine’s RNLI [inshore] lifeboat station remains open and we will be doing everything we can to restore an RNLI all-weather lifeboat service to the island as quickly as possible, working alongside the States of Jersey, the coastguard and the maritime community,’ she said. The RNLI has two other all-weather lifeboats stations in the Channel Islands at Alderney and St Peter Port, Guernsey. Jersey’s harbourmaster, Captain Bill Sadler, said French crews would also help. This is not the first time there has been a breakdown between the RNLI management and volunteer crews. In July 2016, New Brighton lifeboat station on the Wirral on the River Mersey closed temporarily after 12 crew were sacked following a dispute over training and the management of the station.


TRADITIONAL SKILLS SAVE THE DAY NCI Bass Point on the Lizard, Cornwall, is reporting that one of its watchman averted disaster by using an Aldis lamp and Morse code to alert a sailor who was perilously close to rocks.

NEW PATRON FOR RCCPF Trinity House has announced it is to become the patron of the RCC Pilotage Foundation, which publishes guides and pilots for global sea areas.

CHICHESTER STARGAZING Three sites in Chichester Harbour have been designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites making them some of the best places to look at the stars.

Alamy, Ross Durkin, Evelyn Symmons

UK fights EU over future use of red diesel

The details of Brexit will probably determine red diesel’s availability


Kevin Maskell / Alamy


The maritime training charity UKSA has celebrated its 30th anniversary by announcing plans to redevelop its site at Cowes, including building new accommodation and training facilities so it can teach more people.

The new tax has meant many cruisers have already left Greece

British sailors who cruise in Greece could be penalised by amendments to the country’s circulation tax, according to the Cruising Association (CA). The changes, which are likely to become law, may mean that boat owners will be charged when they leave port, although the detail is yet to be finalised. The CA said this would discriminate against those who cruise between ports, rather than boat owners who stay put in one place. The amendment follows discussions between the Greek Marina Association and the Greek parliament.

46,000 Sail Aid UK has raised £46,000 for Caribbean communities affected by hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria at a ‘black tie and loud shirt’ dinner held recently at the Land Rover BAR headquarters in Old Portsmouth.


It’s not only sunloungers that the Germans get first. According to research from, Germans also charter the best and newest yachts by routinely booking three months earlier than the British.

sailors using red diesel would fall under the 1990 Istanbul Convention, which allows non-EU yachts to visit the EU without being charged custom duty or tax on the fuel in their tanks. Boaters in the Channel Islands already fall under this. The RYA said if the UK was forced to change from red to white diesel, ‘it is likely that suppliers would find it difficult to make the significant investment required to install additional tanks and pumps for unmarked white diesel’.

Amended Greek tax may sting cruising sailors


Over 300 marine brands will be exhibiting at the London Boat Show 2018, which runs from January 10-14 at ExCeL including Andark, Ancasta and Bénéteau. The new five-day format will also include the Boating & Watersports Holiday Show and Bespoke London.

The British government has gone to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to defend the availability of red diesel in the UK. It is contesting a claim by the European Commission that the UK is breaching EU rules by allowing British yacht owners to buy lower-taxed fuel intended for commercial fishing boats. Gus Lewis, a legal marine expert, said the UK would ignore the ruling if it has left the EU by the time of the CJEU’s decision. He said if it was a ‘hard’ Brexit, British

The new cruising tax applies to all private and commercial boats using Greek waters and was introduced two years ago, although it was never properly implemented. Many cruisers have left Greece as a result. Since then, discussions have been ongoing to reduce the tax and make it fairer for all boat owners. Chris Robb, a CA member who has campaigned on the issue, said the tax is too expensive: boats of 10-12m are currently charged €33 a month, while boats between 12.01 and 13m are charged €96. ‘The single concession to the law, which has been driven by the Greek Marina Association, is that the tax will only apply when cruising – when you leave your port. We haven’t seen the new definition yet as it was only conceded on the November 14. We believe it may benefit bigger leisure boats more than cruising sailors,’ he said. In October, the Croatian government also announced a proposed increase to its boat tax. The CA warned that for some cruisers, the rise in the so-called sojourn tax could be as much as 400%.

A new adventure for Pete Goss Legendary offshore sailor Pete Goss is embarking on a new adventure. Yachting Monthly’s newest columnist is about to set sail to circumnavigate with his wife, Tracey. The couple have sold their home and now live on their Garcia Exploration 45, Pearl, which Goss describes as a ‘Land Rover of the sea with a BMW interior.’ The boat will take them to some of the remotest parts of the world, hopefully in comfort.

Goss and his wife are currently toying with destinations like Antarctica, Alaska and South Georgia, although writing in YM (p18), the former Team Philips skipper admits they ‘don’t have a plan.’ Goss rose to fame in the 1996-1997 Vendée Globe race in which he turned back into a Southern Ocean storm to rescue the French Vendée skipper Raphaël Dinelli, a feat for which Goss was awarded the Légion d’honneur.

The Gosses are heading to remote desitinations 7


MDL-Beds on Board partnership but berth holders raise concerns Some Brixham berth holders are concerned about the decision by MDL, the marina group, to team up with Beds on Board, the online boat accommodation firm. They have contacted Yachting Monthly and said that they are worried about the impact of renting out yachts to short-term guests who may have little experience of boats and marinas. MDL announced the new partnership in September. The agreement provides MDL’s members with a fully managed service to rent out accommodation on their yachts. But concerned berth holders fear this could lead to possible health,

security and safety incidents, as well as inappropriate behaviour. They are also worried about how the new arrangement could affect their insurance, especially third-party liability. ‘Our insurers have been very coy on this question,’ one berth holder told YM. Many marinas and harbour authorities, including the Tor Bay Harbour Authority, prohibit the renting out of berths on board vessels that use their facilities, mainly because of security concerns. In a statement to YM, MDL said the wellbeing and safety of berth holders was its primary concern. ‘We will thoroughly brief every visitor

on health and safety, conduct personal introductions to guests, including those arriving at night and oversee activity, which includes keeping an eye on noise levels, throughout their stay,’ an MDL spokesman stressed. ‘Beds on Board, a British Marine member, has consulted with the Yacht Harbour Association and all insurance [companies] to develop best practice guidelines to help shape this managed service. As always, all berth holders have to have the appropriate level of insurance for their boating needs and will be asked to advise their insurers if they choose to enter the scheme,’ MDL added.

Clipper Round the World

Clipper Race suffers two major incidents


Greenings remains in situ off South Africa while her fate is decided. Simon Speirs, below, an experienced sailor, died after falling overboard from GREAT Britain, pictured inset

An investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) is underway after a Clipper Round the World crewmember died after falling overboard in the Southern Ocean. Simon Speirs, 60, from Bristol, was aboard GREAT Britain when he was washed overboard at 0814 UTC on November 18. At the time he was clipped on and assisting with a headsail change in rough seas and 20-knot winds. Speirs was an experienced sailor with over 40 years’ dinghy experience and a Coastal Skipper licence. He was wearing his lifejacket, which included an AIS beacon, as well as approved waterproof ocean oilskins when he went overboard. The skipper and crew recovered him back on board within 36 minutes, before he was given CPR by three medically trained crew, including a GP. Speirs never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead. With the


consent of his family, he was buried at sea. This is the third fatality in the history of the Clipper Race. In the 2015-16 edition, two crew on board the 70ft CV21, IchorCoal died. Andrew Ashman, 49, was killed when he was accidentally struck by the boom. Sarah Young, who was not clipped on, died after she was washed overboard in the Southern Ocean. She was recovered after about 80 minutes in the water but, like Speirs, she never regained consciousness. The subsequent MAIB report into these two deaths acknowledged that Clipper Race organisers had been proactive in mitigating the risks. However, it recommended that Clipper Ventures review and modify its onboard manning policy and shorebased management procedures. The latest 2017-18 edition of the race has been far from smooth. Aside from the fatality there have been other incidents. The MAIB is also examining the

circumstances surrounding the grounding of the Clipper Race CV24 yacht Greenings, which ran aground on October 31, 2017 on a rocky area on the western side of Cape Peninsula, roughly halfway between Cape Town and Cape Point, South Africa. The crew had left Cape Town earlier in the day for Leg 3 of the race to Western Australia when the incident happened at about 2140 UTC (2340 local time). The skipper and crew of Greenings had to be evacuated as a precautionary measure by the National Sea Rescue Institution, the South African equivalent of the RNLI. There were no reports of injuries to any of the crew. Following the incident, race organisers announced that Greenings would no longer be taking part in the race. Clipper director and founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who has visited the scene, said the majority of the diesel has now been removed from the yacht, which has been hulled and come to rest on a beach in a protected game reserve. Surveyors are still deciding if the vessel can be refloated. Sir Robin said the managers of the game reserve will not allow heavy equipment to be brought on to the beach which would be needed to refloat the yacht. He said this would ‘have some say on what we can do.’ Greenings crewmembers have been offered places on board the remaining 11 yachts, where they will compete as part of that team for the remaining legs of the series.

Berth holders at Brixham and other MDL marinas can now rent out accommodation on their yachts via Beds on Board



Shaun Roster

Helly Hansen buys UK brand Musto Musto, the British sailing brand, has been bought by Helly Hansen the Norwegian outdoor gear company. The move is seen as a ‘complementary purchase’, with Musto remaining in the UK. It will continue to produce its own brand of sailing and outdoor clothing and gear. The acquisition makes Helly Hansen one of the world’s leading suppliers of sailing clothing and technical wear. Paul Stoneham, CEO of Helly Hansen, will also become executive chairman of Musto. He said the two brands are highly complementary. ‘Musto accelerates Helly Hansen’s long-term aspiration to become a global leader in sailing, matching our leadership position in professional skiing,’ he said. ‘Our focus will be to expand Musto internationally as an iconic British lifestyle brand with deep technical sailing credentials alongside Helly Hansen. The two brands are highly complementary and hold in common a deep regard for the sailing community and commitment to preserving our oceans,’ added Stoneham. Musto, which has two British Royal Warrants, is the official supplier to the British National Sailing Team through to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Olympic sailing silver medallist Keith Musto, who identified a gap in the market for highperformance sailing apparel, established the brand in 1964.

Musto will continue to produce its own-label sailing gear 9

Garmin buys Navionics Navionics’ customers will continue to be supported following the announcement that the electronic navigational charts company has been bought by Garmin. The Navionics brand, which has an extensive database of nautical charts for oceans, rivers, and lakes, will also be retained by Garmin. Commenting on the takeover, the president and CEO of Garmin, Cliff Pemble, said: ‘Navionics has long been known as a leading supplier of highly

ATLANTIC BOATS GROW The 32nd annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers set off from Las Palmas for St Lucia on the November 19. A mix of mono and multi-hull yachts makes up the fleet. The average boat length this year is 50ft. LESS THAN 40FT


40FT TO 50FT

50FT TO 60FT

NEW SKIPPERS AT THE VOLVO OCEAN RACE Richard Brisius and Johan Salén have been appointed as president and co-president of the Volvo Ocean Race, taking over from Mark Turner, the outgoing chief executive, who announced in September that he would be quitting the race over its long-term strategy.

ANDREW SIMPSON FOUNDATION EXPANDS The Andrew Simpson Foundation sailing charity, has opened a new watersports facility on the south coast in Portsmouth, offering a full programme of RYA courses and an instructor training programme.

NEW NAVICO-BAVARIA PARTNERSHIP Navico-owned B&G and Simrad brands have become the standard-fit navigation electronics across the Bavaria sailing range.

accurate navigational charts and mobile applications for boaters. ‘By combining Navionics’ content with Garmin’s BlueChart and LakeVü content, we will be able to offer the best available breadth and depth of coverage to our marine customers. We plan to retain the Navionics brand and will continue to support Navionics’ existing customers,’ he said. Founded in 1984, Navionics is based in, Italy. All of its 350 staff will be retained.

Garmin will support existing users of Navionics chart software

New-look Yachting Monthly When the first issue of Yachting Monthly was published in 1906, the pages were filled with navigation notes, cruising stories, reviews of new yachts and practical tips on navigation. Today, YM has a new look, but the heart of the content still remains true to its original ethos, which has always helped it maintain its position as Britain’s most popular cruising magazine. Over the years, successive editors have naturally put their own stamp on YM. Maurice Griffiths, who was editor

from 1927-67, focused on hands-on maintenance and seamanship. During the late 1960s, Des Sleightholme introduced practical skills, and tested everything from jury rigs to sails. YM’s latest editor, Theo Stocker, intends to keep practical sailing at the heart of the magazine, while giving it an update to provide the modern yacht cruiser the information and inspiration they want. ‘I hope the new-look magazine captures the joy of getting afloat and setting sail, while retaining the seamanlike practicality that has defined this magazine for so many years, and I look forward to hearing readers’ responses,’ he said

That was then… Below, YM covers from 1919, 1922 and 1990 But this is now… Flanked, left, by our latest incarnation with the January 2018 cover

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THIS MONTH’S BIG QUESTION Send us your questions in less than 200 words by email or by post Yachting Monthly, Time Inc. (UK) Ltd, Pinehurst 2, Pinehurst Road, Farnborough Business Park, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 7BF

WIN The question of the month wins a bottle of Chilgrove Gin (UK residents only). This super-premium gin, handcrafted by keen sailors in the Sussex Downs, blends the finest botanicals with a neutral grape spirit

Should I get a folding wheel?

Q A 

Rob Humphreys, yacht designer, replies: If your boat was designed for a particular wheel diameter, it is likely that a reduction in diameter would not be a good thing as it will be geared to the expected sailing loads for your particular boat. Also, it might mean your ability to steer sitting to port or starboard would also be compromised. Hence the reason for the folding wheel, which acts like any other wheel when in its expanded position, but of course effectively opens a gate when in harbour or at anchor. At this point, I must admit that I am in a slightly biased position, having invented the concept of folding wheels, which are now built by Lewmar under licence from us. The pros of a folding wheel are reasonably self-evident. When you have a boat with a single wheel, the bigger the wheel diameter, the further you are able to get out to the side to see the genoa. Old boats with small wheels tended to be heavy to sail and you would find it very difficult to see the genoa, so were effectively sailing blind. Throughout the industry, there was a push for bigger wheels but it started to get extreme and


The wheel on our yacht allows only about four or so inches on either side when walking forwards, and both my partner and I end up bumping into it a lot. Would it be better to go with a folding wheel or could we just go smaller? How do I decide which is the best option? Annabel Smith

locked off half of the cockpit. There is always a trade-off between the cockpit length and accommodation, and you want to use the cockpit length in the best possible way, both for sailing and social reasons. Originally I put the idea of a folding wheel to a boatbuilder in around 1987-88 and it was received with a lot of mirth. Then our clients began to see the sense, including Richard Matthews who ran Oyster Marine at the time, with the first folding wheel fitted to an Oyster

56. Eventually, Whitlock took it up and enhanced it a bit and were then taken over by Lewmar. A folding wheel certainly makes a bit of difference, and helps to get more value out of the boat when you consider the cost of that ‘real estate’ at the back of the cockpit which might not otherwise be readily accessible. The way they are built by Lewmar makes these wheels very robust, with a locking handle to drive home the required rigidity.


DO YOU LOVE ANCHOR BUOYS? ‘I think people who use them are selfish, particularly in a popular anchorage as they are demanding twice the room of everyone else.’ Rupert W

USA BANNING COPPER-BASED ANTIFOULING From January 1, 2018, no US manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer or distributor may sell or offer for sale any new recreational water vessel manufactured on or after January 1 with antifouling paint containing copper.

‘I do. It lets me see where my anchor lies and lets everyone else see it too so here in the Med, it avoids a lot of crossed anchor chains.’ whiteoaks7

‘Utter madness. What do they propose that we use as an antifouling agent? Sodium chloride? Oxygen? Carbon dioxide? DDT?’ SAPurdie

YACHT ADRIFT FOR FIVE MONTHS Two women were rescued by the US Navy 900 miles south of Japan. They claimed they were adrift for five months after their engine was damaged in a storm. ‘A year’s worth of dried provisions and a watermaker, two dogs, working sails[…] It does not add up: either they could not sail the boat or they deliberately tried the voyage hoping to drift and use the engine.’ petehb

To share your view, pose a question or discuss other topics, go to the Yachting Monthly Scuttlebutt at 12








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Send us your letters in less than 200 words by email or by post Yachting Monthly, Time Inc. (UK) Ltd, Pinehurst 2, Pinehurst Road, Farnborough Business Park, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 7BF

Sweden is proving popular with many British sailors



our January 2016 issue published a letter from Lars Persson in Gothenburg, who was aiming to make British yachtsmen aware of the beauty of the Swedish coast. Further, he kindly offered to help any sailors wanting to visit. I made contact as I only needed a little encouragement to explore Scandinavia. Later in 2016, I sailed from Whitehills in Scotland to Kristiansand and up through the lovely Norwegian islands. I left the boat in Tønsberg, at the southern end of the Oslo fjord, for the winter. This year, I sailed down through the beautiful Swedish islands to the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club (GKSS). Lars met me in the marina, armed with useful charts and books (many of which he lent me), and took me to the chandler for various books in English, which I certainly needed.


He even invited me home for a meal with his wife. I followed his advice and sailed down to Copenhagen, where I moored in the canal he recommended in the centre of the city. His daughter, who designs modern clothes and theatre costumes, works nearby, and I was invited for coffee and a tour of the office and workshop. Still following his advice, I sailed through the Falsterbo Canal, along the southern coast of Sweden and up to the Stockholm archipelago. Here, there are hundreds more beautiful islands and, because the Baltic has very little salt and no tides, the trees and vegetation grow right down to the water’s edge. In both Norway and Sweden, the islands often boast delightful holiday homes complete with landing stages, diving boards and ladders, as they obviously love swimming. I was there in May and June when I had the area almost to

myself. I’m told it’s busier in the season, which only starts in July! I found the Norwegians and the Swedes very friendly and helpful and they all speak lovely English. One little thing that surprised me, though, was that perhaps a dozen times I was asked about the ensign – was I from New Zealand or Australia or indeed some other Commonwealth country? My conclusion was that as most countries use their national flag as an ensign, our red ensign was not immediately recognised as British. The Scandinavians love their national flags and always fly them proudly on their boats and houses. They obviously take a genuine interest in foreign flags too. I have enjoyed sailing in western Scotland for some years – there are many lovely islands and harbours and seemingly endless opportunities to find a remote anchorage. But Scandinavia offers islands on a different scale. I’m not making plans to come home just yet! Jonny Evans

Alamy / Stefan Almers

Exploring the Swedish coast



The letter of the month wins a bottle of Pusser’s Rum, produced to Admiralty specification and served daily to every sailor in the Royal Navy for more than 300 years (UK residents only)

Katabatics in Scotland Several years ago I was competing in the Oban to Glencoe passage race, a feeder for the Glencoe Regatta, held in Loch Leven. Winds were very light and ours was the only boat to finish within the time limit. Having dropped the sails, we motored under the Ballachulish Bridge and into Loch Leven. We encountered a gentle breeze on the nose as we entered and observed that it would have been nice to have had it during the race. We looked back at our competitors, who were still drifting with no wind a mile or two astern. As we proceeded into the loch, the wind increased and before long, we found ourselves punching into a Force 8 – but still those racing had nothing. The further into the loch we went, the stronger the wind became and we spent a very bumpy night tied up at the pontoon near the Isles of Glencoe Hotel. Everyone taking part in the race had the same experience. The explanation, of course, is that we experienced a katabatic wind. Rannoch Moor is a flat expanse of boggy ground at an altitude of about 1,000ft and with an area of about 130 square miles. Glencoe is a deep glen that provides a route for cold air on the moor to ‘fall’ into Loch Leven and then out to sea. Richard Scott

A katabatic wind at Loch Leven made for an uncomfortable night for one YM reader

Get your nav lights right!

It was close to midnight and we had just left the Owers Channel en route to St Catherine’s Point. We had two reefs in, as the easterly 20-knot wind was almost dead astern and we were rolling downwind on port tack. To starboard, the Isle of Wight’s lights sparkled. To port, there was blackness. Then a white light appeared to port, and soon a green one. I was showing red to him so I kept an eye on him. Later, the green went red and I breathed a sigh of relief. A few minutes later the red turned green again, the lights occluding on occasion. The white was in line with the red or green so I knew he was heading for me, but we were making I’ve just been reading your article on easier five knots and would pass ahead of him berthing (YM, Summer 2017) – we get the if he held his course. What was this vessel? magazine quite late here in New Zealand. Time passed and the white grew brighter. I thought you might be interested in a device The green turned red, then green again. [right] we use for singlehanded berthing. I didn’t know which way It’s often difficult to get regular crew, to turn. Flashing my torch so a lot of skippers set up their boats A solution for at him and on to the sail to be sailed singlehanded. It’s all very easy berthing while elicited no response. well, until you come back to your singlehanding After deciding he was marina berth in a strong off-berth wind. too close to round up to Bob Caldwell, a friend of mine who avoid collision, I lost my is a regular solo sailor in his ’70s, came nerve and crash gybed. up with the design as he and his wife As he passed, I saw the are getting older. I got a steel worker sheen of Kevlar sails on to make it up for me. It consists of a a racing yacht. Despite ‘hockey stick’ made out of galvanised the steaming light, there steel with a base screwed to the was no sign that this boat pontoon. I attach a spring near the was under power. I hope bow of the boat and lead it back to he felt guilty when, on the cockpit. As I come into the berth, I drop the loop over the end of the hockey stick. docking, he found the steaming light on. I learned two things: a nav light that comes I use a loop on a piece of plastic pipe, but and goes and bobs around is almost certainly you could use a split hose to hold it open. It a sailing boat, and don’t trust small boats, slides down to the base, then I put the engine especially yachts, to show the correct lights. into slow ahead and turn the tiller to point the bow away from the berth, and the stern in. The Adrian Savage boat stays alongside and I can secure the lines or even step off the boat. I sail a Lotus 9.2, and it is a long way up to the bow with a boat hook trying to catch lines. Now, I don’t have to leave Your article on how to moor a boat to rocks the cockpit until the boat is held alongside. (YM, October 2017) was very helpful for Bob Jenner, Auckland NZ crews unused to Baltic anchorages, but

Kiwi tip for easy berthing

Bergskil alternatives

getting bergskils may be tricky as you won’t find them in the UK. However, one can easily find lots of appropriate rock-climbing gear that will do the job very well. My photo [below] shows hard steel ‘pitons’ for hammering into cracks, ‘camming devices’ (expansion devices for use in open cracks that are really easy to place/remove and are very strong), aluminium ‘chocks’ for wedging into cracks and Dyneema slings with locking screwgate karabiners that can be placed easily around boulders and other objects. These devices are regularly used by climbers to anchor themselves to a rockface, and if two or more are used in parallel, they will give you a very strong ground or rock anchor. As usual, it is vital to use warps with some stretch in them to soften shock loads on any rock anchor. Dick Turnbull Dick Turnbull’s alternative to a bergskil

You don’t want to end up in the wrong country! The article about safe pilotage in strong tides (YM, November 2017) was very interesting. However, you are navigating in a very wrong direction by writing that Saltstraumen is in Sweden. Saltstraumen is in Norway, close to Bodø in the northern part of the country. Are Jansrud, Norway 15


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Why the warm up? So many boat owners insist on ‘warming up’ their engines, sometimes for up to an hour before leaving. Running at idle will not achieve the ideal engine operating temperature – it needs load to do this. Aside from pollution, slowly increasing engine temperature, such as when battery charging at idle or warming up at idle before departing, is detrimental to an engine’s health. It also exacerbates bore glazing which over time, can lead to high oil consumption, blowby and rapid wear. Some manufacturers warn against this, and have issued directives limiting the run time at idle.

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If an engine has to be run in order to charge batteries, or just to keep it in operation over the winter, for example, and you can’t take her out for a run, then check the mooring lines and engage the gear to put some load on the engine. If you’re going out, then just a few minutes of idling to check all is okay before setting off is sufficient. Yanmar’s manual instructs users, after starting, to ‘allow engine to run for approximately five minutes’. Once underway, the engine is now experiencing some load and will warm up more quickly to its correct operating temperature, without the risk being damaged, or harming other sailors’ health. David Morrison

It is a good idea to put some load on the engine to warm it up

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‘In our new boat, there is nowhere we can’t go’


ver the course of 56 years, the winds of society, work and family responsibility dig your anchor deep. When the time comes to sail off on a new adventure, it’s hard to shrug off life’s tentacles as, like Gulliver’s Travels, there are many threads that need to be severed. My wife Tracey and I are doing just that; setting sail this autumn on a circumnavigation that will, we hope, take us to some of the remotest and most beautiful parts of this globe. To do this, our lives need to be rebuilt on a new foundation; the practical building blocks of our voyage are vital. The right boat and support systems to sustain it can be make or break. Logistics, from getting the right charts and medical kits, down to licenses to go to Antarctica, financial mechanisms to manage exchange rates, and spares to ensure self-reliance in remote places, all need to be put in place. It is, however, emotional mortar that will hold this structure together. Emotionally there is a lot to reconcile, with parents, children and friends. Life seems to be made of chapters and we have always lived the chapter of the time to the full without looking back at the last or wishing away time for the next. Life is here, now; that cup of tea steaming away, the birds chirping in the trees. We have a duty to live it, we all do, but empathy is essential. The transition from one chapter to the next is subtle but often clear on an intuitive level. The kids left home a while ago but we remained the mothership that they orbited. Last year there was a shift as we started to orbit their growing independence. This signalled a greater level of freedom and the horizon beckoned with good grace. We want to open this chapter before grandkids, at a time in our lives when we still have the vitality and courage to take the leap and make a go of it rather than lay down regrets that will sour the next chapter, which will be enhanced by reflection, not remorse. Spend your money on experiences, not things – make memories. Over the years, we have rebuilt four houses and built two. This labour, which we have greatly enjoyed, has been cashed in for the boat of our dreams; a Land Rover of the sea with a BMW interior. We still

pinch ourselves, for we never dreamt that we might one day own such a thing as a Garcia Exploration 45. I can sit with a glass of red in one hand and an inflatable globe in the other and there is nowhere that we can’t go. This is what Pearl offers – the world is our oyster. Pearl, named in celebration of our 30th anniversary, embodies a lifetime of love and zest for living. We love travel but hate to leave home, so we will take home with us. She will always welcome visitors, and the characters we meet will enrich as much as they entertain. Five years seems a long time but we want to sweep up the glamorous jewels set in the stunning blue hues of tropical seas through to the rough diamonds of more remote locations. Antarctica, Alaska and South Georgia all call in their own way. Tracey loves wildlife and rather than watch it on the telly, we want to sit by an inquisitive penguin, walk amongst an albatross colony and toast Shackleton’s grave in South Georgia. We don’t have a plan. We have an aspiration for this to be a way of life rather than an achievement or race – some human construct that feeds off deadlines or parameters laid down for others to measure. We will trim our sails to unknown quirks of opportunity as they rise up over the horizon. I well remember thinking, as Dad trundled off to the big barbeque in the sky, ‘Blimey, we’re next in line.’ His example whispered, ‘Live it to the full.’ It’s an echo we hope to leave for our kids, with Pearl underlining this essential lesson to a good life. They can parachute into this amazing experience at any time – it’s their trip too. What will we do when we get back? It’s frightening but at the same time invigorating. We’ll always be able to eat, I can dig holes to make ends meet. It’s this truth that helps us combat the innate insecurity that society promotes. The hamster wheel that wastes life is dressed to look seductive. Fear of the unknown is the greatest tragedy of life. Clearing out the attic is so liberating. Over time, it fills with what we now call the constipation of life. Does stuff serve you or do you serve it? The tipping point is subtle as material subservience becomes a comfort. It’s the easier option and why not? The world beyond our modern construct is challenging but also more rewarding and more colorful. It tastes better and offers fulfillment. Set those sails.





‘Are driverless boats just around the headland?’


ometimes, just to take our minds off the deck leak and the weird smell in the bilge, it’s good to catch up on what exciting new things technology has in store to improve our sailing lives. We cruising sailors have, after all, had our habits changed and abilities enhanced over decades by everything from GRP to GPS and Kevlar to cruising chutes. Some are now getting a bit excited about the possibilities of those weird Alexa devices – the sinister black cylinders found in people’s front rooms, accidentally ordering things from Amazon whenever they’re mentioned on the telly. You can apparently snap orders at the box, as some people do at Siri on their smartphone. So perhaps in the future, boats will have obedient little Alexas in the chart table corner, sucking up battery power, interfaced with everything, and able to respond to cries of ‘Ready about! Lee oh!’ or indeed, ‘Alexa, two rolls in the jib.’ But given what we’ve seen so far of human imprecision and robotic obedience, we’d be well advised to avoid casual cockpit chat remarks like, ‘He said he’ll be ready about six,’ or ‘He’s with Leo – aaaarghh!’ and ‘There are three ham rolls left and some Genoa cake – whassat, what’s it doing? Owooo, the genny furling line’s round my foot…’ No. Far more exciting, as we surf into a new year on the mighty tide of techno-change, is the development of the exoskeleton, a concept now attracting more and more interest from the military. Wearable robotics are being tested by all the great armies. The idea of bracing a soldier into some sort of powered calipers or armlets which quadruple his strength, or enabling paralysed people to walk by remote control, has fascinated sci-fi writers and defence ministers for years. Indeed, there is a series called Marine Mojo already in production, which reduces the effect of vibrations on soldiers standing on small, fast boats. Get into your exoskeleton and the bumps and vibrations will not be felt or fatigue your muscles.

So move on from that to the active, powered exoskeleton, as battery technology gets better and lighter every year. Visualise the future for the failing third-age sailor! See us in our bunk, a feeble sleepy mutter ordering Siri or Alexa to activate our exoskeletons to get us springing lightly up on deck without a creak or twinge, and our battery-powered arms gybing that big headsail. Arms which possibly include a pop-out winch handle, and obviously a few handy spikes, knives, and spare shackle pins. See us on the foredeck, not bothering with oilskins since our exoskeletons are of stainless steel or – by this time – possibly ultra-light graphene. With the rise of self-driving selfparking cars and robotic proprioception, we’ll be automatically gliding into the visitors’ marina berth, which has been talking over 5G to the boat’s computer for the last half hour, selecting itself by robotic harbourmaster and reporting on currents and wind strength. Picking up moorings? Imagine a gizmo that snakes out of the anchor well, through the fairleads and finds the mooring without fuss, clicketyclick snatch, like an electric python grabbing a rabbit. The selfstowing sail drops, furls and wriggles neatly into its ties, and a quick reproving word to Alexa causes a jet of water to clean that nasty, worrisome, organic, unreformed mooring slime off the foredeck. Wonderful. Though you might well feel it more economical of time and effort just to send the assorted robotics out to sea by themselves, and ask them to send you an Instagram feed of the best bits. Or you might reflect, as a wise Tweeter did the other day, that, ‘Anyone who would get into a driverless car has clearly never owned a printer.’ So now imagine your exoskeleton going nuts and making everything twice as heavy, and your Alexa bossily rerouting you across the neck of Portland Bill in the manner of a car satnav plunging into a ford. Or, indeed, overhearing you mention a particularly good pub in Poole and making straight for it, overland.



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‘My yacht is the perfect British symbol’


he glowing sense of pride I feel as I brandish my new passport at the airport is palpable. It carries a picture of my yacht printed on the back cover. Well, to be honest, not actually my yacht, but one in which I’ve sailed over 700 miles. The technical sketch shows Gipsy Moth IV, and I can tell from the angle of the deck, the curling bow wave and the creases in the jib that it was copied from a photograph taken by Yachting Monthly’s Graham Snook. The new passport does not expire until December 2026 and sports a European Union, mauve-coloured cover, reportedly to be replaced with a navy blue cover when we have left the European Union, assuming we actually do so. The designers of the passport, guided with admirable detachment over the Brexit debate from unseen hands in Whitehall, have chosen neutral subjects to adorn the 17-page document with hard-to-counterfeit imagery. They come in four non-partisan categories: iconic British innovations; landmarks and architecture; artists; and performing arts. The emphasis is on past glories, including Stephenson’s Rocket, Spinning Jenny, and the Globe Theatre. Presumably history is a safe level playing field for both Remainer and Brexiteer. On the face of it, Gipsy Moth IV, the 54ft ketch in which Chichester sailed solo around the world in 1966-67, is an obvious choice to present balance between the two camps. Francis Chichester was the quintessential Englishman and yet involved quite literally in a globalised voyage. But scratch a bit deeper and the anomalies soon surface. Chichester was knighted by the Queen who wielded the same sword which bestowed the title on Francis Drake. This was another Frank who did it his way and was among the first Britons to pave the way for empire, an ideal now reviled among the federal-leaning forces of shared sovereignty, yet also one which many Brexiteers hold dear, at least in terms of the watered-down version of Commonwealth.

And even though Chichester’s pro-European son, Giles, a former MEP, sailed aboard Gipsy Moth IV on delivery trips, the worldgirdling yacht was not a universal success. His father loathed the boat and as an industry source once told me, he cursed the designers – ‘Illingworth all the way to Sydney and Primrose all the way back.’ In my two passages as watch leader, from Gibraltar to Tenerife and transiting the Suez canal, I witnessed further dissent. The skipper for the former passage, Steve Rouse, a tough and likeable former company sergeant major, described her directional stability, at least under power as being like ‘trying to steer a supermarket trolley on ice.’ Under sail, too, our first night battling out of the Straits of Gibraltar displayed the boat’s weakness to windward. My log records: ‘Rain brought SW 40 knots of wind and GMIV was overpowered. Her arcane rollerreefing is pitifully slow in getting sail off and left Steve and Antonia Nicholson (the mate) exhausted in the task as I helmed. The boat was over on her ear, very uncomfortable to sail. One reef, that is to say several rolls, was eventually gathered in but as the wind strengthened further, she was still overpowered with the boom end dragging in the sea, so Steve and Antonia dropped the sail completely and we ran her off until proximity to the shipping lanes meant she had to be put about… On the first attempt she fell back, but after backing the headsails, we got her round.’ Even if she had been an easy boat to helm, we couldn’t see where we were going as the Sestrel compass was not lit and also awkwardly mounted behind the steering position. Instead, we were reduced to using a hand-bearing compass. In fact, looking back, Gipsy Moth IV is the perfect symbol for our government’s negotiations with Brussels: hard to control in adverse conditions, difficult to steer, and mapping out a course unknown. Perhaps the designer of my passport knew this, too, for on the page where Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State requests the bearer to pass ‘freely without let or hindrance’ is a photogravure of a barometer. It is heading towards stormy.




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AMIDST NORWAYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S MOUNTAINS Virginia Bird and her husband Patrick discover the delights of cruising further north, sailing from the west coast of Scotland to the Arctic Circle with a crew of friends and family Words Virginia Bird Pictures Virginia Bird & Ben Tibbetts




eer, whisky and plenty of pasta: this was ideal fuel for a crew who liked to ski and run as well as sail. My husband Patrick and I were certainly well provisioned before we left our home base of Ardfern on the west coast of Scotland. We had decided to sail our 40ft Arcona, Sea Fever, across the North Sea to Norway where we would keep her for a couple of seasons. We hoped to use her as a mothership from which to launch expeditions into the mountains to experience the full beauty of Norway, in winter and in summer. The first leg was a short one, and we soon stopped at the Isle of Jura near Ardfern, where Sea Fever had been based for several years following an earlier voyage to Sweden. We were there for the iconic 28km fell race on the island, and a keen group of six of us ran up all of the seven summits, including 2,370m of ascent. It was perfect weather, the Paps of Jura looked their very best, and

our energetic exploits set the tone for what was to follow in Norway. Back on board, benign conditions meant sunbathing on the deck, which was an unexpected start but provided welcome relaxation between the fell race and leg two of the voyage. Continuing to Coll, we dropped the weekend sailors off on a rock near Ardfern, and then sailed to Lochmaddy on North Uist where we joined the St Kilda Challenge yacht race. We had been to St Kilda once before and it’s an amazing place with an incredible atmosphere. Britain’s most remote group of islands, where the indigenous people battled to survive for 4,000 years, are now mostly uninhabited, and probably the closest you’ll get to a wilderness in the UK. Uncharacteristically, winds were light and we patiently used the spinnaker to help us. We were able to anchor in Village Bay and explore the island and its old streets and houses. Until the 1800s, the people of St Kilda remained remote from the world, living on sea birds and 25


eggs with some agriculture. In the 19th century, do-gooders, missionaries and tourists brought money, disease and despotism. Their culture gradually disintegrated and in 1930, the remaining islanders asked to be evacuated. Now the islands have World Heritage Site status and are renowned for their dramatic sea cliffs and stacks, vast colonies of seabirds and remains of homes and the stone storage huts, known as cleits.

SURF AND TURF At this point, real life imposed a hiatus on my adventure as I returned home to continue teaching, but friends Chris and Ray joined Patrick for a boys’ trip. Sea Fever sailed 300 miles to Orkney and Shetland, via a rough rounding of Cape Wrath, and then across the North Sea to Ålesund on the west coast of Norway. The North Sea crossing, made on a single starboard reach straight across, let Sea Fever stretch her sea legs despite the light breeze, taking less than 48 hours to cover the 230 miles in fine weather. At Ålesund, I rejoined the crew along with our 22-year-old daughter, Lizzie. We started our northward passage in light airs with some motoring. Along much of the Norwegian coast, the skaergaard (skerries) provide a row of islands or land to protect the inshore passage from the open sea. Apart from a 20-mile stretch approaching Kristiansund where there was no shelter and the water was choppy, navigation was smooth and surprisingly not difficult, even though beacons and stick buoys were smaller than we were used to. It was wonderful to see the midnight sun and stroll around the town in the golden glow. Continuing north with a night sail, we enjoyed a delightful display of pilot whales approaching Rørvik. This also proved to be a good centre for supermarket provisioning. We continued north, crossing the Arctic Circle with great excitement, with everyone out on deck admiring the monument on an island, which marked our passage into 24-hour daylight. Such is my command of navigation that upon seeing it, I said to Chris, ‘That looks a bit like the monument in the pilot book,’ and so it was. We took a detour at this point to Hollandsfjord where the Svartisen glacier falls almost down to the sea. We came alongside a pontoon at 1700. Within an hour, the grey day had morphed into sunshine and blue sky so we headed for the glacier, using rental bikes to cover the 5km to the lake before heading up the rock and scree to the hill. Near the top of the glacier, some Norwegians put their head out of a mountain hut at 2100 and offered us coffee. This was becoming one of those surreal days that stay with you forever: coffee in a delightful hut in the middle of nowhere in broad daylight when it should have been nearly night. Onwards and upwards, we crossed snowfields and looked down on to ever more impressive views. Due to the wrong footwear and weather coming in, we turned around just before the top and sped down to Sea Fever to eat a much-needed dinner of pasta and homemade bread at 0200. Our journey to and up Svartisen glacier was one of the most special days of the trip. The ability to take the boat

to a remote spot and climb a hill for such views so close to the sea is a particular feature of Norway. It appealed to us as mountaineers as well as sailors. By now we were just 40 miles short of Bodø and enjoyed some pretty island hopping the next day, with sandy beaches and towering cliffs. These were not for us though, as they require skilled rope work and climbing. A night’s motor sail to Bodø was followed with the warm, yellow glow reflecting off the sunlit sea. It was a real highlight to meet a British boat heading in the opposite direction as we’d seen almost none and we no saw others then until we reached Tromsø, and to have a Christmas pudding with custard in the wee small hours.

HEAVY WEATHER In Bodø, we refuelled and relaxed. The town is an excellent place for a crew change; the airport is within walking distance from the town, it has some great supermarkets, a library (always good for internet and warming up in cold weather) and restaurants, though these were too expensive to be anything but an occasional treat. From Bodø with our daughter Mary, 26, and her partner, Jonny, on board, we headed to the Lofoten Islands around 45 miles away. The wind was light and we motored, sunbathing and baking those extraordinary cookies and cakes that would only get eaten on a boat, because vital ingredients are missing. As we closed on the southernmost island in the archipelago, great cliffs towered impressively from the water. In the Lofoten Islands there are many anchorages and small pontoons, and the distances are short. Compared to everywhere else we visited, this was a very touristy area, although there were still few yachts. We were able to make easy trips from island to island and do plenty of hiking and exploring. We were extraordinarily fortunate to have sun and light winds for this week, as the area can have poor weather. It was definitely a highlight of the trip for me, being able to explore a picturesque place by boat and where many of the best views of the mountains can be seen from the sea. We caught plenty of fish – the logbook says seven in seven minutes – without trying too hard. Ashore, there were fish heads drying on racks everywhere for export to Africa where they’re ground up to make a spicy mix to flavour food. We weren’t tempted by the heads and stuck to our traditional fish body-only meals.


Clockwise from left: a tight berth in Nusfjord; passing the Arctic Circle monument with Ray, Patrick, Virginia and Lizzie; heading to our next anchorage in Lofoten; alongside a rough jetty in Nord-Lenangen


We visited Sørvågen, Reine, Nusfjord, Kabelvåg and Henningsvær. At Henningsvær, a team from the boat climbed 943m to the summit of Vagekullen, using a photo from the climbing guide to help them to the top. It took around eight hours and was in full light, despite finishing at 0200. The climbers certainly welcomed a dinner of vegetarian chilli and more homemade bread when they returned to the yacht. The final day, we sailed in drizzle and light winds to Svolvær, the capital. ‘Smelly expensive pontoon in big smelly town,’ says the log, but continues, ‘Expensive yummy dinner from iPad menus and Google translate.’ In Svolvær, our younger daughter, Lizzie, left us and took the fine weather with her. From Svolvær to Tromsø is 200 miles. We had just five days to complete the voyage, which didn’t leave much time for exploration. Our first stop, 45 miles away, was at Tranøy, where friendly locals who took our ropes met us on the pontoon. It was drizzling and we were all a bit miserable, but they invited us for drinks, and we certainly enjoyed the boutique gin and tonics they plied us with until well past midnight. The next day they insisted on lunch, so we delayed our departure to eat freshly caught mackerel. 27



pontoon. It is a wonderful city with plenty to explore, museums for wet weather and lots of mountains close by. We had arrived at our destination slightly damp and very happy to get off the boat for a while. The next day we went off to explore Tromsdalstinden mountain, accessible with a walk over the bridge and a cable car. Later in the summer, we returned for a great race in these mountains, again a family outing, before laying Sea Fever up for the winter. Clockwise from above: making landfall in Norway at Ålesund; Chris leads us up Ullstinden; a happy and well-fed crew

After a passage of 25 miles, we anchored in Tysfjord and explored an isolated ridge, which led us through an enchanting forest on uncharted paths. We were treated to spectacular views from the hillside including Norway’s national mountain, Stetind. The next day we braved the icy sea to dive for mussels before a wet and windy sail to Grasholm. We had a fine holding and a good night until 0315 when the wind shifted 180° and we found ourselves being blown towards the shore. Eventually, at 0600, the wind had increased to Force 7 and so we motored out to the main fjord and to the marina at Harstad. Heaters were on full in an attempt to dry the boat and us. A morning sleep helped us all recover and restore humour to the crew. We continued 60 miles in incessant rain to the small town of Finnsnes with the excitement of seeing more pilot whales breaching along the way. In the marina, we were very happy to have showers, and I visited a nearby supermarket twice in a few hours to stock up with goodies. The sail continued in poor weather with a mixture of sailing and motoring 40 miles to Tromsø. Dubbed ‘the Paris of the north’, we were delighted to find a coffee shop with wifi and friendly neighbours on the city


RETURNING TO THE ICE After a drizzly winter back in the UK, we decided on another trip to Norway over the Easter holidays. Sea Fever had retired to a marina north of Tromsø for the winter where she was taken out of the water from September until March. We returned to antifoul her and get her ready for the season at Easter, when there was still plenty of snow on the ground. After a couple of days’ hard labour, we got her back into the water and set off for some ski mountaineering. With a car in support as a shore team, we were able to explore more easily since there are not many pontoons north of Tromsø and we all wanted to ski. With thick snow down to the sea and peaks typically up to 1,200m, we enjoyed several beautiful summits in the Lyngen Alps over Easter, safely guided by Ben Tibbetts, our very professional mountain guide from Chamonix. It was cold; we felt this less on the mountains where activity levels were higher than on the boat while we coast-hopped with short evening sails in the most incredible light and views. The evenings were particularly cold. Thick ski mitts and warm boots were essential. Some of our nights




We used Navionics digital charts and paper charts at 1:50,000 from the Norwegian Mapping Authority (www., available on a printon-demand basis. Tide information is available from same source. The Norwegian Cruising Guide, available at, contains a wealth of information on harbours, anchorages and things you need to know about sailing in Norway. When picking an anchoring spot, choose carefully. Find sand or mud, and avoid steep ground close-to as local katabatic winds are strong. We carried only 50m of chain and anchored without the use of mooring bolts or two anchors. If you are overwintering, Tromsø has several options and is very sheltered. There’s heavy snow in winter, so winterise your engine thoroughly – use tarpaulins and arrange for someone to keep an eye on your boat. PB

The coastal mountains of Norway are reminiscent of Ben Nevis and Glencoe, sometimes bigger, more rugged and with a lot more snow. A good set of Turkart maps at 1:50,000 is essential if you want to explore. The summer months are ideal for hiking: you will never be benighted. With a little research it is often possible to find an anchorage or a pontoon close to the hill, and trails are often marked, but much less used than in the UK. Henningsvær in the Lofotens and Tromsø itself are centres for mountaineering, trekking and skiing. The tourist offices in both locations are excellent sources of guidebooks, maps and information on guiding. Always go well equipped with extra layers as the weather can change fast and visibility can disappear. A handheld VHF keeps you in touch with the boat, though mobile coverage isn’t bad. PB

VIRGINIA AND PATRICK BIRD Patrick and Virginia above Bergsfjord, north-east of Tromsø

Having met team racing at Oxford University in the late 1970s, Virginia and Patrick subsequently raced a Laser 2 for 10 years in the 1980s. After a break for family and travel, they bought a Moody S38 in Scotland before trading it in for a new Arcona 400 in 2009. They have cruised and raced in the Inner and Outer Hebrides including the Scottish Islands Peak Race and the Three Peaks Yacht Race several times with family and friends. They are keen sailors, runners and skiers.


Tromsø Finnsnes

To Harstad

Norwegian Sea




Kabelvåg Svolvær VAGEKULLEN

Tranøy Henningsvær Nusfjord or tfj Reine es V Sørvågen



n de

Norwegian Sea

Bodø Hollandsfjord

Arctic Circle

Svartisen Glacier


From Bodø

Kristiansund SLZ\UK

Atlantic Ocean









of B




Gu lf

were spent on dubious pontoons that weren’t really suitable for yachts. No damage was done, but fender boards are a must. The ski mountaineering was splendid and we were so fortunate with the weather. Both Patrick and I had skied in Norway before, but had very wet weather so we were blessed this time. ‘Scotland on steroids’ is indeed an apt name for Norway. But it didn’t end there. We came back for spring skiing at the end of May, with our local friends Karen and Jan Magne, who we had met at Easter. This time it was T-shirts and sun cream, save for a minor blizzard in Tromsø Harbour. Sea Fever will be spending a second winter in Tromsø before heading for home later next year. What a season!

N O R W AY Lerwick


Loch Maddy SCOTLAND Ardfern

North Sea Baltic Sea 29

JEANNEAU SUN ODYSSEY 440 It’s not often a mainstream builder will step out of its comfort zone, but Jeanneau’s new Sun Odyssey 440 is like no other boat the company has launched, as Graham Snook discovers Words & pictures Graham Snook


SPECIFICATIONS MAKE / MODEL Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440 PRICE FROM £206,073 inc VAT DESIGNER Philippe Briand/Piaton Bonet Yacht Design BUILDER Jeanneau Yachts


aunching a new design is always risky, so it’s understandable that many manufacturers err on the side of caution; not rocking the design boat or pushing it too far out in one go. So it’s a tad surprising that a company like Jeanneau has introduced so many new concepts, all on two new boats, the Sun Odyssey 490 and this boat, the Sun Odyssey 440. The 440 and 490 are like no other boats Jeanneau has produced before. Many features are unique, not only in this size of boat but on production boats in general. Interestingly, it’s not all hand-me-down technology from racing yachts either. The main radical departure from tradition is the walkway outboard of the cockpit coaming. It sweeps from the cockpit sole at the helm up to deck level with a step-free gradual incline, but that’s not all… 31


A great new idea: the walk-through from the helm position gives step-free access to the side decks

There wasn’t a great deal of wind for our test, only 6-12 knots of true wind. At the lighter end, she was making respectable progress between 4-5 knots but as the breeze increased, she became much more involving on the helm. When that difference in wind speed happened quickly, she too was swift to respond, though remember of course that she had empty tanks and no gear. This boat had the shoal draft keel (1.6m), which might have affected her pointing ability by a few degrees. Even so, she was most comfortable close hauled at around 34° off the apparent wind, and was tacking through 96°. As the day progressed, so did the breeze, but only up to 12 knots – not enough to really test her, but enough for her to show she was comfortable and easily sailed. Under power she cruised at 5.3 knots at 2,000rpm, the threebladed propeller providing plenty of grip. While maneuvering, there’s no thrust over the twin rudders so she’s wholly reliant on prop walk and water passing over the rudders to steer her in tight spaces – unless one opts for the retractable bow thruster.

DECK LAYOUT Usually when leaving the cockpit to go on deck, one has to step on the cockpit seats, and either on to or over the cockpit coaming. While it’s still easy to do this, the 440 sports a deck walkway. The bulwark starts at knee height and reduces up to the moulded toerail, making going forward as simple as putting one foot in front of the other, and a boon if you suffer from dodgy hips, knees or a back injury. It’s great, as long as the gennaker sheets aren’t crossing from the pushpitmounted turning block. This boat had the optional fold-out coamings, which split apart to cover the walkway creating a 1.46m x 1.25m (4ft 10in x 4ft 1in) sunpad. The latch is outboard, so there is little risk of it happening by accident. The seat bases are 57cm (1ft 10in) wide so without the 32

thickness of the cushion backs it’s a stretch to lean back against the coaming – unless you’re over 6ft. Genoa sheets and mainsheet are controlled by two Harken ST46 winches – one in front of each wheel. It is possible for the helm to tend these but as they would usually be sitting outboard, they would have to go right around the wheel to use the winch. The winches are only slightly higher than the cockpit seating and aren’t that comfortable to use standing up because of this, though they can be used from sitting. I found it easier to crouch and brace myself against the central cockpit table. Even so, with two hands on the winch handle, it was possible to clatter my knuckles on the GRP wheel binnacle if I wasn’t careful. The clearance isn’t quite enough for two hands on one handle. All deck stowage on board was very good. While the walkway has removed the outboard space from the two cockpit lockers on each side, there’s liferaft stowage (accessed via the electric folddown transom or from the top) and a lazarette locker between the helm seats. Gas bottle stowage is under the port helm seat and a hull-depth locker is under the starboard helm seat. There’s also a deep forward locker, complete with a ladder to aid access. The gunwale is bevelled so if mooring lines go straight down, like at the bow when attached to a mooring, they may wear the gelcoat. She has only one bow roller, which already houses the anchor, in the moulded bowsprit.

AT THE HELM The twin 82cm diameter wheels feel quite high; I found them a comfy height to use while standing, and there are plenty of options for sitting around the wheel. There’s an excellent handrail that removes the temptation to grab the wheel to steady yourself. With the aft quarter walkway, it’s possible to sit fully outboard, face forward and helm comfortably. It does feel a little bit exposed with nothing in front of you but in the right weather conditions, it would be wonderful. Only when I pointed her bows squarely into the 2-3ft wash of a passing motorboat did we manage to get any water on board, and even then it was minimal and went to leeward and drained out of the cockpit drain. Around the back of the seat, there’s no rail or coaming to stop pocket contents falling overboard, and there’s also a large gap between the fold-down transom and the aft end of the cockpit.

The helm was quite heavy, but the steering was smooth and the yacht responsive. With the optional carbon wheel, she might have felt a little lighter to handle.

DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION The 440’s exterior was designed by Philippe Briand, while the interior was designed by the new-to-Jeanneau pairing of JeanMarc Piaton and Rafaël Bonet. The hull has a full-length chine which takes the hull to its widest point low down so the whole of the interior benefits. She has full bows, and the chine forward helps deflect water, keeping it off the deck and increasing forward buoyancy. Standard draught is 2.20m (7ft 2in) with a ballast/ displacement ratio 26.6. This boat, however, had the 1.6m (5ft 2in) keel and a ballast/displacement ratio of 31.2. Because her beam is also taken well aft, twin rudders (with Jefa self-aligning bearings) are used to maintain control when heeled. Her hand-laid hull is single skin (coreless) and has a GRP inner liner. The deck is injection moulded and has a balsa core.

around waist height, which not only increases sail area but also lowers the folded sail to aid putting on covers and connecting the mainsail halyard. The performance version has a taller rig and increases sail area by more than 10%.

ACCOMMODATION There are no decent handholds to use coming down the shallowsloped steps to the open space at the base companionway; the only grab handles are low down in the companionway entrance. Her interior is light and has plenty of nice curved corners with the Alpi veneer flowing around them, although without solid corner pieces, only the thickness of the veneer is left to absorb knocks and scuffs. The deep fiddles by the galley have a good sculpted shape providing great handholds. This is just as well, as there are no handrails overhead or at deck level, only one vertical leather-covered grab handle to starboard before the saloon.

The G-shaped galley is in the middle of the boat, outboard, to reduce motion while underway

RIG & SAILPLAN She has a double-spreader discontinuous cathedral rig (a pair of upper diagonals on each side – one lower than the other – above the top spreaders to support the mast). This keeps the top section of the mast thinner and therefore lighter. The spreaders are swept back and she has twin backstays – non-adjustable except for a bottle screw in each. There’s no mainsheet traveller but instead, there is a two-piece Dyneema bridle forward of the sprayhood. The gooseneck is low,


The central G-shaped galley offers bracing at sea and additional stowage

The forward and outboard areas of the galley are fabric covered. Be careful when cooking or washing up crockery and pots from chilli, curry or colourful foods; the fabric is white and not wipe clean. Given the amount of fat given off when cooking, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d question whether a wipe-clean material would have been a better choice

The bow locker pushes the accommodation aft, making the forward cabin wide, with a 2.0m x 1.6m berth. The hull windows are large with neat sliding blinds. There is an option for two cabins forward instead

The large chart table would be excellent were it not for the chunky hinges inside

The adjustable reading lights can obstruct the access to large, useful outboard lockers 34

All the berths on board are large, comfy and rectangular. The space taken from the aft cabin for the deck walkway is barely noticeable

The forward cabin en suite is a good size and has a separate shower compartment

The cockpit coamings fold out to create a generous sunpad for warm climates

The pulpit includes two folddown seats; the deep forward locker has ladder access

POINT OF SAIL Close hauled Fetch Beam reach Broad reach Run

AWA* 33-35° 60° 90° 120° 180°

AWS** 10-12 knots 7.2-13 knots 6.0-11 knots 8.0-8.8 knots 6.4-6.8knots

SPEED 5.1-5.3 knots 5.7-7.4 knots 4.8-6.9 knots 5.0-5.3 knots 5.2-5.8 knots


The C-shaped seating around the saloon table is comfortable, with the 48cm-high seat backs giving good supports – the 33cm seat backs, fore and aft, less so. Aft of the seating is a neat bottle rack for seven bottles and outboard there are 20cm (8in)-deep bin lockers behind the seat backs. There’s stowage under the seats except where the water pump and accumulator tank (forward) and the calorifier (aft) are. The forecabin is accessed via double doors, which add to the open feel in the saloon. The starboard door can be held closed by a couple of small, fiddly slide bolts at the top and bottom whenever required. The forward berth is rectangular and, like all berths on board, at 1.60m x 2.0m (5ft 3in x 6ft 7in) is a generous size. There’s a nice leather-covered shelf with good fiddles at the forward end of the bed on each side. LED under-deck strip lighting is good and it’s nice to be able to lie in bed looking out of hull windows that are over 1m long and 12cm high. There are two cupboards to starboard, one hanging, the other with shelves, and two drawers under the berth which are 70cm wide, but only 33cm long on the base. The rest of the under-berth space is taken up by the forward water tank. To port is the en suite heads. The sink is forward in the shower compartment, but with a lean, it can be accessed when standing in the toilet compartment, so no need for everyone to get wet feet after a morning shower. Both aft cabins have good headroom: due to the offset companionway, the starboard aft cabin has slightly more space and benefits from en suite access to the heads next to the companionway. They have excellent rectangular berths with plenty of clearance above them and have good lockers outboard too. These are bottom hinged, but these can be fouled by the reading lights – moving the lights up 15cm/6in would rectify this. The walkways takes little noticeable space from each aft cabin and

include opening hatches which was not the easiest to get to but do provide ventilation to the aft end of the cabin. The forwardend windows look out into the cockpit, and hatches outboard in the coachroof have a window over the top of them to allow drip-free ventilation. It would be good to have this on the aft portlights of the walkway too. There is a layout option to lose the port aft cabin and replace it with a workshop/technical area. The aft heads also have a separate shower compartment, again with the sink in it. The heads are a decent size, although there weren’t any handholds if you needed the toilet at sea.

Hull windows and double doors all serve to create a sense of space; a proper-sized chart table

CHART TABLE The chart table is over a metre wide, but the inboard and outboard 12cm are raised by 1cm and were the only ‘fiddles’. Only the central 76cm-wide leather-covered lid is good for chart



PROS Excellent deck stowage Innovative deck walkway Large berth sizes on board


work, but little thought was given to the inside of it, in particular the hinges. It could have been a good chart table, were it not ruined by the large European hinges that have reduced the usable volume. There are lots of handy spaces outboard for the paraphernalia found around a seasoned navigator. The switch panel is labelled with images, as is the wiring behind it. It was nice to see circuit breakers replacing fuses at the rear of the switch panel. I wasn’t sure about the positioning of the midships cleat, bolted through the hull deck joint with circuits directly beneath it – any leaks in the future could have interesting consequences.

GALLEY The G-shaped galley is outboard from the keel to reduce the motion for those cooking. Forward are the twin brushed stainless-steel sinks set into the Corian worktop. Outboard of the sink are two good hinged top-opening pantry lockers. A chainplate tie runs down through the work surface and gives a great handhold but there are no others, except for the deep fiddles outboard and the stout crash bar around the twinburner cooker – the forward end has a sharp corner. The return of the G provides good bracing when cooking at sea. Like most of the cupboards on board, the doors are secured with push-down latches which work well. In the galley, however, there is less finger room to use these latches. There are two cabinet lockers, either side of the walkthrough to the saloon and the leather-topped locker to starboard is wide enough for plates while the other has pull-out two-level drawers in a central unit with a third separate drawer suitable for cutlery. Inboard of this unit is a large 133-litre aft-opening fridge. Further outboard, what looks like the lid for a top-opening fridge is an optional pop-up microwave. Lighting over the sink is good and the rest of the galley lighting is provided by strip lighting. I would have liked the galley lighting to be separate from the LED strip lights behind the saloon seating. This would allow the owner to choose whether they want to light the saloon, the galley or both.

MAINTENANCE Access to the engine is good, and it was refreshing to see a remote fuel filter and lift pump situated well forward in the engine compartment for easy access. There are also side access panels but they don’t have stops on the bottom to prevent them sliding through the gap when refitting them. The sea cock for the seawater inlet was also at the front and easily accessed by opening the companionway steps – they only lift to horizontal, but the hinges are high and it’s supported by gas struts. Access to the UHMWPE lines for the steering, which are spliced on to the chain for the wheel gear, is via removable panels in the aft cabins.

Lack of handholds below Not neatly finished in places Reduced chart table space



THE TEST VERDICT With this boat, Jeanneau has introduced a new style and new features that may have redefined what we’ll expect from cruising yachts in years to come. Why should we leap over coamings, wedge ourselves into odd-shaped berths or scale the mast to reach the head of the stack pack? We don’t. Jeanneau aimed to make sailing more pleasant, and it has succeeded. She’s comfortable and easy to sail – in fact, she sails well. My three main criticisms are the chart table hinges which are so wrong, but could be replaced with a piano hinge; the lack of handholds on top of the coachroof by the companionway, heads and around the chart table – these could be added by an owner; and finally the location of the primary winches – opting for electric primary winches would solve this and make sailing her less of a backache. She has three layouts available and only one has reduced berth shapes and sizes to those normally found on yachts – the two double forward-cabin layout. The other layouts have large rectangular berths, giving the 440 a feeling of space not normally found on yachts this size. On deck, she’s got plenty of storage for sails and cruising clobber and moving around deck is a doddle. She could be easily handled by a couple, or with family and friends. Down below, she’s light, spacious and well laid out. Who could want more from this style of boat?

WOULD SHE SUIT YOU AND YOUR CREW? If you enjoy coastal cruising and a few longer passages thrown in, there are many features on the 440 that you won’t find on other yachts in her class: the full-length volume-giving chine, fold-down coamings, central galley, the rectangular berths and the walkway from the helm to the deck. Even without these, the 440 still has a lot to offer. It’s a nice feeling to be able to walk up the deck when you need to go forward. It also feels surprisingly natural and comfortable to be outboard, face forward and helm while looking where you’re going. It’s not until one tries something different that it reminds us of the compromises we all make when going sailing. Should we have to make them? Jeanneau thinks not.

Price as tested £301,856 LOA 13.39m (43ft 11in) Hull length 12.64m (41ft 5in) LWL 12.00m (39ft 4in) Beam 4.29m (14ft) Draught 1.6m (5ft 2in) (Shoal version) Displacement 8,561kg (18,874lb) Ballast 2,670kg (5,886 lb) Ballast ratio 31.2% Displacement / length 137.8 Sail area 90.30m2 (9722 ft) SA/Disp ratio 22 Diesel 200 litres (44 gal) Water 330 litres (73 gal) Engine 57hp Transmission Shaft RCD category A Designer Philippe Briand/Piaton Bonet Yacht design Builder Jeanneau Yachts UK Agent Sea Ventures Tel 01489 565444 Website www. 37



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Professional skipper Simon Phillips has cruised and raced over 325,000 miles, including 34 Atlantic crossings

Take the stress out of sailing shorthanded Once underway, coping without crew isn’t too hard but manoeuvres can be tricky. Professional skipper Simon Phillips shares his shorthanded experience


here is a great sense of satisfaction to be derived from a successful shorthanded trip – even a simple sail down the river can be immensely satisfying when you’re on your own. Getting the dinghy out of the car, inflating it and getting on board after a short row is a lot of work, however, especially when doing it alone. As a delivery skipper, I’ve sailed hundreds of thousands of miles with minimal crew and I’ve learned a few tricks for coping shorthanded along the way. The most important factor is safety, which must always be paramount. This is especially important if you are on your own as nobody else is there to help. You must have a different mindset as you will probably need to overcome obstacles that wouldn’t necessarily be there if you were sailing with crew. Your on-the-water mantra should be: 40

if something isn’t safe, don’t do it. Think about the problem and find a safer way to solve it. There are always different ways of doing things on board and some are better than others. Being safe and staying safe is one thing, having safety equipment and understanding how to use it is different. Safety and being prepared are the most important aspects of shorthanded sailing. Preparation is crucial to the success of the outcome. We sailors do not like surprises and being prepared helps to eliminate these as far as possible. Good mental preparation is also very important. Having some prior processes in your thinking before berthing, for example, will help enormously; being ahead of the game and knowing what is coming next is key. Let’s look at a range of onboard tasks and explore some techniques to help you do things in a smooth and safe way.

Photo Bob Aylott



Hoisting the mainsail PREPARATION ALONGSIDE


There are many variables here, like your starting point, the direction and strength of the wind, so let’s take a closer look. While still alongside, take off the mainsail cover and clip on the mainsail halyard. Next, raise the boom. Ease the mainsheet and vang and then tension the topping lift. This takes the pressure off the sail as it is hoisted, making it easier and quicker to do; the more reefs you put in, the higher the boom will need to be. If you reefed the main when the boat was last used, it may help to pull through a few handfuls of reefing line to reduce friction while hoisting. If you have lazyjacks, then it is best to take these forward and hook them under a horn of a cleat on the mast, for example. This stops the battens of the mainsail fouling the lazyjack lines. This can all be done in the marina or on your mooring.



For ease and safety, have the halyard led back to the cockpit. Once underway, motoring slowly and just off the wind about 10°, undo the sail ties as you walk towards the mast. The sail is likely to drop to the leeward side as it falls off the boom. With halyard winches at the mast, if the halyard exit is on the port side, keep the wind on the port bow so you’re slightly on the high side and away from the falling sail. 42



The task now is to hoist as quickly as possible. Having the boom raised means the sail cannot power up during the hoist. The last part of the hoist is always harder as there is more sail aloft, more of the sail is being caught by the wind and your arms are gradually becoming tired. Be sure to keep control of the reefing lines to prevent them wrapping around the topping lift.



Once you’re happy with the halyard tension, return to the cockpit to ease the topping lift and lower the boom with the vang. You can now trim the sail. Tidy up the reefing lines and halyard tail so that they’re ready for use and won’t get tangled or go overboard. Then get sailing!


Setting the headsail

Reefing the mainsail

Whether you have a hanked-on headsail or a furling headsail, the preparation for either of these can be done before slipping your mooring lines. If you have a furling headsail, the hard work has already been done.

The key to successful reefing is preparation to keep time on deck to a minimum.

Lower just enough mainsail to get the cringle on to the ramshorn




Have a quick check of the sheet bowlines on the clew of the sail, the car positions (particularly if you are reefing) and the stopper knots in the ends of the sheets, make sure the furling line is clear to run, and that’s just about all that is required.


Make sure the main halyard is flaked out as this will need to run free to lower the mainsail. The new reefing line needs to be around a winch ready to be hauled in.



When unfurling the sail, keep some friction on the furling line. A turn around a winch should be sufficient to prevent the sail unfurling too fast. With hanked-on headsails, get them hanked on while still in the marina, lead your sheets and attach them to the clew with bowlines. Use a couple of sail ties to secure the sail on deck and run the halyard under a sail tie to stop the sail from raising itself. When hoisting the sail, a little pressure on the leeward sheet helps to prevent the sail flogging as you are hoisting. Two to three turns around the winch should be enough. It is prudent to be on the same tack as the side on which your genoa halyard exits the mast. This ensures that you are on the high side and away from any flogging sheets.



Next, ease the vang and mainsheet then raise the boom with the topping lift as this takes pressure out of the sail, which makes reefing easier.



Lower the sail no further than necessary as you’ll only have to winch the halyard back up. It helps to mark your halyard so you know how much to ease. Attach the cringle to the ram’s horn. Here’s a top tip: try to be on the opposite tack to where the reefing line goes over the sheave and into the aft end of the boom. For example, if the first reef uses the port sheave then the port ram’s horn is used. This will help to maintain a nice and unpinched sail between the tensioned reefing line and the now redundant sail material. Tension the halyard to the desired amount, then tension the reefing line.



With the cringle pulled right down to the boom, ease the topping lift, or crank on the vang if you have a rod kicker, to lower the boom and trim the sail. Tidy up and settle down. 43



Heaving to for a couple of seconds means only handling one sheet at a time

Tacking can be done with ease singlehanded as we only have one sail to worry about; the mainsail will look after itself. After checking to make sure there are no boats close by, we can turn the boat through the wind and effectively heave to, giving us time to ease the old sheet and haul in the new. This will prevent any flogging of the headsail.


Watch the leech start to see when the mainsail will gybe

First, make absolutely sure that the traveller, if you have one, is centred and secured. If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t it will hurtle across the boat when you gybe and could cause harm. Haul in the mainsheet to bring the boom onto the centre line, then slowly bear away and keep an eye on the mainsailâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leech as that will gybe first. When the main gybes, ease the mainsheet to the desired trim. With that done, gybe the headsail across by easing the old sheet and hauling in the new as the clew goes gently from one side to the other.



Dropping the mainsail



First, flake the main halyard and grab some sail ties. Next, hoist the boom with the topping lift and make fast. Securing the topping lift is extremely important to prevent the boom from falling down. Now haul on the mainsheet to centre the boom, then turn the boat about 10° off the wind so you stay on the high side and away from falling sail. Now you’re ready to drop.



With no lazyjacks, flake sail over the boom if possible or put the sail on top of the boom as tidily as you can, and secure with sail ties. Tie them in the same direction and on the same side as the halyard exit at the mast, as it makes it much easier to undo them as you walk towards the mast from the cockpit.

Tidy up the flaked sail and tie with sail ties all on the same side



Lower the mainsail, trying to flake the luff as the sail comes down. When it’s lowered, loop the halyard under a winch on the mast and haul the halyard by hand to make fast. This stops the wind hoisting the sail again. Lazyjacks help as they guide the lowering sail on to the boom, which means you don’t need to climb on top of anything to secure the mainsail.



If you have reefs in the main, ease the load off the reefing lines. If you had no reefs in before you dropped the sail, resist the urge to pull reefing lines through so all the line is in the cockpit. This will multiply the friction when you next hoist. Just tuck the lines into the sail or the main cover. At a later stage, when moored, for example, it is easier to finish this job of flaking the main. Lower the boom as far as possible to flake the main, as this makes it easier to pull the sail cloth around rather than trying to stretch over the boom. To prolong the life of your main, flake this differently every time. 45


Berthing Coming alongside is the source of most damaged dignity in the marina and has potential for some very expensive repairs. Planning and preparation will ensure that it will go as smoothly as possible.



Call the marina to find out which berth you are being given. Ask where it is as some berths are not numbered logically, which side to you will be, and whether you will need to come in bow or stern first.



Put your fenders out on both sides while outside the marina if you can, just in case. Ideally, have at least four lines ready: bow and stern lines on both sides, and midships lines.


When you know where you’re going, the helm’s job is to get the boat in and to stop it so she can be moored. If the space is between a pontoon and another boat, this can be advantageous, even though the space is smaller, as you can gently lay alongside the other boat, then step across this one and walk around to your pontoon. From here, lines can be thrown across and made fast on the cleats, simply warping yourself across the few feet to your berth. If you are alone, this is just as easy: throw the lines across and step over the other boat and warp your boat across. Once the breast lines are on, make fast the spring lines.



There are many ways of coming alongside alone, regardless of wind or tide. You can get a midships breast line on first, or you can approach stern first and drop a stern line over a cleat on the pontoon. Once this is on, your boat cannot go very far, so throw a midships line on to the pontoon, step ashore and warp yourself in. You could also put a long stern spring on first, running through a midships fairlead or a bow fairlead. Tie a bowline in the working end and bring it to the stern outside everything and have the other end on a winch near you. Once you are parallel to the pontoon, drop this bowline over a cleat and make fast the onboard end. Motoring gently ahead with the helm hard over, hold the boat alongside the pontoon, giving you ample time to sort the lines.

Have a simple way to secure alongside with one line initially































Anchoring An electric windlass makes life so much easier, particularly with heavier ground tackle. It’s simple to do shorthanded, providing a few principles are kept in mind. Having the correct size of anchor and tackle for the vessel is important, although a heavier anchor and chain is better than something too light, which may not hold the vessel well. Your considerations when deciding to anchor are the weather, wind speed and direction, now and for the duration of your intended stay, type of sea bed and the depth and range of tide. Check for hazards in the vicinity: if you do happen to drag, then how far away are these dangers? These points will determine the selection of your anchorage. If appropriate, agree communications before you go forward as it can be very difficult to hear even 30ft away when the anchor or chain are moving. Hand signals are best.



Decide approximately how much chain to put out in relation to the depth and prepare the anchor at the bow. Decide on your anchorage. In clear waters, the person at the bow can direct the helm so the anchor drops just where it should, on sand instead of weed.



Drop or lower the anchor in your chosen spot, considering what is around you, and then release the agreed amount of chain. A minimum of four times the depth is what I would recommend. If you don’t have a windlass, flake out the required amount on deck beforehand and make it secure on a cleat.



If it is strong enough, let the wind pull the cable taught and dig in the anchor, or run gently astern with the engine to straighten the cable and then a short burst of astern power for a few seconds will get the anchor properly set. It will be obvious if the anchor hasn’t dug in at this point.

Check the chart first, calculate the tide and make a plan



Take some bearings or plot on the chart where you are. Set your anchor, depth or wind speed alarms – and relax! It is worth checking you position and your holding if the tide or wind directions changes.


Picking up a buoy This can be an amusing or frustrating task, depending how you view it. It’s vital that you are aware of how the buoy and the pick-up line are lying so you don’t foul the rudder or propeller.



For a conventional bow pick-up, good communication between helm and foredeck is key, especially in the last few feet where the helm cannot see the buoy. Approach against whichever element is strongest – tide or wind. It can be tricky if either are strongly abeam. The ideal is to be stationary with the buoy just off the port or starboard bow. It is easier to pick up from one side or the other rather than dead ahead, so the person on the foredeck isn’t wrestling with the forestay. Also, if the helm overshoots, they can turn away and not go over the top of the buoy, risking fouling the pickup line or, worse, the prop or rudder.



One alternative method is to carefully approach the buoy astern, bringing it alongside. This can make attaching the line easier, but take care not to foul the prop.



There are some very ingenious boat hooks that allow you to get a line around the loop on a buoy and bring it back to the boat. Some of these are expensive, but can be very effective in connecting to the hoop or ring of a buoy if there is no pick-up line attached. If neither pick-up line nor fancy boat hook are available, lasso the buoy with a line attached from one bow cleat, run outside everything and attached to the other bow cleat. Throw this line over the buoy. Use a line that sinks and puts itself around the buoy; a polypropylene one will float.

An alongside pick-up can eliminate the need for a boat hook on yachts with a low freeboard



Lassoing is only a temporary measure before your mooring line is secured. If you can reach the buoy by pulling it closer underfoot, then a single loop through the buoy’s hoop should be sufficient for a short stay. Make sure each end of this line is secured to the bow cleats before removing the lasso line – ideally keeping each end on board so it can be adjusted or let go from either side, just in case. If you are staying for longer, a separate line from each side with a full turn will be preferable to stop chafe.



Mark Browse has sailed extensively around the UK, Med and Canaries, and took part in the 2006 Clipper Race. He now sails a Bénéteau 36 CC from Ipswich

‘What time is high water?’ Mark Browse investigates why tidal times vary depending on the data source you consult, and which you should trust


hen I started sailing 40 years ago, if you wanted to find out tide times and heights you just looked them up in a book. For a standard port this was a straightforward exercise, provided you knew how and when to adjust for daylight saving. For secondary ports there was a bit of work to do, looking up differences in minutes and metres and as often as not, interpolating between two figures using maths, graphs or your fingers.


Whatever approach you took, you would always be confident that the result was truly the time and height for high water and low water on the day that you were interested in. Sure, we always allowed a bit for safety and sometimes, if we were feeling clever, we even took into account such factors as atmospheric pressure and recent weather. But apart from these details, we always assumed that the numbers given by the tables were the truth. These days, however, there are many versions of the truth and we must discern which one we are to believe.



Similar to Absolute Tides and Tides Planner, but with a less slick interface

The UKHO Admiralty online service ( for hundreds of ports around the world, which are free for predictions up to seven days

DOVER & RAMSGATE Choosing a harbour that many of us regularly refer to, I looked up the times of high and low water on March 4 for Dover and a secondary port, Ramsgate. I used a number of sources, including conventional tide tables and tide prediction apps.




This app is available for Android devices, which has similar functionality and cost to Tides Planner

Times and heights for Dover are taken from the tide tables. I calculated Ramsgate figures by interpolating between the differences in the traditional way





A SEA OF SOURCES Books such as Reeds Almanac are still an essential part of the yachtsmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s armoury. If you have taken an RYA theory course, you will be familiar with calculating tidal heights and times using nothing more than printed tables, paper, pencil and perhaps a calculator, working out depths to within a few centimetres and times to within a few minutes. But in the digital age these methods are not the only source of information. The UK Hydrographic Office, for example, provides an online service called EasyTide that gives tables and

tidal curves for hundreds of ports around the world. And there are countless other sources of information for the price of a cappuccino. But do all these tools give the same answer and if not, which one do we believe? Not so long ago I had a very enjoyable cruise aboard the beautiful classic pilot cutter Eve of St Mawes. In preparation for the trip, I opened EasyTide and printed tidal curves for some of the key ports in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly that we were due to visit. Debbie Purser, the

skipper, calculated her tides using the old-school method. I was surprised to see that she came up with noticeably different results. Debbie is an extremely capable skipper and I had absolutely no reason to doubt her workings. The difference between the data sets made me uncomfortable so, earlier this year, when I had a hundred and one better things to do, I decided to compare a number of different sources of tide data.

A few centimentres may not be much, but do you know how accurate your predictions are?



This website provides free passage notes and charts of harbours around the UK. For a modest fee it gives access to online Admiralty charts and tide tables

This app is published by Imray, available for iPhone/iPad. The app is free but an annual subscription gives you tide data and Admiralty tidal stream atlases







A fully featured navigation app that includes data about tide times, streams and heights. The app itself is free but you pay for the charts

An online resource showing the times of high and low water for nearly 700 UK locations






Cut it too fine and you’ll have a good few hours to learn your lesson

How the different predictions compared

Leave a seamanlike safety margin It is worth reiterating that tidal data, like weather forecasts, are only ever intended to be predictions. Actual times and heights will vary depending on atmospheric pressure, storm surges and silting. Like forecasts, you should consult more than one source, or you could find yourself getting caught out.

My sources of tidal data were a far from comprehensive list of sources available and, in most cases, they made it into my survey simply because I already had them to hand. I plotted the predicted times and heights on a graph. This is what I came up with for high water Dover on the day in question.


When I plotted the times of high water Dover on Again there is considerable disparity between to a graph, it showed quite a spread between the the various sources; it is interesting to note that various sources of data. There is a cluster in the for the secondary port there is a wider range bottom left-hand corner, indicating that Absolute in heights but a narrower spread of times. The Tides, EasyTide and Reeds were all essentially Tide Prediction app did not have Ramsgate in using the same model, with slightly different its database, so it doesn’t appear on this graph. levels of precision. The other data points are somewhat more My personal favourite, Tides Planner, in spread out than in the Dover graph, perhaps particular always seems to round times to the indicating that they are using slightly different nearest five minutes. The Tide Times website assumptions about how to interpolate for a seems to be in broad agreement with these, secondary port. It is curious that the UKHO though its height of tide appears to be a few RAMSGATE EasyTide gives a result that is markedly centimetres different. different from the tables in Reeds; and DOVER In contrast, Navionics and VisitMyHarbour once again VisitMyHarbour and Navionics show a greater height and a noticeably later are on their own. I also compared the time for high water. Most surprisingly, predictions for low water at both Dover and VisitMyHarbour, which uses what it calls ‘proper Ramsgate, with similarly disparate results. tide tables’ credited as Crown Copyright, What conclusions can we draw from this predicts that high water will occur nearly half exercise? The variances between the different an hour after the time indicated by the UKHO’s results are not huge, amounting to at most 23cm own EasyTide, and with 10cm more height. and 28 minutes; but there are times when you The graph for high water at the secondary want to be as precise as possible. The tide port Ramsgate on the same day looks like this: predictions given by the various sources are HW Dover predictions 4 March 2017

HW Ramsgate predictions 4 March 2017






Tide Prediction app

6.40 6.35 6.30











Absolute Tides


Tide Times EasyTide website Reeds Tides Planner Absolute Tides

6.25 1445




Tides Planner


Tide Times website



4.55 1520









Kieran Flatt


based on mathematical models derived from historical observations, together with astronomical data about the relative movements of the sun, moon and Earth. It is clear that there are different models and ways of calculating the results. The sea is a vast body of water sloshing over an uneven seabed around an infinitely complex coastline, so predicting to the minute and centimetre when the tide will be at its height is almost impossible. The best we can do is to make a reasonably accurate prediction and even then, a lively barometer reading or a sustained onshore wind may change things. As with the weather, there are many different sources and prudent seafarers will take all the information they can to form a judgement. Being able to calculate your times and heights to within an RYA level of precision is an important skill, but equally, an awareness that the numbers you come up with do not necessarily represent the truth is vital. When I did this, I was not in a position to find out the actual height and time of high water in the realworld Dover or Ramsgate on that day, but I’d be surprised if it was a precise match to any of the tables, apps or websites that I consulted.



James Stevens, author of the Yachtmaster Handbook, spent 10 of his 23 years at the RYA as chief examiner

How would you get into this tricky berth?


First, I must pay tribute to Bill Anderson, my former boss, who created and wrote this feature for 20 years. He is a hard act to follow, but here goes:

With a knot of tide running, there is a risk of being swept down on to the bridge

No mooring

Mike and Andrea are on their annual West Country cruise with teenage sons Richard and Andrew. They are arriving in Dartmouth after a pleasant sail across Lyme Bay but eight hours is enough for the boys cooped up with their parents in their 32ft Dartmouth Harbour Westerly Fulmar, Windswept. N They need to get ashore. There are several Dartmouth moorings on ? the river but they involve the dinghy or a water taxi. The best choice for getting ashore is an alongside visitors’ berth on the inside of the town jetty. There is one free next to the bridge. This is a walk-ashore mooring with electricity and water and is right in the middle of town. In the interests of family unity, Mike decides this is the best option. Yachts are not permitted on the outside of the pontoon. Mike and Andrea took up sailing five years ago and have worked their way through the courses to Coastal Skipper, shorebased and practical. They have busy jobs, which means they are weekend and holiday sailors. The Fulmar is fin keel and the prop kicks to port astern. The tidal is flooding at about 1 knot and the wind is light. Andrea thinks they should motor astern until nearly at the bridge then motor ahead and alongside port side to. Mike thinks that is too dangerous with a flood tide flowing towards the bridge, and the best option is to come in ahead starboard side to and secure the stern line quickly and then the other lines. Someone else will take the mooring if they hesitate too long. What would you do?


They are in trouble if they end up beam-on to the tidal stream in such a confined space. They will end up with the rig against the bridge with no way of getting away without being pulled off with warps. The danger of coming in downtide is that the 54


River Dart

The town jetty in Dartmouth is a convenient berth, but can be busy and have strong tide

stream will catch the stern as they turn into the berth past the moored yachts and take it away from the dock. A burst of astern to slow down with port prop kick will only make matters worse. The safest option is to take Andrea’s advice and motor astern down the gap. Just before the backstay touches the bridge, engage ahead and

stop the boat over the ground (but not through the water). Steer to port and ferry glide sideways alongside port side to. The skill here is controlling the engine speed. There’s a temptation to give it lots of forward power with the bridge so close, but it’s important to keep the boat abeam of the mooring and not start motoring out again.











â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I saw f lames licking out of the companionwayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Rosemary Young recounts fire breaking out on her family cruiser and shares the valuable lessons she learned

Burning wires scorched the hull. The fire could easily have been catastrophic

Jamie and Rosemary with a young Hugo, as Rose Rambler rounds the Rock of Gibraltar




y husband Jamie and I sold our house, resigned from our jobs and left the UK in September 2015 on our Nicholson 35, along with our three pets, Walter the cat, Bella the dog and Dita the bearded dragon. We were relatively new to sailing – Rose Rambler of Devon is our first sailing boat – so we had spent the previous year getting her ready, replacing the rigging and making other repairs and upgrades, as well as doing some sail training, so we were as ready to go as we’d ever be. After working our way across Biscay, down the Atlantic coast of Spain and Portugal, we paused after three months to have our son, Hugo, in southern Spain and then carried on into the Mediterranean. Things had gone well. We had learned a lot by the end of the first year and enjoyed the sailing and the anchoring. As we ventured through the Straits of Gibraltar and into the Mediterranean, – the first sail for Hugo, by then six months old – we planned to anchor as much as possible. We found nice anchorages along the coast and aimed for the Balearics. However, it was while leaving an anchorage in Nerja on the south coast of Spain that we had an experience that forced us to postpone that aim for a while. Many a sailor’s nightmare: a fire on board. The anchorage at Nerja had been wonderfully picturesque, but horrid comfort-wise – beam on to a hefty swell, from which we couldn’t escape – and we had nearly left in the middle of the night on the basis that it would be less uncomfortable to be on the move (with a bit of canny helming). It was providence that we didn’t. We did, however, leave at first light, around 0630. With Hugo and the pets snoozing down below, I was on the helm

with Jamie hauling the anchor – the windlass had stuck a bit the previous day, but today didn’t work at all despite a few tries. The anchor was up and we were ready for the off, when I simultaneously saw flames licking out of the companionway and heard the CO alarm sound. I shouted ‘FIRE’ down the boat to Jamie, and was just able to get past the flames into the cabin where the fire extinguishers were – one of which I promptly emptied on to the base area of the fire. Jamie had heard my shout, but not what I’d said, so came back to see what was happening – he was somewhat surprised to see me with a fire extinguisher in my hand, the smell of burning, and the pets looking a bit startled at the sudden frantic activity. We quickly isolated all the electrics and got everyone on deck. We have a lot of beings on board, so we had already had an emergency plan in place to get everyone out and safe which luckily worked perfectly. The dry powder was everywhere. Obviously we had some fire damage, and we weren’t sure at that point what had caused it and if there was more damage that we couldn’t see.

We checked again that the fire was fully out and that the electrics and batteries were made safe. It wasn’t until then that we realised that the anchor was up and we were drifting towards the shore with only 0.5m of water beneath the keel! Jamie ran to the bow and did an emergency anchor drop (which essentially consisted of chucking it, together with a load of chain, over the side), unfortunately injuring his hand in the process. Then we started to make a plan.

PREPARING FOR THE WORST The sea was still rough but there wasn’t much wind, and there was no marina within three hours of us, so we knew we had to try and start the engine if at all possible. We called the insurer, then cleaned the dry powder as best we could from around the air intake and engine in general – we knew we could kiss the engine goodbye if dry powder had got inside, another thing we really didn’t need. We spent a couple of hours taking turns in cleaning and looking after Hugo and the pets, all of whom were outside so they wouldn’t breathe the powder in. We checked the electrical cabling as best we could, got a new fire extinguisher ready, got the (fire-damaged) grab bag ready and even made sure we could throw the liferaft quickly in case the engine caught fire when we got it going.

More burned cabling. The problem was clogged brushes in the windlass motor that jammed it. For some reason, the breaker didn’t trip 57


CHARGER, BATTERIES, WINDLASS BREAKER – NOBODY HAD A DEFINITIVE ANSWER TO WHAT CAUSED THE FIRE The time came to try and start the engine. I stood by with another extinguisher, while Jamie turned the key, our breaths held. It started… and continued running. We checked everything a score of times – wiring, batteries, connections, engine air intake – while running the engine for half an hour and making a plan of where to head for. We settled on Marina del Este, around 20 miles further east. I went and hauled the anchor, and we made our way slowly towards our chosen haven, dividing our time between checking everything obsessively, making sure Hugo and the pets were okay, and some really difficult helming. Jamie did some amazing wave surfing, despite his hand injury, which we had bandaged with kitchen roll and strapped up with duck tape. We arrived knackered, but also somewhat euphoric, in Marina del Este around lunchtime, the entire thing only having taken seven hours!

HOLD FIRE We then had to set about sorting things out with the insurers and getting the repairs going. Things moved disappointingly slowly with the insurers, but a loss adjuster duly arrived, followed by an electrician. Unfortunately the whole process took The battery box is to port of the engine bay somewhat longer than expected and we had to and the grab bag was in the locker behind it start thinking in terms of several weeks rather than one or two. Unbeknown to us, we had picked the most expensive marina in the area – and also one with virtually no facilities or supplies. It was neither financially viable nor practical just to wait there until everything was resolved. We got everything made safe, then headed out to anchor for a week, back in to the marina for a night, a different (cheaper) marina for a week, back in for two nights. This went on and on until we eventually had everything resolved. All the cabling to and from the four batteries was replaced, as well as the cable and breaker for the windlass, although we were still not confident enough to use it and wanted to get the windlass itself checked. Nobody would be pinned down on what they considered to be the While her crew was cause of the fire. The charger was firefighting, Rose Rambler suggested, then the batteries, then was drifting toward the the windlass breaker (which should beach. Jamie injured his have kicked in, but didn’t), but fingers while hastily nobody had a definitive answer. We dropping anchor sailed on, hand-hauling the anchor at each night stop, until we decided to get the windlass looked at. We discovered the brushes in the windlass were so dirty they’d jammed, but the motor was still running, trying to turn them. We suspect it overheated and set fire to other cabling. We fully realise how lucky we were; it could have turned out so badly, so differently. Luckily, we also learned a lot from it. 58

All the damaged wiring was cut out, and there was plenty of it


Scorched and burned cables are also visible in the battery box






Since we have a young child and several pets on board, we were always aware of the need to have a tried-and-tested plan of getting everyone up on deck and – if necessary – into the liferaft, and this went perfectly. It needs to be automatic in a stressful situation, so it’s worth practising – no matter how few people are on board. 2

Bella the dog, Walter the cat and Hugo the baby, all safe and sound in the cockpit


After gingerly starting the engine, Rosemary and Jamie took Rose Rambler to Marina del Este in Almuñécar to have the damage assessed. It was their first Med mooring ever!


Dry powder extinguishers are great, but they are also phenomenally messy – their effectiveness lies in the fact that the powder really is very fine and it really does cover absolutely every surface around it for metres. We were lucky with our engine, but a CO2 extinguisher would have been a lot safer in terms of engine health. We tried and failed to get a CO2 extinguisher (in Spain, at least), but FM200 extinguishers are readily available and although expensive, much cheaper than a new engine.


Having realised that our grab bag was inaccessible – in fact, it was in the locker behind the ignition key (near where the fire took hold) and was damaged by flames and smoke – we now keep it at the top of one of the cockpit lockers. We also realised that we hadn’t done a good enough job of updating the contents since we’d left the UK, and that some items were basically useless, while others, which would have been handy, had been omitted. Contents will be different for every boat, but it’s really worth going through the grab bag every now and again to make sure it has the things you’d need in it. 4


If we’d not been able to access the main cabin and needed to throw the liferaft, neither of us had a knife to hand, so would have been fumbling around undoing the straps that restrain it to the deck. We now keep a dive knife, with a safety release, in a sheath on deck. 5


The CO alarm did its job and went off, but it’s important not to ignore alarms. Prior to this incident, I was as guilty as many, writing it off as a new Navtex message or ‘something Jamie had set up on the chartplotter’. It’s worth knowing what each alarm sounds like – most have a ‘test’ function so you can familiarise yourself. 59





ROUND BRITAIN CHALLENGE A crew of military veterans take Spirit of Falmouth on a testing and empowering 2,000-mile circumnavigation of the British Isles Words & pictures Nic Compton & Turn to Starboard 61


This is the second time the Spirit of Falmouth has circumnavigated the British Isles in her present guise

Pic Will Stirling


n a misty day in October, a small crowd gathered at Port Pendennis Marina and started shouting and whistling and blowing horns as a big black schooner appeared around the end of Falmouth docks. The Spirit of Falmouth was about to complete her 2,000-mile circumnavigation of the British Isles with a crew of war veterans, and friends and family had turned out in force to welcome them home. There was even a camera crew on hand to record their arrival for the local news. And then, just as the mooring lines had been secured, the crew stood in a line and turned their back to the crowd. A series of letters stuck on the back of their shirts spelled (when they got the order right) ‘Marry me?’ Skipper Dan Fielding then asked his girlfriend, Nicola Sherwood, to step on board and, with a ring in his hands, kneeled on the deck and asked her to marry him. 2008. Soon after, he was diagnosed with PTSD and, after trying After a teasing ‘no’, she accepted and flung herself in his arms. a variety of treatments, turned up on Turn to Starboard’s It was a heartwarming end to a gruelling voyage that had tested doorstep in 2015. Despite having only limited experience of the 17 crew to their limits both physically and emotionally. When sailing, he quickly passed all his RYA exams to become sailing Spirit set off from Falmouth two months before, all of the crew instructor and was first mate on the 2016 challenge. His were suffering from some form of PTSD, several had severe transformation from nervous wreck to round-Britain skipper in physical injuries – including a double-hand amputee and two leg the space of two years has turned him into a natural ambassador amputees – and most of them had had only minimal experience for the cause, and a major source of inspiration for all the crew. of sailing. During the voyage, they went through an almost endless series of storms, suffered injuries, seasickness and rudder failure. Yet, talking to their storm-weary crew when they were finally A ROUGH START allowed ashore, the most common remark was that it had been a The 2017 Round Britain Challenge started on 5 August when ‘lifechanging’ experience, and several of them were now planning Spirit left Falmouth and unlike the year before when she sailed careers in the marine industry. At least one had an interview for anti-clockwise around Britain, turned to starboard and carried on a job lined up. It was a remarkable achievement making the right turn all the way round the country. for a group of people who are often written off The ship hit bad weather almost immediately as she Nic Compton is a freelance and pushed to the margins of society. rounded Land’s End, and one of the crew was so writer, photographer and The Round Britain Challenge was organised seasick he passed out. He had to be taken ashore sailor and former editor by Falmouth-based charity Turn to Starboard, in Padstow but rejoined the boat in Liverpool and of Classic Boat magazine. which runs sail training programmes to help His book Off the Deep End, became one of the major success stories of the trip. war veterans cope with PTSD. The organisation Worse was yet to come as they sailed through the is reviewed on p81 was set up by former RAF medic Shaun Pascoe, Ballacash Channel towards the Isle of Man, as Dan who himself served in a medical emergency unit explains: ‘It was lovely and sunny; calm with 17 knots during four tours to Afghanistan. In 2011, he was of wind. Perfect. We had all the sails up, and were diagnosed with PTSD and treated at the Maudsley flying along at around 9.5-10 knots. Then something Hospital in London, but it was sailing that really started to change, and I thought maybe it was time to put him on the road to recovery. When he was teach the crew how to reef the sails. Then we looked invalided out of the Air Force a year later, he used at the barometer and it had dropped 10 millibars his severance money to set up Turn to Starboard in 20 minutes. Lo and behold, five minutes later, 45 and help other veterans ‘make the right turn’. knots just turned up. It was like turning the light off and the fan The charity was immediately supported by influential on. We turned around straight away and started taking the sails organisations such as Help for Heroes and in 2014, was gifted down. I went for a dunk on the bowsprit, taking the foresails a 92ft schooner by the Prince’s Trust. The Spirit of Falmouth down. Luckily I’d taken the salt tablet out of my lifejacket, started life as a 1984 replica of a Mersey pilot schooner and was or I would’ve been sitting there like a big yellow marshmallow.’ originally named Spirit of Mersey (later Spirit of Scotland and Most of the crew had never experienced such conditions Spirit of Fairbridge). Two years after Turn to Starboard acquired before and some were frightened for their lives. ‘It was extremely her, she set off on the first Round Britain Challenge, and it has scary,’ says Emma Fullagar, a former medic who served with the now become an annual event. Black Watch in Afghanistan at the height of the conflict in 2009. If you want a symbol of what the organisation – and therefore ‘I wondered what I’d got myself into. I really did think we were sailing – can achieve, you need look no further than the skipper going to die, and I know I wasn’t the only one who thought it. for the 2017 challenge. Former marine Dan Fielding served for I even tried to hide under the sails as we were pulling them down, 11 years in various trouble spots such as Sierra Leone, Iraq and thinking if the storm can’t see me then I’m safe!’ But of course Northern Ireland, until he was discharged with back injury in that was exactly what she and the rest of the crew were there to


The crew had to cope with storms and broken gear


experience. As the team worked to get through that storm – and the next one and the one after that – their trust in the boat grew and more importantly, their confidence in themselves and each other grew too. By the time they had rounded Scotland and were sailing down the east coast of England, they were like old hands. ‘On the way down, we went through storms which were just as bad or a little bit worse than the one off the Isle of Man,’ says Dan, ‘and they were just stood there saying, “I like this.” From some people cowering in the corner and not wanting to come on deck, they were, “Yes, no worries, I’ll go on deck get that sorted.” They’ve got more robust in themselves, and it’s a massive change.’

PULLING TOGETHER For many of them (perhaps most), the main challenge wasn’t sailing a 92ft wooden boat around Britain – after all, they were all former military personnel specially selected and trained to cope with extremely stressful and physically demanding situations – but learning to live with their fellow shipmates, all of whom were dealing with issues of their own. Gary Alleyne is a former RAF pilot who ‘had a bit of trouble’ when he was posted to Bosnia in the 1990s. He went into hiding for 20 years, avoiding contact with people, and most of his friends thought he was dead. Despite having no sailing experience, other than a five-day training session with Turn to Starboard, he joined the Round Britain Challenge and underwent his own personal transformation. ‘Halfway through the voyage, I wrote in my journal that the actual challenge was nothing to do with sailing; the challenge was being mixed up in a tiny little space with all those other people and having to deal with it. That was the hardest part. It’s something I’ve been avoiding for 20 years. It wasn’t easy, ORKNEY ISLANDS

Cape Wrath


Pentland Firth

Stornaway LEWIS


Atlantic Ocean






North Channel

North Sea



Irish Sea







ENGLAND Strait of Dover

START/FINISH Port Pendennis Marina





Channel FRANCE

ASHLEY BOWES ‘I get so anxious and worried, thinking everything’s dangerous and anything can happen. But while we’re out at sea, I don’t have to worry about a damn thing. All I have to worry about is my job, getting rest, making sure everybody is okay – feed, hydrate, get on with your job. That’s been my focus now since I got on, and I’ve taken to it like a duck to water. ‘I’ve never achieved anything properly in my life. I’ve always quit. I’d think, “Oh yes, I can do this,” then straight away I’d go, “D’you know what, I can’t be bothered.” But this is different. This is life changing. This is going to turn me around. It’s going to give me myself back. I’m 100% committed to doing my Yachtmaster. Hopefully there’s a career here for me in sailing, because I’ve never felt at peace like this before.’ 63

but I got through it. And look at me now – I feel quite happy sitting here [in a busy pub] with all these people. I don’t feel frightened. I’m a changed person.’ It wasn’t all high drama on the high seas of course, and there were moments of serenity, with spectacular scenery, especially sailing around Scotland, and dolphins jumping off the bows. Plenty of time for quiet reflection. ‘The best part was sailing at night,’ remembers Emma, ‘when it’s a clear night and you’re on watch and you can see the stars and the Milky Way. My father died recently and we named a star after him. One of the guys I was on watch with knows quite a bit about stars, and one night he managed to work out which star it was and pointed it out to me. We were sailing past Kent, which is where my dad was from. I had tears in my eyes.’

THE HEROES RETURN Many of the veterans had little or no sailing experience before taking part. Founder Shaun Pascoe in teaching mode on board

Arriving back in Falmouth after all those weeks at sea was a momentous accomplishment for the whole crew, but it was a particularly sweet moment for one man. Al Mundy, or ‘Big Al’ as he’s known, was a trooper in the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment until he was thrown off his horse and landed on his head. He suffered traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for several hours. When he woke up, he didn’t know who he was and couldn’t recognise his wife and children. It took him years to learn to read and write again and he still has difficulty remembering things. By the time he turned up at Turn to Starboard, Al had been turned away by 30 sailing organisations, which all refused to teach him because of his learning difficulties. Despite this, he not only passed his Competent Crew (twice, just to make sure he hadn’t forgotten anything!) but then passed Day Skipper and is now studying for his Yachtmaster. He was crew on Spirit in 2016 and went around again this year as watch leader. On the way, he


was offered an interview for a job as berthing master at a harbour they stopped in. But his greatest challenge came at the end of the voyage when he was made skipper for the 85-mile leg from Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, to Dartmouth. And, as Spirit moored up alongside the pontoon at Port Pendennis, Big Al was at the helm. It was a moment of immense pride for the man who was told he wouldn’t be able to sail or get a job ever again. Al’s success also sums up what the Round Britain Challenge is all about, as Dan explains: ‘It’s not just about sailing, it’s about reintegrating. Sailing is just a metaphor for moving forward. We try not to focus too much on reaching the end of the programme or getting sailing qualifications. It’s about the end gain for that veteran who’s been a little bit lost and needs some help starting again. If we’ve been that vessel for them recovering, we’re winning.’ For, as Dan told his crew in his ‘welcome home’ speech, ‘We’ve had our ups, we’ve had our downs. We weathered the storms and now we’ve got to carry that forward into our lives so when we meet those storms, we keep going. We all get there in the end.’

AL MUNDY ‘The problem for me is the fast pace of life. I need to slow down to take things in. Sailing a boat like Spirit is perfect because she gives you time to react. Everything happens so slowly it’s like having precognitive awareness, which is what I need. The teamwork is important. It makes you feel useful again because when you have a brain injury, you tend to get written off. When you’re sailing, you feel valued. It gives you time to think about where your life is going. You can’t run away; you’ve got to stay and deal with it. ‘All the other lads have been through what you have, and if you haven’t been through it, one of them has. I was more than chuffed with the idea of being skipper for the day. I relish the fact someone had enough faith in me to actually let me do it.’










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Helen Holden has been sailing on family yachts since she was three weeks old. Today she sails Seewolf 2, a Moody 44 ketch which has just had a major refit, with her husband Dave

Dave pilots Seewolf 2 through one of the narrow but well-buoyed passages

The High Coast offers stunning scenery unlike anywhere else. Baggviken was an almost perfect pool

Sailing Sweden’s High Coast Helen Holden explores the quiet beauty of northern Scandinavia’s more secluded waters As the current fascination with all things Scandinavian continues in the UK, with a resultant ever-increasing number of yachts visiting the glorious Stockholm archipelago, we decided to venture away from the traditional cruising grounds and head north in our 1972 Moody 44 ketch Seewolf 2, into the Gulf of Bothnia and specifically to the High Coast. Although popular with German cruisers looking to visit the Arctic Circle via the most northerly harbour of Haparanda, cruising yachts in the Gulf of Bothnia appear to be largely restricted to local sailors from the adjacent Swedish and Finnish coasts. The area is little visited otherwise; indeed, the guestbook at the honesty box in one harbour indicated that we had been the first British yacht to visit for five years. The result of this paucity of cruising yachts is a unique, undeveloped and quiet cruising ground offering outstanding scenery, sheltered anchorages and a superb gunkholing style of cruising. There are many places to drop the hook in a relatively small area – think New Zealand’s Bay of Islands or the Firth of Clyde in Scotland and you get the idea. Departing from the northernmost point of the Stockholm archipelago, a 36-hour overnight sail from Öregrund saw us making landfall at Norrfällsviken. Geologically unique, with World 66

Seewolf 2 tied up Swedish style at Agö Storhamn

Heritage Site status, the high-sided red-coloured coastline of the High Coast made an immediate impact in the morning sun. Totally unlike the low-lying archipelago coastline further south, we were surrounded by hills, cliffs, raised beaches and deep-red-coloured rocks which lent an almost fjord-like quality to the landscape. In these largely fresh waters, Seewolf 2 draws 2.2m. We had previously been warned that depths generally were shallow in these parts and to be particularly careful with fluctuations in depth due to barometric pressure changes. Our first night’s marina berth saw us next to local sailors Bjorn and Eva in their Hallberg-Rassy 42, and they provided copious information on what was feasible and the absolute must-sees of the area. Armed with this and a copy of a Swedish Cruising Association handbook (, our exploration began in earnest.

laundry room provided washers and dryers. With the exception of the washer and drier for which there was a small charge, use of all the facilities was included in the very modest harbour fee. A recurring theme throughout our trip, the small harbour fees afforded us the opportunity to tie up to a variety of jetties in beautiful locations and have access, if required, to an extraordinary range of facilities. Whilst the Gästhamn, or guest harbours, were more comprehensively equipped, at the most basic level, the Naturhamns, or natural harbours, were an equally attractive option. As a very minimum, these would offer

IDYLLIC NORTHERN WATERS The next stop, Trysunda, provided the perfect picture-postcard introduction to the essence of the High Coast. At the northern end of the cruising area, it offers a small guest harbour with bows-to mooring to a jetty. An adjacent small club room offered a dining area and a kitchen equipped with comprehensive facilities including cookers, microwaves and fridges. Additionally, a

Many of the small harbours, like Trysunda were immaculate with excellent facilities


rubbish disposal, an earth toilet, grillplats for a barbecue (usually under some form of shelter), a picnic table and frequently, hidden away in the surrounding forest, a sauna. Many of these facilities are maintained by the local sailing club or by the community council who empty rubbish bins and periodically clean the toilets. These efforts are repaid by the local sailors who make it a point of principle to be tidy and clean, leaving these anchorages without any traces of their visit. As a result, the facilities on offer are usually immaculately clean and offer an affordable way to step off your boat straight into attractive countryside and, in some cases, a short bicycle ride or walk to a source of provisions. Invariably though, they are geared up to cater for the largely self-sufficient Swedish and Finnish sailors, looking to escape to nature on their small family cruisers. Of even more note to hardened cynics of UK marinas, the entire system works on a series of honesty boxes for payment. By definition remote, the lack of sophisticated facilities means a lack of cashpoints to provide cash payment to these boxes; an unintended consequence of this, however, is friendships with neighbouring yachts as conversations are struck up searching for the correct change to leave in the honesty box.

SAUNA AND A SWIM It was as a result of just one of these conversations that we had our introduction to one of our more surreal Baltic experiences – the ‘genuine’ Swedish sauna. Tied to the same jetty in the stunningly beautiful Baggviken, we met Heikke, Susanne and their young family on our ascent of Mjältön, at 236m high, Sweden’s highest Island. This is a pilgrimage for local sailors where they leave a stone at the summit cairn, and they invited us to join them later for a sauna in the small isolated

We could afford to sail longer passages on our way north due to the length of the days

sauna house set back in the forest overlooking the bay. This was to prove a rite of passage in more ways than one. The sauna, or bastu as it is known locally, is a staple of Swedish cruising life and Dave duly joined Heikke for the ritual setting and lighting of the fire. A pile of wood is normally left nearby and all that remains is for it to be chopped to size for the sauna burner with the saw and axe provided. With the fire duly lit, the water heater is filled from the adjacent (icy) stream and the wait begins. Two hours later as the sauna reached the correct temperature, we found ourselves casting aside traditional British inhibitions and joining the whole family for a sauna in true Swedish style. Periodically, after slapping each other with the freshly chopped birch twigs, we rushed out into the aforementioned stream to cool down and

rehydrate. Swedish families routinely use these saunas in remote anchorages and it’s not difficult to see why – an easy social way for family bathing away from the confines of a small boat. Afterwards, sausages were cooked on the remains of the fire and it was all washed down with local beer and our own contribution of measures of Laphroaig whisky, bringing a touch of Scotland to this remote anchorage. Two hours later we were quite literally washed out, and all retired to our respective boats and fell into our bunks for an extremely deep sleep. Our two weeks’ cruising in these northern waters of the High Coast allowed us to see the stunning beauty of the less-populated parts of northern Sweden and provided a sharp contrast with the more visited guest harbours and anchorages of the Stockholm archipelago to the south. We definitely hope to return!

The deep draught of Seewolf 2 was less of an issue on the High Coast than we thought it might be 67


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Is that an iced Martini or a warming cocoa?

Mike enjoys the ride despite rotten weather and wetthrough ‘waterproofs’

Four men in a boat go for a soggy sail Mike Quincey and friends find the south coast isn’t always sunsets and cocktails


he tides were inconvenient at my boat’s drying mooring and the weather forecast interesting. We had to get to the boat unconscionably early, but at least we were not going to be becalmed. Karensa is a beautiful 5-tonne lump, flattering and kind to inexperienced sailors even in rough conditions. When Don and I bought her, visions of skating through modest sunkissed swells in the company of bikini-clad beauties soon morphed into the reality of pipe, slippers, cocoa and the company of juvenile old fellahs. After rising breakfastless, Malcolm and I shivered on a windblown slipway in the upper reaches of Chichester Harbour, watching Don painfully pumping up the dinghy through his sciatica. Two brief trips through the watery dawn found us on board, the busy Don providing coffee as we made ready, surrounded in blue smoke as Karensa’s 40-year-old diesel cleared her throat, all this under gathering clouds. Soon we were away, just as they blotted out the sun, and grape-sized raindrops bounced off my old weatherproofs as I stood at the exposed helm, aided by Malcolm from the shelter of the sprayhood. Don and Dick stayed sensibly below. Out past Barr Beacon, we tried a little jib and mizzen, then hit the result of wind against tide, providing a spectacular view on the crests of

Paddling out to Karensa in better weather the next morning

huge waves and the need of a change of underwear as I pondered whether Karensa would struggle out of the following troughs. Bizarrely, Don and I, the least experienced, have the best sea legs whereas Malcolm and Don throw up with alacrity. From the soaked helm, I saw Dick rush to the heads. He and I share an ailment common in males past the first flush of youth. ‘Is he okay?’ I shouted to Don through the howling din. ‘He’s on his “piss-me-quick” pills,’ returned Don, frying pan and bacon in hand. ‘Oh. Where are the iced Martinis?’ I thought. We tied on to a convenient mooring buoy, ate our fat boys’ breakfast and I stripped off my waterproofs to find they had converted to effective sponges and I was cold to the core. Karensa’s previous owners had left all sorts of clutter, much of which we had binned, but we had saved well-worn but effective waterproofs which fitted, and now drying below with hot drinks, I thawed. We abandoned our destination in favour of sailing for the wind to see just how fast the old girl would go. Gallons of freezing water crashed from the bow, hurtling down the hull to the spluttering helm as the gunnels were cleansed of winter detritus. We were flying like Shergar on steroids. ‘How fast?’ yelled Dick above the din.

I glanced over at the speed indicator which read 4.5 knots. ‘Five knots!’ I lied. ‘Is that all? Feels like 15!’ I couldn’t tell him the truth. I steered closer to the wind, became more soaked and she tipped 4.7. I felt that rounding up was okay. Having made it as far west as Portsmouth Harbour, we turned for home and Karensa dipped and slewed sickeningly. I went below to relative warmth as Dick ran for the heads again and Malcolm stood greenly at the helm. Barr Beacon soon appeared as we turned into East Head where maddeningly, the sun broke through to a glorious evening, flat sea and sufficient breeze. The bikinis didn’t materialise; merely Dick on the heads and cocoa. We tucked her into her mooring and went smiling back to shore where I binned my saturated waterproofs. ‘You’ve caught the sun!’ grinned my wife. ‘If only,’ I thought.

MIKE QUINCEY Mike, 70, lives in landlocked Iver in Buckinghamshire. His first boat was Molly, a Cornish Shrimper, but he and his syndicate now sail Karensa, a Westerly Pentland 69



THE RIVER DART Katy Stickland explores this idyllic south Devon estuary and discovers the peace and magic to be found upriver Words Katy Stickland Pictures Righard Langdon



Dartmouth Castle guards the mouth of the Dart, while the streets of the town tumble down to the riverside


he beauty of the Dart is further upriver in the creeks. You need to get in your dinghy and poke around where you’ll see seals and kingfishers. The creeks are where it’s at.’ Andrew Roberts, who has lived in the area for decades, is extolling the virtues of the River Dart. We’re sitting by the tidal river, opposite the former Philip & Son shipbuilding yard that is now Premier Marinas’ Noss on Dart site. Roberts was involved in preparing race yachts for the likes of Chay Blyth and Dee Caffari, and is clearly passionate about the estuary. It’s not hard to see why. Its history over the centuries has been full of drama. The Crusades set off from the river, as did some of the D-Day landings fleet. Privateers Drake and Raleigh called the river home, with an estate that later became the family home of Agatha Christie, the queen of detective fiction, at Greenway on the water’s edge. Add in its maritime heritage – the striking Edwardian redbrick Britannia Royal Naval College on the hillside at Dartmouth, as well as its boatbuilding past (Brixham trawlers as well as Chay Blyth’s British Steel were built here) – and it certainly makes a romantic spot. From the castles that guard the entrance to the deepwater Dartmouth Harbour, the boathouses tucked on the steeply sloping valley sides and the welcoming riverside village pubs, there is something magical about the place. Dartmouth and Kingswear on the opposite side of the bank are both delightful towns. Dartmouth is full of little winding streets that house delicatessens stocking local food and drink, bespoke clothing shops, galleries and restaurants (Mitch Tonks’ Rockfish, Kendricks and Taylors came highly recommended). Nestled in alleyways are traditional pubs like the Cherub and Seven Stars. If you want to become more intimate with the river, the Dartmouth Yacht Club, just along from the harbour office, can arrange canoeing or kayaking and has a full range of facilities for visiting sailors, including showers, a bar and restaurant. Visitors can easily while away a few days exploring Dartmouth, with its Plantagenet-era castle and museum. Kingswear is home to the Royal Dart Yacht Club (RDYC), whose Victorian clubhouse is one of the few places where you can sip a tipple overlooking the river. The club has a strong racing pedigree and is welcoming to visitors, who can use the showers and other club facilities.

UPSTREAM TO TOTNES The real beauty of the Dart, however, is to be found upstream, where, if tides permit, it is possible to reach Baltic Wharf in the Elizabethan town of Totnes, where Pete Goss built Team Philips. Once, commercial craft carrying timber kept the channel clear; now it is mostly pleasure craft, including the Totnes to Dartmouth River Cruise boat the Dart Explorer, that ply the waters.

On the river with the RDYC’s commodore, Tony Swainston and vice commodore Norman Doidge, it’s hard to believe the Dart is home to around 3,500 boats. Beyond Noss Creek and Old Mill Creek, it feels like you’re stepping back in time to a slower pace of life. As we wind our way along the river, we spot puffs of smoke coming from the woods along the riverbank. Suddenly, the Dartmouth Steam Railway train bursts into view as it crosses the Maypool Viaduct en route to Greenway and then Paignton, adding to the sense of nostalgia for a bygone era. Everywhere you look, the branches of the trees, still loaded with autumn leaves, kiss the water and we see the odd flash of black as the cormorants dive for their dinner. On the approach to Dittisham, we spot the red pole and sign that mark the Anchor Stone. As we approach, we all get the feeling we are being watched. In the November sunshine, we spy the grey domed head and whiskers of one of the many seals that call this stretch of river home. We watch as it heaves itself out of the water and on to the rocks for a spot of sunbathing. Further up, and the distinct Greenway Boathouse and the private Greenway quay, with its chocolate-box thatched house, transports us into the pages of an Agatha Christie novel. The writer used Greenway as her holiday home and little has changed since then. While we’re moored on Dittisham’s dinghy pontoon, we hear a bell being rung. The wooden Dittisham Ferry chugs over from Greenway Quay to pick up its solitary waiting passenger from the village. Life is certainly slower here. The bright pink Ferry Boat Inn, a beautifully traditional pub, stands out in this charming Devon village nestled into the hillside. Next door, the Anchorstone Café specialises in local seafood. Norman notes that the Anchorstone is ‘a rock to miss and a restaurant to hit!’ From Dittisham, it is advisable to explore on a rising tide. We avoid the Flat Owers bank before the quaint Waddeton and




Royal Dart Yacht Club commodore Tony Swainston’s anchorage of choice. Identify the Anchor Stone early and leave well to port. There is a tide race here, which can be avoided once identified. Dart Harbour visitors’ moorings are beyond the Anchor Stone on the left, which can be used with permission from the Dart Harbour Authority. A short dinghy ride away is Dittisham, where you can make use of the dinghy pontoon, right in front of the Ferry Boat Inn. The Dittisham to Greenway Ferry can pick you up from your boat (VHF: Ch10). Greenway Quay is private and you will need permission to land from the owner, who can be contacted via the ferry. 2

(5m) just before the mouth of Dittisham Mill Creek. 3


Three miles upstream from Dittisham, this idyllic anchorage comes recommended from Dart’s


A mile up Bow Creek, best taken by

1 Anchor Stone

To Totnes and Baltic Wharf 6

Maypool boathouse

Sharpham Boathouse


Old Mill Creek

Upper River Dart

Ham Point

Stoke Gabriel


Sharpham Ashprington Point

Noss Creek

River Dart


Noss Marina

White Rock

Bow Creek

Mill Pond






Higher Gurrow

Point Dittisham Mill Creek 2 Dittisham

Cable Ferry

Britannia Naval College

dinghy to avoid drying out, is a renowned pub with alfresco dining on the quayside 5






There is good holding at Sharpham Boathouse opposite Ham Point, according to Becky Everitt from Darthaven Marina, who regularly spends a weekend there on her Trintella 29. Anchor in up to 2m. You can take your dinghy to the vineyard’s North Quay, where you can tie to the quay before a short walk up to the vineyard.



With the right tides and careful pilotage, a trip upriver is a treat. Stoke Point and a walk up to Stoke Gabriel is an attractive compromise

Dartmouth Kingswear

Dartmouth Yacht Club


This is Andrew Roberts’ favourite anchorage. Go beyond High Gurrow Point and anchor in the deep water

harbourmaster, Captain Mark Cooper. Here, you can anchor in up to 3.5m just before the entrance to Bow Creek.


Royal Dart Yacht Club


Kingswear Castle

Warfleet Creek Dartmouth Castle

The Range

Blackstone Point Little Dartmouth Meg Rock


Just outside the entrance to Dart, this cove is ideal in a northerly or easterly. Anchor up for lunch or a swim off the boat.

Wash Point 7 Mew Stone Castle Ledge West Rock

Mew Stone 73



The Ferry Boat Inn and Anchorstone Café in Dittisham are always buzzing

Sandridge boathouses appear on the river’s edge. To our right is Galmpton, with its boatyards and creek. A falling tide means that, regrettably, we must turn back but there is so much more to see upstream. Dittisham Mill Creek is considered one of the best spots to explore by dinghy. The creek has the ruins of old mills, which


can be seen through the foliage and you may be lucky enough to spot an elusive otter or catch sight of the turquoise and orange plumage of the kingfisher. Stoke Gabriel and its tidal millpond is steeped in history, and in the grounds of the medieval parish church is a reputed 1,000year-old yew tree. Local legend has it that if you walk backwards seven times around the tree, all your wishes will be granted. Bow Creek opposite is well worth your time for an exploration, if only to sample the delights of the Maltsters Arms at Tuckenhay, once owned by the flamboyant TV chef Keith Floyd. Beyond Bow Creek, around Ashprington Point and Ham Point and the bright white Sharpham Boathouse, eventually comes into view, with its distinctive octagonal tower. From here, you will begin to see the rows of vines growing on the sheltered slopes of the Sharpham Estate, which produces a range of reds, whites, rosés and sparkling wines, as well as cheeses using milk from their Jersey cattle herd. From there, Totnes is within striking distance but should be navigated on a rising tide. On arrival at Baltic Wharf, head towards the Steam Packet Inn where you can moor at the watering hole’s single-berth pontoon before indulging in home-cooked food and local real ale. While there’s no danger of going thirsty, be careful not to miss the tide unless you know you can dry out, in which case, sit back and enjoy your drink. There are worse fates…

Sandridge boathouse




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THE LOCAL PILOT River Galmpton Dart Creek

Waddeton boathouse




harbourmaster is needed to berth. Harbour and berthing fees apply. Bathroom facilities available at the Dartmouth Yacht Club, the Royal Dart Yacht Club and at North Embankment. 01803 832337 VHF: Ch11 ‘DARTNAV’

13 6


Auxiliary Channel


Higher Gurrow Point


Dittisham Mill Creek

Mill Point

Main Channel

Flat Owers

Galmpton Mill Creek

12 Marsh




Flat Owers 14


4 6 4

River Dart


Dittisham Ferry Boat Inn

4 4

Greenway House

8 6


270 berths. Range of boatyard services, 35-tonne travel hoist, 1.5-tonne crane, on-site chandlery, engineering, electrical, shipwrights, metal fabrication. Wifi, gas, launderette, car park, waste and recycling, electricity, water, flare disposal if purchasing replacements. 01803 752242

Don’t be tempted to cross Flat Owers unless you know you have enough water


Anchorstone Cafe


Greenway Quay

Dinghy 10 Pontoon


14 14


Anchor Stone 18

Parson’s Mud

180 berths and 44 river moorings. Full service boatyard up to 10 tonnes, on-site marine engineering, rigger, sail loft and brokerage, electricity and water, wifi, laundrette, car parking, waste and recycling, shower/toilets, CCTV. 01803 839087

Maypool boathouse 2

Watch out for the tide race around Anchor Stone

RIVER DART PILOTAGE This fine river harbour provides safe shelter in all winds, though beware gusts from the hills in strong westerly winds. The entrance lies between Berry Head and Start Point both of which are conspicuous headlands. The high land can make the entrance hard to spot until surprisingly close to, but the day beacon, an unlit tower 24m tall above Froward Point E of the entrance, gives a mark to aim for from further out. The approach is from the SE (WPT 50°19’·53N, 003°32’·83W), which ensures entrance clear of the Mew Stone rock and associated offlying West Rock on a course of 328° in the white sector of Kingswear light (Dir Lt Iso WRG 3s). Leave Castle Ledge G Buoy close to stbd and Dartmouth Castle R buoy close to port. 0.3nm after the Castle, pick up the Bayard’s light white sector (Dir Lt Fl WRG 2s) on to 293° to take you past the Royal Dart Yacht Club and moorings to The boathouse to stbd. The main harbour then opens up Greenway’s estate to stbd. Beware of the small car perches on the riverside ferry crossing.

EXPLORING UPRIVER Darthaven marina lies to stbd and the town pontoon to port with visitor berths. It is possible to anchor in the middle of the river E of the large mooring buoys. Beware of the car ferry crossing here. The river remains deep up to Dittisham two miles above the town where there are

visitor moorings. Above this the water shallows quickly, but is tenable to Totnes above half tide. Dittisham Lake, a large expanse at HW, has two distinct channels around Flat Owers. At LW springs the river dries two miles below Totnes.




The Dart Harbour & Navigation Authority controls most of the moorings and visitor pontoons on the River Dart including the Dartmouth Yacht Club Pontoon, North Embankment Quayside (which has a scrubbing grid), South Embankment Quayside, Town Jetty (which has water and electricity), the Deepwater Visitor Pontoons (no water and electricity) and Dittishman visitor moorings. In total, it has 251 visitor moorings. Permission from the

Admiralty Chart 2253 Imray Chart Pack 2400.16 The Shell Channel Pilot (Imray, £37.50) West Country Cruising Companion, (Fernhurst, £34.99) Dart Harbour Guide,


Annual berth holders only but will accommodate visiting yachts if there is space. Individual bathrooms, laundry, access to the hotel’s facilities and spa. 01803 837161

Thanks to RCCPF for the pilotage information





River Dart 6

Warfleet Creek

Kettle Point

Mill Bay Cove


Dartmouth Castle


Wash Point

47 93

Castle Hill


Newfoundland Cove


Blackstone Point

Western Blackstone



Little Dartmouth


Kingswear Castle

One Gun Point

Compass Cove 7




Inner Froward Point

Shooter Rock



Castle Ledge

Outer Froward Point

Shag Stone


West Rock

Mew Stone


Mew Stone 75


EXPLORING WESTERN HAVEN, NEWTOWN Peter Bruce packs a picnic and takes a dinghy day trip to explore a secret haven just a mile or two from the Solent


mong the prettiest of all Solent creeks is Western Haven in Newtown, which has a simple magical charm. Long ago, the Romans were said to appreciate the quality of the oysters here and a town was founded by the Bishop-elect of Winchester in the 13th century. The town showed initial promise as a trading port but, after a devastating raid by the French in 1377 and perhaps also the effect of the Black Death, it went into decline and subsequently failed, leaving the original ground plan still visible from the air. This rare feature is of great interest to archaeologists because most towns of this age have been built over, destroying the original street pattern and house plot boundaries. Today, it’s one

of the more popular anchorages in the western Solent, a National Nature Reserve owned by the National Trust and home to several enticingly bucolic creeks, ripe for exploration by dinghy. Two metres of depth can be found in the channel on a good spring tide but finding the deep route can be rather testing and the consequences of becoming stuck in a keel boat can be rather calamitous. Boats with vulnerable propellers are a bit unsuitable as well, so all in all there are few visitors and quite often, you have the whole inlet to yourself. A trip in the dinghy is quite another matter and, if one is lucky enough to be able to sail, wildlife will not be disturbed. The expedition can be undertaken any time of year but choosing There are few visitors to the channel, so you may be lucky enough to have the whole inlet to yourself


to leave at the start of the high water stand is wise, as Newtown mud is especially binding. Try to choose a sunny day, bring the children, the dog on a lead and a picnic. If sailing or outboarding, take a pair of oars as backup. Finding the channel requires a little skill, though sticking to the middle pays off most of the time. Use the navigational marks on the few occasions there are any to be found. As you go up the creek, think of the momentum and scouring effect of flowing water and thus stay on the outside of any bend. Look at the surface where the slightest contrary wind will generate ripples where the current is flowing most strongly and this will be the deepest water. If in doubt, stick an oar in to find the depth. Weed on the surface usually means shallows and often, the bottom can be seen in thinly covering water. This may be a good point to get both oars out. An encounter with the riverbed should not be taken as a signal to retreat, merely failure to have found the main channel at the first attempt, so study the surface and try elsewhere.

ENTICINGLY BUCOLIC CREEKS, RIPE FOR EXPLORATION BY DINGHY My book Solent Hazards has aerial photographs taken at low tide that show the channel. Red squirrels can sometimes be seen in the woodland that appears on the right at the intersection of Shalfleet and Western Haven and this is where the loveliest scenery starts. After the first right-handed bend most of the way up to the bridge at Ningwood, both sides of the river are mainly lined with oak trees. There are two creeks off to the right of the channel but no easy place to disembark, though just short of the bridge on the left there is a landing place and a path to the road. This area is often busy with ducklings in summer. Primroses and violets will be seen in the spring, samphire in June and July and sloes in late September. Small craft will be able to pass under the bridge, though there is rather less depth further up here at Ningwood Lake, which is slightly more adventurous. A little scrutiny and perhaps trial and error will find the channel. After passing under the bridge, go firmly right and after a stretch of 120m going right of the middle,

go again to the right until the channel narrows Newtown Creek is a popular when the best water will be in the middle, anchorage, but few fallen trees allowing. The inlet goes up to Newtown venture upstream Entrance a footbridge which is as far as any boat can go. There is a grassy sloping field on the right where one might be lucky le e So nt enough to see in summer a silverTh washed fritillary or a greenOyster Newtown Beds winged orchid. Mallard, grey ISLE OF Newtown Lower heron, pheasant and foxes are WIGHT Quay Hamstead quite common all through the d N lan year and ospreys use Newtown od Western Wo Newtown as a resting place in spring and Haven autumn on their migration north and south. A footpath Western Cranmore Haven leads south through fields Ningwood to the hamlet of Ningwood Bridge Shalfleet on the A3054 main road and Creek north to the village at Cranmore and Ningwood eventually to Hamstead. Lake 500m Western Haven is a lovely find: please don’t make noise, wash or leave litter so others can enjoy it too! 77


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The best place to anchor is on the west side of the channel

A stone pier sticks out into the harbour where small yachts dry out over low water

ISLE OF WHITHORN, SCOTLAND It may be slightly out of the way for those heading north, but this spot near the Solway Firth is worth visiting, says Dag Pike


yachts that have to dry out over low water. he Isle of Whithorn is a bit off the It may be possible to get a mooring for the beaten track for many cruisers unless night by contacting the harbourmaster (07771 you are exploring the Solway Firth. 678824) but these are drying moorings, so if Located on the southern coast of you want to stay afloat then you need to use Scotland, it may be too much of a one of the two anchoring possibilities. The deviation for those heading north or south through obvious one is in the entrance channel where the North Channel and looking for an overnight there is adequate water to stay afloat. There are anchorage, but do not dismiss this quiet, peaceful rocks on either side of this channel but by using anchorage that gives access to a decent pub. the echosounder, you should be able to work Tucked inside the prominent Burrow Head, your way in. The best place is on the west side the Isle of Whithorn boasts two possible of the channel which anchorages, both of which offer good shelter The leading lights bear 335° is a bit more sheltered, from west and south-westerly winds. but are hard to see in daylight but don’t go in further It is called the Isle of Whithorn DUMFRIES & than when the tip because it was originally GALLOWAY + + of the ‘island’ on the east side an island separated from 06 SCOTLAND + + + comes abeam as by then, the mainland by a very you’re entering the lownarrow channel but Wigtown Bay water shallows. this has now been Sailing Club 54 + N The alternative anchorage filled in by a short ISLE OF Pier is on the east side of the causeway and it’s on St Ninian’s WHITHORN Chapel ‘island’ and here you can the west side of this 66 + Isle of find adequate water further that the harbour has Whithorn Bay in, but beware a patch of been created. A stone St Ninian’s Tower + rocks where you start to close pier sticks out into the 9 + + the shore. There is a beach a little harbour to offer further Firth way way inside the headland and this shelter for the local fishing Sol + could be a good spot to anchor with fleet and a variety of small

landing by tender on the beach. Otherwise you can land by tender at most states of tide on a slipway just outside the point where the breakwater joins the land. Both anchorages are fully exposed to the east and you could get a swell coming in when the wind is from the south-west. There are lights that can help guide you in at night and the chart shows leading lights to take you into the harbour in the deeper part of the channel, but I couldn’t see these as marks during the daytime so your sounder is your best guide. St Ninian’s Chapel tower on the ‘island’s’ headland dominates the harbour skyline and is a good guide to identify the place. The Isle of Whithorn has a long history as a port, firstly as a fishing port before the pier was built and later as port for steam packets and trading ships that came in from ports in England bringing in coal and fertiliser and taking out agricultural produce. The original pier was built back in the 1700s but it finally gave up the ghost in 1969 and collapsed. Now, it has been rebuilt and serves as the base for the inshore fishing fleet. The Steam Packet Inn on the quay provides both food and drink so it is likely to be the focus of any visit, but there is also the active Wigtown Bay Sailing Club and a small chandlery and village store on the quay. 79


A WORLD OF MY OWN By Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. First published by Cassells in 1969, republished in paperback in 2004


regret my earlier recklessness in heading so far to the south. I kept my lookout going for two days, cat-napping in the cockpit by day when the fog lifted slightly, but staying awake all night staring anxiously into the gloom ahead and imagining all sorts of obstacles looming up. Then after one short spell of sleep I awoke to find the sun breaking through at last; the fog slowly disappeared and I was able to climb wearily below and climb thankfully into my sleeping bag. When I awoke, the cabin was flooded with the half-light one associates with dawn and dusk. I looked at the alarm clock and noted that it was 6.15 and decided that as all seemed well I would have an early night and carry on sleeping. Half an hour later I opened my eyes and was puzzled to find that the cabin seemed lighter. In my rather tired and sleepnumbed state it was a minute or two before it occurred to me that day might be breaking. I scrambled out of my bunk and poked my head out through the hatchway to see the sun just beginning to show through the low cloud to the east. Suddenly alarmed that I might have slept very much longer than Two days after being pooped, we ran into fog. Suhaili was 47° south, I thought, I looked at the chronometer which has a dial to show when about 2,000 miles from the Horn, close to the ice limit,and I immediately it was last wound. The needle pointed to 20 hours so I had only slept suspected that we might have run into an area of ice. I checked the sea through about eighteen hours, not a day and eighteen hours as I had and air temperatures and found the sea much colder than I had expected. feared. The reason for my alarm was that I knew I had eventually Either we were approaching the ice or we had come upon an unexpected turned in on 23 December and I had been hoping that the Chilean upwelling. An upwelling of seawater seemed unlikely as there was no radio stations might spring to life at midnight to welcome Christmas increase in bird and sea life and the water was still clear blue in colour. Day. Still, all was well. I had awoken on Christmas Eve and I could now It is surprising how much information is given by signs like this. Clear charge the batteries to prepare for a radio transmission blue water indicates there is no plankton in the sea. that evening. Christmas is very much a family festival Plankton feeds on nutritious plants and if the water is at home or on board ship, and indeed my last 11 cleaned out of these nutrients, they will die off and sink Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was Christmases had been spent on British India ships. slowly to the sea bed. The only source of replenishment born in Putney in 1939. He The thought of being by myself at Christmas rather is round river mouths, near land in shallow water, and in sailed his 32ft ketch, Suhaili, ruffled me. For almost the first time since I left deep water by an upwelling of rich, chemical-laden 15,000 miles from Mumbai Falmouth, I felt that I was missing something, and that water from the bottom. Hence out at sea, thousands of to England before entering perhaps it was rather stupid to spend one whole year miles from land, the absence of birds points to the the Golden Globe Race 1968of one’s life stuck out on one’s own away from all the absence of fish which in turn points to the absence of 69. He was the first person comforts and attractions that home offers. smaller fish and plankton.This can be confirmed by to circumnavigate the globe By now, Dad and my brothers would have brought looking at the water; bluish water is generally empty of non-stop singlehandedly. in logs from the old trees in the garden, and the family life while green water indicates the presence of minute He completed a second solo would be clustered round a roaring fire in the drawing life forms. The water round Suhaili now was blue which circumnavigation in the Velux room, and thinking of getting ready to go to midnight made me suspect that there was no upwelling, and that 5 Oceans Race aged 68 and service at the village church in Downe. I recalled winter the colder sea must be caused by some other reason, was still racing evenings at home when we played bridge. The memory to which icebergs seemed a logical answer. in 2014, of Mother as my partner humming Hearts and Flowers There was no thought of real sleep whilst the fog aged 75. and Diana asking Father if she could go ‘crash’ or lasted. The grim thought of Suhaili smashing into an ‘slosh’ had me roaring with laughter. The warmth iceberg frightened me into staying awake and I began to On Christmas Day 1968, a 29-year-old Robin Knox-Johnston was 195 days into his circumnavigation, approximately 47° south and 2,000 miles from Cape Horn. He knew he was uncomfortably close to the ice but had taken the decision to sail below the 45th parallel in an endeavour to stay ahead of his closest rival Bernard Moitessier. Quiet days earlier in the month had offered him the opportunity to mend his radio set which had been out of action since a knock down in September. This was managed with impressive ingenuity, breaking navigation light bulbs and melting scraps of solder from the terminals – ‘I kept losing pieces and had to go crawling round the deck looking for even pin-sized drops.’ Suhaili’s gear needed constant repair. She’d had been pooped and everything on board was soaking wet and cold. Then there’d been two days of fog and the constant fear of icebergs leading to almost complete exhaustion. He needed a good Christmas…


and fellowship of those scenes seemed to be in such contrast to my present circumstances that I brought out a bottle of whisky, feeling that if I couldn’t have the fire, I could at least give myself an inner glow. Two glasses later, I clambered out on deck and perched myself on the cabin top to hold a carol service. I sang happily away for over an hour, roaring out all my favourite carols, and where I had forgotten the words, singing those I did know over again. By the time I had exhausted my repertoire and had had a few encores, I was feeling quite merry. Christmas, I reflected as I turned in, had got off to a good start after all. The first words in my diary for 25 December are, ‘Awoke feeling very thick-headed.’ Despite this, at 9am I drank to those at home wherethe time was 6pm and then began preparing a currant duff. I made an effort over Christmas lunch. I fried a tin of stewed steak and had potatoes and peas, cooked separately for a change, and to go with them I opened the bottle of wine that brother Mike had given me and which I had been saving for this occasion. I rather overestimated on the quantity though, and this filled me up, so the duff had to wait until the evening before I could tackle it, by which time it’d gone soggy. At 3pm my time I drank a Loyal Toast, wishing that I had been up early enough to hear the Queen’s Speech at 6am my time. Somehow, gathering together to listen to this speech adds to the charm of Christmas. One becomes aware of people all over the world held by the same interest listening as well, and it makes the world seem a lot smaller. I wished that it was! In the evening, I tried without success to call up New Zealand and Chilean radio stations; then I listened in to some American commercial stations that were coming through rather well. There must have been unusual radio conditions as I was able to pick up local stations from Illinois, Texas and California, and it was on the last that I heard a recording from the 1968 manned American moon shot. I had not heard before of Apollo 8 and her crew, the first men actually to go round the moon, and it gave me food for thought. There they were, three men risking their lives to advance our knowledge, to expand the frontiers that have so far held us to this planet. The contrasts between their magnificent effort and my own trip were appalling. I was doing absolutely nothing to advance scientific knowledge; I would not know how to. Nothing could be learned of human endurance from my experiences that could not be learned more quickly and accurately under controlled conditions. True, once Chichester and Rose had shown that this trip was possible, I could not accept that anyone but a Briton should be the first to do it, and I wanted to be that Briton. But nevertheless, to my mind there was still an element of selfishness in it. My mother, when asked for her opinion of the voyage before I sailed, had replied that she considered it ‘totally irresponsible’ and on this Christmas Day, I began to think she was right. I was sailing round the world simply because I bloody well wanted to – and, I realised, I was thoroughly enjoying myself. 81



5 £4

50 8. £2

Mike Bender, Boydell & Brewer

RCC Pilotage Foundation (fourth edition), Imray Since the previous 2010 edition, significant new regulations have come into force, particularly regarding the discharge of sewage and permitted levels of alcohol. The planning information is meticulous and the lists of websites and chart sources impressive. New harbours have opened and some have closed. The necessary concentration on places that have developed visitor facilities sometimes overlooks those that have not (the inland waters of Latvia, perhaps?) which leaves plenty of scope for individual exploration. This is an enticing guide to a complex and fascinating area.



9 .9 £9

This history begins in 1660 when Charles II returned to England in the yacht Mary (a gift from the Dutch) and immediately resolved to build something bigger and better. We may feel we’ve read enough about rich men’s yachting, but Bender integrates his survey with wider social, cultural and economic developments and is eloquent, for instance, on the democratising of sailing in the 1950s and ’60s and ‘the building of literally tens of thousands of dinghies in people’s houses and garages.’ A thoroughly researched and comprehensively referenced volume for a serious sailing library.


9 .9 £9

Dave Selby, Adlard Coles Nautical

Dah-Di-Dah Publishing Most of us will hope that we’ll never need advice on treating gunshot wounds or covering protruding abdominal organs with kitchen film but it’s probably good to know it’s there. This user-friendly publication slips easily into a bag or pocket. It’s land-based, not maritime (much easier to call 111 or 999 than Mayday). The design is excellent and the range of information interesting, though I would have liked guidance on assessing some more ‘normal’ hazards such as vomiting and extreme headache. In my family recently, these were neither mal-de-mer nor overindulgence but a life-threatening brain bleed.

A first collection of Dave’s regular columns for our sister magazine Practical Boat Owner illustrated by Jake Kavanagh and sold in aid of the charity GAIN (Guillain-Barre & Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies). This funny and touching account of muddy Essex sailing, when a circumnavigation means four miles round Osea Island in the River Blackwater, is more than an accumulation of anecdotes. It expresses a joy in sailing that is quintessentially individual. Dave knows he is frequently ridiculous and doesn’t care. He wallows in nautical grunge, the Pooterishness of his Sailfish 18 and feels ‘the chuckling song of eternity’ as his 3.3hp Mercury pushes him home to tea.



99 4. £2

99 0. £2

David Hempleman-Adams, Halsgrove A distinctively 21st-century expedition masterminded by Sir David Hempleman-Adams in 2016. The challenge was to circumnavigate the North Pole in a single season using the north-west and northeast passages; its aim was to highlight the shrinking of the polar ice cap and the implications for the indigenous communities if this becomes an all-year trade route. The yacht, Northabout, was built for high latitudes and was crewed by men, women and children from five nations, the youngest aged 14. Their voices are heard through individual blog posts and the book is beautifully illustrated, with some of the photographs taken by drone. 82

Why run the risk of not finding the latest copy of Yachting Monthly on the shelves of your local newsagent? If you don’t already receive one, a subscription guarantees an issue every four weeks, for you, or a sailor you need a last-minute gift for. Packed full of practical seamanship, sailing news, cruising stories,tales of adventure and the latest new boats on test, the newlook Yachting Monthly has something for everyone. Available in print and digital, subscribe today with a special offer for Christmas of £20.99 for six months. Go online at BAU7 or call 0330 333 1113.



99 8. £5

99 4. £1

The Fixclip is a lockable peg that secures clothing, tarpaulins and the like to wire, rope or tubing from 5-32mm in diameter, so you won’t lose your towels when a yacht attempts to raft up to you at speed. It will go up to 50mm but the jaws need assistance in locking shut – clip it over the cloth and guardrail and squeeze the locking tabs below the handles. Come in packs of six.


95 8. 9 £

This MOB device triggers the OLAS app alarm once the terminals for water activation have been submerged for six seconds. This will activate the strobe and a 120-lumen light, designed to float lightup, which will flash for up to 20 hours.

90 3. £3

If you know someone who’s lucky enough to be catching some winter sun in the New Year, this new Cool Dri top is a great gift. Initially designed to keep the BAR America’s Cup team cool, these adapted shirts are fast drying and have an SPF of 50. The tops have an antibacterial finish and don’t need ironing.


2 £6

Dry bags are great until you have something wet to take home. Plastimo’s Wet & Dry Bag has a 10-litre capacity with a zipped compartment on the outside, enabling you to carry wet kit. The whole bag will take 35 litres and it has padded straps to convert it into a backpack.

Phones are great until they run out of battery. As phones have advanced, so too have the ways of charging them. The Rokk Wireless charger by Scanstrut can be fitted and wired into your yacht’s power supply, so whether you choose the internal version as a bunkside charger or the exterior version to go in the cockpit, you’d need never be without power again.



50 £1

Great for locations where mobile or wifi signals are non-existent, the BT-3 will save Navtex data for a week on its internal memory, so all the broadcasts can be read on your Android device via the app. A third-party iOS should be available soon for Apple users. It comes with either the Series 2 antenna as standard, or for £18 more you can get the shorter H Vector mushroom antenna. 83

GROUP TEST SAILING BOOTS Wherever and whenever you sail, sea boots are essential if you want the comfort of warm, dry feet. The Yachting Monthly team set about testing a selection of boots on offer Pictures Graham Snook


GILL TALL YACHTING BOOT These boots are comfortable and easily the cheapest sea boot in our test. A shorter cruising boot variant is also available, and both come in junior sizes. While they lack the design and features of the other boots on test, they were comfy, even if they weren’t as well insulated or the grip as sticky (43° in the dry). There’s

5 £6

plenty of space in the boot’s toe box so toes don’t feel cramped and there is space for warm socks. They were easy enough to get on, but, like Le Chameau Alizé (below), the high leg might not fit everyone’s leg shape. Where many of the other boots taper around the ankle to give a secure fit, these didn’t.

The high leg might not fit everyone’s leg shape


BUDGET BUY All the boots were put through a rigorous wet and dry incline test

The boots weren’t as sticky as the others on test, slipping at 43° in the dry



ot many people like to think of The team wore the boots sailing in bad over the course of a season weather but the before reporting back reality is that it happens. It has been said that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong choice of clothing, so unless you can guarantee your sailing will always be warm and sunny, boots are an item of kit that everyone should have. A good pair of sea boots should see you through many a night watch or wet and windy beat to windward. Quite aside from the obvious role of keeping your feet dry, good sea boots need to cover a number of bases. They need to be warm, comfortable and offer grip that you can trust, as well as being easy to get on and off during both day and night. It also helps if they can be folded down to make the most of the space in your kitbags. In the interest of fairness, and simple curiosity, we also tried a pair of £10 Planet Plastic wellington boots, but as these weren’t designed for yachts and as it became immediately clear that they provided little grip on board, they were dispatched to a locker on the first day, not to reappear.

SIZE RANGE UK/EU 5.5-13/39-48 UPPER Rubber LINING Polyester SOLE Rubber GAITER No

LE CHAMEAU ALIZÉ If your calves are wide, getting these boots on could pose problems, which is a shame because they are good. The rubber boots have a leg that is tall and narrow, with a small top gaiter. We had the Ponti lining version, which didn’t provide much insulation, but they are available with a neoprene liner (£170). The

50 £1

sole is made by Michelin and gave secure footing on board, slipping at 47° in the dry and 53° in the wet. The rubber the boots are made from is extremely supple and they were very comfortable – like wearing trainers. Because they were secure, they were more difficult to get off.

The boots were extremely comfortable – like wearing a pair of trainers

HOW WE TESTED The boots were initially tested over a three-day sailing trip in Dutch waters. While our evenings below decks were warm, sailing during the day was bitterly cold. The boots were worn by the YM test team and swapped regularly so we all got a chance to wear different boots as we went about our different roles on board, in both rain and shine. The boots were then subjected to a wet and dry incline test on the bathing platform of the Bestevaer 45ST Pure, which we could adjust by winching the halyard attached to the end. After the initial test, the team then wore the boots that fitted them best over the season and reported back. Some manufacturers do produce boots specifically for female sailors, but most of the boots we tested were unisex and came in a wide range of sizes for both men and women.

The Michelin sole offered secure footing – 47° in the dry and 53° in the wet




Having a reliable grip and enough flexibility at all angles is key to a good boot

The team found these boots were stiff, and while they would soften with time, until then you’ll have to deal with an aggressive leather edge on the top. This has been addressed for the 2018 model. On the plus side, they do have a good loop on the rear to make it easier to pull them on. The soles feature a razor-cut grip

90 £1

which didn’t inspire confidence to start with, confirmed by a dry reading of 45°, but a better angle of 48° in the wet. They have good insulation and are well made, although the lack of a heel kick was a shame. The ankle of the boot did have a tendency to dig in a little while kneeling down on deck.

The boots have good insulation although lacked a heel kick

The soles feature a razor-cut grip which didn’t inspire much confidence

SPECIFICATIONS SIZE RANGE UK/EU 4-12/37-47 UPPER Leather/Cordura LINING Dri-Lex SOLE Dual compound GAITER No

ZHIK ZK SEABOOT The bold branding might not be for everyone, but these boots had the best grip on test (54° dry, 53° wet) even if they did squeak annoyingly against the deck. They were warm and extremely comfortable, thanks in part to the Merino lining and bouncy soles that absorb impact. The gaiters were good, although the toggles

45 £2

on the inner leg catch each other unless they are tucked in. There were good handles on the front and rear of the leg to help get them on and off. The neoprene helps to keep them light and easy to stow. If your mid-foot is high, you may find the fit a bit tight. Zhik also offers a version without the gaiter.

The Merino lining helped make these boots extremely warm and comfortable



These all-leather upper boots had a lovely quality to them. The leather was soft and pliable and the whole team agreed they were the best looking and felt beautiful. They have a loop to help pull them on, as well as a stretch panel at the back and they are also available in ‘ExtraFit’ sizes for the wide calved among us.

79 £2

Again, the grip was disappointing to begin with but improved after a few days’ wear to 49° in the dry and slightly more in the wet. The leather, with the Gore-Tex lining gave plenty of insulation without too much bulk, although the fit was rather hit and miss with our test team.

The team all agreed these were the bestlooking boots on test

The bouncy soles absorb impact well and offered the best grip on test



After a disappointing start, the grip improved to 49° in the dry after a few days’ wear



SIZE RANGE UK/EU 5-12/38-47 UPPER Rubber/neoprene LINING Merino/neoprene SOLE Rubber GAITER Yes

SIZE RANGE UK/EU 5-12/38-47 UPPER Leather LINING Gore-Tex SOLE Polyurethane/rubber GAITER No


GILL PERFORMANCE The team agreed these warm, breathable boots from Gill were good and solid. The leg of the boot did feel stiff, but softer than the Henri Lloyd boot and it may well soften more in time. The large side handles (one on each side) add bulk, but make getting them on easy, while the prominent wedge on the heel

69 £1

makes removing them easy by catching it under the toe of the other foot without damaging them. The leg of the boot is fabric with protective areas around the ankles, while the base/outsole is moulded TPU. The sole had a good grip and offered a reading of 52° in both wet and dry before it slipped.

The large side handles mean these boots are easy to get on

The team were impressed with the grip, which slipped at 52° in both wet and dry conditions

SPECIFICATIONS SIZE RANGE UK/EU 5.5-11/39-46 UPPER Synthetic LINING Soft-touch polyester SOLE Thermoplastic polyurethane GAITER No

Comfortable, thick soles and insulation will keep your feet warm at sea

LE CHAMEAU NEPTUNE As the Volvo Ocean Race heads into the southern ocean, keep an eye out for crew switching to these boots. The neoprene liner provides insulation while the suction-cup design on the sole gives good grip: 50° in the dry, 54° in the wet. There’s raw rubber inside the boot around the heel to grip feet snugly, although it also gripped

90 £2

socks, managing to pull them down inside the boot. They have a well-drained gaiter that stops the Velcro on oilskin trousers from coming undone and helps keep water out. The toggle at the back of the gaiter, however, digs into your leg when you’re kneeling down.

Watch out for these in action by professional sailors

The suction-cup design on the sole gave 50° grip in the dry and 54° in the wet


Raw rubber around the heel grips feet snugly


MUSTO OCEAN RACER These boots were very comfortable with good grip to 53° in the dry. They are the top-of-the-range boots from Musto and have a unique elasticated lacing system. This gives the boots a snug fit around the leg, although we thought this could have been more useful if it continued further down to the ankle or the foot.

25 £3

The Cordura gaiters are good, but the toggle at the back digs in if you’re helming with your calves resting against a surface. There’s a fabric loop at the rear of the boot to aid getting them on, but it’s a bit fiddly to use. In spite of their bulk, they gained praise from our testers.

These boots were bulky but still managed to impress

DUBARRY CROSSHAVEN The large gaiter, with two retro reflective stripes, conceals handy leather tabs with finger holes to help pull these Gore-Tex-lined boots on. They are very well made, as one would expect for the price. The lower section of the boot is leather with a protective rubber panel around the toe and heel

49 £3

of the foot, which also gives grip to kick them off easily. The fit is a bit narrow, especially around the toes, but the soft insulated lining helps them fit well. Initially the grip was 44° in the dry, but testing a worn pair (owned by one of our team) showed their grip improves over time.

The boots are extremely well made but the fit was a little narrow

After initially disappointing grip results, the soles improved over time

They were very comfortable and the soles achieved good grip up to 53° in the dry



SIZE RANGE UK/EU 5-12/38-47 UPPER Leather/ Gore-Tex/Cordura LINING Gore-Tex SOLE Polyurethane/rubber GAITER Yes

SIZE RANGE UK/EU 4-13/37-48 UPPER Synthetic/Cordura LINING Gore-Tex SOLE Gripdeck rubber GAITER Yes

CONCLUSION Each tester had a different boot that fitted them best

While testing these boots, it became apparent how different our feet and leg shapes are. What fits one person perfectly was uncomfortable for another, and loose boots on one of us were hard for another to pull on. Feet vary by more than just size and width, too. It might sound obvious, but boots really must be tried on. So while we can say which we found the best, it may not be an ideal fit for you. Each tester had a different boot that fitted them best. It’s not only the fit that might not agree with you, however. The cost also has to be considered, with £284 covering the difference between the cheapest and the most expensive. With gear as personal as boots, they really must be tried on


We measured the angle at which each boot lost grip

For value for money, no other boots on test could compete with the Gill Tall Yachting Boot. The fact they come in short or tall and sizes down to UK size 4 only adds to their appeal. If the Alizé fit your legs rather than your feet, they are a good mid-range boot. If not, then the Gill Performance were good, but spending a little more will get you boots with gaiters. The Musto boots were extremely good, although they were pricey, and for that reason they were pipped to the top spot by the Zhik, which had the best grip, good gaiters, were warm and comfortable to spend the day in, and are easy to put on and take off.


£50K singlehanded cruiser

Graham Snook, a boat tester of 20 years, scours the market to help you find your next yacht



any British sailors dream of one day sailing around Great Britain, the island they call home. For some, including Phil, 71, it’s the trip of a lifetime. It’s on his bucket list, and he feels 2018 may be the last year such a trip will be possible. Sailing around Great Britain is a wonderful way to spend a summer. From the idyllic sun-bathed Isles of Scilly and the rugged mountains of Wester Ross, to the bustling industrial fishing harbours and remote anchorages, wonderful pubs to tie up next to and amazing restaurants just a dinghy ride away. The wildlife is breathtaking too: puffins skim haphazardly across the water and basking shark, minke whales and dolphins look at you through glass-like waves. Then Starlight 35 there’s the tides and weather; it’s a challenge, a great sense of achievement and a reminder of Bénéteau Oceanis 323 how beautiful and diverse the island is. Not forgetting the people, from the harbourmasters that undercharge you, the cruisers you Hanse 315 meet en route, and those you bump into at events, working together to show you how wonderful strangers can be. It’s these sorts of experiences that Phil is looking for, and his budget of £50,000 for a suitable boat should see him in good stead. There’s also £5-10,000 in the budget for upgrades, as well as the money for the trip. A Yachtmaster and ex-cruising instructor, Phil previously owned a Bavaria 32 for 10 years, cruising the south coast of England and north coast of France. Phil will have occasional crew, but for most of the trip he’ll be sailing alone, so the boat must be easy to manage singlehanded. His plan after he has completed the trip is to sell her on reasonably soon, hopefully with minimal depreciation.


The perfect boat for a round-Britain trip – safe, secure and strong

Victoria 34 PRICE £45,000-£50,000 YEAR 1986-1999 space of modern yachts – less so if it has The Victoria 34 ticks so many boxes for a a wheel – but with only a small crew, it is deep round-Britain trip, and while the voyage is likely and the high coamings offer protection from the to be a series of day sails, the owner can sail elements and security when moving about. This safe in the knowledge that if they need to boat is from an era before the bathing platform make a move to a safer harbour in punchy and fold-down transoms, so a removable ladder conditions, the Victoria 34 will look after them. amidships or a fixed ladder on the transom will The Victoria 34 was designed by Chuck Paine make boarding from the dinghy easier. just two years after he drew the Bowman 40 in With a relatively slight draught of 1.47m (4ft 1983, and the smaller boat is clearly related with 10in), anchoring close in to beaches or giving the long keel, skeg rudder, spoon bow, counter longer access time to rivers and sills will be a big stern and pleasing sheer bearing more than advantage although the windward a passing resemblance. On deck, performance suffers. The long, the square-fronted, boxy coach SPECIFICATIONS LOA 10.44m (34ft 3in) flat-bottomed keel base will roof and deep, solid teak-capped LWL 8.64m (28ft 4in) also enable the boat to dry out toerails are typical of Paine’s many BEAM 3.23m (10ft 7in) comfortably against harbour walls. designs. The propeller is enclosed The standard yacht was rigged in the skeg, minimising the risk DRAUGHT 1.47m (4ft 10in) as a sloop with a keel-stepped of picking up lines from the many DISPLACEMENT 5,769kg (12,719lb) mast, which may prove to be pot markers around the coast. a bit of a handful, even with the Launched in 1986, the 34 was DESIGNER Chuck Paine mainsheet across the bridge originally available with either BUILDER Victoria Yachts deck and genoa winches to wheel or tiller steering. The OWNERS’ ASSOCIATION hand. Lucky then that it was also cockpit might not have the


The square-fronted boxy coach roof is typical of a Chuck Paine design

available in a cutter configuration which gives more choice for setting the right amount of sail. It would be possible to have a smaller inner staysail (which could be adapted to be selftacking) and a yankee staysail forward, making two easily managed sails. Or, one could opt for an overlapping genoa staysail for light wind use and larger inner staysail for breezier conditions. Down below, the 34 has a little over 1.82m (6ft) headroom throughout, thanks to the raised coachroof. The interior layout might not be good for families, although the separate forward cabin and heads does make the prospect easier, but for a couple or lone sailor there is plenty of room. The compact galley sits at the bottom of the companionway to port and the flat floor gives way to the curve of the hull outboard while to starboard, there’s the large chart table abaft of which lies a pilot berth – great as extra stowage for the equipment needed for a round-Britain trip or as a passage berth. The parallel saloon seating can be used for passage berths too. The boat has many good design details like

The sheer amount of wood on board gives a feeling of quality a hanging locker in front of the chart table. Some yachts also have a grate of unvarnished teak here that drains into the bilge. Despite the white GRP inner mould, which extends high enough to incorporate the seat

bases, and vee-berth forward, the Victoria 34 has a wonderful traditional quality about it. It was built in a time when solid wood on board was plentiful, and it really makes the boat feel like something that’s a little bit special. 91


Starlight 35 PRICE £49,000-£80,000 YEAR 1991-1997

SPECIFICATIONS LOA 11.0m (36ft 1in) LWL 8.56m (28ft 1in) BEAM 3.51m (11ft 6in) DRAUGHT 1.80m (5ft 11in) DISPLACEMENT 5,993kg (13,212lb) DESIGNER Stephen Jones BUILDER Sadler / Rival Bowman OWNERS’ ASSOCIATION www.sadlerandstarlight.

Thanks to a long keel and deep skeg, the hull has good directional stability The Starlight 35 works for a round-Britain cruise because it has a good turn of speed, is comfortable and well thought out – everything one has come to expect from designer Stephen Jones. The cockpit is well laid out, with the mainsheet just the other side of the wheel and the genoa winches a little further forward, but with an autopilot this needn’t be a issue. It has high coamings and a bridge deck to hunker down on, in the shelter of the sprayhood. Forward, it has a double bow roller and aft, the sugar-scoop transom incorporates a bathing platform with a swim ladder. The addition of a handle-cum-step on the transom would aid the lone sailor arriving or departing by dinghy – important for many rural Scottish anchorages. The hull is easily driven, and thanks to a long keel and deep skeg, well mannered with good

The mainsheet is the other side of the wheel and the genoa winches further forward


directional stability. The long skeg is faired sweetly to halfway down the semi-balanced rudder to provide protection and support. The engine is located quite far forward, and the shaft is fairly short so there’s a fair distance between propeller and rudder. The engine is under a box that projects forward of the companionway and provides a platform halfway down the steps – ideal for a quick peak through the sprayhood. The engine box can be removed for better access to the engine, which is a great advantage for The 35 is equipped with ongoing maintenance. great fiddles throughout The boat was manufactured with a deep inner mould, which give a good finish in many areas, like

in the lockers behind the saloon seating, as well as framing the floorboards with a white surround. The L-shaped galley has a rounded end and a circular sink making the most of the worktop shape. Outboard is a second sink, then a reasonably sized coolbox or fridge. The other side of the companionway is the large chart table. Like the rest of the boat, there are good fiddles here and enough room for instruments on the unit under the side deck – this started off as dark-grey GRP in earlier boats, but changed to a more pleasing wood finish a few years later. Forward is a decentsized vee-berth while aft, there is a second cabin, for guests or extra stowage, and a heads compartment in GRP. The 35 was available with three keel choices: standard with 1.80 (5ft 11in), a shallow-fin 1.52m (5ft) and most interestingly the wing keel, with a wingspan so wide it would, if the sea bed was suitable, dry out on the wings. The wings are in an inverted-aerofoil shape, and pay off in medium-heavy winds, although in light winds they do increase drag a little. As the aim of the trip is to go round Britain, however, motoring in light winds wouldn’t be out of the question Most will have slab reefing so unless the boom has been upgraded to accept single or doubleline reefing, a trip to the mast will been needed to reef. Consideration will need to be given to the easiest way to do this singlehanded.


Bénéteau Oceanis 323 PRICE £44,000-£55,000 YEAR 2006-2008

While the Bénéteau Oceanis Clipper 323 might not be the first choice of many, it’s a great boat for coastal cruising, which is essentially what the trip could be – choosing the right weather and enjoying time ashore as necessary. The hull was derived from the Oceanis Clipper 311, the hull from the original Figaro 1 class, so it has form. Although the cockpit is a little exposed with low coamings, these are comfortable to sit on when heeled. As it’s a lighter displacement, the loads

SPECIFICATIONS LOA 10.0m (32ft 10in) LWL 8.89m (29ft 2in) BEAM 3.26m (10ft 8in) DRAUGHT 1.80m (5ft 11in) DISPLACEMENT 4,230kg (9,325lb) DESIGNER Group Finot BUILDER Bénéteau OWNERS’ ASSOCIATION

required to sail it are lighter too, so it’ll keep sailing while slower, heavier boats are resorting to engine power. With the tiller steering it’s fun to sail, but I wasn’t as impressed with the wheel version, although its wheel can rotate on the pedestal to aid access to the bathing platform. Genoa winches are to hand in

The removable transom seat gives great access to the open transom

the cockpit and it has a removable transom seat to give great access to the open transom, itself ideal for loading bags of shopping on board. The 323 has a large heads which, although the shower isn’t separated, makes living on board for longer periods more civilised. The aft cabin is also a good size, thanks to beams of yachts progressing aft when the 311 was launched in 1998. The galley is a simple L-shape with enough The fashion at the time stowage, but a little more was for darker wood workspace would be nice. The chart table is aft facing and doesn’t have a great deal of space for instruments or charts. I’d be tempted to replace the vee-berth cushions and infill in the forward cabin with a decent mattress, maybe even opting for a 311 (saving £15,000) and having more money for adding the equipment to make it more functional. The bow locker has plenty of room for fitting a windlass. While the 323 was available with shoal draught 1.45m (4ft 9in) and a lifting keel version drawing a meagre 0.80m (2ft 7in), I’d opt for the 1.8m deep draught for extra performance.

Hanse 315 PRICE £44,000-£50,000 YEAR 2005-2007

Not to be confused with the Hanse 315 launched in 2016, this one is at least 11 years old, but it still has many good points that make it a viable choice. One of great thing about Hanse yachts is their self-tacking jibs which, once trimmed for close-hauled work, need little more attention, especially when short-tacking through narrow channels or close to headlands to avoid the worst of the tide. The only down side is that the sheet is taken to the coachroof winch

rather than the two genoa winches set on top of the coaming. The Hanse 315 was available with a wheel or a tiller, the latter making access to the selftacking jib sheet that bit easier. It’s a pretty comfortable little cruiser that can sail nimbly when needed. The mainsheet can run across the centre of the cockpit with the wheel configuration, or to a padeye in the cockpit sole like the tiller version.

SPECIFICATIONS LOA 9.45m (31ft in) LWL 8.30m (30ft 9in) BEAM 3.20m (10ft 6in) DRAUGHT 1.75m (5ft 9in) DISPLACEMENT 4,300kg (9,480lb) DESIGNER Judel / Vrolijk / Hanse Yacht Design BUILDER Hanse Yachts OWNERS’ ASSOCIATION

The 315 is comfortable and nimble when needed

One may be lucky enough to find a 315 with a removable bowsprit, which could be used for a furling asymmetric or code zero (if finances allow) for lighter weather or off-the-wind work. Otherwise, the engine will take the strain. The transom on the wheeled version has a fold-down seat, while the tiller version has a simple slide-in panel. Both give good access to the short bathing platform. Down below, the accommodation is standard – good if a bit simple – with parallel seating in the saloon for off-watch down time for the owner or their crew. There’s a reasonably sized heads compartment with access to the decent cockpit locker to port. Forward of this is the small forward-facing chart table, which lacks adequate stowage for books and the like. Still, this is less of an issue when there’s only one of you on board. The L-shaped galley is a little on the small side but again, it’s perfectly practical, with a single sink, a fridge and a two-burner stove with an oven – just enough for rustling up small meals. The Hanse 315 was available as shoal 1.40m (4ft 7in) or deep-draught 1.75m (5ft 9in) fin keel, both L-shaped with a deep spade rudder. 93



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The confession of the month wins a floating Standard Horizon handheld VHF (UK residents only)

Service with a woof! Beryl Chalmers

My friend, his wife and his dog, Popeye, were cruising around the east coast and had moored in Haven Marina in Ipswich. They’d arrived late in the evening so didn’t have time to victual the boat for breakfast the next morning. My friend, whom I will call John to save his embarrassment, promised to be the good husband and to walk to the supermarket with Popeye in the morning for bread, milk and sausages, allowing his wife to have a well-deserved lie-in after two weeks of early-morning starts for the tide. Bread, milk and sausages bought, he set off back to the boat – by this time it was nearly 1100. It was then that the plan started to unravel. Bumping into a couple of old work mates, John was persuaded to have a ‘swift half’ in the local Nelson pub, renowned for its real ale. Explaining that he could really only stay for a short while, his mates were having none of it and another round was ordered. When the third round was on its way, John realised he might be strung up in the rigging if he didn’t get breakfast back to his wife, and so devised a cunning plan. He put Popeye and the breakfast in a cab with a little note saying, ‘Just having a swift one with a couple of mates. Popeye was happy to bring the sausages, milk and bread back to you!’ When John eventually arrived back at the boat, Popeye was looking very pleased with himself, having been given his master’s breakfast instead of Chum.

A drop in the bucket Kurt Jewson

On a beautiful Cornish summer’s day, my 10year-old son and I decided to take our boat out for a sailing and fishing trip around Mounts Bay. Not long out of Porthleven, my son uttered the now-legendary, words, ‘Dad, I need a wee!’ Ordinarily this wouldn’t pose too much of a problem. Our boat is an open dayboat, so ‘over the side’ is the norm. However, the boat was heeled over and, given that his mother would kill me if he fell in, I advised him thus: ‘Kneel down, wee in the bucket, then throw it overboard.’ Now, I must say that I had a bit of love for this bucket, having spliced a length of Hempex on to 106

its handle, whipped the other end and generally make it an object of much fuss. So you can imagine my dismay when as my son was ‘finishing up’, I saw the bucket fly through the air, splash on the surface of the sea, capsize, take on water and slowly disappear into the depths never to be seen again. ‘But Dad, you said wee in the bucket, then throw it overboard!’

Push me pull you Phillip Cave

I used to sail my father’s cruising catamaran, but there was one weekend I would rather forget. The boat was on the slip in a Woodbridge boatyard having had a leak repaired – or so I thought. When I first arrived, the tide was low and I got aboard with the intention of sailing off

at High Water. I put a kedge out to the Low Water mark to allow me to pull the boat out from the slip on the morning high tide, tying the warp to the timber pushpit. I spent the night on board and as the tide came up in the morning, I noticed water was coming into the boat – the leak wasn’t fixed! When the boatyard arrived for work, they wanted to haul the boat up the slipway to take a look. The shipwright asked me if it was okay to start winching and I said yes. There was a creaking sound, followed by a loud crack as the warp on the kedge tightened and clean pulled off the large timber pushpit. The shipwright and I just looked at each other but I understood what his look meant – it meant, ‘You gave me the okay.’ Later that day, I made a difficult phonecall to my father. At least someone was happy – the boatyard got a bit more work out of it!






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Yachting monthly january 2018  
Yachting monthly january 2018