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Matakana Blue - Final passage home
Matakana Blue - Final passage home
Legato - Homeward bound
Legato - Homeward bound
21/08/2017

Legato - Log day 11

We grabbed 3 hours sleep and woke to Clare and Charlie waving at us from the Trinity Lightship.Coffee and bacon butties for anyone ready to join in.Then final goodbyes and promises to keep in touch. So in the final analysis, what did we think?I wanted to do the trip as it promised to raise my level of confidence about tackling a Channel crossing and the tides around the Channel Islands.It absolutely delivered.I have done a few rallies and the big difference with the ARC Channel Islands cruise was that everyone had the same common goal:To get experience as a skipper of managing the boat on an extended cruise in challenging waters.These were some of the nicest people I have ever met on a rally.We all got on so well.We have made new friends and all come away better sailors.What more can you. read more...


21/08/2017

Legato - Log day 10

Is it that time already?We couldn’t believe the end of the trip was in sight.I could easily have stayed another couple of days.With the prospect of an overnight crossing short handed, we were pleased the ARC team has laid on a train for us to see the last corner of Alderney.The Braye Express (my title) took us from the harbour to the site of the quarry where they sourced the rocks for the harbour wall.Right next door to the Mannez lighthouse.The railway staff were proud to tell us the history of the line and show us the ex London underground rolling stock.The kids and the big kids were even allowed onto the engine and blow the horn.Back on the boat we tried to grab another couple of hours sleep before setting off at 5pm for the final marathon - Braye to Gosport keeping the Isle of Wight. read more...


21/08/2017

Legato - Log day 9

What a night!One of the great things for me about this trip is that I experienced lots of new new things.46 knots of wind on a swinging mooring is now one of them.How appropriate that name is.In the morning the wind had dropped to a strong force 6 and we took our lives in our hands to make the half mile dinghy journey across the harbour.We met the intrepid Claire who led a slightly bleary eyed rally team on a scenic walk around the island.We had a chance to see The Swinge in full flood from the safety of land and in case there was any doubt, we saw its true colours.Imagine all the calm and serenity of a washing machine.The island has a traditional agricultural history that has been decimated by economic change.It was abandoned during the war and now survives on subsidies from Guernsey. read more...


21/08/2017

Matakana Blue - Final passage home

My passage plan suggested an 8am start to arrive at the needless around 19.00 as the tide turns but talk over dinner of "first light" from Doodles and Omnishambles revise my plans and we depart at 7am,Ian calls me to say they left at 5.30 have 5 knots of breeze and are motoring.   Dolphins again come to say hello as we leave Bray or perhaps farewell as these are the last we see.  Claire texts, the overnighters are safely tucked up in Haslar and breakfast is at 9.  Fortunately wehave some preprepared bacon rolls warming in the oven. We motor sail for a while but shortly after 9am the wind hits 10 knots and I put out the gennaker. Over the next few hours the wind builds, giving us an average of 17 knots from 260 WSW and we are rompingalong soon arriving 10 miles off the. read more...


20/08/2017

Matakana Blue - Day 10 Alderney

As we boarded the water taxi at 09.30, the large wave that crashed against the breakwater sending an enormous volume of water and spray over the top lit brightly in the morning sunshine probably bestsums up the night before.  Solid breezes certainly in the upper 20 kn blew steadily throughout, howling through the rigging and sending the boats rocking and skating in the churning waters produced by the swell.   The morning trip on the Alderney railway was excellent fun. Volunteer staff were extremely friendly sharing lots of stories and anecdotes on the history of the railway and allowing the children to playwith the engines whistle. We were given a tour of the sheds took a walk to the headland to view the Lighthouse and some of the World War II battlements. The fleet is. read more...


Matakana Blue - Day 10 Alderney
Matakana Blue - Day 10 Alderney
20/08/2017

Legato - Log day 8

Time to move on again and after stocking up, refuelling and watering for the comparative isolation of Alderney Harbour, we said good bye to the missuses(Is that a word?) who had literally planned a flying visit. Off we all sailed into the Little Russel heading for The Swinge and hoping we had got our timing right.More Dolphins were there to see us off which was a good omen.It was spectacularly successful trip!We all made it without incident which is testament to the passage planning advice which was earnestly debated at the skippers briefing.As our long suffering guru, Roger, said (after we had all arrived) The Swinge can be one of the scariest passages in any skippers log book.It had to be taken seriously.Only one sensible boat took the east passage up the race.Everyone else gave The. read more...


20/08/2017

Legato - Log day 7

A much welcomed second free day and off on a jolly holiday bus tour.Takes you back!Our guide (Graham?) gave us a very personal and understated history of the island as he drove us through the tiny roads and we loved it.The island is bigger than I was led to believe and it was a trip of contrasts:from the dank, grim catacombs of the german hospital (anyone contemplating a war should visit just to put them off) to the spectacular cliffs and beaches.The little church was as interesting as it was peculiar.Our final mooring after the lottery of berthing at St Peter Port had the best view looking directly out of the harbour across to the sun kissed islands of Herm and Sark.Obviously the best venue for afternoon tea and local cakes.. read more...


Matakana Blue - Day 9 Alderney
Matakana Blue - Day 9 Alderney
19/08/2017

Matakana Blue - Day 9 Alderney

What a beautiful place.  We ducked the day walking tour and opted for an extra lie in.  After much debate I decided to blow up the tender which only leads to exhaustion and frustration as the outboardthat worked fine 10 days ago fails to show any signs of life.  We water taxi ashore and the driver, having witnessed my pain offers to take a look at it.   Back on dry land we are all amazed by the beauty and size  of settlement here taking a walk through the beautiful town before sheltering for lunch in a restaurant on the high Street. We follow one ofthe guided walks after lunch finishing up down on the beach just as the final rain shower passes through and clears quickly revealing azure blue skies.   The children take to the sea for a swim whilst Karen and I. read more...


Matakana Blue - Day 8 passage to Alderney
Matakana Blue - Day 8 passage to Alderney
18/08/2017

Matakana Blue - Day 8 passage to Alderney

  Dolphins and bright sunshine accompany our departure from St Peter Port at 14.30 Omnishambles and Reflections just ahead under Genoa alone. We top up fuel though looking at the forecast for the week aheadwe won't need it!  I set one reef in the main and full genoa just in case the wind increases as we clear the shelter of the island but it does not, nor is the wind direction any good for my plan to head East around Alderney.  The wind is falling, little over10knots so I shake out the reef and hoist the furling gennaker.  We have good boat speed now but I need to head towards Ortac to get a good wind angle which takes us west of Pierreau Vraic. I drop the gennaker as we pass so we have plenty of time and controlin the Swinge   The tide is setting North and our. read more...


17/08/2017

Legato - Log day 6

Awoke to blue skies, sunshine and a free day to enjoy it.  The morning started with boat jenga.  We were rafted to a swiss crew who wanted to slip.  So we swapped places.  Then we were offered to move closer to the rest of the rally boats and rafted against a french family who decided to  leave an hour later.  St Peter Port in August is a busy place.After breakfast we did the town.  It's  like Cowes but much bigger.  Bond Street but much less pretentious.  Bath but hillier.  Madeira but English.  The high street is right next to the marina and we scanned the watch and jewellry shops for bargains, but no luxury tempted us beyond a round of coffees.  Some crew did the organised walking tour but we spent hours hunting down old. read more...


17/08/2017

Matakana Blue - Day 6 or is it Day 7 we're losing track.

The island put on its best for our coach tour.  Glorious warm sunshine accompanied us and provided a splendid backdrop to the crystal clear azure waters and white sand beaches of the west coast. The fabuloussights included the underground hospital, the little chapel, former gun emplacements and the wreck of a Roman Galley.    Lunch at The Catch was outstanding, great value too the £10 a head moules al La creme included a glass of wine.  The girls enjoyed some shopping time, the boys provisioned and topped up tanks.   A spectrum of views on winds, weather, tides and passage plans led to lively debate throughout the evening skippers briefing. Friday is looking blustery and I don't think anyone is too keen to be on anchorin Bray.   We collided with. read more...


Matakana Blue - Day 6 or is it Day 7 we're losing track.
Matakana Blue - Day 6 or is it Day 7 we're losing track.
Matakana Blue - Day 5 free day in Guernsey
Matakana Blue - Day 5 free day in Guernsey
16/08/2017

Matakana Blue - Day 5 free day in Guernsey

Exhausted!   The dawn reshuffle of the rafting pack lasts until 11am but leaves us comfortably alongside Reflections with Honey and Omnishambles across the pontoon and the rest of the fleet together a few pontoonsdown.   Lovely stroll through town, long lunch at the excellent Boathouse, areturn visit for us. Harriet gained her love of seafood here aged 2 when she demolished my plate of langoustine years ago.  A siesta was necessary to recharge before evening drinks at the yacht club and deferred birthday dinner at The Crows Nest.  Best seafood linguine ever tasted.  Had to laugh, the gents toilets are adornedwith pictures of famous Guernsey shipwrecks including one of HMS Smiter, the first Royal Naval ship abandoned since the falklands.  My brother was a. read more...


15/08/2017

Legato - Log day 5

On the move again today, destination Guernsey.  In complete contrast to Saturday, no wind.  OK.  We could have flown  the gennaker for fun but with only 6 kts wind we chose to concentrate on the tides and look at the scenery.  We stayed close to the Cotentin peninsula and lobster pot spotting was another busy pastime.I was focussed on getting my position right for the white water rafting experience called the Alderney race.  As it happened we experienced a lot less tide than you might expect in the Solent.  As Steve from Omnishambles said, "the race was cancelled".   Time for tea and flapjacks.Suddenly Mike shouted "dolphin" as a fin broke the surface.  It danced around the boat coming up both sides of the bow. First one I've seen when. read more...


15/08/2017

Matakana Blue - Day Four - Passage to Guernsey

Karen’s birthday so it was special day and whilst some wind would have been good the skippers wife most definitely appreciated the warm sunshine, calm seas and zephyrbreezes on passage through the Alderney Race and Little Russel.  We depart 12.30, manage half an hour with the furling gennaker before the breeze shifts and dies away at Cap du Hague. Dolphin spotting, two sightings and a movie below kept the children entertaineduntil we arrived at a packed St Peter Port just after 7pm.   Pizza and wine aboard as the dusk fell revealing a cloud and moonless sky.  We shuffled the raft to allow the 4am departing French boat to move the outside, they wished happy birthday to Karen, triedsome charm – “you do not need candles tonight, you have the stars” and in typical French. read more...


Matakana Blue - Day Four - Passage to Guernsey
Matakana Blue - Day Four - Passage to Guernsey
15/08/2017

Matakana Blue - Matakana blue - day 3 Cherbourg

Skippers aching limbs and tired mind is in stark contrast to the youthful crews boundless energy after their long sleeps on the passage over.  Cherbourg’s much moreinteresting than its industrial heritage might suggest and two coffees at the splendid Café du Theatre revived flagging spirits for a busy day ahead.  Stores were replenished and a stray halyard recovered by Robin, Harriet (11) and Edward (8) took the opportunityfor a trip up mast, (don’t rely on the plastic hooks attached to the ARC flags).   We could have spent all day at the fabulous  La Cite de la Mer, the tour of the Nuclear submarine Redoubtable being a notable highlight for me and the children reallyenjoyed the Journey to the deep, as good as anything Disney can put on.  A late lunch /. read more...


Matakana Blue - Matakana blue - day 3 Cherbourg
Matakana Blue - Matakana blue - day 3 Cherbourg
Legato - Mike at the helm
Legato - Mike at the helm
13/08/2017

Legato - Log day 3

A coordinated departure from Haslar and we are all off and running.  A sedate start at dawn for a run down to Bembridge then turning south for the start of the next leg.  With a westerly wind that meant 65 miles all on one starboard tack.  Next stop Cherbourg.Although the fleet started to spread out, we eere always in sight of at least 2 other boats.  The ARC team encourage ship to ship vhf calls and there was lots of friendly radio chatter about dolphin spotting and general progress reports.  It really kept the idea going that we are cruising in company.Strenghthening winds over a strong tide gave us a challenging finish to a long day.  We all arrived at Port Chantereyne at near enough the same time to be greeted by the sunny smiles and yellow shirts of the. read more...


13/08/2017

Matakana Blue - Day Two - Matakana blue

Day two passage to Cherbourg . Is it possible to sail to Cherbourg  in your pyjamas? Yes it is, the children did it! A bumpy start meant we all headed on deck as we left Haslar at 5.30 and hunkered down for the day ahead.  The pre prepared bacon rolls were left untouched by most of the crew as we 'enjoyed' a day bestdescribed as 'perfect for passage making'.  It was a game of three thirds as the light grey mist and wind over tide that stirred our souls as we made swift passage southwards from the island gave way to reefs being shaken out in mid channel sunshinesailing confirming the east going tide was now working in harmony with the solid Westerly breeze.  Progress had been swift so far and the half way stage arrived surprisingly early, pleasingly so as the. read more...


Matakana Blue - Day Two - Matakana blue
Matakana Blue - Day Two - Matakana blue
13/08/2017

Matakana Blue - Day one on Matakana Blue

Day one. All gathered in Gosport, welcomed by a beautiful sunny morning and friendly team from World Cruising for briefings and safety checks. Great location to assemble, lots to do at Gun wharf Quay – children went zorbing, Karen shopping and boys went up the Spinnaker Tower before lunch at Zizzi's. Really convenient to be so close to all the facilities and historic attractions of Portsmouth.  Greyafternoon and light drizzle to finish the day.  Early night and sleep comes eventually as westerly wind whistles through the rigging.    Haslar Marina from Spinnaker Tower. read more...


Matakana Blue - Day one on Matakana Blue
Matakana Blue - Day one on Matakana Blue
13/08/2017

Legato - Log - day 2

Just in case all of the kit loaded on board hadn't been unpacked, screwed on, lashed down or tested, today was the day to do it.Early to bed, early to rise.  4.30 am alarm tomorrow??  Usually that time of day means nothing to me.Pete. read more...


13/08/2017

Legato - Log day 4

Woke to the sound of bells from the town clock and went on a croissant hunt. Cherbourg looks much nicer than we expected.  The little back streets were deserted and the town squares and parks empty.   A typical French town on a Sunday - quiet, peaceful and mostly closed.Mike and I both felt the effects of running a big boat short handed.  We appreciated the idea of allowing a lay day.   But any signs of fatigue soon faded after breakfast.Some boats started to attend to those little tweaks that are needed after a long trip and our corner of the marina was soon buzzing with chatter and activity.  Notes compared, advice given, stories told. The sun shone again and we all assembled for evening drinks on the terrace bar overlooking the port.  This, as. read more...


Legato - Little ship big ship
Legato - Little ship big ship
Matakana Blue - ARC Channel Islands Day 1 - Haslar
Matakana Blue - ARC Channel Islands Day 1 - Haslar
12/08/2017

Matakana Blue - ARC Channel Islands Day 1 - Haslar

Day one.all gathered in Gosport beautiful sunny morning Grey cloudy afternoon. Went over to gun wharf key. Zorbing, shopping, went up the Spinnaker Tower and had lunch at Zizzi's. really convenient tobe so close to all the facilities and historic attractions of Portsmouth.IMG_0176. read more...


Legato - Arriving at Haslar
Legato - Arriving at Haslar
10/08/2017

Legato - Log Day 1 - And so it begins...

After weeks of planning, tweaking, fitting and generally keeping the chandleries of the South Coast in business, we arrived in Haslar to meet our new rally buddies.  In complete contrast to yesterday, the sun shone out of a blue sky and reminded us why we all wanted to go sailing in the first place.Thanks to the Haslar crew, the welcome drinks set the tone for a great evening.. read more...


Beowulf - Channel Sunset
Beowulf - Channel Sunset
Majic-L - Photo comp - sunset over the channel - get that picture!
Majic-L - Photo comp - sunset over the channel - get that picture!
28/08/2016

Majic-L - Majical Challenge - Days 10 & 11

So here we are - the last blog entry for the Channel ARC. After a quick breakfast on Saturday we decided to head off into town and hit Carrefour for cheese, wine, charcuterie and pressies for friends and relations back home. I always enjoy that trip - the French seem to do fresh food much better than our supermarkets! We had to give way to an armed patrol as we walked through town - obviously security still high after recent events in France.After lunch with some of our purchases in the bright sunshine and a group photo that Clare wanted, we got underway back to Gosport. No wind of any substance meant motor sailing for the first 4 hours. We enjoyed sitting on the front bow and dangling our feet in the water when the sea was a little bumpy. Then somehow Richard managed to serve up pie,. read more...


28/08/2016

Midnight Wanderer - Days 8 & early 9 - Friday and Sunday am.

Bought the oil, as we anticipated that it would be another motor sail. The whole trip has encompassed about half an hours sailing (!), so just as well our tonker is in tip top condition.Skippers' Briefing,accompanied by coffee and biscuits provided by the marina staff, revealed that the fleet was splitting with some going to Lymington, some up the Hamble, and some to Haslar for the lunch and prize giving.Guy Malpas arrived from Portsmouth, having had a very early start, and he was a welcome sight. Breakfast, followed by a boat walk around, followed by lunch and off we departed at 1510. Main up in the outer harbour, but no genoa and we motored on, and on. No wind and then mid channel it turned southerly, peaking at 25 knots as it came over the stern port quarter. And still we motored on.. read more...


Bubsa - Sunrise in Guernsey
Bubsa - Sunrise in Guernsey
Bubsa - I see no ships... But flying the flag got Arc Channel Islands.
Bubsa - I see no ships... But flying the flag got Arc Channel Islands.
Majic-L - Morning view from Majic-l
Majic-L - Morning view from Majic-l
Majic-L - Sunrise @ Alderney- Majic-l
Majic-L - Sunrise @ Alderney- Majic-l
27/08/2016

Midnight Wanderer - Day 8 - Friday

A day of very little really, but in essence our pool of knowledge was extended, that hangovers do eventually pass, and Cherbourg is a charming little town, with lots of English influence.One member of the crew raided the M&S pastry counter, and supplied the Skipper with Guernsey full fat milk for his cereal, at least 80% fat the label said. Certainly not for daily consumption! In tea, the milk coated the surface with large fat globules making the cuppa very unattractive.We left St. Peter Port at about 1130, taking the Race north in a largely flat sea. Wind on the nose so motor sailed expecting to catch a decent blow after Cap de la Hague. No such luck, which meant a motor sail all the way to the marina. We overrode the marina staff and parked at the end of P pontoon across from Beuwolf. read more...


27/08/2016

Bubsa - The last morning.

Getting up as the sun comes up over Cherbourg Marina you realise what a magical time of day it is. Slowly you see the world waking up. The odd head pops up over the parapit looking around to survey the scenery. Looking up at the sky's to see what the wind will bring. People padding down the pontoon in their pyjamas heading to the showers. It's so great to be able to take time out and just sit and watch and think about the journey home. It's been a fun few days and I am sorry it's coming to end but thankyou all for your company and friendship and safe sailing to all on their journeys home. By Fiona on Bubsa. read more...


Majic-L - Yacht overtaking on the port bow
Majic-L - Yacht overtaking on the port bow
26/08/2016

Majic-L - Majical Challenge Day 9

After we had spotted the showers last night, early morning trip across in the inflatable to use the facilities. Got chatting to the cleaner - turns out she came here on a sailing trip herself and liked the place so much she came back and stayed.Came back to bacon butties that Richard had served up - had to wolf them down to get across for the Alderney railway trip at 9am. What a quaint little railway - an old diesel pulling some ex London Underground carriages. Only a relatively short length of track but lots to see and some great views across the harbour - at one point you could see both shorelines on either side of the Island. After looking around the lighthouse, Richard and Linda took the train back whilst Tony and I walked back along the coast. We came across a beer festival in "The. read more...


Bubsa - 22 toppings between them. Bubsa enjoys a delicious meal at The Moorings.
Bubsa - 22 toppings between them. Bubsa enjoys a delicious meal at The Moorings.

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