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04/07/2017

Blonde Moment - Blog 11

BLOG 11Sines to Lagos The final leg…………The pontoon was unusually quiet on Thursday night - no parties, no late dinners; a solemnness had descended over the fleet as we realised the forecast for tomorrow's rounding of Cape St Vincent and our approach to Lagos.(20-25 knots for our sail south increasing to 30-35 knots at the Cape and around to Lagos).Alarms went at 5.15 am and crews slipped lines and quietly departed when ready.We waited until 6.15 am drinking tea (how very British) until the harbour was empty and all jostling for position was over and quickly slipped our lines and were soon into downwind sailing, surfing down Atlantic rollers with dolphins jumping out of the waves and turning and twisting under BM.The wind increased all the way to the Cape and we reefed our main twice as. read more...


03/07/2017

Raggy Doll - 30th June - 2nd July - The Last Leg

Friday 30th we were up at 5am for an early set off. There had been lots of talk of high winds, possibly force 6 or more and nobody wanted to be late leaving. The sail down the coast was good, we were nearly at Cape St Vincent when the theme tune to jaws became very appropriate as a shark glided passed, we'd seen dolphins but this was the only shark. As we rounded Cape ofSt Vincent, the wind started to pick up. We dipped our ensign as a sign of respect for Commodore Nelson (later to become Admiral Nelson) on 11th February 1797 he managed to sail through the Spanish fleet in the fog, identifying their position, but not their number, thereby allowing the British Navy to attack and defeat them.Grey Goose who were roughly 5 nautical miles ahead, warned us that at the second headland the winds. read more...


01/07/2017

Blonde Moment - Blog 10

And then came Oeiras.......A wall painting competition- Paul found a very faded 2008 BM painting which I touched up whilst Paul did a new one for 2017.A tour of a poets park with sculptures, statues and poems set in lovely tree landscape; a very interesting palace and fortified wine cellar tour and tasting with very enthusiastic guide talking us through their three varieties.A chance to visit Lisbon and Cascais and several parties as we near the end of the rally.  BM hosted twenty to celebrate a wedding anniversary and friends 65th birthday.  Colin brought his guitar - no one wanted to break the magic, so we cooked pasta and sun dried tomato pesto for everyone and we all sang along until nearly midnight.Then a very fast downwind sail to Sines (7 hours) with a long spinnaker run. read more...


Mischief - Mischief HIHO
Mischief - Mischief HIHO
30/06/2017

Mischief - Mischief HIHO

Port in the port on port, through a porthole in Porto. The ancient city of Porto set on terraces near the river Douro was the setting for our next adventures. Porto used to play an important role in the trade between Lisbon and Braga, but it was not until centuries later that Porto gained fame for its port. Tuk Tuks arrived at the marina one hour after we finished the race. We rapidly secured Mischief, grabbed Mabel as she was to be granted a day out in the hope that she would forgive us for our poor behaviour in Bayona.  The author joined Wiki Wiki who entertained her throughout the day with their delightful American accents, banter and wit. Thank you Wiki Wiki. Grey Goose and the rest of the Dave's from Mistchief, who incidentally have now been renamed Dik. read more...


29/06/2017

Raggy Doll - 27th, 28th, 29th June - Sweet sweet music

It's Thursday and we're sitting in Sines (pronounced singe) Marina, it's the second night here, the wind is howling around all the yachts and the water is slapping up the boat 24 hours a day, making sleeping an interesting concept. It's a beautiful bay with a local town and it would have been nice to stay longer, but we leave for our final destination tomorrow.Tuesday day time is a bit of a blur but the evening was spent with the whole rally on Wiki Wiki, a great evening with home grown music by Mike and Marty from Sweet Harmony and Colin from Serafina of Maldon. For anyone reading this, look up mikevass.com he's a very talented Scottish musician and he has several easy listening albums, in fact Marty, his brother is also a very talented musician. Wednesday, we sailed to Sines, winds. read more...


WikiWiki - Last Night in Oeiras
WikiWiki - Last Night in Oeiras
WikiWiki - Last Night in Oeiras
WikiWiki - Last Night in Oeiras
WikiWiki - Last Night in Oeiras
WikiWiki - Last Night in Oeiras
28/06/2017

Blonde Moment - Blog

Blog 9Porto was VERY hot.Our tuk tuk tour was fun with great views of the Douro river from all angles and sides.Churchills Port Wine Lodge is rather modern 1984 ? but fun tasting their three varieties and learning about the process.Then a good sail down to Figueira da Foz with a long visit from bottle nose dolphins, who stayed at the bow, entertaining us for ages.(Sorry skipper, couldn't change sails whilst trying to take photos)!A sardine bbq finished off a great day in the sun.Following day we took a bus to Coimbra to visit Portugals and one of the worlds oldest universities and explore the narrow streets.That evening we joined two other boats for a meal out whilst a fiesta and parade were going on around us, but the difficulty of finding a table for 9 of us or a waiter willing to move. read more...


Raggy Doll - 25th, 26th June - The stowaway exposed! The Raggy Doll.
Raggy Doll - 25th, 26th June - The stowaway exposed! The Raggy Doll.
27/06/2017

Raggy Doll - Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th June - The Feast of St John

Friday should have been a nice relaxing trip to the local town, but we spent the day sucking water out of the bilges that had been put there by the delivery crew, whilst they were trying to unblock the heads, I hasten to add it was not sewage!We had been warned at the sardine dinner, that today was the eve of the celebration for St John the Baptist's birthday known as the feast of St. John. There would be a parade and fireworks and lots of celebrations. We ate on board as we quickly realised trying to eat out could prove tricky with the amount of people in the town. Around 2100 a small group of locals came down to our berth and we could hear a rather excited conversation, so duly went out to investigate. It transpired that it was their boat we were wedged up against and they wanted to. read more...


27/06/2017

Raggy Doll - 25th, 26th June - The stowaway exposed! The Raggy Doll.

The sail from Peniche to Oeiras was pretty uneventful, we left Peniche around 0815 and as we were pretty knackered we really just wanted to get to Oeiras as fast as possible. We motor sailed the whole way and just before reaching Oeiras came round headland with winds just about perfect, that we reached the dizzy speed of nine and a half knots. Wiki Wiki was hot on our tail and it was only when we had to take the sails down that she out sailed us as she has lots of electric gadgets that operate sails etc, whereas we have to do everything manually. Not helped by the fact that Andrew let go of the wheel to take an action picture of Wiki Wiki, making getting down the main sail down slightly harder work than usual!Our berth in the marina was luxury compared to the night of rafting, we had. read more...


WikiWiki - Boy Band Pose
WikiWiki - Boy Band Pose
WikiWiki - Coimbra Local
WikiWiki - Coimbra Local
WikiWiki - Tour Coimbra
WikiWiki - Tour Coimbra
WikiWiki - Thomas and the Maiden
WikiWiki - Thomas and the Maiden
25/06/2017

Raggy Doll - Thursday 22nd June - Dolphins

Porto to Figuera de Foz. Today was, for the other members of the rally a race start, we had decided not to get in the mix too early, so basically we crept up from behind to join. It was a bright, warm, blue sky kind of day. Not much wind, but now and again enough to tease us into putting up the cruising gennaker. This, for the non sailing people, is a huge sail that is attached to the front of the boat to give you more speed. We designed ours, red white and blue and so, it seems, did a lot of other people.The wind was so temperamental that the gennaker became more of a hindrance than a help so we took it down.We were relaxing and enjoying the sunshine when we were visited by a group of dolphins, it was great watching them swim around and under the boat, we knew other members of the rally. read more...


24/06/2017

Jubilate Mare - Off to Peniche!

A perfect sailing start this morning, which made a nicechange. Cruising chutes are up and the sun is coming out. We had a lovely time in Figueria da Foz and said goodbye to Tony before we left Porto. Tony's last supper was BBQ'd salmon steaks, Tom caught mackerel on the way down, which Pete pan fried for lunch and we had BBQ'd sardines for supper at the Yacht Club. The fish, as you would expect, is superb and plentiful, as is all fresh produce, and the local market was shopping heaven. We have been welcomed warmly everywhere we've visited and been showered with gifts. 🐝 x. read more...


23/06/2017

Raggy Doll - Wednesday 21st June - Groundhog Day!

It's finally arrived, today we get to go on ARC Portugal, we have been looking forward to this for so long and now it is actually happening.Wednesday morning started bright and early - pause - rewind! Wednesday morning started overcast and foggy, we were not going anywhere early. To make the most of the delay, it was decided I should go up the mast to repair the broken sail bag rigging. This involves wearing a harness a bit like a large nappy, that is attached to a rope and you are then winched up the mast with a second rope as a safety line. I was the obvious choice as I am the lightest (sorry AJ). So I'm prepared like a trussed chicken and up I go, to be honest it's actually something I enjoy, the views up there are amazing, sadly the fog put a stop to that. The rigging was quickly. read more...


Jubilate Mare - Chocolate biscuits on the foredeck.
Jubilate Mare  - Chocolate biscuits on the foredeck.
22/06/2017

Jubilate Mare - Jubilate Mare Porto to Figueira de Foz

Light winds have continued more or less every day. Today was no different really, but with a promising start from the Duoro river in Porto. A couple of hours later however, it was time to relax & hoist the cast iron genoa.The laws of physics prevent us covering 55 miles in less than 12 hours if we don't maintain an average of more than 4.5 knots. Unfortunately the laws of fishing also dictate that you won't catch much at above 4.5 knots. What to do??Unleash Tom on the fishing line! To his absolute amazement he caught lunch for four of us in very short order. Then followed lessons in how to murder mackerel. We'll get get him up to Yachtmaster standard yet.See the picture. The resulting fillets McFish though were superb and couldn't have been fresher.As a prelude to an "unlimited. read more...


22/06/2017

Raggy Doll - Tuesday 20th June - And where exactly did you hide the baby?

The day started well, the hotel was simple and comfortable, the meal last night was fish and served with a local white wine, we started to believe we were moving forward. Perhaps at this point we should have become slightly suspicious, it was all going a little too smoothly.We checked out from the hotel and made our way the 200 meters across the road to the Monte Real Club de Yates, the local yacht club. Of course we went by taxi, the only way to travel when your bags weigh a ton, this amused the taxi driver but not Andrew as he was given the embarrassing task of explaining to the driver why we needed a taxi for such a short distance, it was only when we found the Spanish word for heavy that the driver finally understood and was more than happy to take the euros. We happened to bump into. read more...


22/06/2017

Mischief - HIHO Mischief

19th June 2017.  Bayona to Pavoa de VarzimLeg 2 of our journey south began in fog, the race having been cancelled at the last minute due to the poor weather conditions.  This affected the crew badly, they had already taken performance enhancing drugs and were mentally charged, adrenaline coursing through their veins ready to lead the fleet to the next port. The crew had to do laps of the decks to wear off the affects of this disappointment. The sail started in fog with the engine on. Wind was 2 knots, not good in any sailors memoirs. Coffee and MNS finest stem ginger cookies lifted moral. When the wind did arrive it was on the stern. Skipper Mabel the mouse decided, a preventer on the main sail would be needed with a poled out Code Zero. After a short amount of. read more...


Mischief - HIHO Mischief
Mischief - HIHO Mischief
Blonde Moment - porto marina from the mast top
Blonde Moment - porto marina from the mast top
Arcarius of Plymouth - Mischief HIHO Mischief doubles the trouble. Oh my god (American accent)
Arcarius of Plymouth - Mischief HIHO Mischief doubles the trouble. Oh my god (American accent)
20/06/2017

Raggy Doll - Monday 19th June 2017 - To infinity and beyond

It is 1520 hours Spanish time and at this moment I am sitting on board an Air Europe flight having just left Madrid and en route to Vigo. A lot has happened since my last blog and hopefully I can fill in the missing pieces. We had hopedthat AJ and I would be fit enough to set sail again on Monday 12th June to try and catch the rally that had left the previous day, we realised pretty quickly that this was not going to be the case and had made the decision to withdraw from the rally. All of us were pretty fed up, AJ and I still felt like rubbish. Various ideas were put on the table, including giving up and going home!By Wednesday we were certain about 3 things:1. We had chosen to join Arc so that we could travel with a group that gave us the security and back up if we needed it, so going. read more...


20/06/2017

Jubilate Mare - Jubilate Mare has made it to Portugal!

Thought it was about time I put pen to paper - well finger to screen! I can't believe how time has flown and miles been motored - not much wind so sailing hasn't really been an option.We are having a cracking time, great crew and fun fleet friends. We will (between us) attempt to make regular contributions, regarding our progress, for the rest of the Rally. We arrived in Porto today and had an electric tuk tuk tour of the city followed by a visit to a port house. Fleet supper tonight at a local restaurant and a 'fun and games' day is being organised for tomorrow. The sun is seriously hot, though I don'tthink it's quite as hot as you are experiencing in England! Boat is staying nice and cool, with a through draught, and days just melt one into the other. We sighted daily dolphins on our. read more...


20/06/2017

Arcarius of Plymouth - Mischief HIHO Mischief doubles the trouble. Oh my god (American accent)

HIHOimage1. read more...


19/06/2017

Blonde Moment - blog 8

BLOG 8Monday 19 JuneWow - last evenings shin dig gave us a bit of a shock - BM picked up two prizes!Must have been all that hard work antifouling and polishing in April.It was a great evening out at the Monte Real Club de Yates de Baiona - thank you for your hospitality Bayona!As day dawned, crews busied themselves preparing their boats with Code Zero's, Spinnakers and slipping lines.However, the patchy fog that rolled in on Sunday had reduced visibility to such an extent that Andrew (WCC) had to cancel the racing start for leg 2 (phew says Dee!).We are now motoring down the Portuguese coast dodging lobster pots, some grey skies, some sunshine and some wind.The winds have been equally variable.Having flown our very colourful spinnaker for about 40 minutes, we then beat up wind for a. read more...


19/06/2017

Blonde Moment - Blog 7

BLOG 7A great run to the finish line in Bayona getting in at 23:33 on Wednesday 14 June hot onBlue Monde's tail.Bayona - a blissful stopover point after Biscay.The joy of sleeping in a bunk that doesn't lurch!A beautiful drying wind for about seven loads of washing ( what more could the lady of the boat wish for!) and Blonde Moment had a long overdue shampoo and rinse.Much needed sleep was caught up on and fresh provisions easy to buy.Having done all the "domestics" on Thursday, Paul and I discovered the coastal path for jogging and swam off the nearby beach in refreshing but not freezing water.The local tapas has been enjoyed and a great day out at Santiago de Compostella was had Saturday.After the heat of Santiago, few felt they wanted an evening out so neighbours either side ( Blue. read more...


Blonde Moment - "Steve.... Are you sure it's not supposed to be in the water?"
Blonde Moment -
18/06/2017

Blue Monde - Log 1 - In Baiona

Sunday in the sunshine in beautiful Baiona, Galicia, north west Spain. After such an anticipated departure, and floundering about in Falmouth's foul wind and rain, crossing the western end of the English Channel and Bay of Biscay was wonderful. Day 1 and most of day 2 meant a little mal de mer for moi (had to resort to Stugeron. Neither acupressure bands nor 'the glasses' could help) but luckily Nigel and our 'boy' racers, Hugh and Jon, enjoyed the sailing and changing conditions immensely. Using the cruising chute in lighter airs and then poled out genoa and main sail on a preventer, apparently known as 'goose-winged',helped give good speed and a more stable ride.A fantastic part of the journey for me was approaching Cape Finisterre, seeing land and the prospect of the end of our first. read more...


18/06/2017

Mischief - HI HO!!!!!

Mischief gets into "Deep water". 4000 meters to be exact. "Right old mess you've got us into this time Skipper!!!!"As we left Falmouth the wind was blowing old boots, 25 knots were recorded over the deck. Mabel the mouse decided Mischief should be dressed with one reef in her main sail and a full Genoa. The Skippers words "She's moving like a Rat out of drain pipe"  The passage plan was centred around the famed Cornish pasty that would be consumed whilst still hot as we headed off towards The Bay of Biscay. Precision planning allowed just enough time to procure these from the local bakery, the other side of Falmouth. Out of the lee of Cornwall the wind increased and the sea grew, waves were breaking over the bow and the gunnels were often submerged.   This proved too. read more...


Mischief - HI HO!!!!!
Mischief - HI HO!!!!!
Mischief - HI HO!!!!!
Mischief - HI HO!!!!!
WikiWiki - ARC Fleet in Bayona
WikiWiki - ARC Fleet in Bayona
WikiWiki - Never too many crew
WikiWiki - Never too many crew
WikiWiki - MRCYB, Bayona
WikiWiki - MRCYB, Bayona
WikiWiki - Albacore in Bay of Biscay
WikiWiki - Albacore in Bay of Biscay
Blonde Moment - DAVE FROM MISCHIEF - VICTORY!
Blonde Moment - DAVE FROM MISCHIEF - VICTORY!
Blonde Moment - Dave from Mischief fighting with his code zero
Blonde Moment - Dave from Mischief fighting with his code zero
14/06/2017

Blonde Moment - blog 6

Wednesday 14 June149 miles from 0800 Tuesday to 0800 Wednesday.A day of sails up; sails down.Engine on; engine off - bit frustrating, so our overall mileage good considering.Sail change again between 0300 and 0400 with moon up and lots of dolphins watching proceedings.Charlie and Paul handled this one allowing Dee 7 hours in her bunk.We have been goosewinging since the early hours (headsail poled out on one side; main the other) doing about 7 knots downwind.We hope to be in Bayona by daybreak tomorrow........if this wind continues.Having seen no other boats all night, we crossed within a mile of Blue Monde (HR43) and then had to dodge a "herd" of fishing boats (group name for fishings boat unknown)!As we rounded Cape Finisterre the wind double in strength and we have been surfing down. read more...


13/06/2017

Blonde Moment - blog 5

Tuesday 13 June 2017We are crossing from French waters to Spanish as I write - progress is good considering - 150 nm from 0800 Monday to 0800 Tuesday.The sun is shining; breeze gentle.We started on Sunday with winds from SW gradually veering WSW to NW and now on Tuesday NE to E !!The problem is the waves haven't quite caught up with all these changes.So today we have small (1.5-2) wind driven waves from behind NE with quite frequent, much larger rollers from the West.The result, we roll gently from side to side then lurch into a trough which rolls us vigorously for 4 or 5 then back to gentle.Whether sitting, standing or in our bunks, you are braced for the next lurch.........Bayona had better be worth this!A sail change was required at 0300 (code zero down; poled out headsail and main. read more...


13/06/2017

Raggy Doll - Time to call it

It is Tuesday 13 June, and I am writing this last blog with a sad heart. We left Falmouth on Sunday morning, well stocked with provisions and ready to head for Bayona Spain. All started well.When we were 6 hours into our journey AJ and I were hit with a stomach bug, that we are pretty sure was food poisoning. We had eaten at a local pizza restaurant Saturday evening and the common denominator between AJ and I and not including Andrew was a Pizza we had shared. We know it wasn't the dreaded sea sickness because of how it presented, I shan't go into too much detail but suffice to say the heads took a bashing along with the bucket. I was fortunate that I wasn't sick, just the other end and I can only put this down to the fact that I was wearing scopoderm. The concern was if Andrew got it. read more...


12/06/2017

Blonde Moment - blog 4

Monday 12th JuneWhat a difference a day makes.The wind started to drop on the skipper's watch 0500-0900 and despite Charlie helping Paul to rig and fly the Code Zero, the engine is now on, the sea oily and we are rolling as the 3-3.5 metre high waves head for France.A different challenge today - hot showers whilst wedged against the roll was interesting and making anything in the galley requires balance with one hand braced.A pod of pilot whales went past in leisurely fashion and a school of maybe ten small dolphins or porpoises.Engine now off and the code zero is full and flying.Home made curry, rice and naan breads has been polished off and we are ready for our night watches.. read more...


12/06/2017

Blonde Moment - Blog 3

Sunday 11th JuneFinally the day arrived - crews up early removing multiple storm lines ashore, which kept us safe during 40 knots of wind; multiple fenders keeping rafted boats apart and slipping lines so we could pull gracefully away from "A" pontoon, which has been our home during a week-long enforced stay. Blonde Moment has gained a new crew member - Charlie Pierce of World Cruising Club required a berth to Bayona and Dee and Paul gratefully accepted another (younger) pair of hands and eyes.Day oneLife has been challenging at 45 degrees. Vertical in the cockpit is OK as we cut through 4 metre Atlantic rollers left over from the storms or horizontal in a bunk - but anything in between is a huge effort requiring balance, grip and timing.As we left Falmouth basking sharks were spotted. read more...


10/06/2017

Raggy Doll - Day 6 and 7 - Fingers Crossed

Day 6 - Friday was filled with food shopping and re-stocking provisions, AJ had started cooking in readiness for our journey across Biscay, a slight feeling of deja vu, but hopefully with a better ending. The skippers' meeting was scheduled for 1800 in the Quayside Inn, with an add on of all other crew invited at 1830 for a free drink from ARC. We already knew from an email earlier today that there were suggestions on the table for extending the ARC as we had been delayed leaving the UK. This was then confirmed at the meeting and I'm pretty sure a lot of people breathed a sigh of relief as several crews were concerned about long day sails and quick turnarounds, rather than the relaxed rally with stop overs here and there that was originally on the timetable. The extention brings back. read more...


09/06/2017

Blonde Moment - BLOG TWO – FALMOUTH 5th to 9th June

BLOG TWO – FALMOUTH 5th to 9th June If you have to be stormbound anywhere, Falmouth isn’t a bad place to be.Known internationally as a safe haven it lived up to its reputation this last week.  Monday saw horizontal rain with winds gusting up to 40 knots from dawn till dusk.  Ian very sensibly jumped ship (again!) and had a difficult train journey to Bristol airport.  In his own words “signal failure at Par; train off tracks at Saltash; all trains suspended on Dawlish route – it can’t get any worse!.   It took 20 hours to reach Milan and he arrived in drizzle and thunder rolling around the alps!  Maybe it can……Pendennis Marina has been wonderfully welcoming.  We are located five minutes from a Tesco Express and fifteen minutes from lovely. read more...



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