We set off southwards from Helmsdale on the west side of the Moray Firth on the 21st July in a brisk north easterly Force 5 and bright sunshine. Storm Petrel is a well mannered cruising yacht and she loves it (as does her skipper) when the wind is behind the beam. We had a cracking sail on a bouncy sea touching ten knots at times passing Tarbet Ness at lunchtime until we came in to the shelter of the Inverness Firth where the land converged on either side of us, folding us into its sheltered embrace. With brother Michael’s friend Peter having departed the day before we were a family crew of three and spent a happy day indulging our favourite hobby and reminiscing about adventures in days gone by before navigation became so routine and predictable.
My son Oliver came to visit from Ystad, Sweden last Christmas with his 1 year old daughter, and, owing to the large number of presents to take back with him, left his boots behind. It would be far too expensive to post them, so why not sail there with them (money spent on sailing doesn't count) and spend summer in the Baltic and maybe leave the boat over there for a couple of seasons; anything to get away from the succession of Atlantic lows experienced last year.
During the 80s and early 90s we regularly sailed to Holland for our annual cruise but had never explored the ‘Staande Mastroute’, so the plan was to enter Holland at Vlissingen and sail the canals, rivers and lakes to Den Helder. Our intended start from Beaulieu on 22 June 2013 was delayed by gales so we left Gosport on Monday 24 June for Dover arriving at 2230 to find HMS Puncher and Dasher already tied alongside in the outer harbour. An early start saw us leave first for Ostend but we were quickly overtaken before the shipping lanes. We arrived off Ostend harbour after an uneventful passage to find it closed for an hour to allow Goliath, a wind turbine construction barge to leave fully laden and under tug (pictured below).
Just recently completed a very nice two week holiday, sailing week one from Esterel area S France to Isles de Hyere and week two from Esterel area to Cap Ferrat. Some breeze and also pretty hot..but still fun.
With our family chores done and suitable checks on the condition of two pregnant daughters in law we headed north again on the 6th July, this time by car with stops on the way at the Roache household for a gossip and then overnight at a friendly B&B in the Lake District. The plan was to leave the car at our new home marina at Inverkip so that we could bring home all the dirty washing and general mess for the winter. That accomplished we took a train ride to Glasgow and thence to Perth, Inverness and on to Wick. All of this eight hour fantastic scenic train ride for £17, yes £17. Now that is Scottish thrift for you, probably not available to Sassenachs after independence so enjoy it while you can.
Friday 21 June
Journeyed to Deacons Yard, well laden with clothes, supplies and bits for the boat by train in the morning and persuaded Aladdin’s Cave to check out the rigging of Willow, a Sadler 32, which was completed within the hour. Alja arrived a later and shortly afterwards we started the engine and slipped moorings just after mid-day picking up diesel (40 litres) from the Hamble Marina refuelling point. With two reefs in the main and two thirds genoa we sailed into a stiff south westerly force 5, in sunshine, with forecasts of stronger winds to come. We arrived at Yarmouth and chose a walk ashore berth and were tied up by 7pm. We had supper on board and examined the weather forecast to see if there was a chance to sail the following day – there wasn’t.
Saturday 22 June
A light breeze skimming over the waves, a tiny swell as the oars creak in their rowlocks, with a rhythmic splash as they enter the blue sea - different to the river, bigger, but a perfect morning as the two crews of Team Mums Away embark on their Channel Row, Friday 26 July 2013. The White Cliffs slowly reducing in size as the big Spring tide pushes us towards Folkestone, the boat taking an angle at odds to our minds as we follow the pilot boats navigating a course to the Colbart North cardinal buoy on the border of French territorial waters, which we're still not allowed to cross into.
This time tomorrow we hope to have finished the Channel Rowing Challenge that Team Mums Away have been working towards since January. The team is well prepared, the forecast could not be better, and we are hoping for a smooth row out to mid-Channel and back to finish at Dover. We've had two practice rows of 22 miles each, the final one has been condensed into this 2 minute video
We were delighted to welcome three of our HPOs to the Club just recently.
Pictured are Michael Wynter (HPO Sydney) and Gabe Langerak (HPO Amsterdam) renewing their friendship with LSC members and English beer at the bar last week.
Sarah Fountain, HPO for the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, joined us for the Showstoppers night when she was staying at the Club for a couple of days.
In other HPO news, Anne and Ian Malcolm were entertained and looked after by our HPO Fethiye, Stuart Aikman, his wife Dilek and their young daughter Katrina on their recent sailing trip to Turkey. Ian took this footage of their Beneteau 44 underway in the beautiful blue waters.
A clip of HPO Fethiye, Turkey, Stuart Aikman's Beneteau 44 Sukran, sailing to windward of our yacht Saturnus on a recent sailing holiday to Turkey.