2015. In the Beginning – Leg 1

“Preparation and Planning Prevents P…s Poor Performance”; remember the 5 ‘Ps’.  So off we go for 3 days….

Sunlight, azure seas and a fair wind

Sunlight, azure seas and a fair wind

Big row with Smiley, who refused to obey orders as we barrelled ‘downhill’ to Jersey in 20 knots of wind and a quarrelsome quartering sea.  Clapping him in irons, I put Harry the autopilot on duty in his place.  Up ahead a set of sails was definitely drawing closer – it is not often this skipper overtakes anything, so this set the competitive juices flowing!  Rounding close to Corbiere the sails were still there, about 2 miles out to sea and now only just ahead.

It was gusting 25 knots off the South coast cliffs, but A-Jay dug in deep, full sail up, mainsail dropped down the track and by Noirmont Point, the Beneteau 35 – the owner of the sails – reefed and with 4 crew, was ‘dead meat’.

The pontoons in St. Helier Harbour were still not finished so I was directed around the stern of a hard aground ‘Frenchie’, outside La Collette where I berthed among a French racing fleet.  Gaulois, music and chat filled the evening air but by 10 pm, I had the place to myself … and One Republic.

Mind you, the French are fantastic, practical sailors and thus to be respected, as I found in the Marina Toilets … I couldn’t dry my hands as a busy French racer was holding his ripe insoles up against each hand dryer …. Ok, try the hair dryers … no chance as each elephant hose was shoved deep inside a ‘minging’ sea boot. Couldn’t fault his tactics so used my jeans instead.

Blue sky and a nippy North Easter greeted me next morning …. as did ‘Walrus’, who squinted at me through the cigarette smoke seeping through his Walrus moustache, as he concentrated on his aim into the harbour.  He must have had the bladder of an elephant.

At rest in La Collette, Jersey April 2015

At rest in La Collette, Jersey April 2015

Freedom is to wake with no fixed plan in mind, except the urge to go somewhere.  So off we went.  Solo means plans can be changed without upsetting crew, so it was hard right at Grosnez, to head down Jersey’s North Coast to Gorey, where we would dry out for the night – or at least the boat would.

To hit nearly 10 knots in a mono-hull sailing cruiser, as we did rounding St. Catherine’s Point, is always exhilarating, so we arrived in high spirits.

Sunlight on Jersey's North Coast

Sunlight on Jersey’s North Coast

The moment was spoiled when I wrestled with a barnacle encrusted rope in roly-poly gusty conditions in Gorey. Barnacle – 1, Willis – 0 and it was time to break out the new First Aid kit for the first time.  Lesson 1 – always wear your sailing gloves.

Farewell dear gloves!  You served me well!

Farewell dear gloves! You served me well!

A lovely blue sky sail to Dixcart on Sark and then home next day had me thinking about being solo.  One never is of course.  Take my little outfit; there’s me, the Boss.  Smiley, who redeemed himself that day, my number 2 on the helm; Harry the motoring helmsman and Yanny the Yanmar, there for windless conditions, or emergencies.  To this little team I now must add the stowaway, discovered in Dixcart – Ari the Arachnid; how he got there I don’t know.  On the wind perhaps.  I do wonder how he knows which eye to focus on the horizon.

Training concluded with gorgeous sunshine but no wind, to which I have to report on notable success….:-)

2015-04-12 12.34.58


A seeming close shave in St. Peter Port…

2015-04-13 08.04.56

2015-04-13 08.11.21


No true “Guern” can leave his native shores without the Guernsey Donkey….!!



6 comments on “2015. In the Beginning – Leg 1

  1. Don’t forget…..a warm welcome awaits on the Orwell at Foxs Marina, looks like it might be a while yet though!
    Good Sailing
    Pete S

  2. Just found your blog and will follow it from now with great interest. I have 290 hull no.27 and am in my 4th season with her, I did own hull no.47 before the bankruptcy and fire but that is all history. Am looking to do the same trip but the other way round starting from the river Blackwater. It will be a couple of years yet as work keeps getting in the way.
    Fair winds!
    Alan Thomas

    • Hi Alan,

      Gosh you must be a 290 fan to have lost one and gained one!☺

      A-Jay should set off for the Caledonian Canal tomorrow; in the meantime its blowing a hooly. There may not be any blog entries until we complete the Canal.

      Great boat to do such a trip in.

      Good luck with your plans.


  3. Perhaps a little 290 rally in Harwich/Ipswich when you get this far. I have bumped into Peter Scown on “Habebty” and would love to chat about various mods and little problems.

  4. Hi Alan,

    Do feel free to pass on any thoughts about mods and problems. I am struggling with the isolators on the cabin 240v switch panel. I gather the isolators were sourced from RS, but haven’t got any further with repairs yet.

    I am not sure I will be Ipswich way, at least this time. The weather has been pretty rubbish and I suspect it won’t be great for the trip South, so I may cut and run for home after exiting the Caledonian Canal. As ever it all depends….☺

    Best wishes


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