Sailing on the Solent, Buzzing

A long journey south was made on Friday to stay with my father.

We then met up with the rest of the Spice and Buzz sailors at the Seafarers Sailing Club at Hill Head near Lee on Solent.

We had a fantastic weekend learning to better set up and sail the Buzz.

The wind picked up in the afternoon and we capsized twice. The first time was a bit interesting, the second time we had mastered the process of righting her.

Sunday was time for trapezing and using the spinnaker with thanks to Andy Holmes of Wet and Windy who was at the helm while Sarah and I took it in turns to get out on the wire and get the spinnaker up.

What a fab weekend, shame it’s such a long way south (7 hours each way).

We look forward to meeting up with all our new friends very soon.

A busy weekend

My working weeks have been reduced to 3 and 4 days alternately and last week was my first 3-day week – followed by a 4-day weekend πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ .

Thursday saw Ian and me visiting Sally and Steve. Although we did get gin and tonic we also found ourselves helping to slash and burn some woodland (Pete, you missed a power tool opportunity).

Sal and Anna getting smoky

On Friday we went to Newcastle so that Ian could be fitted with a penguin suit for his role as best man at a wedding down south (no, not that wedding). No photos of the fitting but watch this space for pics of the real thing in a couple of weeks’ time. πŸ™‚

I took the chance to see the John Martin exhibition at the Laing art gallery, which was excellent. When he paints fire (e.g., in The Destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah) I swear you can feel the heat, and when he paints lightning you can hear the thunderclaps.

Sunday saw a more common event – another road race:

The T shirt

Although St George’s Day is 23rd, because it falls on Easter weekend this festval is being observed on 2 May. Nevertheless the race was held on 15th and there were dragons, St George’s cross flags and so on in plenty.

St George
Rod, the organiser

I was pleased to reach my target of 50 minutes, cutting my time over the route by 4 mins 23. It was a bit disappointing that Ian came in only a minute or so behind, making me wonder whether training on whisky and secret chocolate bars is something I should try.

Saturday evening saw us meeting our sailing friends Wayne and Deb at the Royal Windermere Yacht Club for dinner again. We were all gutted that pavlova was not on the menu as the chef does a great one.

Coming in to land after winning yet another RS400 race

Sunday brought the first assault of the year on the garden, helped by various pets.

Hoppy and Andromeda in a cold frame: a battle of wills

After this another run along the river between Hesket Newmarket and Caldbeck, and back again, with Sarah, then all three of us joined Andy and Sabiene for lovely food and DVDs – including the recent blockbusters “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” and that must-see: The Antarctic Painting DVD.

All in all, if not an adventurous, a packed and sociable weekend. How did I ever find the time to work five days a week??

A new adventure

My knowledge of sailing derives from Swallows and Amazons so I know some of the jargon, but not necessarily when to use it….

Wayne and Deb were up from Whitby for the Bassenthwaite Regatta – along with a lot of other people: I have never seen a campsite so crowded. Bass Lake seemed pretty crowded too; when you don’t know what is going on the large numbers of small boats appear to be milling around aimlessly and it is all very confusing.

I hadn’t realised just how good they are at their chosen sport, but by the end of the week they had assembled an impressive collection of trophies, glassware and other prizes (Ian was hoping to snaffle one of the bottles of whisky, but was disappointed in this).

Wayne & Deb (black spinnaker) beating yet another boat
Wayne & Deb (black spinnaker) beating yet another boat

Wayne kindly took time out from winning races to give me a feel of what it’s like.

Embarcation - it's very crowded on the slipway
Embarcation - it's very crowded on the slipway

Maybe I need a waterproof camera because photos from the shore don’t do it justice, but we were going fast, honest, and I wasn’t just sitting there, I was allowed to pull ropes and things, one of which raised and lowered a sail somewhat to my surprise.

Learning the ropes (sorry, sheets)
Learning the ropes (sorry, sheets)

Bass Lake & Regatta 067

I even got to hang over the side just like a real sailor! Unfortunately we had to go back all too soon so that Wayne & Deb could win one more race. It was fantastic fun while it lasted. (Thanks Wayne xxx)

We watched the last race and spent the evening in the sailing club bar.

Message from Down Under

The blog has become a bit boring lately, due to the bad weather in this part of the world. My boy, Edward, has just moved to Hobbart, Tasmania, and sends these pictures to cheer us all up, or maybe depress us even more πŸ˜₯ .

Sydney skyline

The Opera House

On Mt Eliza – weather looks same as England

Fishing trip off Hobbart

Well, Pete should feel at home. πŸ˜†

Sailing on the Mersey


Nick’s got a big boat. A very lovely big boat. And today he let me and Pete come on board and help crew for a race on the Mersey. There were 10 of us all together. Every one had a job, but as we were complete novices me and Pete were given rail crew – throwing ourselves from one side of the boat to the other, ducking the boom, as we tacked and jibed up and down the course.

I was nervous at first as we started out into a rainy squall, and thinking I had to be quick and efficient, at the first tack I put everything into getting across from port to starboard as quickly as possibly. A little too quickly – I nearly flew into the sea before the boat had time to lean the other way. I was having a great time, flying across the boat, but I think I worried a few people so I slowed it down a bit after that. I didn’t have to move quite as fast as I remembered from dinghy sailing.

We won, but Nick’s boat is the fastest in the North, and it was the only boat in it’s class in the race, but it was good to know we didn’t slow the team down.

Thanks Nick and the team.

Getting ready at Liverpool Marina

Stowing the spinnaker