01 Aug 2020

‘Maria’ Contessa 32 for Sale in Portimao

4 Comments Uncategorized

Maria has been maintained yearly, spending 6 months in the water and the rest (winter) on land. Only last year the Genoa was replaced, the year before the main and a new single reefing boom was installed. She is complete with no outstanding projects, she has also undergone Osmosis treatment. See specs below for more information.

She has been the love of my life for 10 years, however it’s time for the next owner to continue her legacy.

15 Apr 2018

Before moving to Amsterdam

2 Comments Amsterdam, Moving to amsterdam


Room please!

If you are looking to arrange a room before you move to Amsterdam you are better off spending the time learning to play the ukulele. I spent a lot of time trying to find a room using kamernet, I received no responses, facebook groups (search for ‘Amsterdam rent room / house share’) were mildly better. It wasn’t until a friend rented out a room that I understood how insane the demand for property is, upon advertising on one of the facebook groups received 50 responses in the first day, room was taken by that evening. Many of the responses were from people moving to Amsterdam and trying to secure a accommodation, it was given to someone who could secure it then and there.

Being pro-active and planning your accommodation prior to arrival is the most sensible approach, less stress when you arrive, one big action item crossed of your list…. however this will NOT work in Amsterdam. Stay at an AirBnB / hotel while you organise accommodation.

Rooms typically go for anywhere from EU500 – 1000 . Stay away from anyone that says you can not Register at the local municipal (a MUST) – this is essential and means something is fishy.

In the absence of time on arrival to organise lodgings your best bet is putting on your big boy pants and spending some serious cash and renting a property.

No rooms … fine an apartment then….

When searching for an apartment (no houses in the Dam) the two websites you need are Funda  and Pararius, create notifications so you know when a new property is added, call the estate agent ‘Makelaars’ and ask if you can secure it, they will email you a form the length of half a roll of toilet paper.

Most of the rental market is aimed at expats, you will not find anything less than EU1500, most properties are unfurnished, try and find furnished with all bills and services included. The Makelaars all speak English, you will see the name of the Makelaars on Funda / Pararius next to the property, google them and see if they have added anything not listed also make sure you get on their mailing lists. The emails they send out gives you the edge over those stressed future Amsterdam dwellers who are are competing on the big sites with many equally unimaginative folk.

When calling the Makelaars, realise that they gets loads of calls, have your questions lined up. Many owners insist on themselves or the agents meeting the tenants. I got the hint after I failed to secure a number of properties and when mentioning I had a ‘pregnant’ wife that quickly changed and gave me the decorum and sensibility to land a wonderful two bedapartment on Prinsengracht for EU2200. The previous tenants apparently were in the legal professional and frequently smoked the whacky backy at home much to the owners annoyance who then repainted the place.

I was asked for two months deposit, subletting is very big no no, as is growing marijuana in your property.. there were a good two clauses going into great detail about this most educational process. If you are looking for a place with a car park you need to venture outside the center else there is a four year waiting list for a space or 50EU a day parking.

You can find some lovely high ceiling beautiful classic apartments that will make your instagram an instant hit, which is great if it can pay for your insane gas bills, personally I like a warm toilet seat… and I only have to sit on it once a day. Do not get a basement flat … there is usually a problem with damp, they are literally inverted swimming pools. Winters are looong, fireplaces are nice.

Gardens are nice, roof terraces are better. Also note that if you BBQ expect all the neighbours to complain due to open windows in summer and smoke also BBQ’s are a whole new level of dangerous and exotic cuisine that is likely to upset their culinary applecart which is based on neutral flavours and equally bland colours.

Importantly, Dutch people are cheapskates and penny pinching misers for the most part (it’s what makes them awesome!), they also do everything by the book. When arriving at my dwellings I was greeted with the cheapest bottle of plonk on offer and 8EU in change to compensate for the week it would take for the TV to be connected, still a nice gesture. They are literally the most literal and blunt Europeans other than Frankfurters I have ever met. Don’t faff about, get straight to the point and never apologise, it’s a sign of weakness! You will come to love their approach and appreciate not apologising all the time.

There were a few properties where I asked for a Skype call or a video and the agents were very cooperative, however by the time I ummmed and aaaahhd the property was gone, you can’t wait more than 24 hours. Location is key, but don’t forget everything in Amsterdam is very very close, the PijP or Niewe West is only 15 minutes, the price difference is marginal but greater availability.

  • Amsterdam by area
  • Planning on where to live – commuting
12 Jan 2016

Buying your first house, dealing with the detritus and gotcha’s.

No Comments Life

Reputations are hard to earn but take a mere fart in the wrong direction to come crashing down, estate agents are so full of hot air I am surprised there are any houses left standing, they are truly the big bad wolf. While there is a stereotypical image of an estate agent I chose to believe the best in them, nine months of dealing with them quickly corrected my skewed optimism. Estate agents are indeed crooks, thieves the detritus of society.

Sadly the English law when it comes to purchasing a property is pretty much … ‘anything goes’, and you will be rogered every which way till completion day. At any point an offer can be beaten, they may be honest and say so or come up with some excuse – they have taken the property off the market only to sell it behind closed doors, having kept you waiting for 6 months. It’s the estate agents best interest to get the most due to their commissions, they will even push the sellers who may be happy with the offer to create false interested parties encouraging stressful ‘last offer’ situations. They do not need to divulge the information, my attempts to do so did not go down very well. As such my tips on how to survive this ordeal:

  • Buy a new build – easy no problems and the govt contributes towards your deposit, win, win. Good luck finding any.
  • When you put in an offer say you will go no higher and they have to take it off the market immediately!! That’s not a STC sticker in their window and rightmove – removed completely!!!
  • Be the first to view a property and get your offer in early!
  • Try and get the seller to sign a contract accepting you as the buyer, use the deposit as security and have a penalty should they drop out.
  • Make the most of the fact you have the mortgage in place and are ready to move immediately! This can get you a property even if below offer price.
  • Mention you are a first time buyer, most sellers don’t like investors snapping up properties, they have kids too!
  • Stick to your guns, there is always another property, don’t be bullied.
  • There are NO rules but you can complain – sometimes if you can’t believe the BS they pull off check the Ombudsman / governing body.
  • Ideally you want a property in a chain and they are desperate for a buyer.
  • Don’t use their survey / mortgage / financial adviser. Keep things separate, it may slow proceedings but impartial is the way to go especially if a relationship doesn’t work out.
  • Location, location, location.

South facing garden, period, wood floor, fireplace were my only requirements – I ended up with a north facing ex council flat. However any rung on the ladder is better than none, lets see where we are in two years. House market is hugely over extended!

01 Apr 2012

Final Voyage

1 Comment Contessa 32, Sailing



One dream, one ripped sail, three near collisions, one faulty engine, zero dry clothes, prevailing winds and sea, ten days, the final chapter.

Why did it end … I went back to London to undertake a contract position which led to a job, there was however one remaining hurdle, getting my boat back to Europe.

I had a week to get my boat back and start my new role, so left with haste to La Gomera where Maria (my boat) was parked with a lovely German traveler living on board. He suffered from hayfever and diabetes so I was sure to greet him with flowers and chocolate to thank him (he was boat sitting). He was rather annoyed given the 2 day notice that I would be sailing his home away, his parents were coming to visit him and were planning on staying onboard.

In his fashion he met me from the ferry with a flute, bohohemian raphsody will never sound the same. Maria was floating and it took little time getting her ready to sail to colder climates.

Trip home

All the sailors seeing my frantic frenzy of prepping to head back couldn’t believe I was daft enough to sail against the Canary current and prevailing winds which were at their strongest. I clawed north on the NNE’s waiting for the winds to shift north, then it was time to fly havoc literally…!

Food and rum onboard I left turning straight into the acceleration zone between the islands, 50 knot winds were a great start to my journey home and it took me the best part of a day fully reefed to travel a mere 20 miles.

As the sun set I sailed NNW, the wind throughout the journey was coming directly from the destination I was heading NNE. I was sailing 30 degrees to the wind throughout and heeled a good 40 degress. As I was racing to get back home and start my job I was pushing as hard as one could, a mistake I was soon to pay the price for.

DSCF2684.JPG After 48 hours I finally lost sight of land, I slept  solidly during the day, it took me those two days to get adjusted to being back at sea. The first day in the acceleration zone despite my initial euphoria at being back at sea was very hard going and progress non existent, I was looking at the bucket wondering if my constitution would hold…. bucket has never won!

I met my first tanker of many, on the second night, what could have been my last night. I should mention that my preparation at this point had not been as thorough as it should have,the starboard light was not working which I was to discover at my peril after three near collisions…. It was an HMS supply ship heading to the Carrib, rolled up in bed I heard the AIS sound, this is an alarm that tells me if boat over 300 tonnes is within 15 miles … you don’t ignore that alarm, a noise that still haunts me in my nightmares. I donned my damp waterproofs, grabbed my flares and binoculars, turned on the engine and headed out into the cockpit that was being belted by the crashing waves. I never wore shoes, unless out for prolonged periods… nothing grips like a toe. I saw a long strip of lights that changed to a narrow strip, the worst possible imaginable situation, it was heading straight for me. I ran downstairs looked at the AIS radar, turned on all my running lights (which illumated my sails), ran back up and wondered what was going on. The strip of light became an advancing mountain, the bow wave an unmistakable sign of it’s unstoppable determined approach. I pulled the tiller tacking while throwing the throttle into full power, sails aback I headed straight for the unforgiving hulk. It couldn’t have been more menacing  if it was green, wearing a thong and had a face like Jai McDowal.

DSCF2731.JPG The siren on the vessel was going off, there were people crowding the rail and I passed within 50 meters down the lee side. I sat there in a state of shock, before I reset my windvane, ran downstairs, turned on my radio (which I should always have had on, fishermen were annoying me), and in a voice very unbecoming my current emotions hailed the vessel. Very cordially they answered saying they changed course to pass to what they thought was by starboard as they were under the impression that I was running with the wind, only my stern light was visible to them. It wasn’t until they saw my sails that they realised what was happening and sounded the collision alarm. I couldn’t reply, and remember staring at the radio for what felt like hours, shaking.

DSCF2714.JPG Over the rest of journey I had one tanker turn off all of it’s lights in protest, another created day light with a source that could only have hailed from Boris Johnson’s backside. I was on edge, nights became my days. Why did I only have these encounters at night ………

My savior was a sat  phone which I used every day to keep my parents informed of my location, their help was invaluable. They were able to overlay my location with grib files and tell me what the wind would do in the next 24 hours, allowing me to chose the best tack.

I called up the company where I was supposed to start in 4 days to explain that I wouldn’t be able to make it, the lady didn’t believe me when I said I was in the middle of the Atlantic. Best excuse, and when I did start everyone thought it was a prank.

The sailing conditions for eight days were frantic to say the least, I was ploughing into 2 to 4 meter waves continuesly, sleeping against the side of the hull which was horizontal. I loved it, was cosey the motion repetitive, the undulating motion like a mother rocking you to sleep. It wasn’t all warm and peachy, frequently the water would simply dissapear from under the hull, the boat would crest a steep wave and then like the elixir of life remove the chalice leaving three tonnes to plumage to the water leaving me hovering over the bed and jarring my teeth as we landed.

DSCF2704.JPG I spent 2 days without wind and decided to motor, realising that I had a crack in my fuel filter I spent 6 hours replacing it and bleeding the engine. I felt a little low at this point, at which karma played it’s card and dolphins came to cheer me up.

As I tacked of the west coast of Portugal I entered the shipping lanes, at this point nothing was dry onboard, the temperature had dropped remarkably and the only way I could keep warm was by sleeping naked (dry), my most precious possession was my sleeping bag. This was the roughest part with the sea in turmoil from what I can only imagine was the med and Straight of Gibraltar.

I had 35 knots of apparent wind, way too much canvas and paid the price. When sleeping you are fully aware of your surroundings, I would wake up if the wind shifted and changed. That said I did sleep through a 180 shift of the wind losing 6 hours of distance. On my last 100 miles while sleeping the boat fell into a trough, as we fell I woke and heard a loud crack followed by a rip and the boat righted, a blown out sail. Donning my soaking waterproofs, by this point I was naked all the time, clothing always absorbing moisture.

Riding a bucking horse and clipped in I went to the mast, feet numb with cold knocked flat by waves I put in my third reef. I stayed there marveling at life. How the hell, why the hell is someone doing this, a cork on the ocean, white horses charging at you unforgiving and relentless, wind and sea determined to undermine and here you are obnoxiously rebelling against the forces of nature. I went downstairs shivering opened the rum and saluted the forces of nature … not yet!


I crossed the busiest shipping lane, shared a salute with a Chinese engineer, these lanes are so congested you have a vessel every 500 meters, then there is me trying to cross them doing 2 knots into the waves. Took me a day to cross the lanes, no sleep, outside with my flares wishing they would all sink, at least they pay attention in the lanes, on the open sea they sleep. On the radio every 10 minutes “To all vessels yacht passing with no starboard light at coordinates XXXX, course North” with a silent prayer …. “move”!

The last 20 miles were the hardest, I didn’t have the patience to tack, 20 miles you can smell land, I was wet cold and tired. It was the longest part of my journey, I turned on the motor and at full power was doing 1knot straight up the waves. How long can these waves carry on for, they are coming from land, how can they have so much reach. The waves abated, the wind dropped, I recognised land marks, finally I arrived into port with no wind flat seas. Did I imagine the rest?

DSCF2716.JPG Parents met me with the opening remark “you realise your starboard light isn’t working!”





Maria is now for sale, never will you meet someone more faithful and reliable.

I made mistakes during my trip, most notably, not using the radio to communicate my intentions which stemmed from never trusting those on watch. The experience with the near collision I have gone over frequently and even though I believe they should have maintained their course, they made the right call (one I would have made)… they went upwind of me … they assumed seeing a stern light that I would be heading in a direction away from the wind. Never leave port without checking your running lights!


Trip home

12 Mar 2012

Three events planned in London! Sail the boat for free in the Med!

7 Comments Living

2012-02-11 15.22.19.jpg

Planning a pop-up restaurant on a boat with Bedouin Moroccan theme and for those who want to salute the morning sun we will be dunking soldiers into the orange yolky dawn for a Saturday Brunch club, finally a cocktail party with a twist.

Will hopefully be repeating the Mexican Pirate night and dinghies down the Thames outing.

Also creating a co-operative for my boat Maria, the idea being you can take my boat for free into the Mediterranean, you simply pay for two month of mooring it wherever you left it, the idea being you can sail without having to worry about getting the boat back to the home port.  – could really do with some help organising it!

26 Feb 2012

Join us at a free talk on the Thames about sea pollution and adventure.

2 Comments Living

Join Emily Penn and Dave Cornthwaite for an evening of water adventure stories and discussion at HC moorings http://www.hcmoorings.org/ at 7pm. 

Register for the event @ http://wateradventure.eventbrite.com/

The speakers will inspire and amaze you with their adventures, from Dave Cornthwaite’s extreme record breaking sporting feats to Emily Penn’s impressive achievements in marine conservation. Emily, has taken on the sea’s earning herself Yachtmaster of the year and transformed the waste management of a remote island in Tonga.  

Our aim? Inspire, amaze, motivate 

Dave Cornthwaite, Adventurer and Author www.davecorthwaite.com


Dave is a world record-breaking adventurer, author, and motivational speaker. Currently traversing the world using a different form of non-motorised transport.


Emily Penn, Programme Director, Pangaea Explorations www.panexplore.com


Emily has sailed around the world in several different guises. On the world record-breaking biofuelled powerboat, Earthrace, she co-ordinated events promoting alternative fuels in 120 international cities. Then, living on a remote island in Tonga, Emily organised one of the largest clean-up operations in the Pacific. Awarded Yachtsmaster of the year by HRH Princess Anne, Emily is now Programme Director for Pangaea Explorations, leading sailing expeditions around the world studying plastic pollution and coral reef biodiversity.


If you are interested, please RSVP, be inspired, learn about billions of tons of plastic floating in the sea, tales of adventure and meet like minded people.


See the map here 

Any questions or problems please contact t.aylott@gmail.com or emily@panexplore.com

15 Jan 2012

Prior to departure visit the JobCentre!

3 Comments Canaries, Living

Before I forget!! Lesson number one when going traveling: Sign up to the dole! No I don’t mean be a nonce and stroke the gland of social nectar till the tax payers cries in anguish at the injustice. Simply sign up this will mean they pay the stamp duty, you don’t get any cash / moneys but it contributes towards your NI contributions required for your state pension (heck every little counts). If you do scam the system then I hope you sink.

Really missing my boat, currently just parked out there all on it’s own waiting ….. but it’s not all bad, I seem to be running a hotel service for other travelers passing through the area. Keeps Maria well kept and full filling her function unlike so many other hulks just idling on their mooring lines. There is a huge element of trust with all of this, gas bottles, sea cocks and electricity need to be turned off, but you have to start somewhere.

Stay safe!



05 Jan 2012

RANT – bottles – water from the tap not cool?

8 Comments Living


A sea of bottles!

Why do people drink water out of bottles, what’s wrong with tap water, how did people survive before bottled water. What a farce, it’s more expensive than fuel and destroys the environment, what will people make of us in the future ‘Yeah, we don’t quite understand?! They had water piped to houses and drinking machines, yet they preferred it out of plastic.’ It’s equal to using natural gas to produce electricity – CRIMINAL, natural gas is easy to transport to homes, use something that’s tougher to transport to make electricity like coal. And if any greenfingering water bottle drinking pimping ho decides to say that burning coal is not environmentally clean then please prostrate oneself over a 5l container….


Far more comprehensive discussion of water bottles can be found http://businessshrink.biz/psychologyofbusiness/2008/04/26/americas-dirtly-little-oil-secret-plastic-bottles-and-bags/

People sailing the world dredging up the millions of tonnes of floating plastic waste in the Atlantic http://www.panexplore.com/


23 Dec 2011

Orphans & Asses

2 Comments Living

Curious case of Benjamin button today as walking back from the bakers I serenaded into a Orphanage. Surrounded by ex-pats come born again philanthrophists who never had their moment on the stage as the beauty pagent revealing which ailments they would cure the world of. Forgotten by their sired generation, they be dead, and remembered from afar by their own children they cast their doting affection on those nearer to home.

The multi-national choir of three legged renegades made their way to perform on stage accompanied by their entourage of zimmer frames, walking sticks, braces and the odd hip flask for various means of support. Eventually the absent children made their way into the room, took me a moment to realise that the same spectacle that arose my interest that led me into the building was a quality shared by all the children, without a shadow of a doubt the most well fed bunch of Portugese children I had come across. Pork being the national favourite dish it was clear these little porkers could have done with a little less, I immediately felt a pang of guilt aware that my present would undoubtly hasten their hardship of the expanding waistbands.

Was a bountiful xmas.

The choir was the best I have seen, singing Christmas carols in three different languages offsetting each other and really creating an atmosphere. The children said thank you and as quickly as they arrived, departed arms overflowing in presents … bit of an anti-climax … personally wanted to tie the presents to a donkey and have the children chase them with a pin and tail.

Een ezel stoot zich geen twee maal aan dezelfde steen.

Speaking of Donkey’s that brings me onto a visit to a sanctuary for aforementioned creatures who were left beside the road as the EU’s misplaced funds introduced an economic boom that seems to only have benefited construction and car sales. The man who rode the donkey was given a car, the mule that operated the mans’ irrigation pump was replaced by an electric motor, as such our four legged mammals ended up in a cosey retirement home / sanctuary. As for the man, well he didn’t know how to drive the car and only after causing three pile ups had the vehicle removed, ‘aha’ you say ‘the police cottoned onto his shoddy driving’ … no…. the bank deleted his car for missing his monthly payments as a result of the Chinese made electric irrigation pump rusting and his crops failing. Moral of the story … can’t beat a good ass.

p.s. They were all lovely! And a big high five to the volunteers of both the Orphanage and the Donkey Sactuary – if you are in need of an Donkey or Hound http://www.refugiodosburros.webeden.co.uk/
02 Nov 2011

London the home of a thousand glances, yet few smiles

160 Comments Living

Coming out of Liverpool street station wearing flipflops summer slacks and a brightly coloured hoody I was greeted by the evening stampede of commuters whose eyes rarely deviated from the floor, some so intent on their phones no doubt twittering their intentions to their unbeknown neighbour – that it was a miracle how spaces were not violated.

That space, those circles that Londoner’s surround themselves in has really taken the wind out of my sails. It’s like being at the zoo, observing a freak show of sapiens behind the safety of bars with a notice reading do not approach. Like a large thriving mass it feeds on decadence and paranoia, the novelty has worn thin, my enthusiasm waned.

I have thoroughly enjoyed myself, been out way too much, met loads of people, yet interestingly enough it’s been a rather hollow experience, few can step beyond those circles and past the bars.

Looking forward to returning home to Gomera, yet at the same time torn to stay – the pressures of Londoner’s are beginning to play on my conscious … ambition …or brainwashing … it’s certainly a greyer outlook on life.

10 Oct 2011

Going to London :: Gomeran’s don’t miss the Kings of Originality Zirkmir on 12th

9 Comments Canaries

Zirkmir in Action in San Sabastian on the 12th of October.


Need to earn some coinage, pirates mutiny when their is no gold, actually I have run out of instant noodles 🙁 Arrive in London on the 24th of October.

One thing I am staying for is www.zirkmir.com performance, they are five fantastic and a little loopy Norse people bringing smiles to the world. Take a look at their website!




23 Sep 2011

A month in Gomera – now time for Gambia – or ..

1 Comment Canaries

Puddles everywhere, wet ones too, persistent rain with undertones of dull and gloom are certainly not words to describe Gomera. It’s a very spiritual place with many people coming out to try and find if their inner self will resonate with the quartz left over from when Atlantis descended into the depths…. or something like that. I didn’t see anyone vibrate but people here are happy and it rubs off.

The sailing round here has been fantastic with constant winds produced by the vast valleys. Met some great people, the oddest being cave dwelling hippies who squeezed out their previous dinners into plastic bags then throw the bag into the ocean …. lovely!!! … a protected floating surprise that lands right back on the beach again.

I have had lots of people onboard for the usual day sails, a backpacker who missed the ferry,  three Airport transfers to Tenerife (you don’t want to stay there more than a day, it’s the pits). Photo’s make more sense than me:


23 Sep 2011

El Cedro – 6 hour one way walk 1200m climb

2 Comments Canaries

El Cedro is paradise, it’s located a good hour or two by car from San Sabastian. There is a sailing school CanarySail.com with 5 boats in the marina, they are always busy and having seen the rest of the Canaries they certainly have the best spot …. through them I met a Dutch guy who wanted to hire a car and and explore the island … and so started my love affair.

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We arrived in El Cedro having driven through lush dense forests with thick mist providing the overture, one that sadly didn’t climax in the earth vibrating to the footsteps of a chasing Tyrannosaurus. Where there was a break in the cloud the sight that greeted us was quite spectacular.

P1000951.JPG In El Cedro is a little camp site and restaurant, they pick the water cress every morning and make the best soup for 3EU or if you’r in the mood you can eat the sacrificial goat the non existent dinosaur didn’t devour for a humble 6eu. I ended up going there 5 times either with the local ex pats or hitch hiking. I stayed over night in the Campsite for a few days after Roberto lent me a 22 year old Norwegian sleeping bag, the lady who runs the restaurant became very friendly when she saw my enthusiasm for her food and gave me little treats for my hikes.

Everyone in the campsite was German and quite astonished when I turned up with just a sleeping bag sans tent, hiking boots, a free tourist map and clearly lacking common sense.  Didn’t take long to win them over and we drank the place dry, turned down the offer for a place in their tents and woke up to a great view of doves flying in and out of cloud cover.


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30 Aug 2011

La Gomera – I found Heaven

2 Comments Canaries, Contessa 32

P1000927.JPG I would rate this place as AAA, and yes the A stands for awesome! I arrived in San Sabastian in La Gomera in winds between 40 and 50 knots, my windex clearly felt it I would be releaved not knowing wind speed over 48 knots. At those speeds water being whisked off waves feels like rubber bullets, but I was in my element, the boat simply smiled and bore through the waves begging for more of a challenge sailing 40 degrees into the wind with a hankerchief of my genoa presented to the wind and three reefs in my main. It was impossible to take photo’s, the boat was submersed most of the time. The cockpit was a swimming pool as the cockpit drains fought to remove the water quicker than it entered. I met a plastic tub coming the opposite direction, we passed within 20m of each other, they were clearly not enjoying the conditions as I stood on the stern hollering in delight their response evident by the white knuckles and green faces. My windave worked like a champ, more on this later but I am in love with it especially when it allowed me to sail downwind in 7 knots!!
This was sailing at it’s best and I could have gone on comfortably for days, except for the problem with leaking windows, the engine was useless in these conditions, I couldn’t make more than 1knt with the engine flat out.

So I arrived in San Sabastian, the moment I arrived I knew I found something special, it’s impressive, people here are super friendly, the Marina is almost as cheap as Las palmas 7eu a night and the facilities are the best I have experienced. Food here is real Canaries / Spanish grub and super cheap, rivaling Arracife in Lanzerote. Everyday I have a pint mixed Zumo (smoothy) made from the abundance of exotic fruit for 2eu, Mango’s are only 1eu a kilo. Hamburgers here are 2eu and devilishly delicious everything being home made and filled with plenty of salad.
There are no tourists, except for the day trippers who obediently roll off and on the ferries, the smarter ones driving cars so they can visit La Cedra – the home of Jurrasic park.

10 Aug 2011

Mogan to Tenerife – 40 knot winds hooooraaa

3 Comments Canaries

Well I am sad to have left Mogan, had a blinding time met loads of people, frothy crotches; vidaloo bloody Mary’s; lost wives and spatulas were all fond memories that were whisked away as I got smacked in the face by a back hander that would have rendered any mother proud and adolescent adult forever subservient.

Thankfully I knew what was coming, two days before I had met Twice Daily Wendy and Rampant Mark, who provided a curious concoction and that’s to say nothing for the selection of mouthwashes provided. My bucket provided a great inspection platform well missed from my times in Holland, I was bitterly disappointing not to see a rainbow crest my cheeks.

Miss Twice Daily and Mr Rampant

Awesome couple who wanted to go a step further than the average motor around the beaches, we went past the lee of the island and were introduced to 30 knot winds, and an unexpected wave which dumped it’s load through the front hatch onto my bed.

Two days later after drying out my boat (salt water NEVER dries out), I attached my virgin rust tainted ancient storm jib and headed out for La Gomera. Sailing at 90 degrees to the waves is not a pleasant point of sail, I set my windvane on it’s course shrieked in delight as I was soaked with every wave a cried in anguish as the freak wave bore away anything not strapped down. The excitement soon wore off as I chattering took control of my mouth, I turned on my AIS and slept for four hours until I was woken by water dripping from a previously water tight hatch, nutsacks, all my windows were leaking.

I lost my welcome matt (boohoo) and a canvas bag, but caught my first Maui Maui, a spectacularly multicoloured fish, at least I think that’s what it was, had an ugly face, maybe it was the reflection in it’s eye, I will never know, couldn’t get it onboard, a wave wrapped it around my windvane and fate took care of the rest.

It was 21:00 I was next to Tenerife, Maria wet all over both inside and outside, yet surprisingly clean, caressing waves are way more effective than splugeing hoses, I didn’t know La Gomera so I diverted to the nearest Marina.

Tenerife ahoy

I was greeted by a Swedish family who gave me their left over pasta meal, then the security guard who quite clearly said it’s ok to stay for free if I leave before 09:00 .. maybe he didn’t but when I found out the charges are 20E a night that’s what his Spanish meant. Oh then I went to locate a cold beer, surprisingly enough I am in an Irish bar and the topic of many conversation (you are on a laptop … seriously .. who does that on holiday … as she gets a phone call from her boyfriend ensuring she is behaving .. priceless .. bar is called LegOver).

07 Aug 2011

Leaving today – Too hot down South time for the Azores

3 Comments Canaries

Big slide show above, give it time to load.

I am leaving Mogan, my favourite place in the Canaries at long last. Heading for the Azores, the south is too hot, Gambia has 80% humidity and 32C not my idea of enjoyment so I am going to beat into the wind and do some sailing north to the Azores. Why not?

Cape Verde if it’s as dry as this area it’s of little interest to me, had enough of this landscape.

02 Aug 2011

Photo’s of the last few weeks

7 Comments Canaries

I get the impression his wife didn't agree

Pictures and translation for buying two months worth of fresh eggs.

Typical coast line

Anfil Del Mar private marina

My boat of Anfil Del Mar

The Valley of Mogan full of farms

Mogan Marina

Carmen Festival


Yarrrgh - There Be Pirates

23 Jul 2011

Still in Mogan – update

1 Comment Canaries

Quite like the place, I am on anchorage. I personally love being at anchor the rocking motion of the boat is lovely, that said sometimes with the changing tide and the swell I do feel a tad nauseous.

Few updates:

– Nothing lasts in this heat, I threw away all of my bottled cheese. Bottling brie and Camembert was a big mistake, the only cheese that survived was the cheapest gouda stuff.

– I had a lot of dry cured ham in vacuum packs, upon opening the pantry all of the packets were distended and the bacteria hard at work, I used it to catch fish, however, in Mogan it’s only ickle sardines so they can’t bite the hooks. Going to try the present Chris and James gave me and try to catch a big crab using the net they gave me. There was a 2meter mantra ray circling my boat the other day.

– Even wine does not bode well in these 30c boat temperatures, a lot of the red wine has gone off. This might have something to do with the wine being stored horizontal and it not breathing?

– What does work is biltong, it’s as tough as a truncheon but stick it in a stew and it’s nice-ish. But the stew doesn’t last 2 days so I am wasting a fair amount of gas on small dishes.

– Have a real problem with my power generation, even my 80w solar panel which I put out when on anchor is only generating 2A, in this sun it should be 5A, with only one 80A battery (40A of which is usable) I am still having to turn the motor on every third day. I have resorted to using the starter battery a few times but had a scare when the engine wouldn’t tick over, since I am on anchor I can’t afford not to start it when needed in case my anchor fails and I smash into the cliff 20m away.

Yes, I need to venture to Gambia, but’s it’s so hot here I am reluctant to head further south.

16 Jul 2011

I am Mogan

4 Comments Canaries

I have left Las Palmas some time ago, I have been working my way round what’s left of the Canaries. Can’t comment on any of it as it’s all pretty boring except for Mogan which is what I expected when I came to the Canaries. People here change from swimming trunks to shorts in the evening and you won’t see anyone puffing on a cancer stick, nor ash trays on the tables to encourage the notion ….. is this a sign of money or education. Mogan has character something the entire of the Canaries lacks, it is tiny though.

Porto Rico is the place to go if you want to drink 1.50 pints or buy a G&T only to get the bottle, so desperate are they to make you stay in a venue where the declining tourism is evident by the vacant lots, no charity shops here. The queues waiting for the booze cruises says it all.

Also went to Playa Ingles or Maspolomas – which was good fun … if you are 18 and like vomiting in streets. I enjoyed curb walking and staring at the passed out Western Euro trash for the non to conspicuous  ‘Priceless’ moment. I embellish a tad, I enjoyed myself, wouldn’t go there on holiday.

Anfil Del Mal – I anchored of that place which is the worlds largest timeshare, nice anchorage but nothing at all there.

I really do have to sail somewhere worldly, just need to spin a wheel to decide which direction, I am all touristed out, leave for Cape Verde within the week.



19 Jun 2011

Slight delay, was the weekend…

3 Comments Canaries

Got abit carried away, had a great weekend that started off with the local Marina night club, then the seediest late night club. The late club was a sailors place (from the many cargo ships here in port) with people from all over the world, working ladies everywhere and the stark contrast of well dressed gays. A trueley scary place where all the dregs of life are served up in a filthy establishment, I loved it!

Then on Sunday it was VIVA REVOLUTION! I went on a peaceful march to protest about the corruption in Spanish politics.

Miriam and Tony who got their first drink on a boat (Friday) and gave me my first demonstration (Sunday).

Was a good turn out, about 6000+ people


22 Apr 2011

Corralejo – Las Palmas

10 Comments Canaries

I spent good two weeks in Corralejo, it’s a magical place! There is kitesurfing, surfing, a blues festival, great bars, transparent water and fantastic people. I had the best time in Corralejo and now that I have arrived in Las palmas I wish I was back there again.

I was in the anchorage and rowed across every morning to the beach where I dragged up my dingy, there I met a sand sculpturer called Chris who had lost his boat in Portugal in a storm after it holed itself by bashing against steel pontoon. Chris was a great guy and guarded my dingy.

I met an Irish / Polish couple on my first night there who ended up staying the night, after a hectic row across the anchorage in a strong wind. It was dark and the engine broke down half way across, certainly left them with a few memories.








Think they got a bit more than they bargained for










I can’t begin to say how wonderful Corralejo is, kite surfing was a 5 minute dingy ride, the night life was awesome. I met two Swedish pilots who were telling me tales of landing 60knots cross winds on regular basis, kind of trivialised my experiences with mere 35knots and just myself to worry about. I had a good 20 people onboard either staying the night, sunbathing or going for day sails. The owner of a bar I parked my dingy outside of closed early and I took him and his family around the island Lobos, I got free drinks the entire time I was there.

The highlight was without a shadow of a doubt meeting Pamela and Kevin who took me under their wing for two days, we had an absolute blast and had a few conversations that turned those within earshot a darker shade of pink. Kevin joined me onboard for the morning, we then had a few drinks went for a meal and topped it off with a dance. Any of their family are more than welcome to stay onboard any time!

My new crew member - Kevin the Legend










There was a blues festival, there is a great bar called the Rock Island, loads of surfers. Absolutely wonderful place. On the day that I was due to leave for LP I went to pull up one of the Anchors, I had dropped two because I am paranoid about anchoring after my previous experiences. The danforth set like a rock, however, because I had not seized the shackle it had worked itself lose. Bob who was in the marina came across and helped me locate it but I couldn’t dive down and pick it up so i pulled up the CQR and spent the night in the marina. The following day a dive school was coming in so I ran to their pontoon and asked the lady if she could help me find the anchor on the sea bed, she happily obliged and with all her heavy gear she walked to my berth. There

Excitement in the Marina - Anchor 0 - Chris 1

was excitement in the marina and I went out to where the anchor was with 5 people on board, the lady jumped off the boat found it in 5 minutes. I was overjoyed, kissing her like the deity that she is and offered her some money. She looked at me offended and said ‘Pay it Forward’ – that ladies and gentlemen is karma. She made my day!

Thomas on a steel 42 footer which he bought for a song at 13000 euros educated me on the usage of SSB radio’s and dispelled the myth that you need a pactor modem to send and receive data, all you need is a computer and the PSK protocol.

Reluctantly it was time to leave, I was talking to David and to illustrate a point about how people do have an adventurous spirit I called over a random person and asked him if he wanted to sail to las palmas with me. He thought about it for 5 seconds and said ‘Sure .. why not’. David not to be outdone also agreed, I now

Now this is a boat! 42' of steel

had two people who had never sailed onboard, I tried to scare them into reality of what they were about to face. We tacked 8 times upwind to clear the headland then went on a broad reach followed by going downwind, the journey took 16 hours. If I had turned back after the first hour I think their green faces would have both readily agreed. I made them take anti-vomit tablets, David decided to take some sleeping pills unbeknown to me and fell asleep for the whole trip.

Steve and Sasha arrive in Las Palmas - a trip they will never forget

The windvane broke at 0200 and I was outside hand sailing for the rest of the trip, it is not something I will ever repeat. The responsibility of having two people on board, the fact that they couldn’t sail, the fact that one was knocked out … it was stressful! I normally simply sleep but because I had guests I their lives weighing on my conscious so I had to keep a watch, the windvane breaking was the icing on the cake. In the morning I roused David from his drug induced slumber and got him to steer for the last 4 hours while I got some sleep before we got to the harbour. Never before has land been so close yet so far.

The trump card was the fact that David had forgotten his passport so I had to buy his ticket for the ferry to take him home, this was after walking around visiting the police stations and German embassy to try and get them to stamp his ticket. they only check for your passport when buying the ticket, not thank god when boarding.

Tintin (Bob) and his faithful servant

So now I am in Las Palmas, been here almost a week, it’s a vile marina, best described as a cesspit. The facilities are beyond poor and there are 1000 odd boats here, toilets have no toilet seats let alone a lock. There is no real excitement and I am counting down the days till I can leave. I bought a satalite phone and a new Neptune windvane for which I am awaiting delivery. The people berthed here are great and there is a real bustling community for children who are educated onboard and jump from ship to ship for lessons in self defence, painting. I don my hat at the families for living this life and the experiences the children gain.

Pontoon party

Since I have been here there has been a party on our pontoon, which is certainly the liveliest. The Italians cooked a pasta dish. Was also invited onboard a Swedish couples boat for dinner along with another solo sailor called Pete, they have a website http://adventureswithsyingeborg.blogspot.com/ , fantastic couple .

Now I am deciding whether to wait in LP or see more of the Canaries and return to fit my windvane. I will be here for at least another 3 weeks if anyone wants a cheap holiday.




Dinner aboard Ingeberg

Your typical poster in the Marina









14 Apr 2011

Arrrgggghh!! – I be losing me marbles – Windvane troubles

13 Comments Uncategorized

The black connections had to be glued in at both ends after they were pulled out.

The plan was to head of across the Atlantic as quickly as possible, I sailed to Los Palmas from Corralejo which was a 16 hour journey. The Navik self steering was destroyed at 0200 when I ran over some debris, the entire servo rudder knocked clean off, I know people have sailed around the world with these windvanes but they are poorly constructed, very brittle and over 35 years all the plastic components are living on borrowed time. Also you can’t buy any spares for them, I have had four separate things break on them.

I tried to keep everything to a bare minimum but I have learnt one thing …. do not skimp on the most important items!! Your windvane is THE most important item after your sails and rigging, hand steering for 10 hours is enough to make anyone go crazy.

So with a broken electronic tiller pilot and half a windvane I now need to decide which to replace … do I spend 600 on a electronic gizmo or do I spend 2300 on a windvane. For me the option that would give me the best peace of mind is the windvane but all that money quickly reduces my cruising budget.

Then once I have made a decision I have to wait for delivery …. I am cutting things fine, but I will not stay in the Canaries! I am doing this for the sailing … which should tell me that I windvane option is the way to go.

To maintain my marbles, how deep should I dig, I don’t want to take the cheap route only to regret it 300 miles of the coast.

Navik minus the rudder

Royally pissed off, not to mention very tired, covered in bruises and one hell of a cold. Another yacht was lost with the skipper and dog airlifted 70 miles from my position on the way here… story to follow.

02 Apr 2011

Graciosa – Araciffe – Carmen – Callero (shower time!) – Blanca

57 Comments Uncategorized

Just arrived in Graciosa

I am quickly making my way South stopping at as many places as possible, the wind has died down sadly but due to arrive again tomorrow hopefully allowing me to sail to Fuerventura. Callero was the first time I met people who could speak English .. it’s a thriving tourist hot spot with tonnes of bars and the inevitable Irish presence. I was however evicted from the place as the marina was not yet complete, was by far the nicest place I have stayed thus far however. Tonight I anchored in Blanca opposite the expensive fancy pants Rubicon, just waiting for them to push me off.

The cliffs of Lanzerote from Graciosa


When I left Graciosa I motored into the swell (4m) and wind (25knts), I was only making 1.5 knots against these two forces, the bow of the boat submerged as I descended each swell. I then hoisted my sails once I got past the headland only for the Navik to break again … I sailed down wind for 4 hours to Araciffe by hand with the swell crashing on my stern or under the boat. When I arrived in Araffice, royally pissed off I spent a further 4 hours trying to get a purchase on the seabed. I gave up and took a mooring having hauled up the best part of 150 meters of chain in my attempts to anchor. The state of what remains of the local pontoon says it all.

Horrible horrible anchorage, never again.

GPS plot of my anchoring attempts

From Araciffe I went to Carmen which was a wonderful place, I was taken under the wing by a group from Bristol and had my first night out. I was however evicted in the morning as it’s not complete and sent packing to Calero.

Fantastic Port, Camera - not complete yet.

20 eu a night - great facilities

In Calero I had my first shower since leaving and had dinner with some German sailors.

It's free and very nice, Blanca my boat is on the right.

And so I motored to my current port Blanca, nice place, I have taken another persons mooring so I am a little worried how long I can stay here. beats paying though.  Plenty of nudist beaches along the way to keep the journey interesting, although my book was a far more pleasant on the eyes.

29 Mar 2011

Video: First night offshore on the way to the Canaries

4 Comments Sailing

Been on the water for 7 hours, sun setting, excited to be on my way. Had great wind for two days … then nada … more to follow.

Only excitement was crossing the shipping lanes, was amazed to see how the cargo vessels all kept to the specified routes. AIS rocks!!


29 Mar 2011

Arrived in the Canaries

1 Comment Sailing

Leaving Portimao

Apprehensively I set of on my maiden solo long offshore voyage, I would be lying if I said I was without doubt. I wasn’t worried, but it was the moment the talk became reality and it brought with it a sence of worry as I was truely on my own and miles away from the security of land. As the wind blowing at a steady 25knts filled my sails it too swept away any seeds of doubt and filled me with euphoria as the bow carved through the swell, doing a steady 6knots the cliffs of Portugal soon became a distant memory. Soon the secure solid surroundings were replaced by the unrelenting undulating swell intermittently topped by the whisk of white as the swell built in size and crashed under itself. The first 7 hours were sublime and as I settled in for the night I went around with some WD40 to silence the pulleys that voiced a concern I could do without.
I realised I couldn’t sleep on the tack that left me sailing at an exciting 6knots with the swell hitting from the aft, I headed closer to the wind deviating from the planned course and reefed in some sail. The result was profound, the drop in speed and swell hitting the boat at an angle made life below decks much more bearable and at 21:00 after crossing the shipping lanes I hit the hay. I woke up perhaps twice as the AIS warned me of a vessel in my vicinity, I soon learnt that I could comfortably reduce the the sensitivity of the alarm to warn me of a vessel within 2 miles.

Large Cargo vessel

On waking at 6am I decided to fix the windvane which kept locking up everytime the servo rudder went at an extreme angle, the solution after much deliberation was a piece of wire around the jointed connector to prevent it from sliding off the trim tab, the action of the swell which had built to such a hight that during the night two waves had crashed over the boat had broken the flimsy connection. On the second day and night I continued to have great wind, much of it thanks to the curry my mum sent me packing with, and decided to head directly south instead of the planned course to get out of the area that was producing the dasderly easterly swell.


Sadly that was it for the wind and for the next three days I covered the equivalent distance as I had in my first 12 hours. That said I had company, I saw a few turtles just floating about …. I wonder whose idea that was… “You sure this is the right way, Trev, not doubting you but we don’t seem to be going anywhere” .. “It takes time, we are turles after all” – Yes I have inner dialogues, no I didn’t have a football with a face painted on it.

There were lots of dolphins and a whale which circled me three times, will upload the video when I get time.

Troll Feet

I used the motor twice, only to see what my fuel consumption was like, ardent sailor is me, me no motor use, just an experiment you must understand. As it turns out 32 miles costs me 20 euros … so I stopped that pretty quickly.

I slept without any sails up for two nights and was chomping on the bit for some progress, I hailed a cargo vessel and asked them if I looked pretty on their radar, they replied in surprise, flat seas “Who is that, where are you!!” – nice to know they would have run me over without even knowing I was there. They told me winds would arrive in 6 hours and sure enough they did around 19:00.


I spent all night awake milking this precious wind for all it was worth and was rewarded with the Canaries being a mere 100 miles away, clearly my Dutch friends were worried, they had left a week earlier, for I was woken up from my doze by a tapping on my window.

Peekaboo I see you!

Sadly I was unable to decode the Morse message it was sent to deliver, once it had tired of it’s reflection in my window and repaid me for the free taxi ride by means of liberal quantities of fertiliser it took off for it’s flight to land. Reminds me of a marathon runner cheating by catching a bus.

I also had another rude awakening by means of a loud crack promptly followed by another crack as my head hit the hatch in my haste to see what the source of the noise was. A pallet, the type used to carry goods in a warehouse, had met the bow of my boat – I checked for damage which was a nick in the paint work, considered the odds of that happening and satisfied that it wasn’t a higher power mocking me for my frivolous flouting of maintaining a lookout, promptly fell asleep again.

Look of consternation .. check, toothpaste and coffee mug .. check

The last 24hours I had a nice 15knts and made haste towards the Canaries, I had timed it to be there at sunrise 0600, however some smartass decided to move the clocks forward an hour unknown to me so I arrived confused as to why the sun rose at 0700. Fearful of the age old adage of drivers ending up in rivers as a result of blindly following the sat nav, I decided to wait until the sun rose before I navigated around the islands.

Apt sunrise for entry into the Canaries

I arrived having slept perhaps 3 hours, berthed on my todd in 20 knots of wind .. almost, was immensely proud of myself (thanks Mike for your hours of pontoon bashing – I am pro!!). Went to celebrate by going to a local bar, island is so small everything was shut.

Was a great journey, with it’s ups and downs, the downs being the breaking of my steering in the wind and swell on the second day, the ups has to be the copious amounts of Jaffa cakes and digestive biscuits I consumed without feeling guilty… ok and the dolphins, the whale, the wind, the … well loved every minute of it… except for the lack of wind.

I must point out that although I have no offshore experience till this voyage I had done a lot of sailing in the months leading up to this, the practical lessons I learnt from sailing with Mike and Dave, were used on a daily basis. I was naive and stupid to think I could do this knowing nothing. I could have done it without their experience but I wouldn’t have had the confidence.


  • Covered 570 miles
  • Average Speed 3.9 knots
  • 6 Engine hours
  • 5 Litres of water a day
  • 1 Whale
  • 5 Turles
  • 1 Pigeon
  • 0 Fish
  • Lots of Dolphins
  • Top speed 7 Knots
  • Slept a good 5+ hours a night
  • Broke the tiller pilot and wind vane.
  • 3 Books
13 Mar 2011

Replacing the sanitary hose, smell you later.

10 Comments Uncategorized

Here is a job I wish I hadn’t started, the boat originally didn’t have proper hose which resulted in hose that smells. I found that when I pumped the toilet a waft would come from the areas where the plumbing can be found. Fragrant and not in the least pleasant, unlike the jasmine which is currently in bloom along the cliffs.

Biggest problem is fitting metric sanitation hose over a 2″ blakes seacock, it simply doesn’t. Took me 5 attempts to figure out the best method. You need a deep pot of boiling water and a wooden 2″ stopper, the type you use prevent the boat from sinking when a skin fitting breaks. Make the end soft in the boiling water apply Vaseline to the wooden stopper and hammer it a good 2.5″ into the end of the softened hose effectively making it wider, then it will easily fit over the blakes valve.

I regret doing this in the water and as it was the discharge hose it has stank me and the boat out, furthermore any liquid left in the hose which I did not capture was soaked into the wood – yummy.

Next job is to replace my gearbox which involves removing the engine. No wind for 10 days, I need to leave soon, June and the hurricanes are soon approaching, my deadline to leave Portugal is 1st April then I will be forced into the Med which doesn’t interest me at all.

While you are at it I have the following advice:

  • Use olive oil down the toilet to keep the pump lubricated.
  • Use vinegar to break up the limescale that builds up.
  • Replace the inlet tube as it builds up nasty bacteria that is not destroyed by the cleaning products you use for discharge.
04 Mar 2011

Single handed sailing Bible

6 Comments Sailing

Fantastic book which includes details such as how to sleep for 20 minutes, life lines and how to minimise risks. By the Andrew Evans on Foolish Muse, wish I had an email address to send him my thanks.

One most memorable instance, when I was on my knees pissing off the transom (still clipped in) and the boat decided to round up. So back up to the helm, board shorts still around my ankles, peeing all over myself and the cockpit, so that I can stop the pilot, dump the sheet, drive down, sheet back in, etc. But that’s what single-handing is all about. It’s not always pretty, but you get there.


10 Feb 2011

Ready to leave – so what have I been doing?

3 Comments Uncategorized

I have been plagued by a few problems and decided to bite the bullet and splash out on fixing them. Just waiting on a battery to be delivered on Monday and then I will be on my merry way. Although sadly I have missed a perfect weather window which would have been downwind sailing for 4 days, it’s all a bit indifferent at the moment.

Had a great time so far in Portugal, sailing when the wind was there, playing tennis, getting intimate with the sand dunes and above all enjoying the company of fellow sailors. There are four boats with sailors no older than 35 parked in Alvor ready to head of to the Canaries, Jeromy and his missus from France and two Dutch solo sailors Simon and Shelly. We take turns eating on each others boats and help each other with travel plans and maintenance tasks.

Simon, Shelly, me and lots of Edam

Looking at the current weather I will not be leaving till the 17th of Feb at the earliest. Considering getting crew.

10 Feb 2011

Cooking on a yacht

14 Comments Contessa 32, Living

For special occasions the cobb cooker is the chief amongst the hot headed Indians …  it runs on charcoal bricks and puts my oven to shame! The food this thing produces has awed all those who have tasted it and it’s so damned efficient.

On the left it’s opened up for Christmas dinner, with roast potatoes in the bottom next to the coal. It makes the best juiciest ribs I have ever tasted, simply can’t begin to describe how in love I am with this simple contraption. I can use it on the deck of my boat and it doesn’t get hot on the outside which prevents the nasty incineration of my beloved Maria… plus there is no grease!

I have also taken supply of about £300 of food, quite alot of it from a company that deals in selling produce which is ‘defective’ such as incorrectly labelled or even in some cases past it’s sell by date.

Also cooked roasts, cakes and bread. Not a big fan of using the oven and the pressure cooker is a fantastic invention, food tastes great and takes a fraction of the time to cook.

Thought Ben might appreciate these pictures … nom nom

08 Feb 2011

Yarrrgh … we be grounded!!

15 Comments Contessa 32, Sailing

Good times

I took  George and James sailing, two kickass brothers who I had beaten at tennis … mhmm … well I won the tournament. Had 9 knots of wind and made steady progress away from the coast. About two miles from the coast the wind dropped and we made slow progress back eventually turning on the engine.

The tide was an hour after high slack tide 1800, with high tide being 3m I thought I would be safe risking it through the Alvor sand banks… how wrong I was. I headed directly for the green bouy, which you keep on your starboard side. I knew the water was deeper approaching it on the port side, even so we didn’t get far past the entrance before the sand kissed the keel. As the keel drove itself deeper into the sand bank I turned hard to port and tried to drive out of the bank with no success.

I rowed out, after getting the chain wrapped around my outboard, dropped the ketch anchor and started to winch her into deeper water … little did I know we were actually going into shallower water. By the time I had sounded the water around us for the deepest area the water had left Maria firmly lodged in the sand.

Angle is getting steeper.

As the water retreated and the sand drew us deeper into it’s grasp I was worried what would happen having heard stories of water lapping over the cockpit coaming and filling the boat up … I was damned if I was going to lose my boat!! The tide was moving at a steady 3 knots we had 2 hours (2000) till low water and already we were over at 45 degrees.

We had to make a quick decision … we needed beer. High tide would be at 0300, I had no heating, it was going to be a long wait and once the sun goes down the temperature drops to 4C. A local fishing boat took James onboard to complete his quest of acquiring some food and beverages.


At this point we are moving pretty much sideways along the boat. We directed James over the phone to Tom who had invited me over to his boat for dinner … I had a good excuse – I was beached 1 mile away. To much amusement and jeering my dinner was kept warm in the oven till I was due back on the high tide at 0300, a bottle of whiskey would be waiting … not to mention the level of mocking only a Scottish man can lay down!

Didn’t have the heart to tell George his calls for help would be futile.

Simon another fellow sailor offered to motor James with essential supplies out to us. When they arrived I was walking around the boat and picked up the kedge anchor, 30 meters from the boat, and placed it on our starboard side which was standing high out of the water and would provide the quickest route home once we floated.

Beer, wine lots of episodes of Archer (best TV comedy show – ever) and the incoming tide started to relinquish the sands’ reluctant grasp on Maria returning us from a humorous right angle to a more steady horizontal that took some adjusting to. The boat behaved like the queen of the sea that she is, fully loaded with 350kg of water full to the brim with fuel, jerry cans and food she never let the sea dominate her above the genoa traveller.

Gracefully she stood tall again and scowled me for my doubt in her ability to deal with my inability to navigate through a small 2m trench that could possible have gotten me through on the lowering tide. Humbled I smiled while

All hail hail the heroes Simon and James … the deliverers of good tidings

shivering at the cold. The warm water and cold air produced ghosts which whisked over the water greeting the bow as she carved her way very slowly through the surreal landscape. As we got to our mooring a shout from Tom on a Rasmus 35 invited us over for a bottle of whiskey at 0200.

Would I risk it again …. yes, did I enjoy it … when I knew I wasn’t going to sink .. yes … it was a great experience and I enjoyed the company.





Gets confusing eating at such an acute angle.