Spaces available due to cancellation on Spanish Milebuilding holiday

spanish rias

Add miles to your log book on this one way trip from La Coruna to Vigo.
We currently have 3 spaces.  1 male space to share a cabin with a solo male who has already booked and 2 places in a separate cabin.  You may book this cabin for 2 people to share, book on your own and we will find a member of the same sex to share with you or you may wish to have a cabin to yourself in which case you would only pay 50% of the berth fee for the second person.

The Galician coastline is home to a spectacular cruising ground, the Spanish Rias.  These long narrow inlets start with rugged capes that jut out into the ocean and penetrate far inland to beautiful ports and spectacular white sandy beaches.  This makes a fantastic cruising ground with a huge variety of anchorages and harbours to visit.

velvet Lady in Bayona at sunset Lins island sunrise over finisterre2 dolphins on the bow
There are 2 main areas,  the Rias Altas in the North and the Rias Bajas in the south.  They are separated by Cape Finisterre – a headland with a fierce reputation in bad weather but with hidden beauty.  Just behind Cabo Finisterre, in the lee of this rugged headland is a small and pretty fishing village of the same name. We aim to anchor here as long as the weather holds and walk to the lighthouse!
We will mainly be coastal sailing by day and expect to stop each evening, as most of the harbours are 25 – 30 miles apart, but as we are reliant on the weather we have to be happy to be out in the dark too!  The evenings will be spent either in marinas, unspoilt anchorages or little fishing villages. There is often time to wonder ashore before dinner and sample some local Spanish tapas!
We start in the bustling town of La Coruna, north of Finisterre and finish in historic Vigo at the head of the Ria of the same name.  Getting there is easy, there are airports in La Coruna, Vigo, Oporto and Santiago with good transport links.
This trip has gained the AAA rating because it involves sailing along the edges of the Bay of Biscay and around Cape Finisterre.  If we are unfortunate enough to have a lot of bad weather then we may not make as fast progress as we would like and the harbours either side of Finisterre may become inaccessible.
This would mean that we may have to do a longer sail to get around Finisterre from one safe haven to another and it may take 24/36 hours to get as far south as we need.   We are happy to take people of all levels of experience with us on this trip – but, because of the possibility of an overnight we do recommend that you have done a bit of sailing before.

Full details and to book see

Milebuilding and Passages


From the middle of August we stop offering relaxing holidays and move on to the more intense Milebuilding and Passagemaking trips as we start to head south to the Canaries.  If you are interested in feeling the wind in your hair, the waves under your feet and adding miles to your log book whilst enjoying the peace on the ocean why not take a look at one of these trips

1 place available due to cancellation – Kristiansund to Plymouth
Date: 27th August to 11 September 2016
Price: £1,395.00

Bay of Biscay crossing: Plymouth, Falmouth, Camaret, La Coruna
Date: 30th Sept- 10th October 2016
Price: £1,095.00 – 2 places left

Explore the Spectacular coastline of Galicia – Coruna to Vigo
Date: 15th – 25th October 2016
Price: £1,095.00 – 1 place left for a male guest

Milebuilding Blue Water Crossing – Madeira to Lanzarote and more
Date: 14th – 22nd November 2016
Price: £795.00 – 3 spaces

NEW Milebuilding trip in the Canary Islands
Date: 1st -11th December 2016
Price: £995.00 – 6 spaces


Mull of Kintyre

DSCF1419Navigation wise getting the tide right around the Mull of Kintyre is hugely important when passage planning.  Not so easy when the starting point is Plymouth.  Nevertheless, after an overnight stop in Dunloaghaire and some fabulous sailing we arrived at the Mull with a fair tide which carried us all the way north and through the sound of Islay. From there it was a quick sprint north to Oban.


Plymouth to Oban,  512 nm, 7 days, In the words of our guests

“What an adventure. 4 seasons in 4 hours. Dolphins , seals and porpoise. Laughs, challenges and achievements. England, Ireland and Scotland in one week. Thanks Lin and Richard for getting us here safely and happily, but most of all thanks Velvet Lady for being the most amazing boat to sail. Will be back again. Cheers!


One female place left to sail 19 to 30th July.  Join us and see for yourself how great it is to sail Velvet Lady

Super Special OFFER – sail north to Norway now reduced to £980

2 last minute places available to sail with us from Oban to Bodo in Norway

30% off – now £980 for a 15 night trip, all inclusive once on board

Join us in Oban and sail north for 300 miles to the Shetland Islands.  After a brief stop sail a further 500 miles across to the Norwegian coastline.

We will creep inshore and sail the last 150 miles north amongst the islands.

Cross the Arctic Circle and stop at the Svartissen glacier.

Always hopeful of playing with dolphins on the bow

and in previous years we have seen whales

Before arriving in Bodo (photos from last year)

15 nights on board – join 30th May 1800, depart 14th June 1000.

Flights available from Bodo to London via Oslo for approx £120.  See or

More information on the Schedule page of our website

You will be expected to take a full part in the watch system, sailing the boat, and all other routine chores on board.

Booking is easy on line at our website but please remember that you are required to be medically and physically fit to sail with us.

By medically fit we mean that you must not be suffering from
any disability, epilepsy, diabetes, dizziness, asthma, angina or other
heart condition.

By physically fit enough we mean that we require you to be steady on your feet,
able to move around the boat and climb up and down the companionway
steps unassisted, able to climb into a top bunk (even though you may not
be allocated one) and be able to climb in and out of the dinghy (with a
ladder of course). We also expect that you have sufficient ‘grip’ to be able to hold on when the going gets tough.

Our usual age group on these trips is 18 – 65, If you fall outside this age range please contact us before booking.

We hope you can join us and are happy to anwer any questions if you want to give me a call on 07801 627660

Lin and Richard

Ocean Passages – Practicing our Navigating skills.

chart az plymGreat Circle Black, Rhumb line Red, Actual track Blue

We have just completed our longest passage of the year 1200 mile as the crow flies from Ponta Delgada in the Azores to Plymouth. It is not often that the weather allows you to go directly from A to B – so this trip we actually logged 1400 miles on the 10 day passage. So if we couldn’t go in a straight line – how did we choose which way to go and how did we find our way?

If you read the pilot charts and ocean passages for the world they suggest that in April first you will encounter light NE winds North of the Azores and then winds from the western sector from about 45N. It would seem logical to head north (even motoring) until you reach the westerly air flow.

Before arriving – Michael, who owns his own boat, had done lots of planning and brought with him his chart with the great circle route (black) and rhumb line (red) already marked on. We were aiming for an average of 5 knots made good or 120 miles per day and the rhumb line was divided accordingly. We mapped our progress on this chart every day at midday.

James, a Coastal Skipper, was interested to see how near you could get with dead reckoning – that is when you draw on a line for course steered and distance run without using the GPS – his dead reckoning track is in blue and over 1300 miles to Ushant he was only 10 miles out when we spotted the land

John, a Yachtmaster, was aiming to use the trip as a qualifying passage for Yachtmaster Ocean, so he wanted to see how accurate you could get with a sextant. He had never used a sextant before and rapidly found out that it is not as easy as it looks – it takes practice and patience when the boat is leaping up and down – however, we had a good amount of opportunities to practice and in the end the sextant positions were with about 5 nautical miles of the good old GPS.

Paul, a Day Skipper, just loved being at sea and was interested in making sense of the ever changing weather patterns – in fact he had sailed this passage with us twice before in the past.

(please note all names have been changed to protect identities)

To make the dead reckoning and the sextant sun run sun positions work accurately it is important to keep good records of the course steered and distance run – hourly entries in the log book ensured this and gave everybody something more to do on watch.

Our course was always dependent on the wind direction. For the first part of the trip we had wind from the ESE and as you can see from the blue line on the map we managed to sail close to the Rhumb line.   The second half of the trip we had winds from the NE (instead of from the west) and ended up beating. It was important for us to keep track of when the wind shifts would come. For this we downloaded twice daily Met Office synoptic charts using weatherfax and worked out that we had to head to the east before heading north we didn’t cross the Rhumb line again before reaching the Lizard!

We had made such good time on this passage we had plenty of time to spare so we made a stop in Falmouth to rest and recoup before our final leg to Plymouth.

So how did the guests find it

My first ocean crossing could not have been in better hands. Great boat, great crew, great company. Thank you for all your knowledge sharing and a fantastic experience

 My dream of a long Atlantic passage fulfilled, many, many unforgettable experience. A gale as usual, sunrises and sunsets, night skies seen from a new angle. Saw and learnt a lot about weather and passage planning. As a skipper of my own boat it has been a master class in ocean sailing

 Thanks for a fantastic 2 weeks I have learnt a lot and had a great time. Hope to be back with you in the future.

 Well that’s four trips and very nearly 5000 miles on Velvet Lady – looking forward to the next 5000!

If you fancy putting your navigation skills into practice coming up soon are 2 more milebuilding passages – The shorter, 500 miles from Plymouth to Oban which has now been reduced to £600 or the longer, 1100 miles North to Norway, Oban to Bodo


Where are the Azores?

azores webApprox 9oo miles from Lisbon, 1800 miles from Newfoundland, 1200 miles from UK and 530 miles from Madeira.

 A fabulous sunrise welcomed us to the Azores – with 50 miles to go the sun appeared on the eastern horizon, we were sailing amongst fishing boats and were joined by whales and dolphins.  What a welcome.

760 miles on the log and 6 nights at sea – we were pleased to arrive.  As last week we started with winds from the north west and a beat – luckily we did not end up having to sail double the distance as we managed to play the wind shifts nicely.  Gerry and Pam had sailed with us on passages before, Terry and Sarah were new to it.  All of us found it difficult to move around the boat and sleep as we were constantly pounding the waves.  Nevertheless the watch system went smoothly and as we stuck to our usual 2 watch regime – 6 hours on and 6 hours off during the day, 4 hours during the night.  With our watches still on Madeira time it didnt go dark until just around 9 pm and the moon was out giving us a huge floodlight in the sky.  Venus was particularly bright every evening, and proved quite handy to steer by.

We come to the Azores mainly as a stopping off place to set us up for our passage to Plymouth.  North of the Azores we should get westerly winds whereas if we headed due north from Lanzarote we would most likely get northerly winds.  They are also a great place to visit just as a tourist  and today, Richard and I treated ourselves to a tour of the islands with some spectacular views.   If you plan on joining us here in the future its worth adding a day to your trip to do the same.  We’ve also discovered that Ryan Air are starting up direct flights from Stansted.

We’re ready for the long leg now, onwards to Plymouth – who wants to guess at which way the wind is forecast to blow?

We’ll let you know on the 4th May