Winter sailing holidays in the sunshine

Whew, after 4 weeks of really hard graft, Velvet Lady looks shiny and new and ready for her winter months in the sunshine.

It seemed quite a project to complete in 4 weeks, but thanks to the hard work of the guys in French Marine and the helpful staff in the marina at Suffolk Yacht Harbour we did it.

With Velvet Lady out of the water, we replaced the main engine, generator, steering, fridge and freezer.  Whilst the engineers were working inside, Lin and Richard were sanding, filling and painting the topsides and applying fresh antifouling.

We then had a fast and furious 36 hours with a tail wind to cover the 290 miles from Ipswich to Plymouth before severe gales from the west were due.  We arrived at 9pm Sunday night followed shortly by the wind on Monday morning and are now safely moored in our usual place, Mayflower Marina.

We have more than a week in hand for some cleaning, polishing and tittivating before setting off south towards the sunshine and warmer weather.

We will be ready to start again on 3rd October with the usual crossing of the Bay of Biscay.  This trip still has a few spaces and we can promise an action packed adventure with loads of miles for your log books.

If that is too short notice for you, we have a full programme of winter sailing holidays including Christmas and New Year.  See the schedule page of our website for all dates and prices.

Yachtmaster Ocean qualifying passage across Bay of Biscay

Coming soon in October is our next passage which fulfills the RYA requirement for an Ocean qualifying passage.  This trip is also suitable for anyone wanting to gain miles for their log book or simply experience being at sea and watchkeeping.  We are equally happy to take beginners and show them the ropes or budding yachtmaster oceans and demonstrate the use of the sextant.

Join us in Plymouth and spend the first day getting to know Velvet Lady, our Oyster 55,  before setting off on on a short sail to Fowey.  After spending the night in Fowey and discussing watchkeeping routines we will depart on our 600nm by the log ocean passage.

Across the English Channel and around the island of Ushant there will be plenty of shipping to deal with before we head off  across the Bay of Biscay.  Along the edge of the continental shelf we are liable to come across lots of fishing boats and will need ‘eyes in the back of our heads!’

We will make landfall again on the northern Spanish coast in the region of Cape Finisterre and then sail south towards the beautiful old town of Bayona.  Weather permitting we will spend some time amongst the Spanish Rias before finishing our trip at the Real Club Nautico Vigo.

Full details on our website, follow this link
Ocean Passage – Sail across Biscay from Plymouth to Spain
Date: 3rd – 13th October 2012
Price: £1,050.00

or ring Lin on 07801 627660 for more information

See you aboard

Kiel Canal

The Kiel Canal was mad busy.  I have never been so close to so many ships, wow!  Photo doesn’t do it justice.

After passing through Kiel we sailed to Cuxhaven and then to Helgoland, a small duty free island which is to Germany as the Channel Islands are to UK.  Here we filled up on some lethal strength gin to sustain us during our refit!!

After Helgoland we had a great sail tacking between the shipping lanes and the sandbanks to Ijmuiden.  After a day rest and a trip to Amsterdam we finally headed ‘home to blighty’ across the North Sea.  The weather was kind to us and we cunningly arrived just at high water to squeeze ourselves into Suffolk Yacht Harbour

No rest for us over Bank Holiday weekend as we prepared Velvet Lady for lifting first thing on Tuesday morning.  Richard and I have moved off into a flat 10 minutes walk up the road and cleared all of the stuff from the aft cabin and galley to the forward cabins to give the guys room to move.

French Marine are looking after our refit and very efficient they are too.  They were on board swiftly on Tuesday and  by Wednesday morning Engine and Generator were out of the boat

They look rather different on the ground, the Engine is the Blue one and the Generator the Red one.  Now there is lots of work to do to clean and paint the Engine room and bilges before fitting the new one next week but everything is on schedule to be back up and running for Bay of Biscay in October.

As well as working on Velvet Lady we are working on our Spring and Summer 2013 programme and expect it to be on line by the end of next weekend to coincide with our newsletter.

See you aboard