‘Uncategorized’ Archive

Brunsbuttel – 24 hours to forget

  The wind for our passage from Helgoland into the Elbe was strong and we arrived at the entrance before the flood had really got going . The seas were very violent for a while ; no problem for us as we were surfing down them at 8 knots , but I wouldnt like to […]

Fun on the Friesian Coast

  Spring tides and Westerly winds are a dangerous mix on the North Friesian coast as you need to avoid any of the river entrances on the ebb. After Vlieland we couldnt seem to time the entrance to the Elbe to coincide with the flood so decided on yet another stop , this time at […]

Holland is Full

Our day off in Oostende had avoided the worst of the NE wind , and by dawn it had veered enough for us to just lay our course in a light to moderate breeze and a bright sun trying its best to penetrate the mist. By midday a sea breeze added its twopennyworth, from time […]

A New Approach and a Foggy Start

  One thing we have learned over the years is that having to be somewhere specific by a certain time can generate an enormous amount of pressure on us as the weather gods may have completely different ideas. Why then did we plan to meet Bryony , Simon and Jo and their partners in Stockholm […]

Circumnavigation by Mistake

Like most of our passage making this year , the trip to Lowestoft was in winds of F 5 to 6, but unlike further North , the seas were a doddle , and we made a fast and comfortable trip, arriving just before dawn. Already the temperature was in the high teens and a clear […]

Fringe Benefits

Orkney to Edinburgh may just be 210 miles but it feels like 210 light years from the quiet and beautiful ( but currently stormy) islands to the frantic bustle and frenetic energy of my favourite European city at Festival time. Like most of the NE coast , the Firth of Forth has few deep water […]

Northern Perambulations

We returned to Coleraine after our week back home with no fixed plans , but the winds were from the South so , of course , North we went. Its only a hop and a skip across the North Channel and there you are in the Hebrides , arguably the finest cruising ground in the […]


For our second “break” of the summer we left Festina at Coleraine , 5 miles or so up the river Bann. This is the heart of the “Ulster plantation”, started way back in Tudor times , that continues to cause division to this day. Perhaps more famous is the nearby city of Londonderry , a […]

Yacht Racing on Rathlin Island

Travelling North and east from Gola there are two headlands to round before crossing the border to Northern Ireland . Bloody Foreland was a doddle despite its rather troubling name , and Malin Head was equally well behaved , although it has quite a reputation for serving up very rough seas. In between them are […]


Bad weather has its advantages. If we are forced to hole up we can catch up on our sleep  and try and make inroads into the vast library of books that accompany us. Better still , if we are able to tie up ashore we have the opportunity to explore on land, and even, shock […]

A history lesson

The area round Aranmore looks fun on the chart and in the pilot books. There are lots of choices of anchorages in picturesque settings ;  purple blue mountains ashore contrast with  the pink granite rocks of the coast, and the whole lot is set off by lots of white sandy beaches. All it needs to […]

Windy old weather, stormy old weather……

We have been home for a week , leaving Festina in the capable hands of the Blackwells, tucked up in their gorgeous corner of Clew Bay.     In our absence the weather Gods have decided that we have been having it too easy and have sent a constant  strong Westerly airflow with frequent little […]

Some things change – and some don’t.

  We first came this way in 1994 in Polly. Jamie Wilkinson and I sailed the boat to and from the Hamble, a racing crew came over for a regatta in Baltimore and then each family had a 2 week cruise between Baltimore and Dingle. Its fun to retrace our steps and see if the […]

An ambition almost achieved

The anchorage in the Blaskets between Inishvickilane and Inishabro has to be one of our all time favourites. It is the most Westerly anchorage in Europe , stuck out there in the Atlantic off the SW point of Ireland and in truth it is somewhat marginal, exposed as it is to any East in the […]

Wildlife Galore

Sometimes I cannot  believe our luck . Take this week for instance. The weather has been warm and sunny and the seas have been flat: ideal for looking at sea life. Then the icing on the cake, which is that most of the sea life of the NE Atlantic has converged on the Southern coasts […]