Copyright 2019 - BBSC

I have been sailing most of my life, combining round-the-cans and offshore racing with more relaxed cruising. I've completed two transatlantic crossings (a race from Southampton to Boston, and a delivery from Antigua to Lagos, Portugal) and a Round Britain & Ireland Race, as well as some delivery work with George. I joined Brighton Belle Sailing Club in 2009 and was a skipper until 2017 when I stepped down to mate. I enjoy both the sailing and the navigation, with a particular fascination for weather routing.

I serve on the Committee.

It all started in the late fifties, when my father took my brother and I sailing on his green Folkboat Escape. She was moored just opposite the Hayling Island Sailing Club clubhouse, and anyone familiar with Sandy Point will know that the tide in and out of Chichester Harbour runs quite fast there. This meant strong arms to row the dinghy across.

My first night on board involved a cruise as far as Bosham, where we picked up an unused mooring and started to cook supper on a rather smelly old Primus stove, which ran on methylated spirits and needed 'pricking' from time to time to keep the jets clear. The mud is quite soft in Bosham creek, so it wasn't until we noticed a distinct list to port that we realised we were aground. More than aground, in fact, as we ended up high and dry lying on our side for a good part of the night. Fortunately she righted herself on the rising tide without taking any on board, and we returned home the next day.

I continued sailing with my father in bigger and bigger boats, including Alley Sloper, a 32 foot Robert Clark design, and the 44ft Naseby, another Robert Clark. We raced these boats both at Cowes and in some of the shorter offshore races, and also managed some cruising along the south coast. When I was 18 my father gave up sailing, but I was fortunate to be able to crew on Zulu in the 1966 Tall Ships Race from Falmouth to Copenhagen. The homebound leg consisted of a long beat to windward in SW force 9-10 across the North Sea, from Cuxhaven to Gosport. I then found myself crewing for Sir Max Aitken, firstly on Drumbeat in the 1967 Fastnet Race, and then on Crusade in the 1979 season, culminating in another Fastnet which we only just lost to Dick Carter's Red Rooster.

By this time, my academic achievements were beginning to suffer, so sailing was put on hold until the late seventies when I bought High Potential, a Contessa 26, with my friend Howard. High Potential was based in Salcombe, so in April '78 we took a week off to bring her back to Brighton. Howard was inexperienced, and I was out of practice, so when things got a bit bumpy as we crossed Lyme Bay, we talked ourselves into heading north in order to identify some lights and fix our position. The wind, initially force 6 southwesterly, had veered to the north west and increased to 8 or 9. Ah! That predicted deep depression in sea area Sole had caught up with us! The seas were getting very lumpy as well, and we realised we were in the middle of the Portland Race. We continued north under engine and bare poles until we identified the Portland Bill light. When we saw a pair of car headlights next to it flashing Morse letter 'U', it was obvious we were closer to the shore than we had thought. However, the pilot books tell of an inshore passage, about a cable wide, between the Bill and the Race. OK, they also say it should only be attempted in calm weather, in full daylight and at neap tides, whereas this was a veritable dark and stormy night at spring tide. We were nearly there, it was too late to bottle out! Stay in the Race or find the inner passage? Suddenly the sea went flat, the wind dropped as we gained the lee of the cliffs, and we turned hard to starboard. We followed the channel with rocks to port and the race to starboard until we rounded the Bill into Weymouth Bay. Amazingly, the low pressure system had blown through and we could see the lights of Weymouth twinkling in the distance. We joined a raft of boats on the Town Quay, and collapsed into our bunks. The next day the local newspaper's front page story was about a Swan 44 that had got into difficulties and had to be towed in by the lifeboat. They must have gone the wrong way!

To be continued....

I am also a member of the Ocean Cruising Club, the Royal Yachting Association and the Brighton Marina Yacht Club

New Batteries on Brighton Belle

​We've just received the following by text message from Stewart and Ingmar in Lanzarote: A busy day yesterday paying ransom to get the batteries released. Gave up on their delivery proposal of Tuesday, so found the warehouse and collected them. Loaded them into hire car. Drove 35km to marina and unloaded eight 40kg batteries and walked them one by ...
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  1276 Hits
1276 Hits

Airborne Eastbourne Cruise


For those not there, and perhaps to whet your appetite for next year, there really is nothing quite like being moored half a mile offshore at Eastbourne, and have the Red Arrows fly straight over you in formation as they open the event and then get to view their display as it unfolds around you. 8 Yachts cruised over for the event including BMYC's ...
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  1272 Hits
1272 Hits

Obituary – Richard Goodbourn 1932–2016

Richard Goodbourn on Hamilton Island

Member of Brighton Belle Sailing Club Richard, a shareholder with the Brighton Belle Sailing club and a founder member and long-time supporter of the Marabu Sailing Club, recently died after a rather protracted illness. This brief statement does not do him justice and what follows describes just one aspect of this quiet and determined gentleman's l...
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  1246 Hits
1246 Hits

Topside polishing


​Just spent a freezing cold day in the marina boatyard, cleaning and polishing Brighton Belle's topsides. I'd taken over from Paul who'd arrived much earlier than me, and done some great work on the port forward section. It was about 5 Tomorrow should be better, as the gale will have abated and the sun will be shining. I'm still trying to work...
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  1504 Hits
1504 Hits

A Moment of Reflection

​A well-known name, an infamous place of danger, and a famous lighthouse. To cap it all - the largest yacht race in the world. Last week we sailed past the Fastnet Rock. It's a piece of rock that appears from the sea around 10 miles off the south west corner of Ireland. We were sailing from Bere Island to Sherkin Island. Both delightfully set in qu...
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  1345 Hits
1345 Hits

Brighton to Beachy Head

For our day sail on Brighton Belle, with skipper George and mate Bob, we had 8 crew, several of whom had not met previously. Three were sailing first timers, but we all had an opportunity to steer the 55ft Brighton Belle under sail. After a safety briefing from the skipper we proceeded from the inner berth at Brighton Marina, through the lock, and out into the English Channel. We'd all wrapped up warm as the forecast was for cloud cover and a fresh breeze from the north.

 

I've sailed out of Brighton Marina a few times but I still enjoy seeing Brighton seafront laid out along the coast in front of me. It's fun seeing all the various squares and hotels and from pier to (remains of) pier in one view. Anyway, we were headed in the other direction, away from Brighton, towards Eastbourne and Beachy Head.

 

Once the sails were hoisted (a team effort), the engine was cut. This is another favourite moment of mine: when the rumble from the engine finishes, there's only the sound of the wind and waves, and the boat (in this case, the big boat) continues carving a path through the ocean regardless.

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  1692 Hits
1692 Hits

Crosshaven to Plymouth

Getting out of a tight spot

Crosshaven (In the Republic of Ireland) is within the natural harbour of Cork. The previous skipper and crew of Brighton Belle, by their own admission, got her into a tight space. We got her out.

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  1561 Hits
1561 Hits

Cruise 06 The terror of Biscay and the calm of Ireland

July 12th to 26th 2014

At the beginning of the year I signed up for Brighton Belle’s voyage from Sada in Galicia, northern Spain to Crosshaven, County Cork, in southern Ireland. As part of their own preparation for the voyage Brian and Diana Moore had signed up to a 600 mile sail on Velvet Lady, another Oyster 55, in March. They were confronted by gale force winds for most of their week on board and the experience had told Brian, the Skipper for our trip across the Bay of Biscay, that it could turn out to be very demanding of the crew’s competence and resilience. So on 6th June the whole crew met in Brighton for a pre- voyage briefing (and a tasty meal!). Brian’s and Diana’s stories of the rigours and dangers of their own voyage certainly hit the mark with me and if I hadn’t been apprehensive beforehand I certainly was from then on.

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  1769 Hits
1769 Hits

Cruises 4 & 5 June 28 - July 12 2014

Bob and Phillip had done a fine job to get BB to Corunna and then Fiona, on her maiden cruise as skipper, took her down to Vigo.

We saw Fiona and her crew briefly at Santiago airport as we pressed our noses to the glass wall separating the departures and arrivals as we headed to baggage collection and they to our aircraft, keen to leave the overcast skies in Spain for a sunny England. The pilot had warned us as we left England that the weather in Santiago was atrocious and if it did not improve we might not be able to land there! However we waved vigorously at each other and headed for Santiago train station.

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  1617 Hits
1617 Hits

Cruise 09 July 28 - Aug 03 2013

Day 1: Jason and I flew out to Brest to join those remaining on board BB - Nigel, Shaun and Bill- for a second week of fine weather, excellent company and good sailing.

Shaun was left on board with the marigolds whilst Nigel and Bill surprised us by greeting us at the airport. It was a short taxi ride to L’Aberwrach from the airport, and we were well entertained by Bill and Nigel with their tales of their escapades of the previous week. We had a booking in the chaps’ favourite ‘Pot du Buerre’ restaurant that evening and it didn’t fail as the start of our gourmet cruising week!

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  1823 Hits
1823 Hits

Cruise 02 June 9 to 15 2013

Day 1 Sunday (Brest to Raz de Sein)

Having said goodbye to our skipper for the first week Brian Moore and his wife Diana, David, Phillip and I were staying on Brighton Belle in the Château Marina in Brest to welcome aboard Stewart, Neil and Wendy who had flown in from the UK that morning. Stuart had already “texted” that he wished to get underway as soon as possible after arriving in order to get as close as possible to the Raz de Sein today. So Philip and David had already made a passage plan which Stewart was happy with, given the existing wind conditions, and we set sail from Brest about 1400.

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  1752 Hits
1752 Hits

Cruise 06 La Rochelle to Pornic

Crew: Bob Williams (skipper), Hilary Williams, Stephen Avery, Gordon Piggott, Jason Austin, Kate (Two Drinks) Rozik

So this is how I remember our trip…

We arrived at Southampton Airport where we met up with the rest of the crew.

Having a welcome drink we waited for the delayed flight which gave us some time to discuss the general plan for the week ahead.

After a short flight to France we landed in La Rochelle, the weather was great, very sunny with nice breeze, what else could we want. After a quick wave through terminal window to Howard, who was a skipper during the week 5 cruise and was on his way back to UK we collected luggages and got taxis to La Rochelle marina.

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  2039 Hits
2039 Hits

Plymouth to Gosport 3-10 August 2013

I love the journey, and my week's journey on Brighton Belle started by getting the car to Gosport, in readiness to bring some of us back to Brighton in 7 day’s time. Next a ferry crossing to Portsmouth. Then 3 trains to Plymouth. Easy.

The "girls" that run the restaurant Jolly Jacks in Mayflower Marina Plymouth amused us as we enjoyed our first supper together. The saltiest of those present looked at the weather forecast this Saturday evening and considered matters. Bob was skipper and we had the options laid out. Outcome ..  We are going to Alderney. 0315 get up 0400 cast off. Passage plan by Neil, interesting lights to view on the way out of Plymouth in the dark. Hold on tight we'll need foul weather gear on this passage, and we did. But we did have decent wind and sailed all the way.

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  1910 Hits
1910 Hits

Cruise 04 June 22-29 2013

After Stewart and crew had done the hard work for us (and suffered some ‘interesting’ weather, I hear!), we again jumped on a plane for the sunny shores and sands of La Rochelle, for a relaxing week tootling around the harbours of South Biscay. BB was snugly moored in the inner basin, right in the heart of the attractive old town. But we were clearly not going anywhere in a hurry, as that weekend turned out to be a festival of triathlon, and if we had moved BB, we would have been in danger of mowing down the swimmers , who thrashed past the pontoons in a continuous stream of wetsuits and goggles in all ages, shapes and sizes, to the accompaniment of very loud pop music and a hysterical commentator, who we were ready to strangle with his own microphone cord after nearly 10 hours of shouting!

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  1512 Hits
1512 Hits

Cruise 01 June 1-9 2013

Planning to sail in a south westerly direction is asking for headwinds and lots of tacking or motoring, but for the start of the 2013 cruising season we were blessed with almost continuous northerly winds – unheard of in our sailing experience!

BB set off from Brighton on 1st June in glorious sunshine with a crew of seven, skippered by Brian. Those following us on the AIS could watch us changing our minds in the early hours of Sunday, and abandoning our planned destination of Cherbourg for a direct passage to Guernsey. The tides were perfect, we were making good speed under engine, so it was breakfast in St Peter Port.

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  1534 Hits
1534 Hits

Back in the Water

Brighton Belle was relaunched after her winter layup in Brighton Marina boat yard on Saturday 30th March 2013. We had a good turnout of members to help prepare her for the travel hoist, and to deliver her back to her mooring once the boat yard staff had got her safely back in the water.

A big thank you to everyone who worked so hard through the winter to get her ready for another season's sailing. This year Brighton Belle is heading for the Bay of Biscay, as far south as La Rochelle, through June and July. She will return to the Solent in mid-August for some south coast sailing, including long weekends.

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  1572 Hits
1572 Hits

Winter Sailing

Crew: Stewart – skipper, Bob, Jason, Christoph, Damian, John, Reka, Wendy, Kate.

1 December, some people went Xmas tree shopping, we were more creative and decided to go sailing instead. The day skipper Stewart arranged the trip. He invited over members of the BEC and us, so mostly beginners as a crew.

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  1724 Hits
1724 Hits

Solent Weekend

It was a fateful day in July when I encountered George on the train from Southampton to Portsmouth. The sun was shining, it was the start of the school holidays, and the trains were so crowded I was squashed into the corridor with my bike. George squeezed on after me with a huge pack. "Where are you going?" I asked. When he answered "Sailing", my ears pricked up, as only that week I had been looking at sailing classes online. When George told me that he was part of the Brighton Belle syndicate, and suggested I might be able to join the crew on a trip, I was hooked.

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  1760 Hits
1760 Hits

The Wet and Windy Week

Cruise 22 - 11th to 18th August – Plymouth to Plymouth

SAT 11th Aug — a heap of young adults piled into my car and promptly fell asleep, as did the first mate Linda, leaving me to enjoy a warm, sunny start to our holiday – giving little clue of the weather that we were to experience later in the week, although my old bit of dried sea weed was lifting an eye lid trying to warn me.

In my pocket was the solution to all the problems we had endured with the fresh water system. On a previous trip I had spent some time upside down and back to front trying to trace an air leak which had persistently remained out of reach. After a complicated process which included completely servicing the water pump I had traced the cause to an old pressure relief valve, which had to be replaced.

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  2011 Hits
2011 Hits

Sailing back to Brighton

Kate on Brighton BelleCrew: Nigel, Richard, Dan, Jason, Stuart, Hille, Steve, Kate

It was Friday 12th October, early evening when we met Linda and Nigel. I was welcomed by Nigel with, 'you must be two drinks'. Wink This was followed by a chat and quick checklist of the equipment. We then hit the road - Brighton to Gosport. After what felt like an endless journey down Gosport road we finally reached the marina where we met Dan and Steve.

The evening was completed with a visit to the Castle Tavern; massive food portions with drinks - good value for money.

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  1800 Hits
1800 Hits

Cruise Report 23 June to 30 June

SAT. 23 JUNE—the crew assembled in Jersey under the eagle eye of Nigel and his mate Bill Catchpole who had both arrived the day before to arrange some eccentric victualling. On their arrival Nigel and Bill were somewhat flumoxed when, asked to be taken to the St Helier Marina, were told by their Glaswegian taxi driver that there were four so which one did they want. Eventually happily united with BB they had then embarked upon a rapacious Indian vindaloo dinner washed down with some vicious red-eye, the consequences of which they embellished to the discomfort of the joining crew.

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  1997 Hits
1997 Hits

Raffle Prize!

A day out on ‘Brighton Belle’ was the star prize in a fund-raising auction in aid of ‘Race2Recovery’, a charity supporting injured servicemen and women. A group of my friends secured it as a very generous present for my sixtieth birthday.

Finding a date convenient for everybody resulted in our deciding to go ahead the day the weather broke - having been duly warned that the worst-case scenario might be a celebration in the harbour.

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  1669 Hits
1669 Hits

Boarded by French Customs!

Bob Williams (skipper), Stephen Avery, Jane Roderic-Evans, Gordon Wills and Steve Benham.


We joined Brighton Belle in St Helier marina, Jersey, after an easy flight from Gatwick. She was moored on a hammerhead close to the marina entrance. Our first job after settling in was to turn her stem to stern, so that we'd be pointing in the right direction for our departure the next day. The wind was blowing us onto the pontoon, so the manoeuvre was accomplished by springing the stern out against a bow spring, then walking the bow along the pontoon.

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  2167 Hits
2167 Hits

Cruising out of Plymouth

Bob Williams (skipper), Anthony Prior (mate), Wendy Caules, Kate Guthrie

We drove down to Plymouth from Brighton, crammed into Bob's Audi A4, on Saturday 4 August, arriving at Mayflower marina in warm sunshine. Nigel and Linda handed over a nice, clean boat, but unfortunately the pressure relief valve on top of the calorifier had failed, and the replacement that I had bought was the wrong fitting. We therefore inherited a carefully designed method for using the heads, which entailed keeping a bucket of fresh water in each head.

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  1715 Hits
1715 Hits

Trip 1 - 1st to 9th June

Crew: Nigel McMillan, Linda McMillan, Howard Goodbourn, Alex Goodbourn, Richard Horsler, Stuart Holton, Peter Millar

Fri 1st June:
About 100 boats gathered early in the morning for the annual Royal Escape Race, but due to the light conditions it was little more than a drift to the first mark.

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  1616 Hits
1616 Hits

Loch Fyne to Arran

Bob Williams (skipper), Fiona Bernard (mate), Stephen Avery, Jane Roderic-Evans, Leon Prior.

Our week on board Brighton Belle from 9 to 16 July 2011 included a 30 mile expedition to the top of Loch Fyne, where we picked up one of the three visitor's moorings.

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  1615 Hits
1615 Hits

Brighton to Plymouth

Brian (skipper), Phil (mate), Fiona, Stephen and Diana

We had successfully negotiated the trolley dash round Asda, bagged our bunks, and removed the sail covers, so now all we had to do was to take the plunge, leave the security of Brighton Marina and head for the open sea and all points west on Brighton Belle’s maiden cruise to the West Country.

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  2146 Hits
2146 Hits
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