Copyright 2022 - BBSC

Cruise 4 - 11 June

4 June 2022 BB Oban, as crew finalise plans for early departure.... View from McCaig's tower Sunset 10pm Oban  Beautiful Oban Oban at 2300  And another one!  5 June 2022 Leaving Oban Another perfect day. Leaving south out of Oban. Heading to Tinkers Hole...  Steady 10 kts  360 degree view !!!!  South side of Ross of Mu...

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Troon to Oban

29 May 22 Perfect gentle sail Troon to Arran.... approaching Holy Isle Lamlash Do you need a hat, Patrick?  Crew rendition of 'Mull of Kintyre'!  Departing Lamlash & Holy Isle 30 May 22 Is Fiona (Skipper of the Day) being too cautious? We have been within arm's reach of the lifeboat for 24 hours … Campbeltown lifeboat, view from the f...

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Brighton Belle - first impressions 29 Sept 2021

"Clip on immediately," the first mate cries out.

The rolling North Atlantic swell causes me to momentarily pause in my headlong rush to the boat's side.

"But I need to take photos of the dolphins," I try to explain.

Yet, Steve is insistent that safety must come first, and after five days on board Brighton Belle as a beginner it has already been instilled into me that we do not leave the cabin until we have donned our lifejackets with safety line looped around our shoulders ready for instant deployment.

The sight of dolphins swimming close by causes me to doubt that old mantra, 'one hand for the ship and one for yourself'. How can it possibly apply when I need both hands for my camera?

I clip on and lie on the deck, my thigh pressed against a stanchion and the rest of me edging out over the sea.

I need not over worried about missing shots as the dolphins were patiently waiting for me, darting back and forth.

I always find the prospect of dolphins swimming nearby totally mesmerising as these animals are highly intelligent and organised, yet from a different world from us.

One is a little camera shy, but I call to him and he playfully rises to greet me.

Oh, the joy to become one with the dolphins…

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Brighton to Poole June 7th - 12th 2021

Tea and cake in the cockpit

June 7th Brighton Belle heads out for a shake down sail to Eastbourne with skipper Steve, mate Chris, and crew Phil and Lynn, and me (Carolyn) as Lynn's guest.Fog delayed our start, and then a lack of wind and opposing tide for a while, resulted in us going backwards from the everlasting black windmill at Peacehaven.After the Newhaven ferry kindly ...

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Cruise 3rd to 10th October - Swanwick to Brighton

It's October and I am sitting outside (it's a bit chilly, but needs must these days) the tennis club savouring my pint. "Haven't seen you for a couple of weeks".  It's 'Bill the busker' "I was away sailing last week" "That'll be that boat of yours then" "Well strictly speaking it's the club's yacht, but we buy shares in it and I like to drop "...

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Return from Lockdown

Towards the end of last year, Brighton Belle arrived in the Canaries for another winter cruising season. Little did we know that a few months later the last crew would be flying home, leaving Brighton Belle in Marina San Miguel, Tenerife, as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.

This July, a decision was taken to bring her home to the UK, come what may, and an intrepid crew led by Stewart flew out to Tenerife to carry out some overdue repairs, and start on the long passage back to Brighton. The crew comprises Stewart Henton (skipper), Mike Maddox (mate), Chris Anderson, Phil Helby, Petra Kopp, Bill Hill and Sevdalina Rukanova. They have hired an Iridium satellite phone, so they can download GRIB files and other weather data, and upload reports of their progress.

This blog is a rolling account of their trip as it occurs, and will be updated as each report comes in. Feel free to comment (scroll to the bottom of the page), although the onboard crew will not be able to read your comments until they reach land. This could be en route, or only at journey's end.

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Pornichet to La Rochelle 20 July 2019

Surveying the weather forecast the week beforehand was depressing. Like farmers, sailors are never happy with the weather, forecast to be high pressure for two weeks and not a breath of wind above 5kn, and, as we all know, BB likes a good blow. How wrong could we be? The days settled to a pattern; a few breaths in the morning building to F3-4 durin...

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Channel Islands Cruise 15-22 June 2019

The plan was simple: to enjoy a leisurely week exploring the harbours and coast lines of Jersey, Alderney, Sark and Guernsey and 'deliver' Brighton Belle to Plymouth. And so Skipper Paul with MikeM, Pascal, Rami, Rik and Phil joined Brighton Belle in the St Helier marina located close to the town centre on a balmy Saturday. We enjoyed a crew dinner at a busy French restaurant in St Helier's bustling restaurant district, then set alarms for an early start the next day.

Once the marina sill had enough water over it to allow us to leave, we sailed carefully through the rock-strewn Violet Channel and up the east coast of Jersey, helped along by the Sunday morning tide.

Having arrived at our destination on the north coast in better time than expected, and enjoying the brisk and building north-easterly, we decided to sail on to Sark. Greve de la Ville provided us shelter for the night and a fine meal aboard courtesy of the crew "chef du jour".

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Channel Islands Cruise

The main challenge and attraction of sailing in the Channel Islands is the large tidal range and strong tidal currents. Get the calculations wrong and either shoot past the desired destination or not be able to make enough progress to get there at all! As it turned out the tides worked in our favour pretty much all week with no outrageously early s...

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Dieppe Dash 2019

Bob, Mike, Andrew, George, Lynn and Chris

What's  better than shaking off early season dust  than a quick dash to delightful Dieppe? And so it was early on the Friday of the May Day Holiday weekend Steve, Chris, Bob , George, Lynn , Mike and Andrew scraped out of Brighton Marina to the start line of the Dieppe Dash 2019. The initial thrill subsided somewhat as we became becalmed ...

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Dublin to Plymouth

​Our cruise started in Dublin, the home of Guinness, although most of the crew chose alternative drinks when we eat in the very busy Temple Bar area of the city on Saturday. Three of the crew were staying on from the previous week from Oban so were well settled in to the routine of BB. I had been in Dublin since Wednesday and had heard all about th...

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Wonderful Scottish West Coast - 11 to 18 August 2018

Blog author: Mike Maddox My recipe for a successful Brighton Belle cruise includes: opportunities to develop sailing (and boat handling) skills; practising pilotage / navigation; exploring remote areas – the history, geography, wildlife etc. … all while having fun in a team of like-minded people … and, of course, enjoying fine food! The Oban–Oban c...

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A photographic commission: Oban to Oban

Chief photographer

In my first trip on Brighton Belle sailing as skipper I prepared two passages one to do an anti-clockwise circumnavigation of Mull in settled weather and one for bad weather in the event of multiple south-westerly fronts coming over. The reality in the words of the Met-Office was "changeable" and with two fronts expected 4 days apart, the around Mu...

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Mallaig to Oban

Pascal, Geoff, Stuart, Laura, Mike & Matt.

An awful lot had been promised about sailing around the west coast of Scotland by our skipper Stuart. I can happily report that there was no exaggeration. We had decent wind, various forms of weather and fantastic anchorage opportunities all week long. Skippered by Stuart with his motley crew - Matt, Mike, Pascal, Geoff & Laura - we had a fanta...

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Sailing to St. Kilda - July 2018

David, Lynn, Mike, Phillip, Neil and Charles

​Our crew of six, led by Phillip and Neil, started the week in style by enjoying a fine dining experience at The Digby Chick restaurant, which set us up for the week ahead.  ​Sunday dawned warm and sunny for our 55 mile leg down to Lochmaddy on North Uist and we were delighted to have a sighting of a Minke whale whilst sailing. The weather det...

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Brighton Belle arrives home after a 7246 mile cruise!

Brighton Belle sailed out of Brighton marina on September 3rd 2016 heading off for a winter cruising adventure. Since then she has traveled 7246 miles visiting Guernsey, Spain, Portugal, Madeira, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Tenerife, La Gomera, Isla de la Palma, the Azores,  across to Brittany, up the French Atlantic coast and ove...

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West Country Cruise 2017

​ We, the "Magnificent 7", rose with ease to the challenge presented to us by the previous crew, who had wedged Brighton Belle unceremoniously into an impossibly tight berth, and slipped elegantly away to the amazement of the Harbour Master who stood watching in a state of stunned admiration, not witnessed since the time of Drake. A week of fine we...

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Brest to Plymouth via the Scilly Isles - July 2017

Brest to Plymouth 1- 8 July 2017.  BB final leg back to British waters after 10 months away.  Philip Ford skipper. Crew; Keith and Rory Reynolds, William Hill, Pascal Labourel, Charles Wellingham.  5 of us set out from Southampton airport for the short flight to Brest on a twin turboprop, and were treated to great views of the C...

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Brighton Belle in La Rochelle

After sailing some 1200+ NM from the Punta Delgada, Azores. The twin towers at the entrance to La Rochelle's Vieux Port provided a memorable entrance to the harbour. The two large towers were built in the fourteenth century , "La Chaîne" in the West and "Saint Nicholas" in the east.During that period there were chains strung between the towers...

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Cruising to and around the Azores

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Azores to La Rochelle

Tuesday 6 June 1200 GMT Left Ponta Delgada 1700 yesterday negotiating strong wind off in a tight space, controlled until clear by midship spring. Yes! Based on wind off expected nice following wind east to Ponta de Madrugada. Ha! Man plans and God laughs! Wind on the nose and only 5kn so engine on with mainsail and mizzen raised. Engine is still on...

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La Palma Carnival Cruise

View of Mount Teide on Tenerife: 3,718m high, the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic

What a great week we had – and thank you to Skipper Paul for organising this special trip that gave us a chance to visit three islands and to experience a very special carnival celebration on La Palma. We arrived on Tenerife to take over Brighton Belle from Julie and Pete, who had given her lots of TLC the previous week – beautifully scrubbed deck,...

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Tenerife and La Gomera with Brighton Belle and Friends

Tenerife February  2017  Janice Dykes   Sunday Flew out Saturday 13:50 from Gatwick EasyJet. Landed Tenerife 6:30 ish and then wild taxi ride to Marina San Miguel. I was the last to arrive: Stuart,Stewart, Judith, Richard, Charles all settled in. Dinner of fish and spinach- lovely, some wine and then sleep. In the morning h...

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High Winds to Tenerife

Good mix of shorter day sails with a longer crossing from Lanzarote to Tenerife.Weather a bit mixed but great company, good food and wine and the wonderful Brighton Belle. Crew Phillip Ford (skipper and TEFL instructor), Neil Hurrell, Shelley Hurrell, Peter Wales, Micheal Prewer and David Roberts.

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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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Check out the article in All-at-Sea on line magazine

I picked up All-at-Sea free newspaper in Gosport Marina and submitted an article about how to buyan Oyster 55 for £4,000!  click on this link ​ A shared dream | All At Sea When Stephen Benham bought an Oyster 55 for £4,000 his friends could not believe it. However S...

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Brighton Belle sailing in 2017

This blog is to wish all members and friends of Brighton Belle Sailing Club a Happy Christmas and to give a brief outline of our sailing plans for 2017, so that you can sail more and ensure your Happy New Year :-)

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Lanzarote Revisited

Bob Williams (skipper), Paul Taylor (mate), Steven Avery, Lynn Riley, Charles Wellingham, Mike Maddox. Our week-long cruise gave us an opportunity to enjoy many aspects of Lanzarote: its rich cultural heritage, magnificent landscapes and comfortable, varied sailing, with the crew taking turns and sharing the helming fun. We met up over the weekend ...

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AGM - 4 December 2016

​We held the seventh Annual General Meeting for Brighton Belle Sailing Club on Sunday 4th December at the Cricketer's Arms in the heart of Brighton. It was great to see so many members and guests there to hear about the results of our club's past year, and to plan some more sailing adventures and club activities for the com...

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Brighton Belle’s winter in the Canaries Lanzarote, 12th to 19th November 2016

I write this as a bit of a novice sea sailor, half way through my Day Skipper theory course and a complete newcomer to Brighton Belle. What a wonderful boat you have! Here's a brief report of her late November outing around Lanzarote. We, the fresh new crew of three complete strangers to each other, joined skipper Fiona, first mate Joan and back up...

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Brighton to Lisbon

Hello, I'm Matt. I'm a prospective and hopefully soon to be new member. I thought I would check out the Brighton Belle with a weekend cruise. As it turned out, our dairies only matched up for the Brighton to Lisbon delivery cruise, a little bit more sailing than I envisaged but it sounded like a fantastic opportunity for an adventure and to get to ...

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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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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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Exploring from Dartmouth to Penzance 2nd – 9th July 2016

An excellent week exploring south coast resorts and estuaries. Weather was mixed with a lot of grey clouds, some fog and sometimes cold but we were lucky as we had little rain during the day and had constant SW/W F3-5 winds most of the time giving us comfortable sailing with all canvas raised. A big thank you to skipper George and Mate Fiona. Crew ...

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Video of Brighton Belle under sail

See this amazing video of Brighton Belle taking part in the 2016 Sussex Yacht Club Royal Escape race from Brighton to Fecamp in France. Many thanks to crew member and drone pilot Shawn Vader for this wonderful video. Watch Now Drag to move block. We had a good start close to Brighton pier, getting first over the line, then sailed clo...

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Dieppe Dash 2016 - we wuz robbed!

​Confident of emulating 2015 success, El Commodore (aka Stewart) and crew, Terry, Steve, Paul (x2) and Kate, entered the Dieppe Dash 2016 over the bank holiday weekend. Last year's carefully timed arrival, just before the wind died leaving the competition to paddle, could not be repeated, regrettably. BB's harsh handicap left us 4th over the line, ...

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BB GOES EAST(Again!) Last weekend we took BB to Sovereign Harbour at Eastbourne for the third time this year and were once again welcomed by the extremely friendly members of the Yacht Club there. The food is first class and inexpensive. (I wont mention the bottle of Port.) The wind was just perfect, being a beam reach both ways in the re...

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You missed the party!

Where were you all?! Bob, Mike, Charles and Alex waited at the Sovereign YC bar until late for you all to arrive. Well we had a party anyway, supported by the members of the YC, notably Dickie and Gary who have recent history as extremely sociable. I am afraid "what goes on tour stays on tour", as they say. You will have to try and extract details ...

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Brighton Belle in the press

Yachting Monthly magazine sent a journalist along to join our delivery trip to Ireland in May 2015. ..

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Shannon & Aran Isle - Unauthorised log book

​Friday: Mustered at the gate for the flight to Shannon. Steve was banging on about how we should have joined him in the BA lounge. Good of him to say so at the gate... RyanAir on time! Overnight at Faulty Towers (aka Park Inn). ​Saturday: Beautiful sight, my boat (BB) moored on a hammerhead! Crew brought my kit on board. Need to train th...

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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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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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Brighton Belle & Brighton Lifeboat Woman Overboard Exercise

Irenka ready to come aboard BB

Gordon, Liz, Stewart and I had the most interesting, useful and enjoyable session on Sunday 18 October practising our Man overboard drill . We were ably assisted by Brighton Lifeboat. Dan Gurr, the senior helm, kindly agreed to help us and supply a man(sic) to go overboard – crew member Irenka Griffin. Gordon had come prepared for a dip but was, I ...

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From Cork to Kinsale the long way

On the 6th of June 2015 Brighton Belle was on the custom house pontoon in the heart of Cork, Ireland. A brilliant spot for visiting Cork and its night life.

I was staying on as skipper from the previous week. After the previous week of gales on the nose all the way from Brighton I was chilling out on deck in the sunshine while waiting for the arrival of the new crew and guests for the coming week. 

I was delighted to hear that the new crew Jo, Beth and  Francina wanted to stay that night in Cork. Another chance to enjoy that delightful city.

Early next morning after a hearty breakfast, safety briefings and a chat about the week to come, we slipped down the river, past Cobh and out toward the sea. Sunday morning and the harbour was full of yachts racing as we sail out between them and out towards the Old Head of Kinsale. . 

The wind was light and the sea calm and I was praising Neptune for favoring us as my plan was to make a shortish passage this first day giving the new guests a chance to get familiar with the boat and learn the ropes in comfort.

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The spinaker and the moon

Back from the Castle Inn for an early night (ha!) on Sunday to see this fantastic view from BB.  The Spinnaker Tower at Portsmouth is always impressive, but the big fat moon next to it.  Awesome!

Now all you sailors know that the full moon causes spring tides, and the closer the moon the bigger the tide.  As predicted they were the biggest for ages (40 years if I recall).  Judging by the “Pain” “Pain” calls from the sand banks in the Solent quite a number were caught out.  Then today we had a very visual reminder:  a full 2 hours before low tide in Brighton Marina (dredged to 2 metres by the way) all the red and green lateral channel buoys were high and dry.  That’s why we left early from Portsmouth and put the pedal to the metal to arrive 3 hours before LT.  (BB 2.4 metres draft by the way…)

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Kinsale to Crookhaven (and back) 18th -24th July 2015

                   Blessed with a window of sunny yet breezy weather the stagewas set for a week of leisurely cruising with beautiful anchorages in secludedlocations off this most picturesque corner of Ireland. Kinsale        ...

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News flash...BB wins Dieppe Dash


And that’s not the half of it!

Assembled Thursday night for the Race Briefing at Brighton Marina Yacht Club.  Coq au Vin all round in honour of the event.  Over 20 boats racing plus another 20 or so cruising.  BMYC was humming, but as usual the BB team were last to leave…no more need be said.

Up at 04:30 hrs to prepare the boat, then out of the marina ready for the race start at 07:00. Wind puffing a bit, say f5, but to be honest we were all keyed up for the start so didn’t notice the swell...  After a bit of confusion with the start time which created a ‘practice’ start for us Stewart manoeuvred Brighton Belle into prime position to cross the start line next to the Committee Boat just  after the start gun (just showing off!).



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Brighton Belle en route to Dieppe

I wasn't on the Dieppe Dash with Brighton Belle, as I was crewing on Silver Fox - but it gave me the chance to watch her sail by, all graceful and everything... and fast too- second over the line in Dieppe and class winner.

Here's what I saw from the deck of Silver Fox (before the gales and huge waves started, and the camera had to go firmly back into a dry place! Hope you can see these photos.... when I preview I can just see a row of boxes... however, they appear when I click on them!


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Cork to Plymouth August 2015


Cork to Plymouth, 8th to 15th August 2015

This should have been week 2 of 2, with the first week shaking fins with whales and dolphins around the South and West of Ireland. Unfortunately a deep Atlantic low pressure system intervened and Brighton Belle stayed warm and cosy in Crosshaven for the week while high winds blew and high waves broke around the coast. I took advantage of the week to do a land tour instead, in a tiny hire car around the narrow roads of West Cork and Kerry, but that's not really a Brighton Belle blog, so....

... on 7th August, I drove my little car back to Crosshaven and met up with Paul and Bob, the first crew members to arrive. We had a splendid evening in Crosshaven, feeling it important to check out the watering holes... The Oar and The Anchor stay in my mind. Come Saturday morning saw the arrival of Fiona (skipper), Joan, Stephen and Malcolm. We spent the day getting ready, sorting out the boat, stocking up on supplies, ready to leave. 

We set off Sunday, around 12, heading for the Isles of Scilly. A memorable trip, lasting 26 hours (at least double anything I had done before). We had plenty of wind, some pretty impressive waves, a pod of porpoises, several pods of dolphins, a lot of kitkats and twixes, a ton of rain and not a lot of sleep- rewarded by a view on Monday afternoon of the Isles of Scilly, bathed in sunshine, just like they look on the postcards.

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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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