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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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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Shakedown sail. What an introduction to BB!

I joined BB on the strength of a nice lunch and meeting a lovely group of people, so was really looking forward to actually going out to sea on her. I joined in late January and up to last Sunday my experience of BB has been mostly wandering round looking helpful with a pair of pliers and waving a hose over hatches to check for leaks. However, on Sunday, the gods which rule crane hire and weather (and hard work by members and friends) smiled and she was ready to rules the waves. 

It was a fabulous day... she is such a lady. We had a great mixture of conditions, waves and winds, but the experience was magical, and I can't wait to go out on her again and especially the Ireland trip. 

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