Copyright 2019 - BBSC

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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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  ...
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981 Hits

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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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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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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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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1198 Hits

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. Drag to move block. We had a good start close to Brighton pier, getting first over the line, then sailed close hauled...
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1431 Hits

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!)

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 r...
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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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1127 Hits

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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1332 Hits

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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2065 Hits

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

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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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1783 Hits

Cork to Plymouth August 2015

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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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1679 Hits

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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1761 Hits

A man fell over board this Sunday.......four times!


Brighton Belle sailed out of Brighton Marina for a jolly today. With 7 on board we set off to have a little fun and practice some manoeuvres. 


Skipper Phillip, assisted by a willing crew of 6 threw a nominated member of the yachts equipment over the side and shouted 'man over board'.

Lots of action, sail handling and great teamwork had us sailing back and picking up the 'casualty' within about 4 minutes.

In the excited discussion that followed, we talked about boat control and speed of approach and what could have been done better. It was agreed that the recovery had been quite successful. 

Then, extraordinarily, that nominated member of the yacht's equipment, the danbuoy and horseshoe life ring, was over the side again!

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Cruise 7 Cork to Penzance - A Scilly Route

Joining the boat all went swimmingly – thankfully not literally as she was berthed in the Cork Royal Yacht Club marina at Crosshaven and access was via pontoon - until I decided to pop into the club bar for a drink. Who was to know that ordering a Guinness rather than a Murphy’s would be a hanging offence in these parts? I would have been in less trouble for ordering a Scottish whisky.

The rest of the crew arrived late from their flights but the Guinness, followed by a Murphy’s for reasons of diversity and inclusion, ensured that I was not disturbed till the morning. The day was spent provisioning, plotting and generally preparing to sail with a bit of socialising, string games and swimming thrown in – again not literally.

We had a glorious sunny sail from Crosshaven to Glandore with good winds, and anchored as close as we could to the little jetty where George took our day guest, Paddy, ashore to catch his bus back to Crosshaven. An idyllic backdrop to an evening of swimming, eating and drinking.

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1784 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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1549 Hits

2011 May day cruise east of Brighton

This was a great day out of Brighton with a group of German friends. The cliffs around Beachy Head were spectacular.

 

 

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