Brighton Belle members come from all walks of life - GPs, yacht delivery skippers, the Royal Navy, software engineers, architects, the corporate world - but we share one thing in common: a passion for adventurous sailing in convivial company.
Below our members tell the story of how they discovered sailing and joined Brighton Belle Sailing Club.
I used to mess about on boards and in dinghies and dabbled as a rescue boat coxswain until I discovered the joys of Offshore sailing, mainly on Nicholson 55s. I hadn't sailed for 25+ years until I found out about BB last year. I enjoy trying to get the best out of a boat while sailing and I happily carry on learning. I have always loved the camaraderie experienced on boats with a bunch of like minded people and, wow, our members excel at that. I think the 'never knowingly under-provisioned' policy on BB is excellent!!
Taught to sail by my Dad on the Thames and at Middleton on Sea in Enterprises, National 12s and an 11+ when I was still at junior school. A few years later I expanded on this after joining the RN and did a lot of coastal and open water yacht sailing in a range of yachts up to around 45ft. Joined Brighton Belle in early 2017 - thoroughly enjoyed a Canaries cruise, the trip back from the Azores to France and the Brighton-Amsterdam-London cruises. Looking forward to lots of sailing in 2018 - initially skippering the delivery trip to the Orkneys and then some cruises around the Faroes and the Hebrides.
This is my 30th season cruising on sailing yachts and I have cruised the South and East coasts of the UK, Belgium, France, The Netherlands and the Baltic. I have also enjoyed warmer cruising in the Mediterranean, Canaries, and Caribbean. I am qualified to RYA Yachtmaster Offshore level and have done the theory for Ocean too, but so far have not made Ocean passages. My wife Judith Hankey shares my enthusiasm for sailing, and we shared ownership of two yachts before moving to the South coast. We bought shares in Brighton Belle in 2017 after enjoying our trial sail in the Canaries.
Since "dingy sailing in Greece" many years ago I have always come back from sailing thinking "I really really enjoyed that"! Then a friend of mine took me out on the Solent in a Spring. This set me on a path: Competent Crew, crossing the North Sea, Day Skipper, chartering B36/37s for weekends with friends, Oban-Orkney-Lossiemouth. It was always a struggle to find crew for the B36/37 weekends and like minded people for adventurous sailing so I looked around and found the BBSC syndicate. Problem solved! Perfect!
I bought my first boat in Sydney in 1989 and with my dinghy sailing experience, explored Sydney waters in my Top Hat 27 for the next 11 years before selling her. I have been delighted by the opportunities and experience since joining the Brighton Belle Sailing Club since its inception and have built on my experience and seamanship first as mate, then as skipper.
I heard about Brighton Belle from a fellow member of BMYC and signed up for a day sail in January 2014.....unfortunately it was blowing a hooley that day so we didn't go out but I met a great bunch of people and had a nice lunch on a beautiful (moored!) yacht. I joined straightaway. I got my day sail a few weeks later, had a lovely day and booked for a week sailing from Crosshaven in Ireland to Plymouth via the Isles of Scilly, Falmouth and Fowey.
I started sailing just over 20 years ago with a friend, in the Solent, who owned a 34ft Moody. I fell in love with the activity from the first day and over the next two years took the necessary RYA qualifications to skipper a yacht myself.
When I heard about Brighton Belle, to me it was the ideal solution, a beautiful yacht, renowned for its open water cruising abilities, and even more important, the chance to join and learn from a group of like-minded sailing enthusiasts - the experience so far has lived up to my expectations.
I started sailing as a kid in dinghies and then the family yacht, a 17ft Hurley Silhouette on inland lakes. Despite the sardine experience of being the second smallest on board I learned to love sailing. In my 20s I started with UK Sea Schools and Mediterranean flotillas. Many years on I have sailed in UK waters, (east & south coast), Brittany, Turkey, Italy, Croatia, Canaries, and the Caribbean. I like sailing because it is a social activity including good company, food and the odd drink when tied up solidly. Brighton Belle offers all of that and includes a gorgeous 55 foot Oyster in the bargain.
I have now been a member of BBSC for 10 years and counting! How did that happen? Since joining I have sailed many thousands of miles learning all the way as you do when you sail. I have sailed into literally hundreds of beautiful harbours and anchorages, that I would never have seen without Brighton Belle. I have met many good friends through the club and continue to be amazed at how sailing on a yacht like Brighton Belle can be available to us all for only a few hundred pounds a year.
Having started sailing dinghy as a youth I graduated to crewing 36ft cruisers in the competitive tidal waters of the Blackwater on the East Coast so tides and currents were always a big feature. Later I graduated to racing fast catamarans and joining the national circuit with some success.
A chance conversation with an existing member and skipper Phil Ford introduced me to Brighton Belle and one sail was all it took to keep me coming back. I have been encouraged to learn and develop and now am a skipper and enjoy helping other members to learn and develop their skills.
I was a latecomer to sailing - joined a charter with friends in Croatia about 15 years ago, then one in Spain... and loved it. I thought dinghy sailing would be a good way to learn more, so joined a course run by Newhaven and Seaford Sailing Club at Piddinghoe pond :-)
I love being part of BBSC. Apart from the sailing, I really enjoy pottering around on BB and doing those bits of maintenance that I am capable of doing... I love learning new things, and there's always something new to learn on BB.
I've spent time bobbing about in the Solent, racing yachts and Etchells in Auckland and more recently offshore on Brighton Belle from Brighton to Lisbon. An excellent couple of weeks cruising.
The initial attraction to Brighton Belle Sailing Club is the Brighton Belle herself, an excellent yacht that is well cared for and sails beautifully. After a few cruises aboard and other non-sailing events the real appeal reveals itself: to spend time doing what we enjoy with other like-minded people.
I joined BBSC in 2015 - an ancient (ex RN) mariner keen to ‘go down to the sea again’ after 10 years ashore. I was welcomed as a new member by a professional team and have much enjoyed some fantastic sailing over the past seven years including ocean passages to Lisbon, Lanzarote, Madeira and the Azores. I've also had the opportunity to sail in French waters previously unknown to me, revisit the Western Isles and sail from the heart of Amsterdam to London. I’m proud to be part owner of a superb sailing vessel, maintained to a high standard - and much appreciate having the opportunity to fulfil personal dreams in the company of like minded friends - serendipity!
I joined the Club shortly after it was formed. Many years ago, I took part in "The Brendan Voyage" and then spent many years as a delivery skipper for various yacht manufacturers, mostly Hallberg Rassy and Najad. I believe that sailing Brighton Belle is "cruising" as it should be, visiting new places and meeting new people. I enjoy the thrill of sailing a lovely yacht in a seamanlike manner and arriving in new, previously unexplored anchorages and harbours. Whether eating ashore or on board, exploring unknown areas or simply relaxing, the important thing is to enjoy each other's company.
Started sailing when a lot younger, had a bit of a gap doing other things until recently. Done a mix of sailing, from a square rigger to dinghys, atlantic, med and brighton. Have lots to learn but getting real experience sailing with Brighton Belle and learning from the many skilled and helpful members. It's all great fun on a lovely yacht.
I joined Brighton Belle in 2015, attracted by its adventurous cruising programme and the opportunity to sail in style while sharing the responsibilities and costs. I started sailing in dinghies, first learning the ropes in any boat I could get my hands on, then racing in Fireballs. I later turned to yachts and worked my way up through crewing in club racing, skippering my own yacht in inshore races and cruising, skippering bareboat charters, crewing for deliveries etc.
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.
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