If It Floats It's A Boat

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French Canal Trip

29 Apr 2017 11:17

Gordon Fraser, a catamaran owner/skipper is taking his boat through the French canals this summer and is looking for paying crew. This is a cruise he has done before and has fond memories of it. 

The first leg departing mid June ish takes the boat down to the Med. Then leg two goes on to Sardinia and finishes in the Greek Islands. The boat is based in Lefkas, where Gordon is based for around 5 months each year. He takes guests whilst there for sailing/walking holidays. He advertises on the BB site and can be contacted by any interested full members.

Sounds like a fantastic trip to me.

2017 Here We Come

26 Jan 2017 11:18

On a cold, wet January day, where outside jobs become an ordeal, spring seems a long way off. Most boats are laid up, although some brave souls do go out, but that’s not for me. I like to think about those balmy summer days and plan ahead for new ones, and, judging by the number on new Boat Buddy accounts registered so far this month, I’m not alone.

 So Skipper, if you are going to need a hand getting your boat ready for the season, and or some crew later on, why not put a free advertisement on the Boat Buddy site. There are lots of Buddys out there, many of whom have good and useful skills, together with a will to help.

 You get the help you need and they get the boating/sailing experience that they want. It’s an arrangement that really does work for both parties.

 Boat Buddys can advertise as well, again it’s free. You may be just the person that Skipper is looking for.

 Also remember this is not a fixed arrangement, unless both parties want it to be. A Buddy can buddy several Skippers though the season and gain lots of experience on different boats. Likewise the Skipper may want a pool of Buddys to ensure always having crew.

 Whatever you do have a great 2017.

A Catamaran Experience

4 Sep 2016 09:10

I had a new experience last week, sailing on a catamaran, something I’ve wanted to try for some time. There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings concerning cats and a little prejudice, which is a shame. It’s rather like a sports bike rider looking down his nose at a Harley, as it’s not so fast or sharp, but that is missing the point.

 The cat derives its stability from two hulls placed some distance apart, so draft can be relatively shallow and ballast not necessary. Result, little heeling and faster, plus much more accommodation. Leaving aside the theory in my opinion it sails upwind like a bilge keel boat, but without the heeling angle, about 50 degrees off the wind, very comfortable, and a least a knot or two faster than an equivalent average mono hull boat. Down wind it flys.

 I missed the ‘in the groove’ feeling that you get with a long keel boat upwind, but you can’t have everything.

 If you favour a bilge keel boat to avoid grounding worries, and or want to spend time at anchor in shallow creeks, rivers etc. a catamaran offers even more. One look inside at all that accommodation would convince a lot of people.

 My background is biased towards traditional boats, so I’m the Harley rider. I’ll arrive to, but in better shape.

Holland Boating

2 Jun 2016 10:59

Well, whilst I’m writing this the wind outside is howling, force 6 and it’s raining, and has been similar for the last two days. Not great boating weather for June and if you are at sea, it’s going to be rough.

 I’ve just got back from Holland, the weather was somewhat mixed, but much better than today. They certainly love their boats over there, and bicycles or course. We hired the smallest motor cruiser that the yard had. At 38’ and 14’ wide, I didn’t consider this small. A very luxurious boat designed for a couple only, with inside and outside steering positions, a bow thruster and stern thruster there should be no excuses for getting it wrong. Well that’s the theory.

 I’d recommend sailing or motoring in the Friesland area that we went to. It’s like the Norfolk Broads on a massive scale, with the big improvement of manned lifting bridges, so no taking the mast down. Lots of free mooring outside of towns, but very reasonable if you go in, maximum £20 in our case. It’s also nothing like as crowded as the Broads and the towns are quaint.

 We had a couple of bicycles on the boat and did a bit of cycling. Holland really is the country of the bicycle and it’s much safer over there to ride one, as motorists are really bike aware.

 The season is off to a slow start this year so fingers crossed for a big improvement. What are your plans?



BST Yeehaa

2 Apr 2016 10:11

Well April has finally arrived, and those clocks have gone forward at last. Somehow that step change to BST seems to bring the spring on, and of course planning for the season ahead. In fact I’ve been thinking about it for the last few weeks and have planned among other things some boating in Holland, which is something I’ve always fancied. If anyone out there has any tips, please let me know. I’ll be going out of Sneek, a strange name to us English.

 If you have a boat and are looking for help or sailing companions please get your advert on the site, it’s free. If you need any help just email Boat Buddys. Similarly if you are looking to get aboard as a Buddy, again advertise yourself. Beginners and experienced crew are always needed.

 If you have any boaty stories put them on the forum.

 Happy boating.

Merry Christmas

23 Dec 2015 11:49

Happy Christmas to all boaty people and a big thanks for your support.

 Once Christmas is over, I like to think ahead and plan for the new season. I realized an ambition this year and sailed on the West Coast of Scotland and went through the Caledonian Canal. It’s wonderful sailing on that coast and lots to see. The rain and the midges can be a problem, so an element of luck is needed if you can’t be flexible with your timing.

 I’ve never managed to get to see much of Cornwall or the Scillies, so maybe an opportunity will arise. I’m still in the market for another boat at some stage, but I’m really enjoying being a Buddy. It’s great helping out and having a chance to meet new people and sail in different areas. I use the term sail, but I have been motoring on rivers and canals as well.

 Please take the opportunity to advertise your boat or yourself as a potential Buddy on the website, it’s free and you never know what or whom will turn up.

 Merry Christmas and a Boaty New Year.



A Moments Reflection

27 Oct 2015 11:56

Well, it’s armchair sailing time again. Time to reflect on some of the season’s adventures, because however short your voyage, and whether all went to plan or not, every trip is an adventure.

 Personally any boat trip, by sea, or on a river or canal, is special for me. Sometimes it is all so straightforward, which although rare in my case, makes it in retrospect all so easy, but I’ve learnt enough not to assume anything. As an example when I was crewing earlier this year on a 32’ sloop, we had been happily sailing along for about 3 hours on a very broad reach, the wind almost behind the boat was fresh and had built up a following sea, but no problem. The helmsman was doing a good job and the skipper was below planning a new course, which in time he announced to the helmsman. I had drifted off into a comfortable doze.

 The new course would take us to a small harbour and, in anticipation of a landing in around 30 minutes, the order to start the engine was given. This I duly did. Next came the new course and without thinking the helmsman put the helm over. This brought the wind behind the boat and mainsail and the boat gybed violently. The incident could almost be considered a knock down as she went over on her ear. This was particularly annoying as I still had half a cup of tea left.

 A moment or two of pandemonium ensued before harmony was restored, but in that brief moment air had entered the fuel line and the engine had stopped, not to be restarted again at sea.

 The approach then needed to be by sail and what had been very straightforward now because a tough test of seamanship, which was not altogether successful. However, we were offered a tow for the final approach and despite concerns by the helmsman no salvage claims were filed.

 That is a very abridged version of events and the ripe language of the skipper need not be repeated here. But, it all goes to illustrate how quickly a situation can change, and we can all be very wise after the event. Which brings me back to that armchair…………. 



Sailing in Scotland

10 Aug 2015 15:11

It’s years since I sailed on the west coast of Scotland, and then it was 8m racing and corporate hospitality. All very well, but I’m a cruiser at heart and of course a gentleman never goes to windward, but in my case that’s always where I want/have to go.

Well, this time it was different and S/W to W winds wafted us nicely up the coast and through the Caledonian Canal. What great sailing it was in those relatively sheltered waters. Lots to look and so few boats about. There are good pubs and restaurants along the way and the canal was a great experience.

 I was surprised that the transit cost around £200 for our 32’ boat, but you could take a week over it if you wanted and it does cover berthing and toilet/shower facilities etc. along the way.

 It can get a bit lively in Loch Ness and the force 6/7 winds built up a good following sea.

 Has anyone had experience of sailing a Cruising Catamaran? One passed us on the loch and there were several about. I had hoped to get aboard one and learn a bit more, but unfortunately the opportunity didn’t arise.

 Let me know about your adventures this season.

Sailing Mag Blues

18 May 2015 10:49

I’m back on that theme again. Think I’ll start a blog on the site. It’s that old sailing mag blues again.

It happens every time I have a good read. There are articles on every conceivable skill required. From tying knots and setting sails to tidal curves and storm tactics. If I’d have known how complicated it all was I’d never have gotten in a boat in the first place.

 How on earth have I managed to get anywhere at all? I only know 4 knots including a granny. My sailing buddy’s jib sheet travelers have never moved, and the mainsheet one probably twice a year, to make way for his mug of tea. Tidal curves can be useful but are only an approximation and with weather forecasts as good as they are, if you are hopping along the coast there isn’t much of an excuse for getting caught out in a storm. Unless, you want to be.

 The articles can be interesting, but I do think they overlook the enjoyment aspect of being aboard. Sailing for me is the challenge of getting from one place to another, safely. This involves a little planning and some rudimentary sailing and navigation skills, together with a sound boat.

 Take heart any would be sailors reading this. It’s as complicated as you want to make it.




Sunny Days

28 Mar 2015 11:12

Well, these sunny days of late have me hankering for some boating again. I appreciate that some people sail all year, and indeed there are some lovely days during the winter, but for me it’s closed season. Time to think about it and hopefully make a few plans.

 I’ll be buddying again this season, with some adventures on the West Coast of Scotland and the East Coast. There are some great opportunities for Buddys among the adverts on the site, and of course it works both ways. Skipper if you see a Buddy advert and the person looks suitable, drop them an email, they may be shy.

 If there are any owners out there that have a Pilot House Ketch, and wouldn’t mind taking me onboard for a short sail, I appreciate it. I’ve only ever been on one Ketch before and I’d like to understand more about them. The Pilot House really appeals to me after years of getting wet and cold. Am I becoming a wimp, probably.

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