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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.

A Winter's Tale and One for Sale

18 Feb 2015 12:09


It was around this time last year that the boat owner that I was helping out asked me to have a look at the galley sink, which was not draining properly. The seacock, which was a plumbing gate valve fitting looked in poor shape, and would not turn in either direction. Whether it was fully open or not was impossible to say, however the fact that it could not be closed was a concern.


The boat was in the water and so the fitting could not be changed easily. A consultation took place as to what to do. Perhaps if the nut at the top of the fitting were loosened carefully? I applied a spanner. The resulting effort insufficient to ruffle the skipper’s hair, split the body of the fitting. A jet of water shot across the galley. This was a further surprise as neither of us expected the skin fitting to be below the surface of the water.


With no way of repairing the split or leaving the boat the only option was to snap the fitting right off and plug the hole. This was not easily achieved due to the small diameter, jagged metal and inrushing water, but eventually a bodge was achieved which could be trusted until the boat was lifted out.


Needless to say the skipper replaced all of the other seacocks at the same time.


If your boat’s seacocks are old, or cheap plumbing fittings have been used in lieu of the correct item, a potential problem may exist for your boat. The seacock on ours could easily have been broken by shoving something in the cupboard under the sink. It was brittle, probably due to electrolysis action.


Good job we were on the pontoon at the time.


Check yours out.


My friend is selling his boat, you might be interested.


23 ft Halcyon Sailing Sloop on Trailer in need of TLC - £2,250

This yacht is about circa 1975,  having spent most of its time on the trailer the GRP hull, decking and  superstructure are good ,  It has an Anodised Mast, Boom and Roller Reefing,  S. S. Pulpit, Pushpit, Stanchions and Rigging. There is 1 Main and 2 jib sails, Centre Skeg and Bilge Keels. aux. Albin Engine and Sea Toilet.  The Washboards and Cockpit Sole have been upgraded to Aluminium.


As with most boats of this age there’s some jobs to do - The Rubbing strip, Rubber window seals and the foam in the berth cushions need renewing and the single cylinder engine requires attention due to being laid up .Therefore anyone with basic skills could have her ship shape in a short time


The Trailer requires Paint and Servicing. For efficient loading the trailer is fitted with high Side Posts, Bow Locating Buffer and Skeg stop. Its ideal to take the boat to the water and can save on expensive Mooring Fees.!  The Trailer can also make repairs and maintenance far more convenient.


Therefore this a very practical nice sized boat with its own trailer.  

I used to tow it with my Jaguar and later with my 4 x 4,  . but now I'm not so nimble, and having owned her from almost new this is a reluctant sale. Apart from antifouling below the water line,  the hull, decks and  superstructure have never been painted, therefore there should be no hidden surprises.

Located near Skegness, Lincolnshire. Phone 01754 872101



Lt's Get Planning

3 Jan 2015 15:52

Well happy New Year to all Owners and aspiring Boat Buddys. With Christmas now over and a few bleak months ahead, it’s time to start putting some plans in place for the coming season.

 If you own a boat and need a hand as spring approaches it would be a good idea to put a free advertisement on the site as there are lots of aspiring Boat Buddys looking for opportunities and wanting to get involved. 

 If you don’t own a boat and want to Buddy an Owner why not advertise yourself on the site. Again it’s free and your skills/willingness/location may be just what an Owner is looking for.

 I was a Buddy to 2 Owners last season and as a result have made 2 new friends and had some great fun. I enjoy the jobs on the boat beforehand and the fellowship that comes with making a contribution towards the preparation of the boat. As an owner myself previously I appreciate the time and effort as well as costs involved in owning a boat. Helping out gives me a good feeling, and then when we go boating I feel I’ve earned my berth, rather than just turning up with my kit for a free ride.

 Of course Owners can have as many Buddys as they can like and Buddys can associate themselves with as many Owners as they like. It all depends on the time and finances of the people involved.

 Have a great 2015.

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