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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.

Too Much Information

30 Nov 2014 11:44

Reading through some recent sailing magazines I am amazed by the complexity of all of the various ‘necessary’ electronic gadgets. These are overlaid, interlinked, talk to one another and perhaps conspire against the skipper. I think if I were starting sailing nowadays I’d find it all quite daunting.

 I can remember sailing into Poole about 10 years ago. Our old boat only had a depth finder and GPS, but onboard we had a young yachtmaster who had a handheld device that showed our course and position. Whilst the rest of us admired the view his attention was focused solely on our slow progress on his 2” screen. At regular intervals he advised me of our ETA, which was irrelevant, but I thanked him nevertheless.

 Since then things have moved on at a pace, but is it necessary to equip your boat with all of these devices, which are costly and quickly become out of date. Well, I suppose it depends on how you use the boat, where and when.

 My first offshore trip was an attempt to get to Cherbourg from the Solent on an old German cutter. It was rough and even in the Solent I can remember being waist deep in water on the foredeck, changing the headsail. The merciless skipper was trying to bring the novice crew up to speed, and thought a days exercise thrashing backwards and forwards in these conditions would be good training.

 The next day we set off on his planned course from the Needles. Paper chartwork and dead reckoning of course. Naturally the wind was blowing directly from Cherbourg. With 10 on board the cockpit was crowded and we all took turns being on the weather side ,which was attended by many soakings, as we tacked back and forth,. After 22 hours beating to windward Captain Bligh concluded that Aldeney was a better bet, and 3 hours later we were happily moored up.

 I’m glad that I was so ignorant of our position on that trip, staring at that 2” screen would have been soul destroying. Nowadays few skippers would attempt such a trip without a chartplotter and that’s a good thing, but does your boat really need to be bristling with electronic devices to get from the Hamble to Yarmouth on a fine summer day, I think not.



End of the Season

28 Oct 2014 11:03

End of season, well, looking out today I'd say not, but it can be deceptive. I've never been an all seasons sailor and prefer reflection and planning ahead at this time of year. 

I did my last trip last Monday on the 20th, just before it got really windy. By contrast that day was overcast and somewhat colder. A 35 mile trip from Wells-Next-The-Sea to Fosdyke in the Wash. The wind force 4-6 was on the nose and together with the moderate sea gave us a bumpy 11 hour trip. 6 layers of clothing did not stop me getting cold, so to quote a friend it will be ready about lee ho from the armchair, until late March for me.

I was asked recently if it were worth looking for an owner to boat buddy at this time of year, or wait until the spring. I'd say get that relationship going now and give a hand over the winter with some jobs. Have an input now into next years plans and remember if you wait until spring that owner will have other offers.

More opportunities

14 Sep 2014 16:48

The diversity of adverts on Boat Buddy's website always amazes me. Just posted is a great opportunity for sailing from the river dart for a boat buddy with a sense of humour that is willing to help out with the boat. It costs you nothing and I wish I lived closer.
Next is a lifestyle change. Fancy two years sailing around the Med before setting off to the Caribbean. Well this skipper is looking for a boat buddy to do just that
There is something for everyone out there and BB is about getting people together to enjoy all forms of boating. It's free to look and advertise and the small upgrade fee due if you want to make contact is used to support the advertising budget.

Norfolk Broads Sailing

17 Aug 2014 10:25

Just back from a three in a boat trip on a traditional gaff rigged yacht on the broads. For those sea sailors who consider the broads a bit tame, I say try it. Conditions were windy with some rain and although you can virtually step ashore on the rivers it's not without its challanges. Tacking up those narrow channels, full of motor boats, with wind sometimes blocked by trees and then at blowing hard through the gaps, was interesting. Some boaters seemed to be on a tight schedule and racing along, but everyone seemed to be enjoying it. We witnessed several collisions and someone even bumped into our boat whilst moored. All minor events really though.

For the sailor the broads are good for re-learning sailing in a safe environment. It's all to easy to put the engine on. Leave it off or running in neutral and try sailing off of a pontoon. Use the mooring lines to move the boat into the right position, or push off with a boat hook. For motorboats this is a great place to, although those sailors do get in the way a bit!

The Wash

5 Aug 2014 13:38

The summer is still going strong and I'm looking forward to some Norfolk Broards sailing soon. This is altogether different from coastal sailing, but great fun and quite testing. Tacking up some of the narrow rivers whilst avoiding the hire boats in fickle winds does provide a challenge. 

As a Boat Buddy I've managed to squeeze in a weeks south coast sail, and a day sail in the Wash. The Wash was new to me, lots of tide running and sandbars everywhere. There were hundreds of seals taking it easy. It's an area I've never sailed before, but these days with chart plotters the channels are easily followed and if you are interested in wildlife it's there in abundance. 

If you haven't contacted an owner yet you ought to because although you may have posted an advert a direct approach may be just what that skipper is waiting for.

Happy boating.

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