Ribble Cruising Club | Lytham | Lancashire
Sailing on the Ribble estuary since 1950

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    Our Clubhouse & correspondence
    address is:

    The Promenade,
    Central Beach,
    Lytham,
    Lancashire,
    FY8 5LD.

    Telephone

    The club phone number is operative
    Tuesday and Friday Nights on:

    01253 739983

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    Click below to view the location of our Clubhouse and Dock.

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    Sailing

    • Sep072021

      ONWARDS TO PANAMA CITY – Across the Caribbean from Bonaire

      Many will know Robin (former club Treasurer) and Chris Upton, regular Clubhouse Friday nighters (until Covid-19 struck)

      Their son Tim, his wife, Gisela , and two small children  Chloe  4, and Finley 2 bought a Discovery 55 and sailed it from Gran Canaria to St Maartin, they originally set off on the 9th March arriving in Antigua 18 days later.

      They are now heading for Panama City, their blog from Salty Finch follows:

       

      Hello everyone!

      Just a quick update on the trip so far…

      We left Bonaire Wednesday at 11:00, a little bit later than planned as a few of the crew were a bit hungover. We won’t mention any names, but let’s just say the last braai on Bonaire was a memorable one.

      For this trip west, we have the trade winds behind us the whole way again, as well as some current helping us along. We should manage to get there in 5 days. The only unfortunate thing is that per the forecast the wind will die down for the last two days so we might have to motor.

      At the moment we are making excellent progress. With our keen student Nico, we poled out the headsails this morning and are sitting comfortably at 8 knots with 18 knots of wind and about 2 knots of current.

      It has made such a change having Inga and Nico with us. Everyone has a bit more free time and can get more sleep, the kids have Nico to entertain them 🤪 and most of all we enjoy the company! Unfortunately Inga is not on top form, she started with a cold and on top of that is feeling a bit seasick at times. Tim and I are also feeling some cold symptoms, but not too badly yet. We think it is the three weeks of over indulging that is now catching up with us. So a bit of a detox while at sea will be good for us all.

      We have been very keen to catch a fish and are trawling with two lines. Our first “catch” of the trip was a Brown Booby. Now for those that aren’t familiar with the wildlife here, that is a bird. The silly thing grabbed our lure and we cut it free after dragging it through the water for a minute. We think it survived 🙏

      Chloe and Finley have been catching up on sleep today, they were both in bed before noon and slept for three hours. They are very excited about the animals they might see when we get there – red frogs, howler monkeys, crocodiles and sloths 🦥. Finley thinks we are out for a day sail and keeps asking if we are almost in Panama? And will he get a new bike once we are there? The poor boy was not happy to give up his first set of wheels.

      Sending lots of love to you all, will send another update once we catch a real fish!

      The Salty Finches xxx

      Second Blog

      Hi all!

      We are currently 84 nm from Bocas and looking to arrive around midday local time on Tuesday. We have been making slow progress (4.8kts) the last two days due to a very strong current against us, hence the added day to our journey. The wind has almost completely died down so we have been motoring for two days, apart from an odd squall where we had a great sail and a free rinse. Spirits are high again, but a few days ago they were below average…

      On Friday we received a weather update and it alerted us to an increase of winds and swell the following day. The options were to stay on course or sail south to a more protected area. As we were running with the wind and already had 2m swell behind us, turning south would have been very uncomfortable with the swell beam on for hours. We decided to keep going, brought some sail in and waited. We had both headsails poled out at this point and the boat was sailing beautifully, doing 10 kts surfing down the waves. We also had the current with us.

      With less sail out we slowed down a bit and the boat was super steady. I handed my watch over to Nico at midnight and the wind had not picked up. During his watched it started to increase and the seas as well. All was well up to 30 kts, but then the wind over powered the sails and the autopilot lost control. The boat rounded up into the wind and both sails backed, poles and all. Tim immediately came to help as we had all been woken by the sudden, severe change in motion and the loud bang of the poles and sails flinging around. It was a wonder no one fell out of bed.
      They managed to bring the sails in and by some miracle nothing was broken.

      We then motored through the night in a force 7 with huge 4m swells behind us. It was hellishly uncomfortable down below and pretty scary for the newcomers to see such big waves. I would have been frightened too, but after our first day of the Atlantic crossing, this didn’t feel nearly as bad. The worst was trying to sleep with the rolling which was basically impossible. The boat was in a real state, latches had broken off drawers and there was literally stuff everywhere. Plants fallen over, waves wetting the cockpit and even inside. What a mess! The bad weather continued for about 15 hours, the wind died down earlier but the swell stayed big for hours.

      At this point I have to mention the children. Apart from perhaps not sleeping as well as normal, they did not have a care in the world. They kept on playing and being cheerful throughout, which was an improvement from the last rough weather we had. They well and truly have their sea legs now. Poor Inga was not so fortunate as she was already feeling ill before the rough weather. Now there was even less chance of her keeping liquid down and we were starting to get worried about dehydration as it was now three days of barely any water. Tim got in contact with the off shore support doctor and they immediately let us know what to give her from the medical kits. So we started with Operation Rehydration: within 15 minutes of taking two tablets, she could take sips of rehydration fluid and within 8 hours had drunk 4 litres of fluid. She was sitting up and even ate a grapefruit. What a relief for everyone, most of all her as she was feeling very low. Now she is just about back to her normal self again 💪

      Still no fish, although we have hooked two really nice mahi mahi. They gave us a show with their leaps in the air to try to free the hook and managed to get away both times.
      We have had a surprising amount of birds coming to roost for the night. One big bird of prey (juvenile eagle or falcon) slept in the tender for a night and now we have swallows arriving every evening. Some have not made it through the night – we had one in the cockpit and the kids tried to feed it, after a while they checked on it and Chloe said he was sleeping on his back 😬 They are very tame and will sit on your hand and one even landed on Chloe’s head!

      We will let you know of our arrival, we are all looking forward to some beers that’s for sure!

      Lots of love from everyone xxx

      Kind Regards

      Visit to a Chocolate Farm

    • Aug232021

      New RCC ‘WhatsApp’ group for offshore cruiser club sailors (with link)

      Whatsapp group set up for cruising in company.
      Here is a link so members can join
    • Jul262021
    • Jul122021

      July Newsletter

      JULY NEWSLETTER

      With the news that HM Government are planning to lift the Covid-19 restrictions from the 19th of July we are at last able to make some more positive plans.

      This means that the planned return to the clubhouse and the Regatta weekend can definitely go ahead.

      Picnic and Barbeque 24th July

      We told you about the plans for the Regatta Picnic and Barbeque in the June Newsletter, we are now able to confirm more of the detail.

      Further details for the BBQ on the Saturday afternoon/evening at the dock: –

      • We will be based on the grass area at the dock, making use of the ‘beach bar’.
      • It is open to all club members as well as guests sailing on the day in the regatta.
      • It will commence following sailing on the Saturday, but the formal start will be at 4.00pm
      • Please bring a picnic.
      • The club BBQ will be lit for you to use, although reasonably large, space will still be limited.
      • Drinks and light snacks will also be available.
      • Chairs and space on the BBQ will be limited so feel free to bring your own.

      If you haven’t got a key fob to access the dock ring one of these numbers 07793839305, 07793839306 to let you in

      If the weather is really, really bad we will move to the clubhouse and post a note on the gate and keep your eye on the Facebook group.

      Don’t forget that the ‘Grand Re-opening’ of the club bar is on Friday evening the 23rd of July.

      Looking forward to later in the year, we are pleased to be able to announce that the planned ‘Laying-up’ Supper will go ahead this year. The date for your diaries, as noted in the handbook, is Saturday evening the 16th of October at Fairhaven Golf Club. Further details regarding how to obtain tickets will be released nearer the time, places will be limited once the tickets are released so, please keep an eye out in the newsletters, Facebook and on posters in the clubhouse and at the dock.

      Sailing

      On Saturday the 10th of July we are running the first tidal training session of the season. Martin Knott is offering on-the-water coaching to those who are keen to improve their dinghy racing skills. Please let Martin know, if you haven’t already done so, if you’re going to join in his session. Otherwise, there will be an additional safety boat on the water for those who might just want to potter.

      As previously advised, there are races on the Regatta weekend, 24th and 25th of July (see poster) for both cruisers and dinghies. The Regatta is really an opportunity for everyone to get out sailing in company. We are keen to see as many boats as possible, of all sizes on the start line, even if you’re not intending to race.

      To paraphrase Martin Knott on the Facebook Group; “RCC Club racing, is not at all serious, but is really sailing with a bit more purpose in ‘going somewhere’”.

      Fairhaven

      Fylde Borough Council’s works at Fairhaven are still ongoing. Again, as previously advised additional works and the works to the café have meant a significant delay to the contract. The completion of the new boat storage compound which we had hoped to be using by now doesn’t look as though it will complete until August. However, in the meantime we plan to make a start on the water on Wednesday the 21st of July, at 6.00pm, for member’s own boats. Please let us know if you are intending to sail.

      Optimistically we now hope to have some youth sailing back in early August and are targeting Wednesday evening the 4th of August as a start. Places will be restricted (8) until we can get the full complement of club boats to the new boat compound at the lake and so it will be important for parents to book the Wednesday evening slots for their children well in advance.

      Dinghy Racing

      As noted above we are keen to re-introduce dinghy racing, but its success will depend greatly on a commitment from club members, of all ages and abilities, to both join the racing and help organise it by undertaking some of the supporting tasks. The racing can be as expansive or local as the experience of the competitors requires, it is possible on the one hand to have short races, out of the tide, in the vicinity of the clubhouse, using mobile race marks. On the other hand, for the faster handicap dinghies, we can use the vast expanse of water seen at high tide. Members of the training team are keen to offer on-the-water coaching before and during the races to help novice sailors improve.

      But we need to know what you want and hear from the sailing members. A simple reply to this email will do.

      The team have been out at the bottom of the river repairing the race marks.

      Tidal training will continue in the autumn as per the handbook dates.

       

      Cruising in Company

      A number of cruisers have ventured out of the dock on longer trips recently. If there is a wish to sail in company to some of the local destinations, such as Piel Island and perhaps towards the North Wales Coast please let us know.

      Ribble Cruising Club

    • Jun202021

      June Newsletter (Sailing update and supplement)

    • Jun152021
    • May122021

      Club merchandise available -click on image for details and ordering

    • Mar292021

      Return to Sailing – RCC Clubhouse and Dinghy Sailing Covid-19 -12th April update

    • Mar192021

      ATLANTIC CROSSING -Gran Canaria to Antigua

      Many will know Robin (former club Treasurer) and Chris Upton, regular Clubhouse Friday nighters (until Covid-19 struck)

      Their son Tim, his wife, Gisela , and two small children  Chloe  4, and Finley 2 have bought a Discovery 55 and are en route from Gran Canaria to St Maartin, they set off on the 9th March, there follows a daily blog from the yacht.

      Day One

      All ok here, a very rough first day yesterday once we were away from Gran Canaria!
      We were hit with 35 – 40 kts and 3-4metres seas for about 12 or so hours!
      It was a a good test but we would have preferred it a few days in!
      The kids and boat handled it amazingly, all 3 were a bit green but bounced back and everyone slept in the lounge as it was very rolling.
      It is much better today so we will catch up on sleep!
      You don’t have to keep this as a group email it was just to let you know the address and that we are all well.Sending lots of love and look forward to hearing news from everyone!Problems So far –
      our toilet won’t stop filling after flushing so has been turned off (Nico I may need some help on this one!)
      The jib furler has stopped working. I. At have to change the belt.At least we have 2 toilets and 2 forward sails!
      Day Two and Three

      Hi all!

      It’s 4pm and the kids are watching a show and Tim is trying to get some sleep.

      We are slowly starting to get back to normality after our baptism of fire on departure day. All signs of seasickness are gone and the kids slept well in their bunks last night even though they begged us to sleep in the salon again. So it seems like they are enjoying the adventure. Today they spotted a big pod of dolphins that showed off their jumps and spins to everyone’s delight.

      Tim and I are getting to grips with the boat. She sails like a dream and we are loving her more every day. The weather has improved slightly, wind is consistently 20-25kts and the seas have dropped to under 3m thank god. It is sunny and at night the stars are competing with the phosphorescence in brightness. There is still a bit of a chill in the air and we are getting our money’s worth out of our foul weather gear! I am just wishing I had got the boots too! But Tim has been kind enough to share.

      Problems to solve:
      1. Toilet still not working
      2. Generator shut down on start up and we have to troubleshoot but are waiting for some calmer conditions before we tackle it. So in the meantime we have to watch our water consumption as the water maker runs on the generator. We are down to one tank of water. Hopefully will get it sorted tonight.

      Problems solved:
      1. Jibsheet furler – Tim replaced the belt which had completely disintegrated (probably 10 years old!) Working fine now so we can attempt to goose wing the headsails next. I’m sure some of you will have NO CLUE what I just said!

      Sorry if some of you were worried about us, we only just managed to sort out the email again and I couldn’t look at a keyboard until now anyway! Also, it can happen that our email sends but doesn’t arrive. Nico, I did give you guys the wrong email address, but I was only following orders. Glad we have the comms sorted now.

      Day Four

      Hello everyone!

      I have just filled in the logbook at midnight on Friday and we have sailed 593 miles so far. We are less than 200 miles from our first waypoint where we will change course to head west for the rest of the trip.

      Thanks for all the messages from home, it is so nice to hear from each one and quite strange to be communicating in such a slow way after being so used to instant access. So it makes it even more exciting to download our emails once a day and see who has responded, no pressure!

      We have had a lovely day sailing today, the swell has finally started to lengthen into that nice Atlantic roll and that has made life so much more pleasant for us. Even Finley commented when a big roll made him stumble – Weee, we are sailing! The wind is lightening too, but we are still maintaining speed with some clever sail changes. Today we poled out the jib, which took us over an hour to figure out, but the change it has made is noticeably and we were quite happy with ourselves!

      The kids have been busy all day with their new magnetic blocks that were meant to be a Christmas present but finally made it to us in the Canaries just before we left, thanks Chris! They were also so busy playing cats that even a pod of dolphins couldn’t distract them. So far we have had them visit us every day at least once.  When I called down to announce their arrival the second time today, I heard a cabinet door slam and feet running which is usually a sign of some mischief. Tim went down to check and Chloe had woken Finley with a tube of Smarties and a slab of Lindt chocolate which they had demolished in his bed. Needless to say there were some sore tummies after that.

      Tim has been very busy today fixing things and trying to fix things. He also decided it was time to have a shower, albeit a 30sec one, and it made all the difference!

      Problems solved:
      1. Toilet working again woohoo!
      2. Figured out how the sail poling system works

      Problems to solve:
      1. Generator – after two attempts which involve first taking a bit of the boat apart to get to it, Tim has had some successes where he managed to get it running again. But after a few minutes died again. He is working on it with Nico and we are positive we can find the problem.
      2. How to catch a fish. The first step will be to put the line in the water, I think we are ready for that now so watch this space…

      Lots of love from
      The Salty Finches

      Day Five
      Days at sea: 5
      Miles sailed: 679
      Average speed: 7.07kts
      Ships spotted: 2Hi everyone,The butter has melted!When crossing the Atlantic from Europe, sailors would sail south until the butter melted and then turn west as they were now able to catch the trade winds which would take them to the West Indies. We reached our waypoint today at noon and actually had some butter on the table for lunch and it was quite soft by the time we made our turn. We are now steering 271 degrees, just about due west, and will be for the next 1900 miles. We have goose winged our headsails and put the mainsail to bed for now and are still maintaining 7+ knots in 15-17 knots of breeze.The temperature has definitely changed and we are hardly wearing warm clothes anymore, just a jumper on night watch. The water temperature has also gone up 1.5 degrees. Everything is a lot more humid and yesterday the whole boat was covered in red Saharan sand. An interesting phenomenon, but makes a real mess of everything!We landed our first fish, but don’t get excited as it was only a kamikaze flying fish. We did get the rod out and it was quite a spectacle. Peter would’ve had a real good chuckle at us. Tim let out some line and was trying to reel it back in, but instead of the line coming in he was reeling more out!?! After having a look I discovered the problem and also showed Tim he was holding the rod upside down. Anyway we think we have it sorted now, so another lesson learned today.The generator is still an ongoing job. Tim was at it again tonight after the kids were in bed. He is painstakingly going through all the possible causes, but it is a slow process as he can only get to it at night when everyone is out of the way and the space he has to work in is as tight as a Jew’s purse strings. He has bruises in interesting places.But we are coming up with ways to save water – my dishwashing station is now on the bow where there is a salt water hose with high pressure. No soap needed, just spray and enjoy the view! We had a three man shower tonight and the kids seem to be getting used to less showers as Chloe announced she was quite clean already before we got in. We have the capability to fill our water tanks from the scuppers (drains) if it rains heavily. Not sure if we will manage that as we will need quite a lot of it to first rinse the boat of all the crusty salt and Saharan sand!Problems solved:
      1. Fishing rod is now ready for action
      2. Everyone has had a shower in the last two daysProblems to solve:
      1. Generator ongoing

      Love from
      The Salty Finches

      Day Six
      Days at sea: 6
      Miles sailed: 971
      Average speed:
      Ships spotted: 3Hi and thanks for all the replies!Last night we changed the clock for the first of five changes which we will spread out over the trip.  This meant that the kids were up at their normal 7am which is the new 6am, so Tim had them in the cockpit on his watch and they all watched the sunrise and were then greeted by dolphins – not a bad start to your day.Today we had one of our best days sailing with a bit stronger winds which meant the goose winged setup was working superbly. When you are up on the bow it really feels like you are flying. We received an updated weather report and they have suggested we go south a bit more to avoid a weather system on our previous track. So we gybed and this time it took us less than an hour to change the sail setup, small victories! New heading is 251 degrees.After lunch Tim got the Atlantic Ocean chart out to show Chloe where we were going and to plot our position. He was quite thrown aback when, before he could say anything, she pointed to the Canary Islands and said – There is Gran Canaria, its the one that’s round like a ball. She proved to be an eager student and he showed her how to walk the dividers. They plotted our position and drew a little sailboat next to it. Of course Finley then also wanted to scribble all over the chart and Tim had to keep his composure while trying to wrestle the pencil from him. We managed to distract him with some food.Elisabeth has asked how our watch system is working. As you all know we wanted to sail with another couple to help with the watches in case it was hard work with the kids. The reality is that it is working really well with just us two. It took four days to adjust, but that is the same for any crossing – your body needs some time to get used to the new routine. And as any parent knows, you are already prepared for the lack of sleep!
      So now we are each managing to get 7hrs of sleep on the following night watch schedule.Tim 7-11pm
      Gisela 11pm-3am
      Tim 3am-7amTim will give the kids breakfast and do a few things in the morning and then get at least 2 hours sleep before lunch and another nap before dinner.
      Gisela has a nap after lunch and about two hours before night watch. Sounds like a lot of sleeping 😀 So we are managing fine and the kids have been so great, playing together and not wanting much entertaining. They are doing lots of painting and drawing, building tents, practising headstands and somersaults on the couch and are really happy little sailors right now.Problems solved:
      1. After a good rinse, with saltwater of course, Salty Finch is no longer sandy.Problems to solve:
      1. Generator ongoing – Tim exchanged a fuel pump which was completely rusty and not wired correctly and now needs to get the generator primed. Nico is providing 24 hr assistance and moral support.

      Ok that’s it for today, lots of love from us four
      Salty Finches

      Day Seven
      GENERATOR IS WORKING!!!!!
      Position: 18 degrees 47’ N  31 degrees 38’ W
      Days at sea: 7
      Miles sailed: 1126
      Average speed: 7.09 knots
      Ships spotted: 3Hallelujah we have a working generator!!!!!!!I am about to finish my watch and can’t stop smiling. I feel so clean!Tim finally managed to conquer the beast with the help of Nico and some other engineer friends who were, through one email exchange a day, giving advice and steering him down the right path. I was asleep at the time, but when I heard the generator chug to life, Tim came in and we did a victory dance.We have now made water and our tanks are brimming, so even if we have another issue we will have ample to see us through. Even though we were fine without unlimited water on tap, it is a real eye opener how much we take it for granted. Our tanks hold 1000 litres and with normal daily consumption (dishwashing, showers, washing machine, toilets) would last 2 days. Now we have managed 6.5 days on 650 litres. Thank goodness Tim reminded me to stock up on baby wipes, otherwise the smell might have been unbearable.There were a few requests for our GPS position which I have added. If there is anything else you want to know please let us know. Also if there are any email addresses of friends or family wanting updates I can add them to the mailing list.Nico: we log in twice a day. Early morning and sometime in the afternoon our time.
      Albrecht: Hallo! Yes we are using Iridium.
      Christine: Please send us the lemon drizzle recipe
      Mark: Autopilot is on all day, unless the wind is too strong like on the first day. So we can use the watch time to do jobs/ write emails/stargaze and look out for boats too!Love to everyone from
      The Not-so-Salty Finches
      Day Eight
      Position: 18 degrees 38’ N 33 degrees 58’ W
      Days at sea: 8
      Miles sailed: 1280
      Average speed: 7.05
      Ships spotted: 4Hi everyone,It has been a good day today and Salty Finch has had a bit of a spruce up after a week of being battered by the elements. We gave her a good freshwater rinse outside and a thorough wipe down inside too. My Monica tendencies came out in full force (a character from FRIENDS who is OCD about cleanliness). All dishes are now free of salt residue, which is not so nice when you take your first sip of coffee in the morning.
      Tim started polishing the windows and it feels like we are finally getting some time to do the detailing jobs we have been wanting to tackle for some time now, but there always seemed something more important to do – like fixing a generator. The next big job we want to tackle is scrubbing the teak decks and treating them with a sealer. Also polishing the paint and stainless, varnishing the cockpit table…the list never ends.We turned west again after reaching the recommended waypoint to avoid some weather. The wind has just about died down, under 10 knots, so we have been motoring since noon. Sea temperature is 24 and the colour of the sea has changed to a clear, cobalt blue. It is very inviting and we look forward to our mid-Atlantic swim and halfway party in about two days.Love from the
      Salty Finches
      Day Nine
      Position: 18 degrees 47’ N 36 degrees 35’ W
      Days at sea: 9
      Miles sailed: 1452
      Average speed: 7.02
      Boats sighted: 5The wind is back…After motoring for most of the day, we finally got more than 10 knots of wind at about sunset and are now back to sailing in peace and quiet. When the engine is on there is so much noise – the actual motor itself, the vibrations it causes, the prop and shaft turning in the water (right under our bed). You get used to it quite quickly, but then when you turn it off it is like a sigh of relief when peace and tranquility returns and you only hear the water rushing past the hull.We have been harvesting a few flying fish today, one landed in the cockpit and was only discovered when I stood on it in the dark. The kids were not impressed when I asked if they wanted to smell my foot. Chloe: it’s not nice to stick your foot in other people’s faces. Quite right! Another flew down our bathroom hatch and bashed himself to death trying to get out, leaving a trail of slime and scales behind. Every now and then you hear a thud when one lands on deck and then it is great fun trying to grab it and throw it back in the sea.We also had our closest encounter with another vessel today. A 300m tanker passed a very safe 2 miles across our bow and it reminded us of how vast the oceans really are, in 9 days having seen only 5 boats. On previous crossings we would play a sweepstakes where you guessed how many boats you sighted with the eye (not just on radar). We would start the tally outside the major traffic zones, usually a day past Gibraltar or the Canaries and a day before your destination. At 10 euros buy in with a crew of 15, everyone was quite keen to be the winner.  But what I remember was how random the numbers were and there was no way to predict the outcome.
      This got us reminiscing about certain crossings and trying to remember them all. If we got it right then Tim is doing his 17th Atlantic crossing, his first on a sailing yacht and first as a captain. I am doing my 12th, with 6 on sailing yachts and 6 on motor yachts.
      I would say that this one is the winner and we are not even halfway yet.Tomorrow we prep for the halfway party. Tim has told Chloe that we should dress up for it and she said she would wear a dress and he can wear his new Salty Finch t-shirt : )Love from
      The Salty FinchesDay Ten
      Position: 18 degrees 50N 41 degrees 58 W
      Days at sea: 11
      Miles sailed: 1780
      Average speed: 7.08
      Boats sighted: 6
      Sea temperature: 25.5 CThe day started off with a lot of activity on night watches! Sails up, sails down, engine on, engine off. Every time the wind came we would stop motoring and get the sails up to then be rewarded with another lull!
      We had rain twice in the night which was refreshing but very short lived.So a cloudy start to the day and Gisela and the kids made up some celebratory paper chains for the “halfway” party while I scrubbed some teak.
      The wind had picked up again so we were sailing along nicely. At midday we dropped sails and got ready to have our mid Atlantic swim. We tied a line around the stern in a loop, with a lifering attached. Finley wasn’t so keen but the rest of us jumped in while he watched the boat. Haha, we know some of you were worried about this and of course we took it in turns. We still had 16kts of wind and were travelling beam on at 1.8 kts with quite a bit of swell to add.
      The water was amazing, warm and so blue, quite surreal to think it is over 5000 metres deep in places! A quick swim was enjoyed and then sails back up and on our way again.We lit the bbq (braai) and had lamb chops and sausage which were delicious, plus the first ice cold beer of the trip! It almost felt like we were on a mini holiday, but then we got back to reality and Finley and I went for a sleep after being up since 3am and Gisela and Chloe baked lemon drizzle cupcakes for afternoon tea.We are currently motoring as the wind has deserted us for now, according to the forecast we can expect some stronger breeze today.Day Twelve

      Position: 18 degrees 31’ N 44 degrees 52’ N
      Days at sea: 12
      Miles sailed: 1942
      Average speed: 7.08
      Ships sighted: 6
      Water temperature: 26.1 CHello everyone,Another day, another drama unfolds…Tim discovered late this afternoon that the freshwater pump has stopped working, but more about that in a bit.We have been ,motoring for over 24 hours now as the wind died down to 6 knots and we need at least 15 to sail comfortably downwind. The sea has become almost completely flat and it was brutally hot on deck without a bit of breeze to cool us down.
      The calmer conditions made it ideal to carry on with boat jobs and I was woken by the sound of the deck being scrubbed above my head this morning. Upon inspection I found Tim with two helpers, Finley on the hose and Chloe with a brush, hard at work after breakfast. We have managed 50% of the deck and are hoping to finish off the rest tomorrow.The water temperature has risen another degree and today we saw large clumps of sea grass in the water. With the heat and lack of wind we were pretty tempted to jump in for another dip!Chloe and Finley have realised now that when we are busy on deck with work, it is a golden opportunity to sneak into the snack cupboard. Our supply of Smarties is starting to dwindle and if in doubt of their whereabouts a good place to look is under the saloon table where you can find them happily munching away. After his nap today Finley was missing and I found him hiding there with a whole container of cupcakes, he was working on his second one and not happy when I took the rest away.So back to the pump. We had no warning and all of a sudden when Tim tried to use a tap there was nothing. He tried the redneck reset, turn it off and back on, but no joy. Now he has taken the pump off and rewired it as the ends were corroded, but that didn’t work either. We have a spare pump and he is trying to eliminate all other possible causes before fitting the new one. Help Nico!
      So we now find ourselves in a completely different situation as before, where we have plenty of water but can’t use it! There is one manual foot pump with a small spout in the galley sink, so at least we can get drinking water and wash dishes and hands. We will keep you posted on the latest developments. One thing is for sure, Tim is going to come out of this crossing with a ton of knowledge of the boat!

      Love to all from
      The Salty Finches

      Day Thirteen

      Position: 18 degrees 24’ N 47 degrees 52’ N
      Days at sea: 13
      Miles sailed: 2094
      Average speed: 7.08
      Ships sighted: 6
      Water temperature: 26.3 CWell unfortunately we still motored through the night due to lack of wind, we eventually turned the engine off at midday today after 48 hours of motoring!
      It was so nice to have a bit of peace and quiet! (Apart from the kids🤪)
      The wind wasn’t really up much but we were happy to sail at 5kts and save a bit of fuel just in case….
      We have three tanks that carry 1300 litres combined. One tank is reserved for the generator which uses approximately 3 litres an hour and we run it about 3 – 6 hours a day, depending on battery charge and what is required on the day, such as water makers. The engine uses approximately 7 -10 litres an hour depending upon revs but we are being quite conservative in the lower range managing 7kts and we have used approximately 650 litres in total so far, so 50% remaining. As long as we have some wind we are still well in range, but something I have to constantly calculate and keep in mind.After having some engineering-technical support (How to use a voltmeter – thanks Nico!) we now have fresh water throughout the boat again! Luckily, we had a spare pump on board and I spent the whole morning in a cupboard under the seating changing out the fresh water pump and gaining insight into stripping wires and making some new electrical connections! Thankfully the original owner had a full set of spares and we have seen now how important that is for offshore trips where help is not so close at hand.We finally filled up the bathtub in the cockpit for the kids. This was one of the features of the Discovery brand that we loved – the area around the helm is enclosed in a bath shape that can be filled with fresh, hot and cold water or seawater. As you can imagine with small kids who love the water, this has provided endless hours of entertainment on the dock and today was the first time we tried it underway.  Erring on the side of caution I thought it was best to use salt water instead of fresh! Add in the amount of rolling we were doing at such speed and it made for a good hours entertainment for the kids! Note to self: Remember to close all hatches next time!The Salty Finches

      Day Fourteen

      Position: 18 degrees 13’N 49 degrees 53’ W
      Days at sea: 14
      Miles sailed: 2250
      Average speed: 6.95 knots
      Ships sighted: 6
      Water temperature: 26.7 CIt has been two weeks at sea and depending on speed we will arrive in Antigua on Saturday or Sunday. Only another 750 miles to go…We made slow progress today with lighter winds forecast for the beginning of the week, but by the evening it was back up to 15 kts and we are managing a respectable 7 kts.Tim and I were both completely exhausted by the end of the day as we were determined to finish the decks. This meant a lot of Moana and David Attenborough documentaries were on repeat so we could get the job done. Although 55 feet seems small and easily manageable compared to a Superyacht, it is also very fiddly to scrub around all the deck fittings and ends up taking a lot longer than you think. The end result has made all the effort worthwhile and even Chloe asked what had we done to the wood because it looked so nice!The only other incident worth reporting is: The Story of the Butter Thief.
      Now I can see you all smiling and imagining what happened. Well today chocolates and cakes were not on the menu and I still don’t know who the instigator or executor of the plan was as they are both blaming each other. But when I came down, quite happy about a long day’s work completed, I came across the two thieves with both hands covered in very soft, almost liquid butter. They were sitting on our newly covered cushions and had dropped blobs of the stuff all over as well as covering themselves. And they were busy smearing the blobs into the cushions to try and get rid of the evidence.

      You can imagine my delight…

      Love to all from
      The Buttery Finches

      Day Fifteen

      Position: 18 degrees 12’N 52 degrees 52’W
      Days at sea: 15
      Miles sailed: 2417
      Average speed: 6.87 kts
      Ships spotted: 6
      Water temperature: 27 CIt’s beginning to feel tropical out here 🌴The water temperature is still rising and the typical bank of ‘Caribbean clouds’ on the horizon has appeared. Along with that came the squalls which arrived in force yesterday. I had a relatively uneventful night watch and as soon as Tim came on and we made a few sail adjustments, a big gust of 30 knots preceded a torrential downpour. There was no time to take any sails in and Tim said the boat thrived with the extra push and we managed a personal best of 9.4 kts! So every time he saw a squall approach, instead of reefing (taking in) the sails, he would let more sail out to gain a few extra knots of speed. What is the sailing term for a petrolhead?The rest of the day has been much the same with squalls: sails up, sails down, engine on, engine off and a few heavy showers thrown in to give Salty Finch a proper rinse from the top down, sails included. Hopefully we are finally rid of the last of the red Saharan sand. All this activity has made the day pass quickly and we barely managed much else other than a bit of polishing which both Chloe and Finley got a lesson on and were very keen to help, for about 5 minutes!

      Tonight we are flying along with 20 knots behind us and managing 8 knots boat speed comfortably. With the moon lighting up the way and 550 miles to go, I think these last few days are going to go by quickly. Especially if the wind keeps up the good work.

      Love
      The Salty Finches

      Day Sixteen

      Position: 18 degrees 13’N 56 degrees 06’W
      Days at sea: 16
      Miles sailed: 2601
      Average speed: 7.25
      Ships sighted: 6
      Water temperature: 27.1 CWe managed our best run in 24 hours today thanks to consistent Force 5 winds – 175 miles!Tim has also changed our final waypoint to reflect the change in destination from St Maarten to Antigua and this has shaved another 50 miles off our trip. So as I write this we have got 340 miles to go. We have been in touch with an agent in Antigua who has said we can come straight to the dock and clear customs, no need to anchor out or get tested. This is great news and we can’t wait to be tied up in English Harbour and celebrating with an ice cold drink.
      Thanks to all of you who have been helping us with info on immigration and where to go. It has been quite a challenge arranging it all with no internet, but we are happy now that it has been taken care of.

      The crew is doing well, a bit of cabin fever here and there and sleeping patterns are off due to the time changes. Finley was up at 2 am on my watch and true to form he wanted something to eat. So he had a bowl of cereal followed by a bowl of cashews and cranberries. He then said his tummy was aching so had to have a tea. Today he was a real grump and not much fun to be around due to lack of sleep. I think everyone is ready to set foot on land and also get a decent night’s sleep. Tim is being hit the hardest as he struggles to sleep in the day whereas I can sleep any time of the day.

      But we are not wishing away our last two days of the trip…these moments are so special and we are enjoying being able to be so present in the moment and not have the common daily distractions of being connected to everything and everyone 24/7.
      Not having any world  ‘news’ has been such a welcome relief.

      Love to all
      The Salty Finches

      Day Seventeen
      Position: 17 degrees 54’N 58 degrees 39’W
      Days at sea: 17
      Miles sailed: 2758
      Average speed: 7.35 kts
      Ships sighted: 8
      Water temperature: 27.4 CWe have been kept on our toes today with squall after squall hitting us with 30 kt winds and heavy showers. We both got drenched on numerous occasions and the highlight of my day was coming back on deck to see Tim naked except for his life jacket. He said he was drying his shorts and felt very liberated running around changing sails.
      Due to the constant wind shifts we decided to put away the spinnaker poles which we used for downwind and go back to ‘normal’ sailing to give us more flexibility during the squalls. Well we have gotten so used to the ease of the goosewing setup that it feels like we are having to relearn how to sail normally! And true to form we have had a constant 20 kts up the bum the whole night. I guess that’s Murphy’s Law!Finley was back to his jolly self today and they had a good splash around in the pool. We have told them that we will be arriving in the Caribbean Islands in two days and their reactions were: Finley – Can we go to the beach and will there be a park? Chloe – Will my friend Tristan from Gran Canaria have bought a boat and sailed there too by then?

      Our food calculations have been quite good and the fresh food situation is as follows:
      1L fresh milk
      20 eggs
      Lots of cheese & yoghurt
      3 apples
      3 oranges
      8 lemons
      1 lettuce
      1 cucumber
      1 red pepper
      1 cabbage
      Bag of potatoes
      Bag of carrots
      Mushrooms
      Onions
      2 Butternut

      So we could certainly carry on longer if we needed and it is a good practice run for the Pacific crossing which is 30 days!

      But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, this one ain’t over yet…

      Next report will be from Antigua.

      Love
      The Salty Finches

      We’ve arrived in Antigua!

       

      Final report Day 18

      Position: 17 degrees 00’N 61 degrees 45’W
      Days at sea: 18
      Miles sailed: 2952
      Average speed: 6.9 kts
      Ships sighted: 9
      Water temperature: 28.5 C

      We are here! 🍹🌴😎

      What a trip it has been and we feel quite emotional knowing that we did it with just us four and managed to overcome all the obstacles thrown at us along the way.

      We had a great sail on the final leg and can say without a doubt that Salty Finch is the right boat for us. She suits all our needs perfectly and in rougher weather we never felt unsafe, rather the opposite as she was so solid and sturdy. Three cheers for Salty!!!

      While the kids and I had a three hour siesta (they had been awake since 5am), Tim finished applying the sealant on the decks to give them extra protection from the elements. He was wearing very little protection himself and thinks he might have burned the soles of his feet!
      Finley woke before the rest of us and his ravenous appetite gave him extra strength to climb up onto the galley counter (never managed it before) and there I found him with his hand in the cookie jar. As he is making quite a habit out of foraging for treats I am going to have to rethink my hiding places from now on.
      Chloe had a fall in the cockpit where she slid off her seat and landed head first on the helm. She struck one of the bars on the forehead and immediately had a big, blue egg. After a bag of frozen peas and some Arnica cream, the swelling has gone down and she doesn’t look like a Fight Club member anymore.

      We timed our arrival to the entrance of English Harbour after sunrise so we could navigate safely and anchored inside just off the sandy beach. We all went straight in for a swim and a sea turtle came to greet us right by the boat.

      Now we are tied up at Nelson’s Dockyard enjoying a cold beer and a chicken roti. Immigration clearance was a breeze, parking the boat was a bit more difficult with 25 knots on the beam!

      This will be our last email report but if anyone wants to follow along on the journey have a look for Sailing Salty Finch on Facebook or Instagram.

      Love to all
      The Salty Finches

    • Feb142021

      Club Dinghy Sailing Safe Operating Procedures (Temporary Covid-19) from April 12th 2021