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After Pipedream, a Westerly Centaur, taken to the Azores in JAC08, now PipedreamII (was Mr.Tinkles (really!)). Intention was RB&I and beyond ......
Pirate Weekend
04/07/2010, Stone Point

In anticipation of the summer holiday to come, we had already got together wetsuits, and given the weather, it was a great chance to try them out - so we did. Arrived Friday evening and the new anchor went in first time and we settled into the evening with a glass of wine. The wetsuits clearly worked a treat as the children were swimming everywhere - I was surprised how much additional buoyancy they gave.

The children all seemed to be playing really well and keeping themselves occupied so the pre-arranged football didnt happen which was no issue at all, and the rest of the day turned into a slow and very long chill day with sunshine, wine, great company and BBQs going off everywhere. I then fell asleep for an hour which was just fabulous.

The food went on late, the fire went on and the evening weas soon there. T wasnt feeling great and retired early - the children (Ols and Ben) wanted to sleep on the beach with Charlotte and her friend, so on making sure they were well, I left them to it and retired midnightish. A great day.

Out : 6
Back : 6
Total : 12
YTD : 409.1

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Hamford Water

A (not this time) Jester skippers meet in Hamford water which was a good chance to try out the new anchor. It was windy, very windy, and at times quite wet too. Paul M ties up alongside but the combined weight and windage proved too much so he had to go it alone. Paul M, Paul F and Yvette joined us on board (me, T and George J) for food and beers although we were all a little too worries about our individual boats to relax too much. Still, really good to meet up again, and at last I have been to Hamford water - I can imagine it is gorgeous in the right weather !

Out : 6
Back : 6
Total : 12
YTD : 397.1

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Ostend 2010

Arriving at Shotley on Friday eve, we (me, Tanya, Gary, Michelle, Nick and Chris) fairly quickly decided that a night crossing would be a good option - winds were good, heads were fresh(ish), so off we went. The crossing was superb, a bit of motorsailing, but mosltly with the donkey off and wind varyinf from the beam to a close hauled approach to West Hinder and beyond. It was great fun.

The stroll around Ostend on Sunday after the Frdiay eve when Jim organised a Greek evening, with beers, browsing shops and then stopping for another beer was great. Monday 0430 was the intended departure time however winds of 25kts+ on the nose at the end of the pier suggested a further visit to bed was in order, and so it was. I was hoping for the wind to veer later in the afternoon however it weasnt to be so we settled in for an afternoon's chill on the boat. Jim and Neil very kindly demonstrated winch cleaning and greasing techniques, and I actually performed a quick strip down of the port sheet winch toute-seule, so was very happy with eventually being able to do that.

Monday eve was quiet, and we set off Tuesday morning onto an altogrether calmer North sea although the remaining swell spoke of what had gone before. We engined all the way back save for a 30min stint with the sails up which gave us an extra 05kt.

It was a fabulous weekend and great to have Gary, Michelle, Nick and Chris aboard - all really great company, and really lovely to have Paul and Rosemary over and especiaslly on board for dinner on Saturday eve.

Pdream II was fabulous - no problems or breakages. What a great trip !!!!

Out : 76.8
Back : 78.9
Total : 155.7
YTD : 385.1

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A chat about pensions

Met with my pension man to discuss long term plans. It seems the plans may work and income will be a combination of rental and income. The possibility of having a draw-down pension whilst off sailing and then buying into an annuity seems attractive when the sailing eventually stops, or maybe that should be if. Lots of ifs, buts and many many scenarios however the scenario of having a big income at 65 but being too knackered to do anything with it is distinctly unattractive. Ho hum.

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Stone Point and THE NAMING CEREMONY !!!!

The first time to Stone Point from Shotley was unfortunately a bit of a non-event for us as the winds and shelf ganged up on us and we couldn't get the hook down. the kids were getting bored so we headed back and planned and executed the naming ceremony with The Morgana's aboard. Suffice to say I had a bit of a headache on Sunday morning.

Out : 6.5
Back : 6.5
Total : 13.0
YTD : 229.4

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Jobs Jobs Jobs
01/05/2010, Shotley MArina

Well, the jobs are slowly being ticked off. Tanya is doing an absolutely sterling job with the varnishing. The name change didn't happen this weekend however WILL take place next weekend.

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Up the Stour !!

Having spent Tuesday eve last week on board and pretty much all of Friday which then led into the weekend, all doing jbs on board, we were ready for a quick sail. Headed up the Stour for the first time and initial impressions of industrialness (what a word !) gace way to a truly tranquil and quite beautiful river. A gentle SE'ly gave us a very sedate and relaxing sail up past Wrabness which in itself seems to be a good reason to return, and then on until it was getting late, tide against us getting back etc. Motored back against the growing ind, it was truly freezing, but what a great river - its on the list for later this year already.

Out : 12.7
Back : 0
Total : 12.7
YTD : 216.4

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Name Change

Today marked the day when all the authorities (Ofcom/MCA/SSR/EPIRBS/Insurance etc etc) were informed of the long awaited name change from Mr.Tinkles to Pipedream II. Our dinghy will bear the name Mr.Tinkles as a mark of respect !!. May 1st 2010 is the date when Pipedream II will be used "in public" for the first time after the "Ceremony" at Shotley.

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London Trip

This was planned for a while but was one of those things you talk about well in advance then next thing, its next week. The plan was always to stop off in Queenborough perhaps visiting the museum at Chatham and this is exactly what we did. YOU MUST VISIT THE NAVAL DOCKYARDS, MUSEUM ETC AT CHATHAM. To stand in the very room where HMS Victory was drawn out full size fir the first time ........ We stayed at the Marina for one night then headed back toward Queenborough where we hung off a buoy the next evening, ready to catch the flood the next morning.

The trip up the Thames (past US Montgomery - eeeek !!!!!) was, I have to say, underwhelming. I dont know what I was expecting in reality - far more "broken" industry I think, and nowhere near as many Yuppie boxes as there are. Still, it really was quite something to go through the Thames Barrier (which confirmed our need to change the boat name), the Millenium Dome, and onwards to Tower Bridge. St Katharine's is a gem, despite the locking in procedure taking over an hour and having to lock in with another boat which, well, let's say, didn't somehow seem to kept under complete control. Still, being able to sit in the Dickens Inn overlooking your yacht with Tower Bridge in th e background is quite something, and be sure to pick up one of the leaflets the office hands out to the children - very informative I have to say and well worth the read. We did the touristy bits in London but skipped the bus tour (£26 per adult seems way over the mark, esp considering there are 2 and then 4 children). Still, a visit to Greenwich on the ferry was quite brilliant, the history incredibly humbling.

Neil and I revealed all in the lock on the way out of St.Kats re the Tower Bridge lift and I have to say, it was a fantastic thing to do. Visiting the Tower of London and Traitor's gate aged 11 is something I remember quite clearly. I never quite envisaged ever seeing it from this angle.

The trip downriver was quiet with little wind although we did manage a sail towards the end on the approach to the Medway. A lovely evening with the Morgana's, and a lazy mot/motorsail back to Shotley the next day rounded off a really great week.

Out : 111.7
Back : 88
Total : 199.7
YTD : 203.7

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First Sail of the season

After being on board all weekend with a jobs list as long as everyone else's (and a very pleasant eve with Morgana on board), it came to that time when we just had to go for a sail. Out of Shotley and with a 2nd reef in the main, off we went to play. And, we had a blast getting up to 8.3kts up the Orwell and having an ogle at the sheer size of the container ships tied up at Felixstowe. An hour and a half later and we were back in the marina, getting ready to go home. Very short, very sweet.

Out : 2
Back : 2
Total : 4
YTD : 4

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3/3/10 2x110AH and engine start replaced
4/3 Lift out, scrub, kiwi full miantenance and hull and prop anodes replaced

Upgrade Work
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Who we are :
Who: Alan, Zoe and the boys
Port: Portsmouth Harbour
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