Yacht Swagman

02 August 2016 | Calpe, Spain
19 July 2016 | Portugal Peniche
22 August 2015
14 August 2015
10 August 2015
06 July 2015
22 June 2015
08 June 2015 | Cherborg, France
21 May 2015 | Eddystone Lighthouse
02 March 2015 | Lymington
10 December 2014 | Hamble
25 November 2014 | Lymington

Delivery Complete

02 August 2016 | Calpe, Spain
John / 40c, Hot, Variable light winds
Sue on the helm

All done. Enjoyed a blistering run into Cabo San Vincente, a swift traditional toast to the patron saint with dark and stormies, and then onward along the Algave to Lagos. Over 45 knots from behind saw us down to white sails but had the boat absolutely flying with bow waves like a power boat, until we finally rounded the stunning sandstone cliffs off the port and hauling down our sails to slowly motor up the oh so welcoming canal toward Marina de Lagos.

A lovely upmarket berth surrounded by palm trees, bars and restaurants - and white marble and frosted glass showers. What more can three boys ask for......

A blokey blokes three days R&R with far too much fun in Lagos nightspots, with Sue arriving Friday late to get our feet back firmly on the ground!

The four of us enjoyed a final Saturday night out in the old town before resuming the delivery Sunday with an 80 mile day passage along to Vila Real up the Guardiano River that separate Portugal from Spain. There we liaised to catch up with good pals Trish and Jim from Dragonsong who were heading westward, to enjoy a late pavement meal and drinkies in this small fishing township. Super night, lovely people.

Monday saw a longish haul, starting early initially with low winds and headaches, but building to a head clearing 30 knots on the nose, to eventually pull into Rota on the Spanish mainland by 1900 that evening. Bit tired, but didn't stop another nice night out.

Tuesday began a slightly longer haul towards Trafifa and the Gibraltar Straights.

Solid winds on the nose saw us clinging to the coast beating under single reef to claw past Tarifa late afternoon. Had a 60 foot French cat in loose company. They were relying solely on two big engines, whilst we tacked back and forth ahead. Got to Tarifa a little too early so big winds in the straights (36 max) and the adverse tidal flow saw sails dropped and with our little engine whirring away we got down to 2 knots SOG at one stage, but as evening closed around us, the winds eased and the tide turned, we got the main back up, and finally motored into Gibraltars Marina Bay at 2100 (just behind the 60 footer) for another well earned evening out......

Wednesday onward from Gib to Benelmadina where Chris stepped off was a nice day sail with everything from kites downward deployed, and the Benelmadina Marina facilities proved to good to ignore. So yet another night ashore for Sue, Kev and I.

Thursday we put in a full 24 hours to make Calpe from Benelmadina by the Friday. Winds totally against us the whole way - either too little or too much. Why don't the weather Gods ever let us reach, eh?

But having only a 100 litre fuel tank meant we had to stop half way across Cartegena Bay in a small port I hint is named Acquila, to secure fuel in daylight hours, and dawn Friday saw us sliding past our local resorts of Benidorm, Altea, etc to finally slide into RCNC Calpe by Friday midday.

Job done. And a good job at that.

Even adding our three days R&R at Lagos in the middle, our five night stopovers at St Heliers, Bayona, Vila Real, Rota and Benelmadina, it eventually only took us 16 days to complete this delivery. If we had a bigger fuel and water capacity and hadn't made this stops, then it could easily have been a sub 10 day trip.

But even 16 was a great result for a short handed 35 foot boat and a tribute to my two crew.

No breakages. Not one cross word. All much better than one could expect.

So huge thanks to Chris G, Kevin Moss, and latterly Sue, for helping make this such a gloriously fun loving trip.

We are back to the UK for August, and return to Calpe and the prep on Jumbuck for our first serious Spanish event - the Jordanis Pitiusa Race Series around Ibiza and Formentera end September. With a couple of UK crew flying in, and four or five newly inducted local crew, we aim to do our best.

On. On.

Delivery On Track

19 July 2016 | Portugal Peniche
John / Sunny / F4 NNW
Kevin Trimming

Typing this sliding past Islas Berlengas off the Portuguese Atlantic coast. Sun and spinnaker up, on track to berth in Lagos tomorrow (Wednesday) evening.
Great trip so far. Good rollicking sail Lymington to St Helier on Wednesday. With 5 knots tide through the Swinge we flew at 11 knots SOG smashing through a mile or so of big standing waves. Awe inspiring for Kev and Chris alike.
Away from Channel Islands midday Thursday for good cracked beat to Ushant. Sadly there we lost all wind and it didn't return until midday Friday. But when it returned it was with a vengeance.
Followed the rhumb line down across Biscay, maybe 10 miles inshore of the big ship freeway, and were soon down to reefing the main and rolling in some headsail. Highest seen wind speed was 41.8 knots but most of the time it was solid 25/30. Jumbuck slid along - great sail. Fast.
Winds died as we passed Finistere on the Spanish NW coast and it took 5 hours of motoring to get into Bayona by midnight Sunday. Fortunately it was a fiesta so ordering food at 1 am was not an issue! Drinkies at a local bar until 3 am then crashed.
Late headaches enjoying breakfast and a supermarket shop, then refuelled and out on this leg by 1130 yesterday.
Bouncy going for first few hours with 30 knots on the nose, but it died off mid arvo. From then - maybe we were off the Spanish / Portuguese borderline - we've been motor-sailing in 5 knots of breeze to keep to our delivery schedule but this arvo it picked up to 10, so kite deployed and drawing well before 15 knot NNWlies.
Over Bicay enjoyed Hndreds of dolphins, had three humpback whales breach 50 metres off, and swim in company for 30 minutes. Very smelly blowholes! Plus lovely cute (and not so scary ) pilot whales also came to say hello.
Great trip so far, and if forecast holds we should be able to carry this kite until we heave to off Lagos.
Then off to a pub!
On on.

New Developments - New Plan

09 July 2016
Having to wait for a new rig ruled out the original plan to take part in Volvo Cork Week, and with at least two crew happy to help out, I've decided not to waste the next few weeks and set sail on Jumbuck - taking her down to our local Club in the Med.

A year back we got a villa in Javea on the Costa Blanca, and I've really enjoyed this past winter and spring avoiding English weather. I've also enjoyed local racing from Royal Club Nautico Calpe, and think I'll enjoy a few years more doing that on my own boat. With a solid local program of medium distance races out and about the Balearics and up and down the coast, our new rig and by September a new main, we should do ok under IRC and also ORC.

So providing the new rigs in midday Tuesday, and we can swiftly load on our cruising sails and other needed kit, we could depart early Wednesday aiming sail across Biscay, down the Portuguese coast, in past Gib, and make Calpe by month end.

Current weather forecast shows a favourable course initially SW, then W, before turning the corner and dropping down to cross Biscay. Most of it reaching. Of course this may change in 72 hours, but as it stands outline passage is Lymington to Channel Islands, Channel Islands to Bayona in 3 days.
Then day / night passages down the Iberian coast around Cape St Vincent and along the Algave, past Gibraltar and upward. So planned ports are Beyona to Cascais, Cascais to Lagos, Lagos to Cadiz, Cadiz to Malaga, Malaga to Cartegena, Cartegena to Calpe. All longish legs, but with good winds from behind under guaranteed sunny sky's, it should be a pleasant way for three blokes to loose three weeks.

Kevin and Chris G are happy to sail with me, so three up over Biscay with winds from behind should be easy. Sue flying to join us in Cascais. Chris and Sue later departing Malaga to fly back to UK. Kev and I do the last few days two up, tidy the boat, and follow them by flying back too.

So that's the plan. Every cloud / silver lining - you know the proverb....

Suddenly, the worlds a nicer place. Good, eh!

Don't forget you can use the favourites link on the right to track us on Marine Tracker......



Round the Island Race 2016

05 July 2016
There's probably one thing worse than not winning a race - and that's not finishing because you've broken your boat!

I'm afraid with our rig finally looking like this half way over Sandown Bay, that's what happened Saturday to us.......

We had a good start in 15/20 knots of fresh breeze at 09:20. On the line at the gun, clear air, allowing us to sail our preferred course beating down a lumpy Solent. Well up with the 109 pack going through the gap rounding the Needles, and once we launched the Code 0, away we went.

Of maybe 400 boats on our horizon we were one of perhaps ten who were carrying any form of kite in the building 20/25 knot WSW wind. Most were reaching under white sails.

Very shy, steep seas with wind 90/110 degrees on the boat, and tide pushing on our nose, it all suited our flat heavyweight 70 sq M Code 0 perfectly. It allowed us to really move out with lots of yahoos and great surfing. 15.8 knots top speed recorded, but rarely below 10.

If you watch this video you'll see at 5 minutes in, a J109 with a A4 red kite passing this First 40. We were further offshore but level with this 109 and going very slightly slower, but no by much. The video gives you a good impression of conditions. I believe the 109 was Diamond Jem.

Youtube from the winning First 40

(BTW. If you watch the video to 14:58 you can just see a white kite / black main boat on the horizon right on their bow once they passed St Catherines. Think that was us - as no one else had one up!)

Anyway - back to the race along the bottom. Surfing off rolling waves towards St Catherine's we slid past lots of craft, many who had started ahead of us from Cowes, and lots bigger too. Lots of bow wave spray as we bashed through the overfalls off St Catherines, close call situations with several bigger boats who were not happy to let us pass, and dropped the Code 0 once into clear air and slightly flatter water.

Gybes into the shore on white sails, and overtook 2nd place 109 Jazzy Something and then J109 frontrunner Diamond Jem, who had dropped her red kite and was equally under white sails.

For a few minutes we were sailing same course on different gybes with headsails held out wing on wing nodding hellos across a few metres of water, but with gusts coming through more from the west, we smiled over to the other helm and crew, popped the small new bullet proof kite, and away we whooshed once more.

It felt really good (at the time). Fantastic ride.

Passed loads more boats doing just solid solid solid 12 knots over smooth water and we felt chilled leaving the other 109's for dead.

And then the rig fell down.

It was a gust, certainly a strong one, that caused us to loose control and broach. The boat rounded up savagely, the kite filled when we were laid over with another big gust, and bang, off snapped the top third of our mast. Weird really, as the boat then came upright and we found ourselves still sliding downwind at 7 knots with kite and headsail acting as drogues by dragging in the water alongside, and debris on deck all around.

The crew reacted swiftly.

We couldn't run the kite (or any sail for that matter) as the halyards bent out around the torn mast stump and snagged - and there was no way we could get anyone up there to cut them away - but one way or another, It all got tidied away so we could fire up the engine.

Had issued a pan pan so eventually had the lifeboat alongside but they couldn't do much for us. We eventually cut down a lot of the main (sob sob) and turned at Benbridge Ledge going ok under engine. But when we got to Horse Sands Fort it was clear we couldn't go to windward with a portion of main still up, so we continued over the Solent with the wind of our beam, and into a nicely sheltered Gosport Marina.

There we got a berth, found a tall wall we could improvise and reach to cut the halyards, electrical cables, and more of the main, and then drop the broken mast section down to the deck and properly stabilise the remaining stump of mast section.

With boat secured, it was taxis home.

Boats now in the Hamble whilst quotes are being collected. Negotiations with surveyors and insure company underway.....
So what a shame. Went into the event hoping to get first 109, and came home with nothing.

What's next?
On. On.


Fastnet Race Report

22 August 2015
A helicopter shot of Jumbuck, flying in lumpy seas around the Fastnet Lighthouse

It's done.

I've started typing this whilst sitting up in bed, mid morning Saturday 22nd. It was almost this same time that six days back - Sunday 16th - that we were motoring up from Lymington to Cowes for the start of this bi-annual classic.

We finished Thursday 20th, 20:51 in the evening, achieving a 48th place overall under IRC, a 24th place in a very competitive 90 yacht Division Three, and 6th place from our 23 x J109 entries. Securing a spot in the top 25% of each group means we did ok, improving on our last efforts in 2013.

Although with a little bit of good fortune, methinks we could have done even better.....

It was a big race this anniversary year, with a record breaking fleet close to 400 yachts. We experienced every weather condition you could think of over the 630 mile course, and spent four days at sea. Early on we had solid light to medium breezes and medium waves. Then a few very frustrating wind holes. Sunny days drifting over mirror like seas. A day of soaking wet rain on a long lumpy upwind bash, and a day and a half on a longer off wind blast surfing before reasonable seas.....

All over a course which had seven tidal gates to manage. Portland Bill, Start Point, Lizard, Lands End, Fastnet Rock, and again Lands End and the Lizard.

The experienced say if you get these right, then you just might win the race......

We tried hard. Secured a brilliant start Sunday midday getting clear of our crowded Division 3 line under sunny skies with the start of an ebbing tide making it easy to get penalised, and continued to do really well right through to nightfall. We were up front, close second of the 109s, beating out of the Solent heading west in the afternoon with the full ebbing tide giving us all and extra knot or two of SOG. The bigger boats that had started ahead of us in what was then a flooding tide had suffered also with the lack of wind, so we found ourselves dicing amongst them even before we got out into Christchurch Bay.

Pretty steady medium NW to W winds until late evening allowed us to consolidate up in the front of our fleet, but it gradually died and backed SW as nightfall fell, just as we drew level with Portland Bill. Maybe 5 miles off - and well south of the dreaded overfalls!

Unfortunately this lighter patch coincided with the tide turning up Channel, so we had a frustrating four hours of darkness still pointing west, but being swept backwards and south in a course resembling a reverse C. Lots of others around were experiencing the same, but it would have been impossible with our kit to think we could consider anchoring up, unlike many of the bigger boats, as we were in 70+ metres of water. As we were swept south east past the lights of the anchored boats it gave the impression they were the ones overtaking us! But guess their crews were sitting below sippin brandy and smoking cigars after enjoying a roast dinner on china plates - whilst we continued working hard in the dark trying to make some W'ly motion.

So in the tidal gate score, it opened at Tidal Gates 1 - Jumbuck 0.

It was still very dark in the wee hours of Monday that the flooding tide began to ease and we began to claw our way from the bottom of our C towards the SW. A few hours on saw the wind nudge gently up and we got a little faster, eventually feeling comfortable on our beat westward across Lyme Bay. The next headland of Start Point. Our goal was to get past that headlands tidal gate with the next ebbing tide.

Lovely night sailing through to dawn. Clear skies. Millions of stars. Flat water. Moderate winds, and by the time we could see the Start Point lights, the tide had turned again and the ebbing flow began to speed us onward. Better. Score Tidal Gates 1 - Jumbuck 1.

Couldn't see our supposed J109 rivals on the AIS, but reviewing the race tracker afterwards it seems we were all still right up there, basically level pegging within a few miles of one another. We had assumed somehow they might have got further ahead of us, as Portland is not usually on our side, but this time seems we did ok.....

But then the weather Gods must have thought we were all having it too easy. They flicked off the wind fan maybe 0900 Monday fortunately after we had Start Point behind.

We and the other boats around coasted to a standstill under hot sun on a glassy flat sea, in what resembled a large yottie parking lot of westerly drifting yachts. The AIS system showed everyone around was more or less stationery - and it looked as if it was a wind hole at least ten miles across. More and more boats came up from behind to join in, and despite feeling frustrated it was pleasing that lots were larger Div 0/1/2 boats that somehow we'd overtaken the previous night.

Guess our race was setting up for a restart at that time, but some of our rivals got away early.

The 109 we were the most worried about - Just So - is crewed by good light wind sailors anyway. As I've detailed, up to this point we had jockeyed for the lead 109 spot with Just So and a few others. Jolly Jack Tar, Jolene, Boo, Jolenko, Mohito, Pure Joy, Jai Alai, we all drifted to a halt pretty much in line, still representing the front part of the 109 pack.

We were all pushed gently SW through the morning by the tide, us ending up perhaps 6/10 miles offshore, and Just So who angled much closer towards the shoreline, ending up close in. Speaking later, they explained they went in there hoping for some early coastal sea breeze, and they found it. An escape path.

Seems they had a rig problem, and in the drifting conditions took advantage to send a man aloft midday in a bosuns chair. He not only fixed the rig, but had a good look around from his high vantage point and identified a light wind 'roadway' rippling the sea and winding off towards the Next headland of The Lizard. So down he came and off they went short tacking down that coastal pathway making ground over nearly everyone else around. Jai Alai and the others, closest to them followed on. Guess Boo followed her. Jolene II joined the party. We weren't invited. Couldn't tell what was happening at that time, so just sat offshore with the bigger boats and let them all get away. Couldn't see them on AIS, so totally unaware.

We spent the afternoon trimming hard countering the turned flooding tide, but it was early evening before the group we were with offshore got any real forward motion. By which time those inshore 109s were round The Lizard and heading for Lands End and the Scillies. We weren't even close. Score Tidal Gates 2 - Jumbuck 1.

We enjoyed soft winds through that night, and we all slid past Lands End at dawn on the second half of the easterly / northerly tide. Those closest in did better than those further out. Tidal Gates 3 - Jumbuck 1.

Those leading 109s got to the Scilly Island east about passages perhaps two hours before we did, they did so on the last of that flooding tide.

In the very light breezes it meant those ahead just managed to get up the favoured eastern passage (it's the shortest route to Fastnet) with the last of that tide gently pushing them north, but as we arrived the tide was slackening and about to turn west / south, and that risked bringing us to a standstill if we followed their obviously shorter course.

We agreed we might get the predicted SW winds due to come in later in the day if we forgot about following them north, and continued heading west to meet the hoped for stronger breeze. So our plan was to go south about the islands to then head up the western passage. We did find that slightly fresher wind before those we left behind, and despite loosing more time on the 109s ahead because we sailed much further, we could see on the AIs that we overtook 12 yachts in the three hours it took us to get around and out into the Celtic Sea. Checking the detail charts since, I actually believe we could have gone right up through the middle of the island group and overtaken a few more..... next time, eh?

Wasn't looking good. The chances of catching those leading five 109's was low, but never say never.....

The beat NW out across the Celtic Sea saw the winds steadily build under a sky that was now filling with grey clouds. We felt well positioned on port tack, closer to the new wind than other behind us and knowing we could sail slightly freer if we had to. It didn't take long for stronger wind, rain and resultant waves, to arrive around midday Tuesday. Those conditions remained with us until race end.

Smashing along first under 90 sq metre A4 then down to 70 sq metre Code 0, then regular AP headsails, with rain soaking the crew perched on the top rail, we ever so slowly made decent time on our way west north west towards the rock - keeping very close company with lots of larger yachts. Right through Tuesday night with multiple lights from other yachts close around us, we bashed and crashed to windward to finally end up going down to our old No 4 headsail, and eventually see dawn break Wednesday with only a final few miles to make the Irish mainland.

By then we had a new south running tide helping lift us towards the Fastnet TSS that we were required to leave to port. Suspect we lost a little more time using that No 4 than the 109's ahead who clearly carried their No2/No3's, but with the tide helping us along, it felt really fast.

Helicopters whirred overhead (hence the good shot plus a short video clip of Jumbuck at http://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/Race-Videos-2015/video-rolexfastnetrace-day5-2015.html... ) as we stormed up and around the lighthouse at 11.30 in the morning still with the tide pushing us from behind.

So score Tidal Gates 3 - Jumbuck 2.

We just shaved the rocks ducking some fishing and media boats, maybe 30 metres off with tidal flow still helping us south at pace, and it gave us some great photo opportunities. We freed up to reach around the Fastnet TSS to quickly enjoy a swift whisky with chocolates, before sailing deeper still and throwing up the spinnaker for the long off wind run back. We were still pretty focussed trying to catch some fellow 109s during that run, as we had done so two years before.

We were positioned 52nd overall in IRC on our time at the rock, and had the following 109s' ahead of us. Jai Alai (0914), Just So (0945), Boo (1019), Mohito (1035), Jolene II (1046). Then there's the the pack of chasers close behind we couldn't ignore.

J-T'Aime four miles back and just ahead of Wakey Wakey (1158), Pure Joy (1202), and Bonfire IV (1236).

J-T'Aime charging on....

That downhill leg proved an absolute blast. The SWly shifted regularly towards the S and back, but remained solid around 15/18 knots. We went through the full off wind sail wardrobe several times over. Big 120 sq mtre A2, 90 sq mtre A4, Staysail, 70 sq mtre Code 0, back to A2, back up with staysail, and then repeat it all again. The constant changes helped us retain our maximum pace, and we certainly overtook quite a few larger boats with top speed logged of 13.4, but then the other 109's were performing just as well.

Kept at it right through that last night at sea, having swapped from a 3 man up 3 man down 3 hour watch system to rotating 2 men off and 4 on. Having 4 up allowed us to really work helm, main, and foresail relentlessly - but via AIS it didn't seem to give us any gains over the 109's ahead - and only just kept us away from those behind.

Dawn broke and saw us sliding south around the Scilly Islands still scudding along before fresh SW winds. Got the tide timing right, so score at Lands End was Tidal Gate 3 - Jumbuck 3.

By this time the combined fleets had converged on the Scilly Islands western TSS, and from there effectively we all sailed the same straight course towards the final headland of the Lizard - and then across the bay to Plymouth and the finish. So lots of fun finding clear air opportunities to overtake those slower boats we came up on.

I was hoping to hear our huge offwind efforts might have got us at least a few minutes on the other 109's ahead, but clearly not all of them. Seems every other 109 was sailing just as hard as we were, and some doing it better!!

Rounded the Lizard, last headland before Plymouth on the last of an ebbing tide, so final score Tidal Gates 4 - Jumbuck 3. A last five hours then jousting with fellow club boat Zarafa, who held us off to cross just ahead, and then we were over......timed in at 2031.

Jai Alai had finished at 1736! A very very fast time but then she is a totally carbon rigged and optimised 109 from Holland, with a handicap much much higher than everyone else. She certainly goes like a rocket downhill when its fresh but with that huge handicap resulting from her high spec rig, she only got placed one 109 spot ahead of us.......

But with the more conventionally rigged Just So finishing close behind Jai Alai (1804), they were rightfully awarded first placed 109 on corrected time! A well deserved victory, as they had sailed both fast and smart. A top, top job. Well done David, Mary and crew.

Mohito got 2nd place (1905), Boo got 3rd (2000), Jolene II got 4th (1931) then Jai Alai 5th, Jumbuck 6th (2031), J-T'Aime 7th (2104), Jaganda Too 8th (2132), Wakey Wakey 9th (2143) and Bonfire IV 10th (2243). Would loved to have done better ourselves but not a bad result, and absolutely brilliant to have ten well sailed 109's in the top 100 boats overall............the class is clearly still a force to be reckoned with!

In those leading ten on that last blast home, we had taken time from Boo ahead, Wakey Wakey, J-T'Aime and Bonfire IV behind. But then lost more time to Just So, Jolene II, Mohito ahead..........So despite all of our extra efforts, all the grinding, pumping, surfing, max men on deck, plus having overtaken other IRC boats to get back from 52nd at the rock to 48th at the finish, the end order of 109s remained as was at the Fastnet rounding. A pretty level pegging class eh!

Unshaven, unshowered, bit smelly in race clothes, we had a liquid late afternoon, evening and night in the village crew bar with fellow 109ers and the French crewed JPK's who dominated all the results. Rum with dry ginger and an added shot of gin were the flavour of the evening.

The self inflicted head whirls meant Chris G and I bailed at 3 am. Dave had left earlier to catch a train home, but Fergus, Rupert and Will joined some from Just So to drink on. Youth with stamina aplenty. All good stuff.

The stop-outs were first sighted again Friday 0900 as Chris and I headed out for breakfast and we all crossed paths with them heading back to the boat with drinks and homeward provisions in hand.....

A huge thanks to all the mob on board as everyone played their part and more. Especially Fergus. Superb helmsman and all round sailor. Rupert a tremendously skilled sailor in his own right. Well done Chris, and a big thanks to last minute replacements Will and David. Everyone contributing to make it an entertaining four days and getting us a more than satisfactory result.

I wanted to be top 6 in 109's. We achieved that. Without breakage or one cross word.

Who could ask for more? Well I could, had we been able to improve on our score against the Tidal Gates.........

On. On.

Nearly There

14 August 2015
The Fastnet fleet exiting the Solent past Hurst Castle in 2011

Its Friday, just about to go down the local for our end of week get together - no doubt followed by a curry - and reflecting on how we are almost ready to point Jumbuck our J109 35 footer, at the start line.

We will actually do that at 12:40 on Sunday 16th - but in what's forecasted as very light airs.

Sadly we had family health issues with pal Allan which led to us inviting a new crew member in Allan's place - to make up our six man crew. We are both disappointed, but the crew is now self, Chris Gibson, Fergus Roper, Rupert Houlton, Will White and last minute David Cummings. Everyone on board have sailed 109's for a few years and with six up - as opposed to our 8 in 2013 - we could have a weight as well as skills advantage for this race.

What with a new lightweight AP, the Code 0, staysail, and new A4 all additional to our 2013 wardrobe, we will have no one else we can blame if we don't get a decent result.

They predict light airs today, but until we actually start we won't know for sure it's direction. Changeable is the best word for it. Our ETA Plymouth is late Thursday, early Friday.

It actually can't take any longer as we're not carrying any extra food or water for a full Friday still out on the Irish Sea.....

We have broken with a few of our conventions this time round - lower crew numbers; unloading every single bit of extra kits not needed; shipping shore side cloths bags down by road; NOT CARRYING BEER for any sundowners. Let's just hope its all worthwhile and we do actually go quicker as a result.

There's now 23 x J109's entered in the 370 boat race, the largest fleet of one design yachts taking part, and there's more than a few who are very competitive. So if we can arrive in Plymouth in the first 6 I would be well pleased, and of course we will be trying hard to do better......

Last minute checks together with the crew tomorrow to rationalise the kit they want to take on the boat. As we've even thought to save weight by buying a large tube of toothpaste and large bottle of sunblock for all to share - I will not be expecting them to bring more than toothbrushes, 2 x spare pants, 2 x t-shirts, a fleece, a jacket, shorts / trousers, a hat, pair of sunnies, and wet weather gear. All the rest can go into their shore side bags which I will drive down to the pick up point tomorrow afternoon and all collect when the race ends.

So - be sure to check our progress down the 630 mile course. There's a link to the 2015 Fastnet Tracker Site under Favorites on the right side bar on this site, or you can download the Yellow Brick Tracker App to a tablet or phone and dial into the event.

The boats we want to beat are Raging Bee, J T-Aime, Just So, Mojito, Jelenko, Jolene II, Jaganda - plus of course all the rest!

Will update the blog immediately we are into Plymouth.

On. On.
Vessel Name: Jumbuck
Vessel Make/Model: J109
Hailing Port: Lymington
Crew: Sue and John (here crossing the line to win the 2007 ARC) on Swagman
Married 46 years and been sailing for 35 of those. Keen racers and cruisers starting in Australia and now based out of the UK. From 2004 to 2009 we cruised most summer months on our yachts exploring UK to West Med, East Med to Caribbean. [...]
In 2010 tried the darker side with a classic 45' motor launch. It opened up the rivers, canals and backwaters of Europe for a year, but that did not hit all buttons, and yacht racing drew us back. Got a Scow dinghy for club racing in 2011 and called her Billy Can, got a J109 for racing 2012 and [...]
Jumbuck's Photos - Montargis to Briare
Photos 1 to 8 of 8 | Main
Leaving the first of the six modern locks at Rogny (pronounced Ronny) - with the ancient seven lock series as seen behind Sue
Parked canal side for lunch - a lock keepers lunch
How the dinghy and scooter co-exist on the transom
Lunchtime canal side mooring
Matilda seen under the church spire at Briare..........this waterway leads down to the Loire river
The Aquaduct at Briare - built by Eiffel and longest metal structre of its kind in Europe - despite being built centuries ago
Evening dinner set alongside our nightime halt at Drammerie
Sue as we leave first of six locks at Rogny - with ancient seven lock series still seen behind her