Welcome to RBE Blog!

Welcome to the July 2011 blog for the Round Britain Experience!

The RBE is more than the name of a boat – it is a 12 week experience, starting and ending in London and circumnavigating the British Isles

RBE 2011

 

My name is Jill, I am one of the crew on the current RBE trip.  I have been keeping my own blog of the trip and now delighted to be able to upload information into the official RBE blog.  Our trip started on 4th July.

Here is the blog archive so far -

Sunday, 3 July 2011

THE ROUND BRITAIN EXPERIENCE FINALLY BEGINS

 Finally here!  After months and months, people asking me if Im excited – well the honest answer was no as there has been so much going on in my life!  However – as soon as the taxi drew up at St Katherine Dock in London I felt the butterflies in my stomach and the excitement began.
The Round Britain Experience!  Thats the name of the boat and you can see Cal, Tash and Mick in the background.
A champagne lunch was provided and very well received.
The Round Britain Experience starts right in the heart of London near Tower Bridge which can just be seen peeking through from the marina!
he boat is a Bavaria 45 and is brand new (well, almost!) spacious and fully kitted out- it even has an iron and ironing board – honest to god!
I have been appointed as the caterer for the first leg of the trip – they obviously spotted the domestic goddess in me and handed over the money for the 1st fortnight!  Such responsibility to feed 5 people you have never met before!  Maybe they will live to regret their decision!  Fussy eaters WILL be the first to be thrown overboard!
I will introduce the others later….

RBE – FIRST NIGHT ON THE BOAT AND DAY 1 SUNDAY 4TH TO MONDAY 5TH JULY 2011

The first day of the Round Britain Experience is coming to a close!  The group met yesterday and enjoyed a lovely champagne luncheon and met one another for the first time.  Guests were invited and suddenly the boat felt most spacious as everyone left!
This gave us the opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the boat and “bond” with one another.The evening soon arrived and we retreated to The Dickens Inn to have our first (non-champagne) meal together!  Let me introduce everyone….

Firstly – we have Chris.  A lovely lady who lives in Bristol.  She teaches maths and promises to help me with the mathematical aspects of navigations (yes Chris, you did promise that!)  I promise to take a better photo of you very soon!
This is Peter – he is married to Chris.  They both live in Bristol.  He teaches at the University there with people with Aspergers Syndrome.  He looks like a proper sailor – wears all the stripey tops and all that!
Hmmm… Well, what can I say?  This photo says it all – this is our skipper for this leg – Duncan, just out of the Navy (he blagged his way in there!) looks like a skipper with his ruddy complexion and sarcastic expression n’all!)
Well – this is Greta – she isnt actually part of the RBE but was the only good looking thing around the table (apart from me of course – but no one took my photo!)  She was our gorgeous waitress at the Dickens Inn!
The crew and skipper of the July-Sept 2011 RBE
Departing St Katherine Lock
Francesca and Dot – my daughter and surrogate daughter respectively come to wave us off – posh send off for a posh boat and posh crew!
I love this picture – and apparently, Peter doesnt like his photo taken – but he looks so much like a sailor already, it would be a shame not to photograph him!
Meet Mike – hidden depths here!  Quiet waters running deep and all that!  Chris and I are jealous of his lip colour!  An interesting guy who has walked more miles than he has sailed it seems!
The shopping list!
There is a serious aspect to this trip – apparently, we are all learning to be yacht masters!  Here Duncan demonstrates the checks we need to make to our life jackets (he has photogenic hands……..which is more than I can say for the rest of him!)
I think Duncan shouldn’t have shown us the whistle!
THE RBE!  How lucky am I!
Apparently, Im the 1st person to tell John he is photogenic!  I point the camera at him and he looks entirely natural.  It must be all those weddings he has been to – you see, he is a retired vicar, wonderful sense of humour and a cracking laugh (even if it does take him a tad longer to get the rude jokes!)

 A very natural looking photo of a crew around a shopping trolley………

DAY 2 RBE – QUEENSBOROUGH TO BRIGHTON

What a long day!No photos of Queensborough to show – as it was totally unphotographical (think thats a word!)  We departed in haste at 8.30 and motored on.Skipper Duncan decided we might as well head straight to Brighton as stop in Dover and have our first taste of night time sailing (well – motoring!)Interesting to pass by the windfarm at Kentish flats – remember my friend Andy telling me about its construction.  30 turbines in a row – seemed an age until we passed by them!

I’ve discovered that buoy is a North Cardinal…..so much to learn!

The 1st watch started at 6, Ive just completed my watch which started at 9pm til 12.  Its actually just into Day 3 now as it is 00:22 so Im going to sign off now and edit this when we are in Brighton in the morning.  Im reliably informed there is a Wetherspoons near the marina – and Im rather tempted with an 8am pint with my cooked breakfast!

Hard to photograph in the dark with the reflective strips on our kit.  Heres Pete
Can you guess where this is?
Dawn – somewhere near Newhaven
The first watch begins
A fantastic experience navigating and steering the boat in complete darkness, a great learning experience.  I’ve not yet read the chapter on colours of navigation lights, how to recognise different vessels and buoys so night navigation was a tad of a challenge.  One example, which also highlights, as usual, that I should trust my instinct – I saw a light ahead, it was green and I became convinced it flashed to red, then it stayed green and didnt turn red – quick check of the manual……….so I convinced myself that there was no such warning light, so I must have got it wrong.  This continued – and I realised no buoy would have sails….it was in fact another yacht and it was the starboard then port side (red light!) I wont do that again!I also realised that trainers are not part of a useful kit when helming in driving rain!Managed an hour or so sleep before the next watch began at 3am – the graveyard shift indeed!  However, lovely to watch the sun rise as we passed Newhaven by.  The wind whipped up and the sea became a bit lumpy and we soon found ourselves being pulled towards the coast – had to keep pulling portside (god, Im getting so nautical!!)We neared Brighton and decided to let John, Chris and Mike sleep as we took RBE into the breakwater at Brighton – initial plan was for Pete and I to do this, but the weather conditions had deteriorated so much this would have been too much of a challenge and far too interesting – and probably the end of the trip…………. no problem for Duncan of course!

DAY 3 RBE – REST DAY AT BRIGHTON WED 6TH JULY 2011

I had to try very hard to get everyone to pose for this one – can you see Joey?
How many pints can you see?

Having spent the day and the night motoring from Queensborough to Brighton, we arrived at Brighton marine in the early hours and retreated to the local Wetherspoons.  I managed to convince everyone it opened at 7am, so at 7.30, finding I was wrong (me?  Wrong?) we retreated to McDonalds for coffee to wait until Wetherspoons opening at 8.

We enjoyed a lovely breakfast and were a little disappointed to find that they didnt serve beer until 9am (what is this wretched country coming to?!)

The beer at 9am was however enjoyable!

Does it look like Mike has been on night watch?
I think John must have had lots of sleep last night – how fresh faced is he!

We had a relaxing day with the crew cleaning the boat – I managed to get out of this job as I had to return once more to Wetherspoons to use the internet and create a blog for RBE!

A had a welcome visitor in the form of Sue Moorman who lives in South Heighton, not too far away – in fact as we motored along the coast into Brighton, I gave her a wave – it was only 5am so not sure she saw me!

The lovely Sue comes to visit

There is a 24 hr ASDA in the “Marina Village” so I couldnt resist stocking up on food.  The boat is now full – no storage room left, but far more satisfying than shopping at Waitrose!

Everyone tired and a bit tetchy (!) last night after our previous nights sail so we all headed to bed at a reasonable time.

DAY 4 RBE -STUCK IN BRIGHTON!

 Everyone tired and a bit tetchy (!) last night after our previous nights sail so we all headed to bed at a reasonable time.
Weather has deteriorated and we now have an occluded front (sorry if Im getting too technical for you here!) with a Force 7/8 gusting around.  So it seems we are staying in Brighton for a day to ride it out – we are surrounded by shops – a 24 hour ASDA, a Wetherspoons (I may have mentioned that earlier…….), restaurants etc etc so the world isn’t too bad a place after all!We are having a day of study – doing harbour skills and working on our Day skipper workbooks.  Its only 8am right now and Im enjoying a cuppa sat here in my dressing gown (I did make a concession and didnt bring my fluffy slippers – Im taking this seriously you see!)Now its lunchtime – and Duncan has spent a couple of hours with us studying – great lecture about the weather – for the 1st time John really understood about highs and lows (the weather that is!)We all promised to be good students and get our work done, but the best student so far is ……..

What a fabulous student busy reading Tom Cunliffe’s book!

The dinghy inflated and we all practiced rowing one another around…..

very disappointing as no one fell in – my camera was however at the ready!

DAY 5 RBE – YET ANOTHER DAY IN BRIGHTON BUT WE MADE BEST USE OF TIME WITH WHIPPING, SPLICING AND DOGGING!

10am –  Brighton marina is a lovely place, fantastic facilities so we arranged the weather to give us an excuse to stay here just another day!

We did plan to go, but the weather forecast which hedged its best with “slight” “moderate” and “severe” quicky turned to a gale warning!

So – we are starting our diesel engine management course shortly and this afternoon doing “splicing”  I asked if that was similar to Salsa and got the lovely sarcastic look from our skipper!

Anyway, its now 10am – we had our first lecture in diesel engine management.

Chris and John get stuck in checking the engine!
They spend so much time there – we all wonder if Chris is really in John’s confessional!
So I take a peek via the side doors – to find…they are really checking the engine after all!
We then had a lovely lunch with yet another round of tiger bread with various fillings.  Duncan will insist on lots of pickled onions – sure it cant be good for him!
Following lunch, and yet another visit to the Chandlers…..we had a demonstration on…..
Whipping, Splicing, and Dogging – yes!  I cant believe it – I’ve come here on a trip of a lifetime and find Im whipping and dogging!  You know, when you learn another language, you rely on your tutor to tell you the truth when they teach you new words……..
Anyway – here we are learning whipping, splicing and dogging….
Look at John with his Portugese Plait!
How studious are we!

DAY 6 RBE BRIGHTON TO PORTSMOUTH

Finally free of Brighton!
Weather held us here since early hours of Wednesday.  We really appreciated the local Wetherspoons (see more in yesterdays blog) and the fact there was an ASDA within a stones throw (great for me holding the budget for food for this leg!) However, we were keen to get going!
Called for fuel on the way out and it was my job to fill the tank – I figured it was just like filling my trusty old Ford Focus and, although the gauge reached full, I continued to fill until it clicked off – followed by a gush of smelly pink fluid – all over my lovely new sailing jacket – now I smell like a mechanic!

Bye bye at last to Brighton
We poked our nose from behind the breakwater to realise the protection it affords us as we were soon bouncing around! We pointed the bow into the sea and headed out for about 8 miles which seemed to take forever with each wave (about my height) knocking us back continually.  We never seemed to break clear of Brighton – it seemed to stay on the horizon forever!
The smell of diesel over my jacket eventually made me feel nauseous – so I retreated to my cabin to take it off and rest for half an hour (of course it wasnt sea sickness – for I would never admit to that!
I woke to find the boat continuing to bounce around – and started “extreme sandwich making”  A big pile of ham, cheese, pickle and mayo sandwiches brought up on deck and we piled into them, all of us apart from Chris.  She said she didnt like white bread – I had used entirely white bread as it needed using up having found 2 slices with mould on (please dont tell the others!)  so she decided to go and make her own – she was back on deck within 2 minutes and started shouting from the stern to her 2 friends “Hughy” and “Ralph” then disappeared to her cabin and we never saw her again for the remainder of the trip!
Now able to change direction and make use of the wind, we brought the genoa out for the 1st time during this trip.  How lovely that felt – I so enjoyed being on the helm as we sailed a close haul and tacked along (all the nautical terms coming now….!)
Again, it took an age and we continued to bounce along getting sprayed at frequent intervals.  We each took it in turn, and we always knew when John was at the helm.  We have now called him ”The Hooligan” you can just imagine why!  A lovely guy with a ready smile and a fab sense of humour and he laughs at my jokes – albeit 30 seconds after everyone else (particularly the dirty jokes!)
John The HooliganMike kindly went into the galley to make us a cuppa which then made him feel queasy and rendered him sick for the remainder of the trip!
Sea sickness must be terrible.  The advise is to try to eat when you can and if you feel sick, lye down, close your eyes and wait for it to pass apparently!
We have been studying our buoys, shapes, lights etc and I’ve tried to memorise them using my manual and study cards, however, it is when we are out at sea that the theory really starts to gel.  We journeyed through a channel where we could see from the chart there were boulders to a depth of only 2 metres – so seeing the lateral marks and cardinal buoys guiding our way illustrates the importance and certainly helps to set it in your head!
You are in a time warp when you sail and it is only your stomach which serves as a reminder of the passage of time.  As we neared Portsmouth I ventured down into the galley to prepare food.  Its great catering for people on a boat as its usually met with such enthusiasm and sounds of appreciation regardless of what you seem to present.  So far this week I have been cooking one pan creations – spag bol, thai green curry, sausage and bean casserole and tonights meal was a mixture of all the leftovers, with a tin of kidney beans and a flurry of mixed herbs and some worcestershire sauce heated up and poured over a pile of doritos and salsa with cheese sprinkled on the top – in the oven for 15 mins and topped with sour cream.  This was met with the usual enthusiasm and amazement of how a meal can be concocted so quickly as they did not recognise the ingredients they had been eating all week!
Portsmouth looked beautiful as we sailed in at dusk
Difficult to control long hair whilst sailing!

We eventually made it into Gosport Marina and I was at the ready to tie on my fenders and managed to fail at my first test as I tied it to the guard rail which you remove to exit the boat.  Anyway – I was then ready with my stern line having secured it correctly on the cleat on the boat, but we were being blown away from the pontoon so Duncan took my line and in James Bond style jumped onto the pontoon relieving me of my duty!

All of us knackered and ready for sleep we settled down – apart from Chris who has slept the day and is now ready for breakfast!

DAY 7 RBE – SAILING FROM GOSPORT TO ANCHOR OUT

Beautiful day which started with a full English breakfast Al Fresco – the works – yum!

Easy Sunday morning, quick shower (only the 2nd on my trip so far – what a minga!) quick clean of the boat then time to practice my knots…..honestly!

Its 3 in the afternoon and we are about to head out!  Leaving Gosport – lovely views of Plymouth and heading out to find somewhere lovely to anchor for the night.

Well – things didnt go according to plan!  Started sailing, really getting a feel for it when one of the shackles broke!  I suggested we use one I seem to have tied to my ankles keeping me in the galley!Change of plan meant we now had to motor into Cowes to be able to visit the chandlers.
Time for some study however!
Served my liver, bacon and mushroom casserole – a risky move on my part but 5 out of 6 enjoyed…..sorry Duncan!Beautiful evening and retreat to the pub to sample the Tribute and watch the guys poncing around in their blazers!

RBE DAY 8 – SAILING FROM COWES TO ANCHOR AT CHAPMANS POOL

9am arrived and Duncan headed off to the chandlers for a replacement shackle whilst I took advantage of a Sainsburys just around the corner from the marina to stock up on goodies to feed us all with.  I luckily saw Mike there – he came in for a bottle of water and ended up carrying all the shopping back to the boat – perfect!

Beautiful morning, lovely sunshine but less than a knot of wind – seems we either have too much wind, broken equipment or no wind – we will make it around Britain somehow!

Cowes
Its now 11am and with out boat fixed we headed out of the marina and went looking for wind.
One of the many craft in the Solent – but FRENCH!
Motoring along the Solent, avoiding other traffic and eventually passing by The Needles
The Needles looked so beautiful in the sunshine
Cap’in John!
Chris steers us safely away from The Needles
Tiger bread seems to have been a big hit with the crew and there lurked a left over baguette which I made up into French Bread Pizzas for lunch – yum!
John said he didn’t realise there was tiger bread left over – as he would “have been at it all night – the tiger bread that is”!  He is funny!
A lovely lesson this morning on management of “heads” (thats toilet not mental health by the way), at each head there is a holding tank which normally empty into the sea.  However, Chris and Pete’s head became blocked and the head was 75%full.  This meant it needed forcing out by dismantling the pipe from the vent outlet, attaching it to the bellows (are you following me so far?) and increasing the air pressure in the tank to force it out to sea – what a shit job!
Its now 2.30 in the afternoon and we have been sailing for an hour – managed to pick up some wind now we are out of shelter of the land and we are tacking, achieving just over 4 knots – speed over ground. We should make it round the coast of Britain in time for 2020 at this rate!
Beautiful afternoon and we are all enjoying the sunshine which is more than compensating for the lack of wind – a couple of hours with the sails up before we reverted to motor power.  The beautiful Dorset coast came into view – Jurassic Coast and we planned to anchor for the night.

The beautiful Dorset coastline
Chapmans Pool

Duncan brought us to a superb spot when we dropped anchor at Chapmans Pool, just round the corner from St Albans Head.  What a beautiful spot to spend the night!  G&T fixed for us all

I teach the module on fixing a perfect G&T 100% pass rate only accepted
and Pete set the crab line into the water – I ordered a large Tuna, but think I might be asking a bit too much from him.
Pete Multitasking – fishing and enjoying a G&T
 For dinner tonight I cooked Chicken enchiladas – made a huge pile with only a small portion left over – so another successful dinner!  Lovely to cook for appreciative stomachs!
Teaching never stops….
But always enjoyable – even the skipper smiles on occasions!
Time for some private study too
 Managed to take a look at my photos for the day and we decided that Mike looked like something from a Kay’s catalogue
Mike AKA Kay’s Catalogue Man
 Settled down to sleep by 11 – its amazing how much the sea air makes you feel tired at the end of the day with or without a siesta along the way!
Speaking of which, John managed a pre-dinner snooze and I set up a photo opportunity for the baked bean hating man!  Did I mention he ate the sausage and bean casserole the other day?
Its now official – John loves baked beans!

John loves baked beans so much – he keeps them close whilst asleep!

RBE DAY 9 – SAILING FROM CHAPMANS POOL TO DARTMOUTH

Anchored overnight in a lovely little sheltered cove off the Dorset coast.
Anchoring Chapmans Pool at dusk
Anchorage secure but as the wind changed overnight, Duncan had to lay more chain to provide stability.  This was at 4am and I was blissfully unaware of this as I slept my way through the night having the best sleep so far.
Duncan had told us we only needed one crew member up to make an early start and as Pete was usually the first one to rise in the morning it was planned for him to join Duncan – we were all told we could have a lye in.  Why is it that when you know you can sleep late you are awake so early – it couldn’t be the fact that there was a 52 Hp engine right at the side of me roaring away.
A misty morning today and time seemed to pass by slowly.  Just before 10am I popped to my cabin to go to the loo, then sat on my bunk, then found myself lying down, then snuggling down under my duvet.  2 hours later I surfaced after a lovely deep sleep – I cant believe how much I’m sleeping!  The only reason I woke was because of the smell of cooking bacon reaching my olfactory bulb……John fixing bacon and egg sandwiches for all of us – what a little darling!
Interesting to learn about tidal races – important to know when passing headlands – particularly Bill of Portland

Bill of Portland
This really is a luxury trip – for I have my own hairdresser on board.  Chris, who has raised 3 girls asked if she could French plait my hair.  Look what a fab job she has done!
Duncan said I had to behave like a Princess now – Im not really sure what that entails – I’ve checked out the Sunday Times and see that Kate Middleton is having dinner in Los Angeles with Nicole Kidman and Tom Hanks – I really think I should be invited!
We are heading into Dartmouth tonight and Duncan has promised to take me into the Cherub- the oldest pub in Dartmouth dating from 1380 – it is the oldest building in Dartmouth too.  Im hoping we will meet more plonkers in blazers and cravats!

I’ve been spending time (when not sleeping) doing some serious study (honest!) and practicing my knots.  Apparently Im at “Competent Crew” level and will soon be issued with my first certificate, first of many in my collection!

Entering Dartmouth – beautiful!
Arrived in beautiful Dartmouth around 3.30 and we moored alongside a beautiful boat – so glad it wasnt me steering RBE into the little space with so many people watching and a very expensive boat to attach ourselves onto!  Soon will be though – tomorrow we are practising this very thing apparently.
I set straight to making dinner – a chilli this evening and everyone tells me they like it hot – so watch out!  Food prepared, it was then left to me to make G&T’s.  Unsure if John wanted one, he was on the telephone, I assumed it was his daughter so I shouted out “G&T darling?” he answered yes – turned out it was the Bishops PA he was on the phone to – good job thats all I shouted!
Darmouth seemed so busy during the afternoon, then everyone seemed to disappear as evening appeared.  We went to the Cherub
The Cherub
and enjoyed a couple of pints of real ale sitting on some interesting seats

They have the strangest seats in the Cherub – doesnt Duncan look comfy!
I was asked where I wanted to go next – I said somewhere thats not modern, with character and with characters in….it was a struggle and we ended up in the Castle Hotel.
Knackered once more, to bed at 11.30.  Got to have my wits about me tomorrow trying to park this boat…………

RBE DAY 10 – SAILING FROM DARTMOUTH TO BRIXHAM TO “JETTY BASH”!

Wow – Day 10 already – this trip is flying by.  Its 7.20 right now and Im sitting in my cabin with a cuppa.  Pete generally gets up around 6.45 and its difficult to sleep after you been disturbed – its hard to creep around on a boat and impossible to make a sneaky cuppa!
Sun is shining and it is difficult to believe the gale warning I heard yesterday on the VHF. We are planning to sail this morning to Brixham and practice “jetty bashing”! OMG!
One of the things I’ve been fearful of during this trip is parking this damn thing in marinas.  My old car is testimony to my poor skill in spatial awareness so mooring this 45 foot beast into a small space alongside other craft worth hundreds of thousands of pounds is indeed a challenge!  Wait and see – cameras will be at the ready!
Will update later!
Its now 9.30pm and it has been an interesting day indeed!  Went to Brixham as planned and was met by a gorgeous Nic Nak who took my stern line – bless!  Nice to see her and Stu again, (Nicky and Stuart White), I bought myself a lovely sailing book and it was then back to hard work.  However, Nic uttered the lovely words – “have you any washing you would like me to do – its no trouble”!!!  Much to the envy of the other crew, I stripped my bed and sorted her 2 loads to do (so grateful to you Nic)
Now back to “Pontoon Bashing” and Duncan put me on 1st turn.  Its amazing how a good skipper can make manoeuvring a boat look so easy, but really, it isnt, believe me!  However, with strict instructions from Duncan, our trusty skipper, I managed to berth RBE onto a pontoon (with only a little bump – sorry Neil and Keith!) and did it a 2nd time too!
It was Johns turn next

Just look at that concentration on his face!
Dunc says “Perfect” to John!
he managed it beautifully – Duncan actually uttered the words “perfect” – what a class swot!
How cool does she look!

Next on the helm was Chris and she was fab too!

RBE rafted along on the town jetty in Dartmouth
Brixham marina on a Wed morning is normally a quiet place but it soon seemed like a Saturday afternoon on a bank holiday weekend as every boat in the area seemed to arrive!  We soon lacked any space on the visitor pontoon to practice boat manoeuvres so we left and headed back to Dartmouth – without my washing!!!!
Practising berthing in Dartmouth was a trickier event altogether for this time there was tide to consider – AND crowds of tourists who enjoyed this free entertainment!  However, Mike did a fabulous job and brought the boat to the pontoon within inches without any lines (and just a touch of help from Duncan, or am I just being jealous?)
Alongside this, we were also learning how to lasso a line around a cleat on a pontoon – Duncan made this look so easy!
Mike tried it first, but it would be rude of me here to mention the fact that he let go of the whole rope turning the lasso into an unreachable pile of rope on the jetty!
My turn came and I managed to wrap it around a light at the end of the pontoon – something I couldnt possibly repeat even if requested!
Eventually finished at 4.15 and we brought the boat to our final mooring.  I then breathed a sigh of relief thinking I could rest – oh no!  We now had 90 mins of study as we needed to finish our “Diesel Engine Management Course”  I had to learn about cooling systems, alternators, fuel injection….so many more words to add to my vocabulary!  I am now learning how to check that a diesel engine is functioning well!  I might have to get this particular book out again.  However, if the engine fails – Im rather hoping I can do something about it rather than having to call a man to help out – fingers crossed girls!
During this lesson, I prepared food for dinner whilst studying diesel engines (multi-tasking at its best – thumbs up or down for feminism!)
Having finished that, I cadged a lift back to Brixham to pick my washing up from Nics.  All clean, dried and folded  - god bless you!
Back on the boat – finished dinner (Spaghetti Carbonara) and to a relaxing evening.
We now have 2 days off before starting our shore based courses – First Aid, RADAR, VHF, personal survival, day skipper theory which starts on Saturday.  I have so much studying to do – and somehow think these 2 days off will not be much of a rest!
The boat is moored right alongside the towns pontoon – just a step into the centre of Dartmouth.

View from our boat
Its a fabulous position as Dartmouth is a fascinating place to visit – but we are a bit of a tourist attraction here and a real attraction for the seagulls during meal times!
Time for my sleep now – I’ve missed out on my nap today……..goodnight x

DAY 11 RBE – REST DAY IN DARTMOUTH

Spent a lovely day moored up on the town jetty in the sunshine.  Had loads of exercise – walked to and from my cabin to use the loo and even managed the 100 yards to the local Coop to buy some bread!

I have, however, managed to do some studying and am on page 48 of the day skipper manual!  Wow – I have realised unfortunately, I have read the easy chapters (how to hold a fire extinguisher etc) and have now reached the part where it starts to become technical – gulp!
The sun has been shining all day and my tan is developing nicely.
The RBE is a bit Big Brotheresque – we have all been thrown together, having never met before and now in a very small living area and tensions easily rise but today has been a day of real bonding as some conflicts have been resolved – no further  comment!
I have grown a bit short of “one-pan recipes” in my head and resorted to the BBC Food website and made a chicken and vegetable casserole – made on the hob as the oven is too much of a challenge,.  I bought a lovely chicken which was on offer – and far too huge for the job and couldn’t work out how on earth it would fit in the pan.  I attacked it with a knife and managed to get it in – but no other ingredients would fit – so I had a brainwave and used 2 pans!  I didn’t go to University for nothing!
During the day a couple walked by and stood at the side of the boat smiling – they were delighted to find a boat “Round Britain Experience”  as they were crew 10 years ago!  I’ve taken their photo which I shall post here, and they came onboard and we talked for ages about their experience.  They invited us to meet up with them later.
Sonya and Jim who completed RBE 10 years ago
The town jetty really is in the heart of the town which has mixed blessings – view is fantastic but you do become the local tourist attraction!  Also – other craft are allowed to raft alongside (this is often the case) and we had loads of room around us until 3 this afternoon when 3 boats arrived in convoy – 2 mooring up ahead and one rafting alongside!  We now have about £2million worth of boat around us!   We passed lines onto our boat and secured the one alongside then asked them to put a shore line on – which they did with grace,  However – John was not satisfied with the way they had set their lines – and we rearranged it to our satisfaction!
Once the ferries stop running about 5pm boats are allowed to moor on the outside of the jetty, but have to leave by 8.30 next morning for the ferries to start up again.  This means we no longer have queues of day trippers alongside (bloody tourists!) but it does mean we meet some interesting characters and boats.  Alongside us was a lovely boat – an old trawler done up which served as a party boat for “Denise” (we joined in the chorus of “Happy Birthday” you see).  They consumed just a few bottles of Cava…..
Just some of the remaining empties as the party guests abandoned the boat!

We enjoyed the chicken casserole as the sun went down then decided to go and meet the couple mentioned earlier – Jim and Sonya were moored by Dartmouth Yacht club, so, armed with a couple bottles of wine and 5 glasses in our bag we went to view their boat.  We had a treat of an evening all squeezed into the cockpit of their boat – a  Trintella 29 (which meant nothing to me until I had seen it)  They kept us well entertained with their sailing tales and their experiences of doing the Round Britain Experience 10 years ago!  They are a lovely, interesting couple who clearly love one another and love being on their boat together and have a life time of adventure ahead of them!  They maintain a blog if you want to check it out - http://www.sailfettler.blogspot.com/

All good fettlers together!
 The’ve sailed from Edinburgh – having have given up their jobs and are sailing to Brazil where they are planning to live for a couple of years!  Thanks for the Glenfiddich Jim!
The spot where they were moored gave us fabulous view to the entrance of Dartmouth out to sea and it looked so beautiful as the moon was rising

Beautiful view of dusk on the River Dart
Back on the boat past midnight – there is a party going on nearby at a gorgeous yacht which moored earlier
A boat used to train teenagers how to sail, and apparently, how to party til 2am!
……….its now 1am,  RoBE is now happy in his new bed
RoBE is happy in his new place
 - goodnight!

DAY 12 – ANOTHER REST DAY IN DARTMOUTH!

 Good morning Britain!
Awoke at 8.30 and started updating blogWith the internet connection I have, it takes ages to upload photos (about 10-15 mins for each photo sometimes), so I was really pleased with myself to discover a new way of adding photos at much better speed!It initially worked really well, and the blog looked great so I was encouraged to continue.  I spent the whole morning (3 hours) continuing and have now discovered that  none of my newly added photos will load when the blog is opened!  What have I done!
However, I have now wasted so much time and my sailing studies have been ignored – I’m now re-prioritising!Weather not so good today, much colder and a chill breeze so Im on lockdown in my cabin and getting my books out!I will look for somewhere with better internet connection to upload photos later – but fear Dartmouth may be far too posh for a McDonald or Starbucks store!Be patient while I try to rectify this…….bloody computers!

Its now tomorrow…….couldnt face doing this blog again after what happened!  So upset – never mind – onwards and upwards – photos to be added later!

The boat was Round Britain Experience University today!  A hive of activity and study.  Chris lost her phone last night so went into Paignton today to get a replacement, so she avoided most of the “angst”  I locked myself into my cabin as I couldnt bear to hear about all their calculations of tidal curves, secondary ports from Pete and John.  You see, I havent reached that part of the manual, and still getting to grips with port and starboard tacks so it just added to my feeling of inadequacy   So, i-pod in ears and doors firmly closed I continued my own personal study – getting no where fast!

Excellent students at work
A good example for yacht master studies
Chris finds a nice quiet spot!
Of course – no photos of me studying so you will just have to take my word for it!At 4pm I really had enough, and thought it was about time I got dressed (honest!) so I took a shower – to find the pump is not emptying it – so the majority of my shower involved use of the sink – finishing with a mop and bucket to clear up afterwards – is it Fri 13th today?All redeemed at dinner as my new BBC One Pot Cooking Google search proved fruitful as the Sausage and Lentil One Pot I concocted was delicious – served with lashings of mashed potatoes.  Our rich neighbours were having steak and they sniggered a little when I told them we were having sausage and mash – but what they didnt know was our sausages were in a red wine sauce – ha!Dinner finished, study ignored, we made our way to the Dartmouth Arms to join our new friends Sonya and Jim as they had 2 new friends join them.

I sat next to a lovely family from Holland who were leaving for London and gave them tourist advise – with text consultation from my guide down there – Francesca!

Next I sat by Paul – friend of Sonya and Jim who had just arrived having sailed from Edinburgh via the West route.  His eyes were blood shot – I wasnt sure if it was the Doombar he was drinking or the fact he didnt sleep last night as his boat “was in pain in Loo”  Strange these sailors!  He explained what that meant, but Im not going to tell you here as I think you will have more fun without the facts thinking about that one!

I told him how I was trying to block out Pete and John’s chat about tidal curves as I’ve not got to that bit yet – and he said – “I’ll tell you what you need to learn” and as anticipated, he reached into his pocket for his i-phone as it has an ap which does instant calculations of this for you.  I said “I dont think that will cut the mustard with the examiner in my Yacht Master exam, he told me that I will have to be firrm and tell them “there is nothing wrong with using a f***kin i-phone……….I will remember that one!

A couple of pints of Doombar later we returned to the boat and I crashed out ready for study tomorrow…….First Aid!

RBE DAY 13 FIRST AID COURSE

Good morning! A dreary one today!  Not to worry, I was up today at 6.30 and started making a packed lunch for everyone – for we are off to school today!
We are being picked up at 8.30 the other side of the Dart to be taken to Brixham – to learn First Aid!  Mike seems a little excited by this and thinks he is going to receive the Kiss of Life – even more excited when I said it will involve Annie………a woman with a head and part of a torso!Its Pete’s birthday today – he has said he would much rather forget it altogether, so we have promised to only remind him of it hourly!We have a table booked tonight in the new Tapas just along from the boat so we are all looking forward to that – as well as the completion of another course.  First Aid will come in useful after the hazards of Diesel Engine Management!Catch you later!

Its now 5.45 and the first aid course is complete!  It was fabulous fun – and we all learned so much
Ready, steady, roll!
Our turn now
Our wonderful tutor Tracey
Pete saves another life!

We all had great experience of performing CPR.   Mike was particularly looking forward to the artificial respiration (mouth to mouth) and looked terribly disappointed when plastic heads and torsos came out (I did warn you Mike!)

Mike gets to grip with the torso
Then he makes his move
Not quite what he was expecting, but he performed the mouth to mouth beautifully!
We practiced bandages, and triangular supports and some of us got quite carried away indeed!
We all enjoyed tying one another up with bandages!
Look at my fine work – all he did was nick his little finger – overkill?
A fine job Chris!
Mike looks a little nervous as John bandages him!We throughly enjoyed the course and now feel better prepared if there should be a medical problem.  It was assumed that my midwifery training and experience would mean I wouldnt have to do the first aid course – but unless anyone on the boat is in labour or havin a postpartum haemorrhage, I really felt the need to do it.  Caring for someone with an electric shock out on the ocean really wasnt part of any module I completed!
Picked up by Neil after the course to be taken back out our boat – he took us to Churston Manor on the way back – fabulous place!
Chruston Manor
The RBE team!
 Pete’s birthday as I have mentioned and we have a meal booked at the new tapas in Dartmouth and we are all starving hungry after our day of studying (although I did make everyone a packed lunch for the day at 6.30 this morning!
Strangest thing, on the ferry from Kingswear to Dartmouth – some very strange blue men appeared……..
Strange blue men in Dartmouth – with Papa Smurf!
Typical dress in Dartmouth – honestly!
Lovely to get back to the boat – even more money moored around us now……..
Enjoyed the evening – treated to the meal by the birthday boy – thanks so much Pete!  Really generous.
Happy Birthday Pete
 Back to the cherub to find Jim, Sonya and friends there enjoying the beer there.  So embarrassing to find they then looked up my blog on their i-phones to read what I had written about them yesterday.  Paul their friend had no memory of talking with me yesterday – but asked how he could make comments on my blog.  He was told he could do that – but somehow I seem to be having problems with people uploading comments on here – I have a few, but some do not seem to be coming out – I rather hope this will be the case with him – sorry Paul!
We thought Dartmouth was a very affluent and refined place to be – however, on our way back to the boat we passed by a man who had just been attacked by another man, who was in turn being pined onto the floor by 2 other men with lots of drunk bystanders.  Having completed this first aid course – I was a little upset to find someone with a head injury, AND bleeding was standing up – that was one of the first moves to make with someone in this position – however, I did absolutely nothing as this extensive training taught me to evaluate the danger to myself first…..!
Mike and Pete now wandering back to the boat both speaking with strange accents like country bumpkins from Shropshire – thats their aim – but I think they have their counties wrong as they sound more like Somerset or Dorset!
Sleeping at night, can hear the locals bashing their way at the windows of the nearby cafe – we are far too posh for this place!  Goodnight!

RBE DAY 14 – SAILING FROM DARTMOUTH TO BRIXHAM

We now have a berth in Brixham for the rest of our study week before we commence leg 2 of RBE.
A gentle start following our night on the tiles in Dartmouth before a skipper arrived to bring us round.  His name is “Tank” and his girlfriend Emma joined him.
We prepared the boat to leave and set sail whilst still on the Dart.  The weather was the best so far on the trip for sailing and we all learned so much on this short trip.  Tank has a lovely way of explaining things to us, and we all instantly warmed to him.  We caught about 22knots of wind (this is a windforce 5-6) which was fab and we managed really good speeds, each taking our turns at helming.
John enjoying sailing
Chris looked cool as she steered the boat
Our skipper for the day – Tank!
Arrived into Brixham and I immediately started fixing lunch – a cooked breakfast – large quantities of sausage, bacon, mushrooms, beans and scrambled eggs and fresh crusty bread – just about managed to take a photo before the food was instantly eaten!
Sunday morning cooked breakfast at 1.30pm – perfect!
 I find I am so tired during this trip and let everyone wash up (the beauty of being the chef!) whilst I went to my cabin and passed out for a couple of hours.
Im now in the office of South West Marine Training using their internet connection which is great – and how I have managed to catch up with adding photos to all my other blogs!Update – Its now 11pm and Im tucked up cosy in my cabin.  I cooked 2 gammon joints in a large pan with loads of veg and lentils – then removed the gammon and finished them off in the oven with a honey and mustard sauce.  We filled our bellies, and there is lots left for lunch tomorrow – great winter warming food – its really windy and rainy outside and feels more like November than July.
We are grateful for the fact that this poor weather has coincided with our shorebased studies.  Tomorrow we learn RADAR, Tuesday VHF, Wed Personal Survival and finish the week with day skipper shore based studies before heading out on Saturday with our new skipper – Fred – and head to the Scilly Isles where Im certain the sun will be shining!Goodnight!

RBE DAY 15 – RADAR COURSE

Its now 5.30 and my brain is aching!  have just completed the RADAR course with Neil Penman at South West Marine Training, and my head hurts!  Back to school time, learning facts and figures, plotting positions on maps and doing MATHS (Mychelle, was thinking of you today!)
This is the 1st day that I haven’t taken any photographs as it has just been pure study.  However, it is something I am going to take back to the boat with me and work on further – Im told I could get asked about it during my yacht master exam – and something which may well prove useful to use with poor visibility.  Its nothing like the old movies I used to watch with the machine that goes “blip” …… “blip” …… “blip” and there is an obvious ship!  It is far more about mathematics and physics and is definitely something to work on and have to dig deep into my brain cells.  It does mean I get to play with another gadget which always pleases me!
I’ve spent the first 2 weeks of this trip as quartermaster – but now my time is over and I have handed the wooden spoon and ladle to Chris and Pete who are going to work on it together – slight cheat of course, but I did have John as my Sous-Chef, always around as soon as I started to cook, chopping, slicing, stirring and washing up – Im looking forward to being his assistant too.
Course has now finished and Chris and Pete are heading into town to buy provisions for the week and Im looking forward to eating someone else’s cooking!
Time to go and get a cuppa and rest my aching head!
Updated -
Well, clearly, it wasn’t just me feeling the ache of the head from all this studying……walking past the lounge area at the entrance of Brixham marina- I spotted Mike and John!!
John is worn out after studying RADAR
Back onto the boat, just in time for supper – shopped for and cooked by Chris and Pete – what a treat – all the foods I love, crusty bread, cheeses, salads, humous, coleslaw AND stilton, digestives, butter and red wine!  Heaven!
We enjoyed a lovely evening when suddenly, some of the lights went off on the boat, then we smelt smoke.  Straight into action, I lept up and grabbed a fire extinguisher and a wet tea towel (!!)  the smoke came from Johns cabin and one of his LED lights had burnt out.
Oh dear!
This will now make us much more safety conscious – we all made sure we thought of our escape plans should an emergency ensue and avoid cluttering cupboards which contained the fire extinguishers with a knowledge of where they all were.  So good of South West Marine Training to set up this mini-emergency at 10pm to get us all thinking about fire safety on a yacht!
Exhausted, and the smell of smoke still in my nostrils I went to bed and had the best night sleep so far – it must be all this study and excitement!

RBE DAY 16 – VHF COURSE

Yet another course today!  We were really hoping this one would be easier on the brain than RADAR yesterday!
Oh yes it was indeed, no offence to Neil yesterday, but this one was much funnier.Lots of technical detail to get through, and lots of practice.

Duncan supervises Peter and Chris
John loves playing with gadgets!
Mike sounded really masterful on the VHF

I hadnt realised we needed to have a biology lesson – because apparently, people are in doubt where their mouths and ears are!   Duncan drew a technical diagram outlining anatomy for us -

Apparently, your mouth is south of your nose!

However, there was still some confusion!

“Are you receiving me? Over”  Hardly!
“Look behind you John”!!
A Script for a Mayday call -
“Mayday, Mayday, Mayday,
This is sailing yacht Round Britain Experience, Round Britain Experience, Round Britain Experience,
Mayday Round Britain Experience,
Our position is a little bit tricky,
So sorry to bother you, really dont want to disturb you but we are having a bit of a problem with our engine which is a little bit on fire,
Would you mind terribly giving us some help, when ever you can make it, immediate would be ever so kind of you, but we dont want to be a nusiance
Over, and thank you once again!”
FANTASTIC!
Well – we all passed, despite the confusion over bodily parts (John would like me to point out here that he was not the only one who did this!  In fairness to him, I do remember when I first used a mobile phone, couldnt hear anything and had one of my children turn it the right way round!  One comment I would just like to make here was the feedback Duncan gave to John when he finished, saying “that was the most polite Mayday I have ever heard”
We are all about to return to the boat and there is talk of fixing a G&T…….mmmmmmm.  Chris was up first thing to visit the fish market (she is taking this catering business far more seriously than me!) and there is fish pie for dinner – Im going to love being cooked for!

RBE DAY 17 – PERSONAL SURVIVAL COURSE

Still in school – this time – Personal Survival.  The morning was spent in the classroom learning about how to prepare ready for an emergency in the boat, what to take with us in the event of an emergency (I couldnt see “lipstick” on the list!), use of flares etc etc.
We are being taken to a pool later to practice getting into a liferaft.
Again on this course, we were joined by others doing the course for a variety of reasons – anti-pirate security on boats on the coast of Somalia, a guy working out on windfarms and another working on the passenger ferries on Scilly Isles – he has promised to wave to us when we sail by next week!
One of the main messages of the day was only abandon your boat when absolutely necessary – so you “step up, not down” into the life raft.  Its only when you practice using one that you fully understand this message.
Mike set up the liferaft
and first up was Chris who joined a group of exe-marines – they wore survival suits and Chris was given leisure wear and a lifejacket.  She did really well in the water with these fit, testosterone filled guys!
One tried to compete with Mikes role as “Littlewoods Catalogue Man” but it was hard to cut it in a bright red suit!
They practiced swimming in their gear,
then took it in turns to get into the raft before they entered it as a group.  We then became the weather – I was the rain – just to make it realistic!
I joined the next group and we only had one exe-marine in this one.  Mike and I wore the survival suits, as we will gain a different certificate which covers people working commercially (keeping our options open at this point).  They are one size only, and the crotch came down to my knees!
“Does My Bum Look Big In This”  Oh yes it did!
I struggled to get into the raft – it had partially deflated due to the fact it had already been used by the other group, and the “wind” was particularly excessive, and my lovely red suit, complete with hugely oversized integral gloves, meant I couldnt get hold of the lines to help bring myself up.  A little shove from Duncan did the trick.  We then had to enter as a group – and I was the last one to get into the raft, and soon regretted my enthusiasm with the rain which I had managed to squirt into the raft  with the previous group.  The “Marine” got a little carried away, and having seen my poor effort getting into the raft previously took hold of me and yanked me straight into the raft, headfirst into the pool of water – for a couple of seconds I thought I was going to drown – in a liferaft!
The other group then performed “the weather” for us with just a touch of retaliation!
Yep – I can now understand that you would only want to get into a life raft as a last resort when your boat is either on fire or at its last stages of sinking!
South West Marine Training really do well with their education and then put on a display of lifeboat rescue for us…..
Only joking, we are lucky to be in Brixham during Torbay Lifeboat Week with a programme of activities.  It started with a parachute display,
then a display showing different rescue situations with the RNLI – fabulous!

RBE DAY 18 – DAY OFF

Thank goodness its a day off today.  At 2 this morning I woke feeling very ill – a touch of food poisoning.  This is the first time that I wished I was back home.  Trying to vomit quietly on a boat isnt easy I can assure you – I was just grateful for the fact that we weren’t out at sea today.   I was ill until 6am, then fell fast asleep exhausted!
I really would have liked to have stayed in bed for the day – but we had a date with a fabulous boat at 9.30 and it was something I wasnt going to miss out on!
Kevin (the RNLI navigator) gave us a fabulous talk and tour of the lifeboat and the work of the RNLI.  It costs £400,000 to run the RNLI – I tried to guess how much it would be and guessed 30K – a little out don’t you think!!
We couldnt help but be impressed with the boat, and the work of these brave men as they work to save lives on our seas.  We were taken to the “Survivors area” and the engine room.
I then headed into town to get some ID photos – needed for my VHF licence and, eventually, my yacht master qualification!  Mike joined me and we ended up in Wetherspoons for lunch.  The perfect recovery from food poisoning – a Wetherspoons lunch!  We then went to the Prince William for a pint of Tribute
Lack of sleep and a lunch time beer meant there was only one place to be – in my cabin for a snooze.
I woke to hear Pete and John busy studying again and comparing answers, but that was clearly exhausting for John……..
Chris is busy cooking dinner – lovely chicken with rosemary nicked, sorry, picked locally – gorgeous Chris!
We meet up with Fred tomorrow – he is joining us on the boat and doing some tuition and preparation in readiness to start the next leg.  Im ready to get going and looking forward to the next part of the adventure.  The Scilly Isles are beckoning……
Nearing the time we start our 2nd leg of RBE which will culminate in 2 weeks time in Bangor, N. Ireland taking in Scilly Isles, maybe Padstow, certainly some of E coast of Ireland, maybe Isle of Man, and Im pushing for us to pop over to the Menai Straits – but I might be losing the Welsh vote there!Lovely day of theory with our new skipper for this leg – Fred Farmer – and we are making an “F Plan” to deal with this colourful character!

One thought on “Welcome to RBE Blog!

  1. Hi…great blog and we have enjoyed reading it each day and you have definitely got us thinking of doing it ourselves possibly next year. Can you let us know if you and your colleagues had much sailing experience before doing the rbe. Good luck with the rest of the trip. Mike and christin

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