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Whoops rather a long gap between posts!

Monday, January 7th, 2019


I’m still alive and really looking forward to 2019.
The reason for the long pause was that something had to give way. The Arthur Beale project has proved surprisingly exhausting especially on top of the stress of running my other company so I had to let things go. It got so bad that I almost decided to sell the Good Ship Sumara. Those early year boating job lists were getting rather unappealing. I felt I could do with a bit of relaxing time rather than driving to the East Coast to antifoul etc. Luckily I came to my senses when that wonderful 2018 summer arrived. We went down to the boat, rowed out to the mooring loaded with gear, hanked on the sails and wafted down the Orwell. The sun didn’t stop shining for three weeks of no-hassle cruising and I was totally revitalised. Sumara can not go!
But I was still getting overloaded at work so I decided to sell Flints to the staff so I could concentrate on saving Arthur Beale. So, I now start 2019 with only a small commitment to Flints but loads to do at Arthur Beale and as a treat I’ve booked the Good Ship in for a major refit with Johnson and Loftus Boatbuilders in Ullapool. With the money from selling Flints I’ve ordered a little camper van so we can travel to Scotland in comfort and retrieve to loose gear from the boat. We can also use it for the trail runs we enjoy and for those outdoor boat shows like Beale Park.
Just in case I get bored I decided to take up Will Stirling’s wonderful offer of a place on board Integrity to sail to Scoresbysund and circumnavigate Milneland. Well who could refuse an offer like that!
So Sumara lives on, there will be a little Arctic adventure, a bit of interesting running and hopefully I can launch Arthur Beale on a really interesting five year plan!
Oh, we are going to get a dog too!
Better get on!

Maldon Mud Race 2017

Sunday, June 11th, 2017
The man in the wedding dress!

The man in the wedding dress!

After the race!

After the race!

Having had to pull out due to a broken arm in 2015 the Maldon Mud Race has been on my list of things to do for a while. This year we entered it with some trepidation. The race originally started in the seventies when a local pub placed a barrel of beer on the far bank of the very muddy river and dared its clientele to go for it. That was in the depth of winter and it must have been quite a challenge. Now it is held in the same mud but in May when the water has warmed up a bit. To my surprise the mud was lovely and warm! The only rule seems to be that your shoes are gaffer taped onto your ankles and I can see why, there is quite some suction! Most people dress up to some degree. A chap in a wedding dress comes most years! We went for stripy tops which never fully recovered. It was great fun, even the cold drizzle of a shower was a laugh. Might well go for it again!

Watch the Race Live

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

You can track the Scottish Island Peaks Race below:

Click here for Full Screen Viewing

Olympic Traffic Restrictions

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Ha Ha Road Closed

Although I fully accept the need for certain traffic restrictions during the Olympics,

the thing that got my back up was the sheer pleasure the authorities took in making the road closures.

62,58.94N x 007,24.49W Speed 2.8 knots. Course north. Wind F2 West.

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Sumara set of at 0330 this morning and was followed later by Thembi. We have just heard from Thembi over the VHF and they have spotted us on the horizon. Thew wind has been fair for several hours and we have made a very pleasant run of about 40nm with air temperature of up to 20 degrees and sea at 9.2C. It is a good way to start a trip like like this while everyone settles down to the life at sea. John made a whacking great big pot of stew last night so that will be supper tonight too. We will download the weather grib in a few minutes. All is well. 492nm to the north tip of Jan Mayen.

Sent via satellite phone at 18.01 GMT on 29th June 2011 (blogged by Gerry)

Departure Imminent

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

As the winds are easing now we are thinking of sailing on the next tide at 2am with Thembi following the next day. We went for a fine walk out to the island point this afternoon where I asked everyone to pose for a photo looking miserable. I had completely forgotten that we had Dan with us who is incapable of being miserable so we had to take another picture with everyone being happy.

From tomorrow I will only be able to update the blog via the satelite phone to Gerry so things may go quiet for a few days. Next stop Jan Mayen!

Dan failing miserably to be miserable

Everyone Looking Happy! That's easy.


Not a Good Day for Sailing

Monday, June 27th, 2011

The View from Half Way Up

We woke to creaking lines, howling rigging and a harbour full of white horses and decided to stay put but use the time to climb the Faroes highest hill – Slattaratindur at 882m. As we didn’t have a map we decided to seek local advice. The girl in the supermarket said there are no paths, no cairns and its raining hard so don’t go. We asked her to point to the relevant hill which she kindly did. We thanked her and set off. I always like to seek out local advice. Not knowing any better we just clambered up past a reservoir and aimed for a steep gully to get us beyond a rocky ridge. It was blowing a full gale and was cold and wet with it. We stopped about ¾ of the way up for a bite to eat and slipped on our toasty belay jackets – brilliant things, light and super warm. We set off again to get to the top when, low and behold, we stumbled on a path! So there was a path after all. The summit affords views over the whole of the Faroes but not today, just mist and clouds sweeping by.
As we had now found the path the descent was quick and easy and now we are back onboard eating the worlds biggest sausage.
Tomorrow Sumara hopes to set sail north to Jan Mayen and Thembi will probably leave Toshavn for Eidi. We have just received a message from Thembi saying they had a bit of a night with Captain Birgir Enni from the Nordlys!

John being blown around on top of the hill

John points to the gully we climbed on the way up

Eidi Harbour where Sumara sheltered from the Winds

Keeping Warm with a Rab Belay Jacket

John has Arrived Safely

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

John flew in last night just in time to join us all having a grand curry on Thembi. Now the crew is all assembled (apart from Charlotte who is arriving in Jan Mayen on the Icelandic boat) we will have a big meeting this evening to finalise plans. The Thembi crew are of on a bus ride around the islands today while Sumara is doing the fresh provisioning, filling with water and diesel etc. Sumara will probably head off tomorrow to catch slack water at 2015 in the narrows between the island. We need to get the timing dead right because the tide rips through at 12 knots either side of slack water! We will then moor in the little harbour of Eidi while we wait for perfect tidal conditions before heading off north to Jan Mayen. Thembi will probably follow a day later as she is a faster yacht. The ice conditions in Scoresbysund are good yet but they are improving. I have attached the latest ice chart recieved over satelite phone.

Latest Ice Chart recieved over Satelite Phone

Nolsoy and Thembi the Tanker

Friday, June 24th, 2011

The Walk to the Lighthouse on Nolsoy


After knocking off some tasks in the morning Sarah and I thought we would treat ourselves to a good walk. We took the ferry to the island of Nolsoy just half an hour away and walked out to the lighthouse. A great walk about 2 hours each way along a path well marked with stone cairns. It was a bit boggy in places as Sarah discovered. 

Sarah went up to her Knees in one Deep bit of Bog

We had hoped to see Thembi arrive from the lighthouse but after a thorough scan of the horizon there was no sight of them. It wasn’t until we were on the ferry back when we saw them about to enter the harbour at Torshavn.

Sumara and Thembi are now moored together and we shall discuss our plans for Jan Mayen over the next few days. I was my first time on Thembi, and a very fine ship she is with coal burning stove and oddles of atmosphere. We also discovered she has 300L water tanks, hence Thembi the Tanker. Sumara has two 17L tanks plus lots of containers but a total capacity on this trip of just 134L. A max of 2L a day.

John arrives tonight. Yippee, the Faroes- Jan Mayen crew will be complete.

Captain Enni from the Nordlys has invited us all onboard for dinner tonight. We are looking forward to that treat. The night before last we had a wonderful meal with Arm (Herbert?) on Woe Wei. Quite a cook! Thanks for that.

It’s Good to Share

Friday, June 24th, 2011
Easy Split

The mast head of yachts is obviously a good place to site antennae but there is not much space. When I installed my Simrad AIS I faced the problem of where to site an extra aerial. Andy at Greenham Marine suggested using the, then new to the market, Easy Split to share the AIS with the VHF. Yesterday I bought a new car stereo radio to replace the last one which had rusted away. It too can share the same aerial. A good piece of kit.

By the way, the shopkeepers in the Faroes are wonderful. The man in the Radio Shop gave me the Ipod lead free of charge and the following day made up a special lead to connect to the Easy Split and refused to take any money for it. Brilliant service.