Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Scottish Islands Peaks Race

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
This should do the trick but those Jelly Babies are not for sharing!

This should do the trick but those Jelly Babies are not for sharing!

Oh dear, here we go again. This time I am joining the crew of the Good Ship Brimble, a 27ft Twister. There will be more space onboard than Sumara but still pretty cosy with five runners and all the kit. I’ve been a bit disorganised this year struggling to find the time to sort out my kit. When I went down to my yacht to collect my boots, hat, running compass and other gear I found she had been locked in a shed so I’ve had to buy a load of new stuff. There is a strict kit check before each run so there’s no busking it. Every runner also has to take 250g of chocolate on each run. Something to look forward to!

We are getting the sleeper to Glasgow tonight so we will arrive in Oban on Thursday lunchtime. That should give us enough time to get ready before the noon start on Friday. The weather isn’t looking too bright but at least we won’t be rowing again.


Friday, July 26th, 2013
Always get suspicious when the pontoons are shaped like speed boats!

Always get suspicious when the pontoons are shaped like speed boats!

Corina en route to Dover beating Sumara!

Corina en route to Dover beating Sumara!

Boulogne old town

Boulogne old town

Philip Main relaxing on Corina

Philip Main relaxing on Corina

Safely alongside in Boulogne

Safely alongside in Boulogne

24th – 25th July 2013

Log 9,029

Boulogne certainly isn’t a destination port like, perhaps, Dieppe but it is a really useful harbour which can be entered under any conditions. Once around the starboard pier-head you should follow the wall for a short while until the white painted patch indicates the main channel taking you into the visitors marina. Poor Boulogne no longer has any ferries which is a huge shame. It would certainly make a better weekend away than Calais does. Maybe someone should start one again on a smaller scale and link with hotels and restaurants to try and make it work. Mind you Boulogne isn’t instantly pretty but it has character and at least it is a real port rather than a stereotypical marina. It does boast a great shady Crazy Golf circuit, and aquarium and, if you just walk up the hill, it has a remarkable area surrounded by ramparts and housing a grand cathedral, the Hotel de Ville and a street of restaurants.  On our first night exploring our meal out was a bit of a let down. My peppered steak wasn’t and Grit’s Gallete was deep fried! However on our second attempt we went to a bright green café called La Scala.  Instantly recognising a typical French restaurant we dived in and ate as much as we could of a splendid but stupidly massive paella. We only got half way through which was criminal really but if we go there again with more people it would be an excellent choice. On the way back we passed a restaurant selling Cous cous which looked really special. The street was Rue de la Porte Gayole and the restaurant was called Strega. I reckon it would be worth a visit if you are a cous cous fan like me.

Whilst on our regulation stroll around the marina I spotted a Vertue 11 called Corina and called across. The owner, Philip Main , stuck his head up and we had a chat. You might recognise that “Main” name as it was his father who made the Main pulleys and fittings that I still have onboard Sumara. Philip was due to sail off that morning and we waved good bye to him as he motored down the channel. A few hours later he called at our boat having quickly recognised the cold air as he made his way through the outer harbour and quite correctly diagnosed FOG. It hardly made any sense for him to sail across to Dover in the fog when he could wait a day and sail with another Vertue (with AIS!). We readily agreed to the idea and we set off together on Thursday 25th July at 1000 GMT. Philip is local to these waters as he lives and works (making Opera Glasses) in Deal. It was pretty shocking to see the behaviour of some yachts in the shipping lanes. As Corina and Sumara presented our hulls at right angles to the ships and let the tide drift us across at an angle we saw one Dutch flagged yacht actually going head on to the ships simply ploughing on in the wrong direction while on the VHF Dover Coastguard were ticking of yachts who simply didn’t seem to understand the regulations. One of which was being reported to the flag nation. It rather lets the side down when people fail to adhere to the col regs.

Luckily we had a pleasant breeze and no fog. Corina was faster than Sumara gradually edging ahead. I think we will need a rematch one day! Not that it was a race of course. After 6.75 hours Sumara moored on the visitors pontoon awaiting a bridge opening to go through to Wellington Dock where I would leave her for a couple of weeks. Ironically we had to wait for a ferry before entering the western entrance – it is rare for ferries to enter Western nowadays. We celebrated our safe arrival by all going to Cullens Yard for a great meal which we ate while wrapped in blankets.

Two weeks in Wellington cost GBP190.00. Not so cheap but I feel it is a bit safer left in Dover rather than the outer harbour at Ramsgate.



Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Position N57,59 x W011. Wind force 5 – 6 South easterly.

Last night we had pasta with reindeer meat balls. At least we hope they were reindeer meat balls and not reindeers balls. Come to think of it the reindeer on the can did have a surprised expression on his face. As the journey nears its end the food becomes more exotic. All the M and S curries have been eaten and we are left with cans of bear meat, smoked whale, dried fish and catfish balls (lets not go there). We also seem to have sheeps
head onboard. I can only think Gudrun sneeked it in the shopping trolley in the same way John used to do with Haribo Gummi Bears. As a special treat, Gudruns mother boils a couple of sheeps heads as a treat for her when she visits Iceland. What a lovely thought. I’m not sure if the eyes and teeth are still in but I suspect they might be.

Now I am wedged horizontally in a place free from spray while the boat beats into a lumpy sea. We dropped the staysail a few hours ago and are back under two deep reefs and a reefed yankee with the lee rail under. The barometer plummeted a few hours ago but seems to have steadied now. Our course is rubbish so it is unlikely we will weather Barra Head on this tack. We will plug away at it. Rounding a headland and bearing off is one of those amazing feelings, the harder the beat the better the feeling. Well that is my hope! Alasdair

Sent at 15.34GMT on 12th August


I’ve Learnt Something Not Many People Know

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Gudrun arrives with tasty treats for the crew

Dan doesn’t even like fish so rotten shark meat didn’t go down to well.

Earlier in the trip I tried to take a picture of all the crew looking miserable. Everyone looked very sad indeed, apart from Dan. You see Dan is always happy. His catch phrase, no matter what absolute chaos is happening around him, seems to be, “It’ll be fine”. Well I have discovered probably the only way to catch Dan without a smile is to feed him a bit of Icelandic Rotten Shark Meat. Within seconds the smile had gone and he hurtled out of Sumara’s cabin heading for the cockpit.
Yes, Gudrun has arrived bringing us some tasty local morsels to eat and how we all enjoyed the whale blubber, smoked whale meat and rotten shark. Thanks Gudrun.

Apparently these sharks have no kidneys and the meat is poisonous unless it is rotten. Some think its poisonous when its rotten too.

Louise Bourgeois

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

“Bursting Body” 1948 – Louise Bourgeois.

Tim and I went to the Island National Gallery on Thursday. There was an exhibition by Louise Bourgeois and some of her pieces felt strangely familiar. There were disturbing nightmarish shapes. Many were ghastly un-namely things of no colour and some were puce. Frightening bulging shapes bursting out. Then I remembered Tim’s splendid duff that we had last night!

It’s all change.

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

A Russion Raft in Reykjavik attemping to Circumnavigate the North Pole – and you thought we were crazy.

Stuart has now left for Ullapool. He really enjoyed the trip but commitments back in Scotland meant that he needed to fly back. We will miss him. Stuart’s industrial yellow Wellies were often the only way the Sumara crew knew where the Thembi crew were. They could be spotted from several miles trudging through the moss on the hillsides around the anchorages. It was strange that on the single occasion when Stuart wore “proper” climbing type boots he got blisters.
Last night we were invited to “Beer ‘n Bergers” on Thembi which was “nailed down” with a massive duff in true Tilman fashion. It was a seriously good duff with bits of ginger, well done Tim. There was a degree of excitement about the evening as we had failed to check in with customs in Isafjordur and they weren’t too happy about it. Thembi had actually tried but the local officers were on holiday. The Reykjavik Customs Officers said they would come and see us between 2100 and 2300 and we must be onboard. Because of the danger of polar bear attack in Greenland I am carrying a .375 rifle and because of the possibility of a serious accident on Beerenberg we have stocks of morphine in the first aid box. It could have been tricky! When I said I was carrying a rifle they simply asked if I had a licence to which I said “yes” and that was that. They were very friendly but customs are taken much more seriously in Iceland than many other countries and it is worth trying to search them out immediately on arrival. They also like you to log in with the Coast Guard and give a passage plan.
Now I am alone on the boat in a windy and drizzly Reykjavik. The crews have hired a car to see the sights but I felt I needed a “Boat Day” to tinker with things and look at charts etc. I think I have slightly miscalculated the amount of time needed to complete the voyage so I may push on to Vestmann Islands or Grindavik and meet with Ray there. Laundry is the next task, the Laudrymat Café has WiFi, fantastic coffee, a bar and a restaurant so it’s no hardship really. Tonight Icelandic Jon, who sailed on Sumara in 2006 from the Faroes to Iceland is coming to visit. It will be good to meet up again.
Tomorrow Sarah flies back to England and Gudrun flies out. It’s all change on Sumara!