I know the subtitle of this website is “Adventures of a small yacht” but I recently posted a picture on Instagram of the time when I chartered Velsheda for a weekend. I had a request to see more pictures – so here we go. I’m not too sure who actually took the photos but, as I seem to be in several of them, it clearly wasn’t me. Credit to the photographer if they own up.

Just a reminder of 1987, it was the year of the Great Storm……..

…and a mobile phone might look like this, if you could afford it
…and if you had a computer it would probably look like this.

Of course digital cameras didn’t exist then so these photos would have been sent off to Boots to be developed before they were stuck in my photo album. Actually finding images in the old photo album system much easier than trying to find anything on my laptop!

Velsheda, built in 1933, was saved from ruin in 1984 by Terry Brabant, who refitted her for charter work with a new steel mast and a fairly modest interior. She didn’t have a engine!

So it was a while back, and times were rather different when I actually chartered the J Class yacht
Velsheda for a weekend jaunt to Cherbourg
In those days Velsheda had no engine so she was towed out of Ocean Village with her tender
There were a few electrical problems and there was a bit of debate whether we should sail at all but the excellent Skipper, Beau, (shown) eventually decided it would be OK – although he doesn’t look to happy about it!
My memory of the weekend has slightly faded over the years but we obviously got a decent breeze for a while. This looks like we are heading down Southampton Water.
We even got the lee rail under, and there are a good few reefs in that main sail
The Skipper needed about 20 “Crew” to help haul up the sails. Sadly I didn’t have 20 friends who could sail, so I invited several friends who had never been on a yacht before. It completely confused the skipper because I hired some clothing for them which was emblazoned with Fastnet race logos. All the actual experienced sailors were the really scruffy ones, the ones in the really posh oilies were clueless (boatwise)!
Hoisting the mainsail was a matter of just heaving on the halyard. This is Scampi and Diana doing their bit.
There were no guardrails but she was very steady so you were unlikely to get thrown overboard. I’m not sure what I am doing here – maybe supervising a bit of winch work
It looks like it was raining at one point. We seem to be going like a steam train, but it wasn’t to last.
Good job I hired those posh oilies for the non-sailors!
The Skipper checks the sails
We all had a go on the helm. Annabel is in charge here.
Alan helming
..and again
..and still there, with Roger on the port side
Alan, looking the part, coping with a gust
Lots of good old fashioned hawser laid three strand rope as the sheets
The teak decks love a good soaking
My turn! The wind must have died off as the reefs have now been shaken out
Sadly the wind kept dropping off and we decided Cherbourg was going to be too ambitious. It was time for a rethink
We decided to head for the Needles and spend the night off Yarmouth
I cant say whether this was us going for a trip into Yarmouth or just whizzing off to photograph the yacht
..and the bow, but we missed the bit in the middle!
The Aft
Time for a quick swim, but being May, it was pretty cold
The Needles ahead, with a reef tucked in too. The wind must have picked again
We eventually moored off Yarmouth. Short tacking up the Needles Channel involved her going into irons on one occasion. This needed a rapid tender launch and ramming the bow and applying the full 30 hp thrust
to push her nose through the wind.
Clifford, 3rd right, owned the splendid varnished yacht Danegeld. I sailed on her across the Biscay a few times. A lovely man, sadly not with us now.
We had a simple stew, washed down with lashings of red wine. Steve was certainly enjoying it!
..maybe too much red wine!
Hard to say what’s going on here, maybe we are just having a breather after hauling that heavy mainsail up the 165 foot mast?
I’m going to pretend we are just arriving back at Ocean Village but I reckon I few observant ones of you will spot that we are actually just leaving.
Exit via the gift shop. The 34 year old sweat shirt is doing rather well
but the owner is looking a bit rough around the edges

Well, that was roughly how I remember it!

I expect some of you are wondering how much it cost. I think I asked everyone to chip in £50 each and I paid about £200, so for full board and lodging aboard a J Class yacht that was pretty good value! Nowadays, Velsheda is not available to charter but another J Class is on the market at about £40,000 per week plus expenses and who knows what they would be! I’m glad that I took the opportunity to spend a weekend aboard before she was fully restored and moved out of my league.

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