The 5 ferry route – what is all the fuss

Friday morning, I look at the forecast and it looks good for the weekend. I decide to do the 5 ferry challenge and take the touring bike with panniers and spare just in case the scottish fine weather also includes hail, snow, sleet and pouring rain as it is want to do.

Friday evening and a few too many whiskies whilst listening to my new valve amps …. so Saturday 7am blurry eyed I wake and zip into town to get tickets and the 8:30am train from Glasgow to Ardrossan. There is comic con in town so lots of weird and wonderful kids (and kidults) in costume are everywhere.5 ferries bike ride-2 5 ferries bike ride-3

long weekend and on this Saturday morning everyone with a bicycle is getting squeezed onto the Ardrossan ferry for the sailing to the island of Arran. I have done trips to Arran many times and have never seen anything like it. There is carbon and ti bike porn everywhere, skinny tyres and portly riders in a long snake pushing onto the vessel.

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Breakfast on the ferry is a custom so despite only cycling 5km so far – I have to partake.

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Up the east coast – its 19 miles to Loch Ranza but its slow going as I stop about 5 times to take pics – letting the portly 3 musketeers overtake me 3 times and then i catch up again.

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The road throws in one fairly stiff climb before the descent into Lochranza. Quick photo and i just make ferry number two.

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We climb and then drop down to work our way up the coast road to Tarbert. It has a busy harbour fringed by tourist shops, cafes and bars we miss this ferry by 3 minutes and see the ferry pulling out so I head back with 2 other roadies to a cafe for soup …

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The ferry takes us across Loch Fyne to Portavadie and another climb. There are stiff little grunting climbs, but the views are wonderful.

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Over on ferry number four to the small island of Bute for quite an easy section of riding. This is a good thing as my legs are shot. In Rothesay I admire the loos as I have been here a few times on the yacht … but I don’t need to pay to spend the proverbial penny this time …

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Boat then train home – a very quick steak then out to the pub with a pal and a perfect excuse for 4 pints

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video: Twenty Eight Feet – life on a little wooden boat

just the best wee video about sailing and about the boat …..

A short documentary about David Welsford, who has given up the luxuries of land in search for happiness and adventure on a 50 year old wooden boat he restored from a scrap heap. Featuring music from Bahamas, Acres & Acres and Ben Howard!

Director & Cinematographer: Kevin A Fraser
Featuring & Additional Photography: David Welsford
Editor: Shawn Beckwith
Colorist: Chris MacIntosh
Post Audio: Craig Sperry
Producers: Kevin A Fraser & Melani Wood
Acres & Acres
Ben Howard
Salus Marine
Grohmann Knives
Lunenburg Boat Locker
William F White
Splinter Joy

A snappy daysailer between 20-25foot

It’s possible that the Hunter is too sedate for you and the Shaw is bit too hot for you VIDEO HERE and you would prefer a boat that is in between those two. Then the Saffier 23 designed by Dean Hennevanger might just be the perfect boat. I like this boat a lot. It has a nice classic line to it but it is a thoroughly modern design, and telling from the well-prepared promotional package it appears to be exquisitely built by Saffier Maritiem b.v. in the Netherlands.
I do not have a set of lines for this design so I will have to rely upon the photos and drawings to get an indication of the hull shape. At first glance I thought the sheer was too flat. But in the photos it looks just right. The ends are short and the entry is fine. The D/L is 128 and the L/B is 3.18. Draft is only 3 feet, 3 inches with a low-aspect-ratio fin weighing 1,122 pounds with a bulb at the keel tip. In contrast to many new boats the stern is not broad. The transom is attractive and I think I am seeing some deadrise aft. This is a very attractive hull. The promo material says the boat is “unsinkable.” Beam is only 7 feet, 4 inches, so trailering will be easy.

There is room under the foredeck to sleep two. But that’s about it for “accommodations.” An interesting feature of the Saffier is that it comes with a Bellman 8-horsepower electric engine and a folding prop. With one 24-volt, 40-amp-hour lithium battery the engine can run for approximately an hour and a half at three-quarter throttle. There is an option for a second battery.

The cockpit can seat six adults but four would be better. The seat backs are high so you will be comfortable. The self-tacking jib track allows a 10-degree sheeting angle. I’d like to see more but this is one of my pet peeves. Halyards and lines from the mast base run aft under a cover and emerge port and starboard at banks of clutches and winches. It’s a very clean set up. The jib sheet runs up the mast then comes back down to split under the deck in a “German” system so that it can be adjusted from either side of the cockpit. There is an anchor well in the bow. The deck and cockpit sole and seats are either teak or something that looks a lot like teak. Either way, it imparts a nice traditional look.

The rig has aluminum spars, outboard chainplates, single swept spreaders and a standing backstay. There is a short sprit and I assume it is retractable. The mainsheet sheets to a pad eye on the cockpit sole. The SA/D is 25.38, and that’s plenty for some exciting sailing.

If you are looking for a daysailer with discreet auxiliary power, traditional good looks and good performance, the Saffier deserves a long look.

LOA 23’4”; LWL 20’4”; Beam 7’4”; Draft 3’3”; Displacement 2,425; Ballast 1,124 lbs.; Sail area 286 sq. ft.; SA/D 25.38; D/L 128; L/B 3.18; Auxiliary Bellman 2.4kw electric (8-hp).

Goodbye AC72 Americas Cup Boats … see you never again. Takeaway facts


* If you had an engine to power the hydraulics rather than grinders, you could sail the AC72s with 4 people rather than the crew of 11 they now sail with.

* There is really only one trimmer on board and he controls the wing. The helmsman controls the cant and rake of the board with buttons on a control pad in front of him but only has 3 seconds of stored power before he has to “throw bananas” into the grinding pit i.e. ask for more hydraulic power.

* They have seen 47 knots as the top speed so far but expect to see the 50 knot barrier broken in the Cup match.

* The boats go directly downwind 1.8 times faster than the wind. So if you let a balloon go as you went around the top mark you would easily beat it to the bottom mark.

* There is only 4 degrees difference to the apparent wind from going on the wind to running as deep as you can.

* If you lost the hydraulics while the boats were foiling they would be completely uncontrollable and would most likely capsize.

* It is faster to find the strongest adverse current going downwind because the stronger apparent that is then generated translates into more speed than if you were sailing in slack water. (Warning – this takes a bit to get your head around)

* When sailing downwind you look for the puffs in front of you not behind you.

* It is actually quite dry on the boats, unless you make a mistake and come off the foils, as you are flying a couple of metres above the water. Waves have almost no impact on the boat when foiling.

* In strong wind you carry negative camber at the top of the wing to “reef” or de-power the wing.

* All crew carry personal tackle so they can effectively rappel down the netting if the boat capsizes.

* Gennakers are only used below about 8 knots; the jibs only provide about 3% of the lift up wind.

* The foil on the rudder generates about 800 kg of lift with the rest coming from the center board foil to lift the 7 ton yachts clear of the water.

* The centre board foil’s tip comes out of the water so it effectively works like a governor on an engine i.e. as the board generates too much vertical lift it comes out of the water, the area is thus reduced so it goes back down etc until it finds equilibrium.


Busy Weekend

First off


The americas cup LV challenge so far has been a tad bit boring on the sailing confrontation front – of course it’s sexy in terms of pushing boundaries and equipment. But 7 min Deltas are boring and the pre start is boring …..  but this weekend team ETNZ nearly ate it bearing off hitting a gust and burying their nose and 3 crew washed off but no there major breakage which is incredible – have a look at the pile up and how they fly like rag dolls …..


but for a pre start we need to look at history to remember what racing really should be about.


today sailing – such low wind but …. search for the Sugar Boat

went out and at first such low wind that we motored out and around a wreck that lies in the clyde .. the sugar boat.


MV Captayannis lies on a sandbank in the Firth of Clyde, midway between Helensburgh and Greenock. Known locally as the sugar boat, the wreck can be seen from most towns and villages on the upper firth, and by travellers on the coastal railway line between Glasgow and Helensburgh.

track around the wreck
track around the wreck

Now I had to look up some details of the wreck so here they are …

‘Stand almost anywhere around the upper reaches of the Firth of Clyde and you will hardly fail to notice one of it’s most famous landmarks.

Locally referred to as “the sugar boat” she lies on a sandbank at the Tail o’ the Bank (the upper firth anchorage) near to the promontory of Ardmore Point and was the 8325 grt Greek cargo ship CAPTAYANNIS.

On the evening of 27th January 1974 the area suffered from a terrific storm which blew the vessel from its anchor (it was waiting to deliver sugar to the James Watt Dock) and caused it to collide with the BP tanker BRITISH LIGHT. The tanker suffered no damage but the anchor chains of the tanker holed the sugar boat allowing water to pour into her.

Her captain decided to try and make for the sheltered waters of the Gareloch but realised the waters were flowing in so fast she was in imminent danger of sinking, the best thing to do was beach her in the shallow waters over the sandbank and he steered her to the desired spot where she stuck fast and started to heel over. The pilot boats, the tug LABRADOR and Clyde Marine Motoring’s ROVER came to assist.

The vessel had heeled over so far it was possible for the crew to simply jump onto the deck of the diminutive passenger vessel! 25 of the crew were taken to shore, but the Captain and four other crewmen waited on the LABRADOR standing off the stricken vessel.
Next morning the ship finally succumbed and went over on her side and she has lain there ever since, rusting away, most, if not all of her more valuable metals and fittings have been removed by looters. Little remains of her split-style superstructure and through time she has become a ‘home’ to marine life and birds.

Why has she never been removed?  Much confusion surrounds the identity of her owners, and no-one is willing to be responsible for her removal. There were once plans to have her blown up, but Ardmore Point is a sensitive bird sanctuary and there were fears such a drastic course of action would have negative repercussions  – so it seems she will remain there until every piece of metal has rusted away.’


‘She is a melancholy sight indeed, and evinces much public interest, but little is known of her by onlookers, all they see is the rusting remains of a sugar boat. So, to balance that up, along with pictures of her as she is today, the last picture on this page will depict her in happier times.’


Sailing you have got to love it

Just went out sailing with my brother on his multi 23 – a performance trimaran that he sails on the Vaal Dam – an inland body of water quite near to JHB in South Africa. This is where my formative years were spent combining a combination of windsurfing, dinghy sailing and chasing girls …..

The multi is a great sportsboat and one that i would enjoy to race on. We popped up the A3 on one reach and even with those hulls buried there is no feeling that it is going to pitch pole ….. would be even more interesting on saltwater with extra bouyancy.

Here is a video of them sailing from last year ..

i have to confess that this is out of my price league although would be good to have a WETA trimaran – which is closer to my disposable budget ……


Seascape 18 – what a beauty – anyone got 15 grand

I love this boat – a perfect trailer sailor racer – the laser SB3 for the modern world

Just tracked down UK distributor and it will be about £21 grand including trailer and bits you need ….. still great but pegged to Euro which is very strong at the moment.


And finally we got first boats to Lake Garda. That was eagerly expected since we knew low weight – high hull stability concept should fit perfectly to 20+ knots conditions that are normal for that part of the world. And we were not disappointed.

Endless surfs and effortless upwinds without “rail meat” on the side or aft lifelines were the reason Sportcamp Stickl decided to go for Seascapes to revive their monohull school programmes.
Check the video to see it for your self.

Yachting World: A scaled down Mini-Transat-styled One-design sportsboat, that’s affordable, versatile and lots of fun. Lifting keel and twin rudders allow her to be both beached and trailed, simple construction keeps the price tag down, while a carbon rig aids performance. Up to 15.5knot surfs on our first kite run! Playful and tamable, with her broad aft stable form sections, this is a both a fun family toy and a potentially thrilling sportsboat class within a commendable budget – definitely special.

Swissboat: Uncomplicated but yet challenging: The Seascape provides fun and speed for beginners and proven sailors – and remains at a very interesting price.

Voile Magazine: The very clever Seascape 18 is a good boat for racing or day-sailing. Maybe not the best for the open sea but a very pleasurable all-rounder, easy to trail and easy to sail.

Yacht: An almost democratic approach to small sportsboats: easy to rig, easy to beach, easy to handle – and a blast to sail when it’ s windy. Besides, quite accessible in terms of price, too – at least if one considers carbon mast, boom, bowspirt and laminate sails. And you can camp on the Seascape 18 with a tent over the vast, unobstructed cockpit. The only downside is performance in low wind – too much wetted area and too much weight with three on board.

Soto 40’s – a class to watch ( and race if you have the money)

Watching the Audi med up I was amazed by the racing TP52’s speak for themselves but the smaller boats the soto40’s were amazing too although racing in a fleet of 4 was about 8 boats short of a proper fleet.

Reminded me of a posting on sailing anarchy some time ago encouraging the soto 40 growth – just need all the Italians to start campaigning these boats instead of the big heavy farr’s.

big pimpin’

sex machine

soto%2040%203.jpg_sml.jpgHere it is… the Soto 40 OD. 40 foot of marine SEX wrapped up in a quality product backed up some passionate people who know their stuff. Check out the square-top main, the hiking wings, the enormous cockpit and all the good gear on board – this thing just wants to GO. And there’s nothing like it around. You were looking for a replacement for the aging Farr 40?

The Soto 40 is not an idea or a set of VPPs – the fleet are racing NOW and have been doing so for the past year. There will be ten Soto 40s fronting the start line at Ilhabella Race Week this July and there’s currently another five in the construction queue. And the whole Soto 40 story has happened in just 18 months, from idea to fleets in Argentina and Brazil. Torben Grael liked the Soto 40 so much he bought one for himself (Magia V) and will be a part of the fleet at Ilbabela.

With the ‘going global’ of the Soto 40 the builder, M Boats, is fixing the price at US $297,000 for the rest of the year… pretty good value if you compare it against anything new out there in the same zone. Add some water, sails and dials and you’re a part of the fastest production 40’s going around at the moment.

soto%2040%204.jpg_sml.jpgNow that it’s all go, go, go in South America the Soto 40 juggernaut heads to Australia and Asia with meetings being held in Singapore and Hong Kong this July to discuss the establishment of fleets in the region. You can register on the Class website if you’d like to attend and be involved in getting exciting OD racing back on the calendar in the region. There will be a few surprises and some special offers to those who can get along to the meetings.

Unlike your latest 40 ft IRC boat or box-rule flyer, the Soto 40 One Design is a yacht for 2010 and beyond. And definitely faster too. If you want to do a bit of IRC? ORCi? Performance? – all good, with the numbers and performance to back it up. It’s not a ‘rule’ boat and has simply been designed to be a light, fast, simple yacht built to strict one design guidelines.

Landsailing – the americas cup in a dry hot place …. NALSA

Found on sailing anarchy – just when I thought Ice Sailing was mad enough …….

NALSA’s annual America’s Cup of landsailing regatta was held March 19th through 26that Ivanpah dry lake near Primmm Nevada. We had high winds for the event and a bit of carnage on the race course at times. Winds ranged from 5 to over 50 mph due to the frontal systems working there way over from the California coast. The racing stops when the gusts exceed 30mph. Most of the racing was in winds around 20mph. The race course is set windward leeward as best as possible with the configuration of Ivanpah dry lake.

The marks ranged from about 2 or 3 miles apart. Most of the races are timed for 15 to 25 minutes which translates 20 to 30 miles distance depending on how fast your boat can get around the course. I raced 2 different solid winged boats in 2 separate classes. Nalsa class 5 (49 sq. ft.)yellow winged boat and class 4 Wood boat with green wing(59 sq. ft.). I had a personal best of combination 14 first places and one third place as a throwout between both classes. My max speed was 81.69 mph via gps.