La Rochelle – I am here at last!!!!

Arrival at La Rochelle pre-start

At long last after 3 years of qualifying and 3000 official mini miles I am now in La Rochelle and gearing up for the start. As with any race there are always loads of little jobs to do especially after the couple of thousand miles I have already done this year, this is made worse by the boat being so far from home so needless to say the job list is huge, however the nice thing is I am lucky that it is pretty much made up of small jobs, some performance tweaks and some just to make life easier.

I am currently in the main La Rochelle marina but tomorrow I move through to the race village, which for me is a pretty exciting step, shortly after that the safety inspections will start.

With the exeption of the job list already mentioned I am feeling pretty ready for this, I think all my safety kit is in order and I feel pretty happy with the way the preparation is going, I know that I have not had the luxury of the time and money that a lot of the teams here have but I also know that what time I have had I have made good use of.

Hopefully I will get a little bit of time to get some more news up here soon.

Entry confirmed!!!!

When you enter the transat, and it is over subscribed, then there are a number of ways in which the class decide who goes onto the main entry list and who goes onto the waiting list. The main entry list is initially made up of all those who are fully qualified (1000 racing miles + 1000 mile solo qualification passage). The people with the highest racing mileage go to the top of the list. This is further broken down into series and proto, with a guarranteed percentage of each going through. Based on these 2 criteria the top 72 boats are listed as confirmed starters, everybody else goes onto the main waiting list, there is then an additional waiting list for non-qualified boats (this was where I was to start with), where ever you are on this non qualified waiting list you move onto the main waiting list in the order that you qualify. This was why I did my qualifier so early in the year, it allowed me to jump straight to the main waiting list as soon as possible (I was the first person to qualify on the atlantic course this year), it put me to 84th entry, I needed 12 boats to drop out.

My aim has always been to ensure that if I didn’t make it to the start this year that I get enough racing miles this year to guarrantee that I can do it next year. Then in May came the news that next years race had been cancelled!!! However in June came the great news that the entry had been increased from 72 to 84, I was 84th on the list that was great I was in!!! However by the time they had reworked the percentages of proto to series, I was back down to 85th and not in again!! However a fortnight later I got a phone call from classe mini to say that a series boat had withdrawn and I was back in. So now as you can see from the link below I am now on the main start list I AM GOING TO BRAZIL!!!!

The Mini Pavois – 800 miles solo and a top 10 finish!!

After the Select there was a day or so to dry and prepare the boat for the 100 or so mile delivery from Pornichet to La Rochelle.

The weather was looking good for the end of the week so a group of us decided we would all go together early Friday morning. But come Thursday evening it looked as though the weather system had arrived early, so we went to the restaurant had dinner and then went sailing, with just enough light left to sneak through the narrow unlit Troves channel, followed by a close reach to the end of Ile de Yeu. By now it was passed my bed time so I took a nice comfortable wide passage past the end of Yeu, put up the small spinnaker and settled into a 15 minute sleep, quick look out of the hatch and back to sleep routine, there was reasonable breeze all night and by early morning I had reached the end of Ile de Re and was able to cruise up the side of the island admiring all the sites I had missed in the dark on my qualifier, getting to the bridge by mid morning and the entrance to the huge Marina at La Rochelle just before lunch.

The next week was spent doing safety checks, working on the boat, studying the weather etc and generally preparing for my biggest race yet.

Start day and the first decision was sails, I have 10 sails and we are only allowed to carry 8 my best spinnaker is the big masthead kite and I wanted to preserve this for the transat, so I decided to christen the new Sanders main and leave the big kite and old main behind.

In virtually no wind we were towed out to the start area and after an hours postponement waiting for breeze we launched into the start sequence, I was feeling a bit more confident now and wanted to push a bit harder for this race so I managed to find a nice front row position for the start, unfortunately there were a couple of very quick proto’s which very quickly rolled me and left me buried back in the pack. I had no option but to tack off and go hunt for a clear lane, this took me further right than I really wanted but I felt reasonably happy there were other good guys out to the right as well. However in the lighter conditions with a very old and tatty genoa I was struggling for speed and by the time I had established clear air and got going in the right direction there were only 2 boats behind which was a bit depressing. However the wind was building and freeing, by dark I had the masthead reacher up and was cruising along at 10-12 knots and starting to reel in a few of the boats in front.

My game plan having studied the weather was always to try and stay on the west side of the fleet, this had the added advantage in the early hours of the race that I was also sailing a much hotter angle than those boats sailing the rhumb line in the small hours as I luffed slightly to cross behind one such boat I heard a cheery girlie “Hi Keith” it was Christa the dutch girl. This made me feel much better, I knew from the earlier radio sked she had a good start and was doing okay.

Morning came and the wind went!! The next day was pretty slow, there were some good dolphin moments and that was about it, progress was slow and I had pretty much lost sight of everybody, but I was sticking to my game plan about 10 miles west of track. Later that day the wild life took a distinct change and insects of various kinds descended on the boat, mainly Bees there big clumps of them on the main and loads buzzing around on deck, some how unlike a few of the other competitors I managed to escape without getting stung!!! By dark there was a tiny bit more breeze albeit not very stable in direction and we were making progress again. During the night the wind was generally all over the place meaning virtually no sleep, but apart from 1 hitch back a little way towards the rhumb line I was still largely able to make the course I wanted. By dawn I could see a good few Nav lights, but as the light came up most seemed to disappear, but I could see a couple of boats behind so at least I knew I wasn’t last. As the day went on I became more and more depressed about my speed I was on a close reach with a good kite and the new main, but the boats behind were catching fast and even though there wasn’t very far to go I knew that they were going to get me!! But as they got close I suddenly realised why, they were proto’s and good ones at that, they should have been way ahead, then I heard some of the other boats talking on the radio they were way behind and as we all converged on the finish I began to establish I was actually doing pretty well. By this time we were close reaching in towards Gijon with a big slow following swell. Time to start preparing my Nav for the entrance itself, I know from my prior preparation that it is very narrow with rocks both sides with a beach close behind, you cross the line and have to immediately turn hard left into the entrance. So out with the pilot book, and the first line for Gijon is “Do not attempt entrance in big swell”!!! I am now feeling very glad the proto’s have overtaken me, they will only be ¼ of a mile ahead when we finish and I should be able to see exactly where to go!! As I approached the line a RIB came virtually alongside and as I crossed the line, even before I had finished dropping the kite they were alongside and tied on!! A quick tow round the corner and I was able to count how many were in, I was 9th a result I was very happy with and was way beyond my expectations.

Gijon is a city I have never been to before and with only a couple of days stopover didn’t really get a chance to see, what I do know is it has a pretty lively night life!!! There was a party organised for the competitors by the locals which was great and then afterwards the whole fleet moved on to a night club, we arrived just after 11 and it was empty! By not long after midnight it was standing room only, and as I walked back to the hotel at 3:30 the whole city was heaving!! Matt (South African sailing the proto GBR419) who I was sharing a room with wanted to stay on so I had left saying just bang on the door when you get back!! Unfortunately when he got back to the hotel at 4:30 he couldn’t remember which room number he was in and I had the key, I wasn’t answering my phone, Matt had also booked Conrad and Ollie’s room so Sod’s law dictated that when he managed to get the receptionist to let him in, he got the wrong room first!!!

Start day for the second leg, an okay breeze and flat water and this time I managed to get the position on the line I wanted right by the committee boat with pace as the gun went, a great start. With a short beat followed by a fetch off towards a buoy SE of the Raz. The weather was looking really complex, with a very weak system which was going split in two over the fleet before pushing off east, the call was go east to get the last of the old breeze or go west for the new breeze. The race organisers had already slightly reduced the course and left opportunity to shorten because the new breeze was due to be big, so I decided to go big time west for the new breeze. At first this seemed badly wrong, but by the time you are 20 plus miles west of the rhumb line its too late to change!! The middle of Bicay was really very slow with periods of no wind at all, but loads of sun and very hot. As we approached the north side of Biscay so the wind started to build and the forecasts got bigger, and again I found myself preparing to approach a small cardinal mark in amongst the rocks in a gale, in the dark, as luck would have it the most scarry thing about the last night was the vast quanitity of fishing boats around and the breeze was good and from behind making for a good run in to the cardinal with a couple of boats behind and a couple in front just before dawn, then hard on the wind and head for the next cardinal a mile or so away. The wind had been building as I approached the mark and the forecast was bad so I had changed down to the solent and bundled the genoa down below. So I wasn’t particularly impressed when the wind headed and died completely almost immediately, I was even less impressed when I looked at the GPS track and realised that if there wasn’t any wind within 2 hours or so I was going up the rocks!! It didn’t really help much when I realised there were 2 others that would hit first!! Luckily there were a few odd puff’s which came through sufficient to keep us well away until the breeze did come in.

On the approach in to the cardinal, I had heard a lot of talk from the French about Birvideaux a light house on a rock close to the top of Belle Ille and also Lorient but had not been able to understand what was being said, so at last I got impatient and called Conrad on the VHF his French is good so thought he would know what was happening, no reply, but Craig the American called me with the same question, then Krista joined in, finally a French competitor also joined in and explained that the course was shortened we would finish at Birvideaux and that everybody was to go to Lorient.

Eventually as we drifted towards the rocks the breeze started to fill in, close hauled the remainder of the way to the next cardinal and then a reach to the final cardinal as I was about to hoist the mast head reacher I noticed the block at the bottom of the mast on the kite halyard was all twisted so quick change to fractional kite, change the block, then peel to masthead just as I got to the last cardinal, now a 30 mile run to Birvideaux and the finish, the breeze is building, the fleet has compressed in the light patch but I have to sleep!! I know there are a lot of boats behind and I am not sure how many in front. No sooner was I down and asleep when it all started to feel wrong, the spinnaker was big time wrapped around the forestay, I had no option but to gybe off and run deep downwind and let it slowly unwind itself, boats were piling past on the old gybe, but I was lucky by the time the wrap came out and I gybed back on course I had inadvertently got the right side of a shift and was sailing far deeper on a more direct course for the lighthouse and the wind was building and I had caught all via one of the boats that had overtaken me by the time we got to Birvideaux and the finish.

At the finish I discovered that I had got an eleventh on this leg which made me 8th overall a result which I am hugely happy with and never expected.

As soon as I knew we were going to Lorient and not La Rochelle I had a quick look at the charts and pilot books, I was happy with the Nav to get there, what I didn’t know was which marina everyone was going to. So as soon as I finished it was back on the radio again to Craig the American who had finished just in front of me. He didn’t know what any one else was doing, but his boat lived at the AOS yard in Lorient so that was where he was going, as soon as he explained the deal I also decided I would go to the same place. As it turned out that was where everyone was going. By the time we had got back to the entrance to Lorient the breeze was up, we were down to solent and two reefs (probably should have reefed the solent), and I was getting worried about the prospect of sailing into a strange marina in winds that were in the high 20’s with no engine and minimal fenders!!! However I needn’t have worried as Craig and myself approached the submarine pens several RIB’s came out and towed us in. 

A quick fold of the sails, and into the bar for a much needed eat and a drink. We also needed to work out how we were going to get our cars, and kit from La Rochelle, a hire car seemed the best option. 

The following morning 5 of us went into town to hire a car, this turned into quite a comical experience as we could only find small hatchbacks. We eventually managed the journey to La Rochelle and I was able to collect my car and trailer and drive back to La Rochelle, stopping for dinner in Pornichet and to help Conrad search for his passport.

The following morning I arrived down by the boat just as the crane driver was lifting another couple of mini’s out of the water, a quick bit of negotiation and I managed to join the queue and an hour or so later my boat was out of the water and on the trailer, luckily there was a pressure wash available as there was an embarrassing amount of weed on the bottom.

The rest of that day and the following day were spent tidying/drying the boat. Before heading back to La Rochelle for the prize giving and then a somewhat rapid drive back to Caen and finally England!! 

The Pornichet Select – 300 miles

Minitransat – The next step towards the start line.


In addition to all the other qualification rules, the qualification procedure also says, you have to complete at least one category C or longer solo race from the official classe mini calendar in the year that you intend to do the transat, in addition if there are less places than the number of qualified boats then the dates of qualification become important.


With the above in mind I had entered the Pornichet Select Category C (300 miles) and the Mini Pavois Category B (800 miles), these are the first and second races on the calendar. These races also form part of my fall back plan hopefully giving me enough miles that if it doesn’t happen this year it is guaranteed for next year!!!


The Pornichet Select 6.50


I always new this race would be hard, it is early in the year, and the form with the weather always seems to be light start, very windy finish, this year was no exception!!!! I also new that because of the qualification procedure there would be no also rans on the start line, the might of the French full time sailers were there in force, so first off I felt it very important to set sensible goals, so above all I wanted to finish it was important to be safe and stay out of trouble, secondly I didn’t want to be last!!! In the days before the race as it started to become clear what the weather was going to do the first goal very definitely became the focus!! The week before the race is all about completing the paper work and safety checks and having the boat measured. The French certainly go to town on this, it is no random check every single boat is checked for every single item on the safety list!!!


The course – Start Pornichet -> Belle Isle (P) -> Ile de Yeu (P) -> Bourgenay (S) -> Ile de Yeu (S) -> Ile de Goix) (S) – Pornichet. In addition there was a quick windward leeward course after the start for the spectators and a few other rocks along the way.


The forecast – 8 to 10kts at the start, with a series of fronts coming through Sunday/Monday with gusts to 40Knots!!!


Race day – Last minute check the forecast, I have 9 sails and we are only allowed to carry 8 so the first decision was which sail to leave behind, given the forecast and my desire above all to finish for once that decision was easy, out came my biggest spinnaker, I also decided to leave my shiny new Sanders mainsail behind.


With 70+ full time sailors on a relatively short start line I had always decided I was going to hang back on the start line and observe, I was glad I did, this was like a laser start with lots of verbal and lots of people bouncing off each other!!!! My tackticks from now on were just to stay out of trouble, no risks, no short cuts. Even with this attitude I was pleased to find that I still had 20 some boats behind me as it started to get dark and we approached the top of Belle Isle, I new sleep would be hard latter in the race so I decided to head offshore and take the first night very easy sleeping as much as possible in 10-15 minute chunks as we went past Belle Isle and down to Ile de Yeu.


Unfortunately as dawn came up (just past Yeu), it became very obvious that from a race point of view, inshore was fast and the leading bunch were now several hours ahead but there were still boats around and more important I could see Geoff Duniam (1 of the 2 other UK boats competing) behind me, for the next few hours we had some very pleasant sailing, medium kite, 15knots of breeze averaging 8 or 9 knots of boat speed. As we got to Les Sable the first of the fronts came through producing heavy rain and some big shifts but it didn’t last long and didn’t really slow the progress to Bourgenay. Once round the mark and beating back north the wind slowly started to build. By night fall I was back off Ile de Yeu with no moon and 100% cloud cover it was a very dark night, but by now there were lots of breaking waves and with the phosphorescence it was like being in the middle of the most amazing fireworks display, every time a wave broke over the boat it would leave sparkely phosphorescence all over the boat for a few seconds or so, this became even more impressive when I sailed into a huge shoal of fish that went shooting off in all directions leaving little sparkely trails behind them!!! It was an interesting night that I will never forget!! By dawn the wind was regularly hitting 30+ knots with big breaking waves but luckily it was starting to free off a bit so at least I could lay the course and was making good progress and had got as far as Belle Ile, and better still I could see Conrad the other UK sailor only just ahead of me, given that he had been several hours ahead of me at Bourgenay and that I could now see a good few more boats behind the spirits were good!! As we came past the top of Belle Ile the next of the big fronts came through producing the first gusts over 40knots. Unfortunately it also headed us, we were back beating again, and progress was slow, (it speaks very highly for the design of the Pogo 2 that you can not only survive but make progress upwind in these boats in this much wind and sea), thankfully as we approached Goix the wind eased and lifted and I was back on full main and solent, sunshine and blue sky and better still I had overtaken Conrad and 2 other boats!!


Once round the top of Goix I was now running dead downwind under full main and solent, but with a big black squall coming in behind, I was also heading towards a narrowing gap between Goix and the mainland, this was going to get seriously windy!!! I decided to forget the kite and have a quick tidy up and eat. As the squall approached I put in a couple of reefs, I’m glad I did, I saw 42 knots of true wind on the anemometer, the coast guard reported 48!!! Again I had cause to be amazed by these boats, with 2 reefs in the main and a solent jib up, for the 5 minutes or so that the wind was over 40 knots I was sat with the boat speed over 16 knots and maxing out at 18.5 knots on GPS!! As the wind dropped down around the 30 knots or so I looked behind and there was Conrad preparing his kite, so much for taking it easy, down came the red mist and up went my mast head reaching kite and we were match racing to the finish, gybe for gybe, broach for broach (both of had the keel out of the water on a couple of occasions) doing the last 48 miles in just under 4 hours. Unfortunately just 1 mile from the finish and my kicker let go and I had to drop my kite which allowed Conrad to pass me and beat me by less than 1 minute.


Objective number one I had finished!!!! I new I wasn’t last I new there were at least a couple of boats behind me. But when I discovered I was 19th out of 40 series boats and just over 10 hours ahead of the last place it felt good!!!! I had met all my objectives and enjoyed myself, what more can I say. Of the other boats 24 didn’t finish and there were a few wake up calls for all of us, one of the Americans had fallen overboard and been towed on his harness for a good 5 minutes before he managed to get back aboard hurting his hand pretty badly in the process needing a trip to hospital and quite a few stiches to put him back together, and one of the French Pogo 2’s ran up the rocks just short of the finish doing very serious damage.


I now have 2 days to get to La Rochelle for the start of my next race the Mini Pavois, an 800 mile race from La Rochelle, to Gijon in Spain (300 miles) and then back via the scenic route (500 miles).

1000 MIle qualifier

So on the Friday13th March (what a date to start on!!!!!) with the got to be done section of the job list all ticked I hitched the car on to the boat and leave for France on the overnight ferry to St Malo,  a hot tip on an email had said head for La Baule yacht club at La Pouligan and look for a guy called Loic which I duely did, bit of a bad start when I got there and found that ‘A’ there was no water under the crane and ‘B’ when I tried to phone Loic I discovered he was on a train near Paris!!! However whilst deciding whether to stay and wait or head the 5 or 6 miles down the coast road to Pornichet a nice French chappy turned up and explained that in another hour there would be plenty of water and that he was there to launch a load of J80’s and if I waited he would do me first. So 1 hour later on the dot, in went the boat and up went the mast, to cap it all I was then given the use a free pontoon berth to get the boat fully put back together and stay the night. Next morning rested and with the boat all put together I headed out of La Pouligan bound for the Pornichet marina a couple of miles across the bay. On the way spent an hour or so calibrating electronics, hoisted a kit did a couple of gybes before entering the marina, the intention was to go for a few more sails then start studying the weather and looking for opportunities to get out on the qualifying course. That night I headed for the local internet café with my laptop. It very quickly became apparent that I could not afford the luxury of practice sails, I had to get out there. So after a quick phone call to Geoff Duniam the guy who had volunteered to track and report my trip, I went back to the boat and started to prepare for a 9am morning departure. Faxing off all the forms, getting log books stamped and signed by Port officials filling up water cans etc.


Sunday 15th March


I managed to leave just about on time, with enough tide to get me easily out through the rocks and set off at a gentle pace with full main and big kite set, by lunch time the sun was getting hot and I sat in the cockpit with no shirt on doing my first celestial fix, seemed pretty weird only being a few miles offshore and a few hours out getting the sextant, tables and calculator out, but hey this was March I might not see the sun again for a while!!!!


It had been a slow start with only 4 or 5 knots but as the day got on so it slowly built and swung forward. By late afternoon I was hard on the wind and piling on the thermals as the weather reminded me firmly it was only march!! At this point I had my first minor problem the log started to play up, hardly a big issue!! It hadn’t been a bad day, I had only done 50 odd miles but it was a start, I was past Belle Isle and on my way to Penmarch.


Monday 16th March


The night had been bitterly cold and pitch black, no moon until a few hours before dawn. I rounded Penmarch in the small hours of the morning and headed towards the Ras, after a study of the tides and wind I eventually decided to head outside the il de sein and miss out on the Ras. By midday I was past Ushant and heading for Wolf rock, I was also rushing into my 2nd celestial fix, just incase the sun didn’t show again!! What a joke that was, the next time I saw a cloud was after I had finished!!! It was a good day, I was on a close fetch in flat seas making good comfortable progress, and to cap it all I was joined at sunset for about 15-20 minutes or so by 4 dolphins which was great.


Tuesday 17th March


Night times were bad, they were very dark, very cold and too long!! With an unheated stripped out boat with no proper bunk and no sleeping bag etc, nights were definitely a struggle and the only way to keep any form of sense of humour seemed to be lurch from 1 hot meal straight into another, interspersed only with a few hot drinks!! Why no sleeping bag I hear you say, its not racing the weight isn’t an issue etc, the problem is with having to be up every 15minuites or so to check for ships, fishing boats etc. It would be impossible to keep dry, and with foulies on I guess be of dubious worth anyway!!! As dawn came up I passed Lands end and headed out into the Irish sea. By this time all the forecasts were suggesting that by the time I got to Coninbeg the winds would have swung round and it was going to be absolutely on the nose all the way home. These boats might be ballistically quick downwind but upwind they are slow and it was quite a depressing thought to have the prospect of a 400mile beat ahead!! However it was currently very pleasant sailing a close reach in 10 knots of breeze with a flat sea and brilliant sunshine. Celestial 3, I know I only had to do 2 but if your going to have to do these things you might as well try and do them well, especially as I realised I had messed up the maths on the first 2 fixes, by the time I had crossed them out a few times and reworked them, my log book was beginning to look somewhat messy.


Wednesday 18th March


I rounded Coninbeg at 4:25 in the morning, pitch black and true to form in the last couple of miles the wind shifted round to the southeast, it was going to be a long beat, with a waterline length of 21foot and a tacking angle of just over a 100 degrees, the next leg was going to be a long one. It was also going to be stressful, we don’t carry radar and the forecast was for Fog. But it wasn’t all bad as the sun came up the dolphins were back. By midday things were looking up, contary to the forecast the wind had gone more easterly and I was occasionally laying the course. The fog also wasn’t that bad, it was very low lying with viz about half a mile and directly up it was still a sunny but slightly hazy day. Mid afternoon saw a major problem, I managed to sit on the tiller linkage bar and break it. Whilst not being a show stopper not having both rudders linked together would have made it incredibly hard to steer in any breeze if the twin rudders weren’t both pointing in the same direction. Luckily I had a spare sail batten, and a reel of insulation tape, by creating a good business partner ship between these two, a good solution to the problem was found.


Thursday 19th March


The forecast was still saying S-SE and I was firmly stonking along in an easterly, I came past lands end at dawn, and 12hours later I was off Ushant, the wind was upto 25 knots the seas were getting big enough to throw me around a bit but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was I appeared to be sinking!!!! I went from having the odd dribble of water down below, to suddenly finding I was getting rid of several buckets of water every half hour or so and I didn’t quite know where it was coming from. This became even more concerning when I discovered that my leeward buoyancy tank was completely full of water, however it did give me a clew which lead me to discover the problem, there is a slot in the transom which a bar passes through to enable certain type of hydraulic autopilots and rudder reference units to be used. The gator that waterproofs this had come off completely effectively leaving me a 1 inch by 3 inch hole in the transom, which in the current wind and sea state was underwater most of the time. After spending half an hour or so under the cockpit I had it all back together again and we were watertight, although it would be a couple of days before I managed to get the boat completely dry again.


Friday 20th March


I rounded Il de Sein and started the 150 mile treck down towards Rochebonne around midnight, as I came round the wind eased to a nice comfy 10 – 12 knots and I cruised on down towards Rochebonne. By a couple of hours after dark though it was getting pretty horrible, the sea built very quickly it was confused, there were a lot of fishing boats around and it was bitterly cold, however it only lasted 3 or 4 hours.


Saturday 21st March


Rounded Rochebonne about midday and headed for the south side of Il de Re getting to the Bridge just after midnight, must admit I was quite glad I had seen the place in daylight a few weeks earlier it made the Nav a lot easier, should have added earlier the class do not permit computers or chart plotters in any form. So all Nav has to be on paper charts.


Sunday 22nd March



Immediately after the bridge was littered with fishing pots, which wasn’t much fun dodging through them. Only managed to get 1 caught round the keel and rudders, but managed to back off it okay. Mid morning saw me chugging up the coast at good speed with an outside chance of a late lunch back in Pornichet. However as I approached the bay the wind died and it took me nearly 8 hours to do the last 15 miles. Finally arrived back in my berth at Pornichet at 8:30pm. To be met by my shore contact Geoff who dragged me straight of to a restaurant where there was a surprise gathering of other mini sailors, this was something I never expected and must confess that after even such a short length of time as this, was almost overwhelming.



The boat will now remain in Pornichet until the Select after which its base will move to La Rochelle until the Transat.


I did say earlier that I had to take photos of myself and my GPS at each corner, however due to the fact that there may be people of a sensitive disposition reading this I have decided to leave out the piccies of me at two in the morning freezing cold a weeks worth of stubble and a distinct lack of sleep.


A huge dept of thanks goes out to my shore contact Geoff Duniam who helped me prepare and complete this task, Geoff is also entered for the coming Transat, and I look forward to seeing who gets there first!! Also my various corporate supporters, IT Computers, Henri Lloyd, Harken, Satcom Group, Stream Networks, Sanders Sails.

France – Here I come

Things are really starting to get busy now. This coming Thursday 12th I am booked on the overnight ferry to St Malo along with the boat and what seems like a heck of a lot of kit!! The plan is to go for my 1000mile qualifying passage as soon as the weather permits, which could be as early as Monday next week.

Solo racing festival

This excellent annual event held at the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, will be my next solo appointment on the 28th Feb. With a possibility that my boat may be on display. If you want to know more about me or my boat and what I intend to do with then this is a good place to come, there will be lots of other mini sailors as well as myself.

More info at