Summer Trip 2014

1 week left on my contract…

My plan is to take Excalibur out for the next 2-3 months depending on how far my money goes. My plan is to cut my teeth on Excalibur and really feel confident as a skipper. Crewing is a great way to gain experience, but it’s only when you take on all the responsibilities as a skipper do you really appreciate how much there is to learn!

Cruising route

I have a very rough idea of where I’m going, and much will depend on where the wind blows, quite literally! I would like to do a couple of Channel crossings, to Bolougne and Cherbourg. A quick nip across the Channel from Ramsgate to Bolougne would be a good trip. I also want to spend a bit of time sailing around the Solent where I’m more comfortable, and then head to Cherbourg with a plan to return and head further West along the coast. Of course plans change and if I get some good tips, or perhaps have an opportunity to go in convoy with some like minded sailors I may well do that.

Budget

I will document on my blog the cost of cruising as I know this is a common question on the YBW forums. So I will try to be as transparent as possible with my finances, which will also mean I shouldn’t get caught out miles from home with no beer money or tea reserves!

First time single handed sailing

This will be my first time sailing single handed. I will have crew for some legs of the journey which will be great, though I have to accept that there will be days or weeks when I will be sailing on my own. My plan is not to take on too much to soon, and if I’m single handed I will do short hops with favourable weather reports forecasted. My biggest fear right now is the idea of coming into marinas, and maneuvering in tight spots on a windy day on my own. One good good thing about Excalibur is that she’s only 30ft and can be man handled to some extent even though she comes in at 5 Tonnes, so warping her around pontoons is more than possible.

I’ll have a Tiller Pilot (autopilot) which will give me some rest-bite when motoring. I will be less inclined to use the Tiller Pilot when sailing as it will use up my precious battery reserves, though I do have a wind generator that charges the battery. Failing that my friend Ben managed to rig the tiller in position with a bit of rope on a previous trip, and provided the boat is balanced a simple piece of rope can keep the boat on course pretty well.

Jobs to do..

My first port of call will be Chatham to get Excalibur anti-fouled and fix a couple of things. My exhaust manifold/riser is corroded so that needs to be replaced, and there’s a small leak on the stern gland which needs seeing to. I have been told Lancing Marine will be able to make a copy of the Exhaust manifold, but it could take up to 10 working days. Hopefully I won’t be stuck there for too long given the latest news reports that Britain could be in for the hottest summer on record!

Author: Tim Butler

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