Saturday, 27 August 2011

Last voyage

A very tired crew left Conwy after a quiet night for the trip back across Liverpool Bay. The wind didn’t play ball so the engine was pushed into service again. We had a tough job to do today which consisted of eating all the leftover food a task which Max excelled at!  The wind finally kicked in and allowed us to raise the sails and bash onwards to Glasson. We actually arrived off Fleetwood too early and had to slow a bit so we did not get to the lock too early. The last bit up the river was in the dark and involved picking out green and red flashing lights and dodging ships. The boat was tied up in the lock waiting for the morning and the arrival of the lock keeper. We are now on our berth and heading home. Round most of Britain done!       
Read more about Sail Training on board Tenacity of Bolton at

Thursday, 25 August 2011

A chilled day...

We unusually were allowed a lie in today not having to be at the table till 9, what a treat! The crew divided with some members going fishing again and others watching Cath make cookies. A trip to the shore for everyone let the sea legs be stretched. Ian’s family were around so came to say hello down at the beach. Paul did a fantastic job of sitting next to the dinghy so it didn’t float off and strand us on the shore.
After a quick lunch of cheese on toast we set sail for Conwy. The wind was off the shore so we had a flat calm sea to sail into, FANTASTIC. It was a shorter sail today with only 4 hrs at sea all the sails were hoisted and each team stood only 1 watch. The sails were dropped as we entered the long channel to Conwy and the quality crew rigged all the fenders and lines ready for parking up for the night. Tash and Paige made a great tea of fish and chips which was devoured by all. A quick shower for all and a game of cards before bed. Tomorrow is planned to be a long day all the way back to Glasson.
Night, night Amanda.

Read more about Sail Training on board Tenacity of Bolton at

Back from Ireland to Anglesey

The day started with a porridge breakfast made by the skipper Max at 5am! Today we had to wake up at 5am because we had a long journey to Porth Wen Bay, Anglesey. All crew had to be on deck at 6am sharp to slip the lines and safely stowing all fenders and lines to enable safe departure from the harbour. We all made it out safe of the harbour and avoiding the main channels for the ferries. We had to motor for a while but were able to put the three biggest sails up and sail downwind all the way across the Irish Sea. The wind built up and so did the waves! Which made steering difficult from time to time? Everyone has found their sea legs now, so no sickness today. Once Holyhead came into view we turned to port to go round the top of Anglesey giving the Skerries lighthouse a very wide berth because the tide was with us it only took half an hour to reach a beautiful bay. Half of the crew went to explore the beach while the other half went fishing. Paul is the only member of the crew to catch a fish so far, not for lack of trying from the rest. We had the one fish for our supper divided between 11 it was measly portions. Hope we have another good day tomorrow.

Read more about Sail Training on board Tenacity of Bolton at

Nice trip up the Irish coast

Following a full English breakfast on the deck in the sunshine we set of from Arklow in Southern Ireland, after a short shop for a top up on a few things and a sugar rush we set of to Dun Laoghaire (Dublin). Practising man over board but no males would volunteer so Mr. Morris (The fender) had to face it! After being amused by fisher men fishing we decide to have a go our self but didn’t succeed, once we got along side in the harbour we spruced the place up taking roles on cleaning jobs, Paul did a great effort of hovering the whole boat only for Kath to spill the sugar & cheese the next day. D.j borrowed a net of a boat next door and was amused for hours catching fish and shrimps (Kept him quite EVENTUALLY!). Steve then decided to treat us with a Chinese yum!, we walked to the Chinese and had quite a good view of Dun Laoghaire and took many pictures for memory on our phones cause silly Steve forgot the camera but most importantly remembered the money for food! Following our tea we retired to bed with full tummy’s, having to deprive poor D.j of his fishing net he returned it to the neighbour and went to bed.

Read more about Sail Training on board Tenacity of Bolton at

Long day to Ireland

After a few hours at Anchor we were rudely awoken at 5.30 to be on our way for 6 for the trip across to Ireland. We split in to two watches and we both took turns for 2 hours at a time for looking out for anything and making sure we are on the right track and sorting the sails out. When we left Milford Haven we was surrounded by and had to navigate through thick fog, after the fog had burnt away we were greeted by a pod of dolphins to join our 15 hour journey.
The sun came out and we were trying to catch some of it while chilling eating bacon barms later that day when everybody were hungry the secret chefs (DJ & Paul ) came to our rescue with a nice curry to fill everybody up.
After what seemed like a long day we finally arrived at our intended target. After seen our toilets and showers at the marina we settled down with a hot drink when a local fisherman came round to offer us some fresh fish we have organized a delivery for the morning if he can catch us in time
And hi to Amanda if you are stalking us still. Sorry for the delay technical issues with the internet!
Read more about Sail Training on board Tenacity of Bolton at

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Bolton Lads and Girls

We arrived about five after a long and awful minibus journey from Bolton (Mc D’s was good!) Tenacity new crew are a mixed bunch from Bolton Lads and Girls Club. After an action packed evening (and night and early morning) we decided to practice skills and drills in and around Milford Haven with a view to a dawn start on Monday.

We learnt how to drop the lines and tidy away the fenders which allowed us to get out to sea. Due to general fatigue and hunger we stopped shortly after in Dale bay for bacon sandwiches (with mayo for some). With a bit of breeze we let the sails loose and killed the engine and were flying along with Kayleigh steering a fine course to windward. After a bit of tacking the sea state became quiet lumpy and as the decks were awash with puck we turned and headed for shelter. Everyone soon tucked into a great lunch in a secluded bay followed by an afternoon nap in the sun on deck.

It was decided a cruise up and down the harbour to sharpen our gybing skills was due before tea. We are now stuffed and ready for bed not looking forward to our 5.30 start tomorrow on our magical mystery tour of the Irish Sea.

Read more about Sail Training on board Tenacity of Bolton at

Friday, 19 August 2011

Friday leaving Blues

We woke to a beautiful anchorage at Dale this morning. The sun shimmering over a glassy sea, there was no wind. We weighed anchor and motored the last six miles to Milford Haven docks where we are tied up to the wall.

The last day for this crew so the boat is receiving a comprehensive clean as this is being typed.

Good bye from this crew, next week you will hear from Max and his boys from Bolton.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

34 hours of going to windward

The departure from Falmouth denoted a significant turning point in our trip. Over the next two days, we were to turn from inexperienced amateurs to hardened veterans, trained in the art of rope, cutlass and eye-patches. We were heading for our final destination, Milford Haven, and would reach there before Thursday was out, dead or alive. Although handicapped by light winds at first, this only allowed us to leisurely enjoy the majestic coastal scenery that is Land’s End, followed by the delightful Sennen Cove – England at its finest. To add to the natural beauty, a basking shark decided to greet us on our course, a gentle giant of the seas comparable to the Tenacity herself. But as we headed north, the weather changed, reflecting our own excitement at the long night ahead. For we were not planning on stopping, oh no! Quite the contrary, we would be taking it in turns to steer a true and noble course for Wales, two gallant sailors keeping watch while the others slept with the fishes...which were swimming on the opposite side of the hull. As merry England disappeared from our sights, our hearts filled with trepidation at the exertions to come. The short, desperate attempts at rest we achieved in between duty did not replenish our fraught minds and ragged bodies, staggering around in the depths of the boat as we struggled to clothe ourselves against the elements, many a good man falling foul of the intricacies of the salopettes as they fell to the floor. Despite all the odds, our souls persevered, and our efforts were to be rewarded by a greeting of friendly dolphins, bringing cheer and warmth back into our hearts. It may have been tough, but as land slowly reappeared through the morning mists, we knew in our minds that our lives would never again be the same for the experience. Milford Haven still seemed an eternity away at the break of dawn, but as we approached the entrance to the estuary, from the dark, black cloud emerged a shard of golden light, sent from above, to illuminate our long-desired goal. As we sit here now, it our securely anchored boat, we can appreciate the magnitude of our achievements, surviving encounters with sharks, Force 5 gales and the darkness of our own minds. The sun gently sets behind us, and now at last we may rest contented.

Jamie and Kamil.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Quick Wednesday update

To keep you all updated at 10.37 this morning Tenacity was due south of the Lizard at a latitude of 49 deg 55 minutes north, her most southerly point on her around Britain voyage. We then headed north west towards Lands End. We turned north off Lands End at 13.57 this afternoon and are now clearing Cape Cornwall. Tenacity is on her way home.

We will lose this signal very soon and the next blog will probably not appear until Friday. We will try not to get sunburnt inbetween!!


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Tuesdays sail

After not being able to find the right type propane gas at Fowey yesterday and early this morning we had to change our plans for today and moor in Falmouth Harbour so we could continue cooking for more than just 1 day.

Around 10 O’clock, a later start than on previous days, we set out down the south coast towards Falmouth. We managed a couple of hours of decent sailing – getting up to around 5 knots over the water – but due to the wind’s direction (from Falmouth towards where we were) and lack of strength we soon brought down the sails and had to motor for the final hour or so.

Dylan and I made lunch, some beautiful sandwiches, though we had to make a few extra cheese sandwiches for Jamie who decided, around three weeks ago to become a vegetarian!

Having been rejected from the marina as they didn’t have enough space, we convinced a smaller boat to move off the last mooring buoy which would take our boat size and lowered the tender. Dylan, Kamil and I were the first ashore off the dinghy and spent an hour or so exploring the town of Falmouth and sampled some local ice cream.

Tomorrow is an early start, around 7 O’clock, so that we can begin crossing the Bristol Channel to Milford Haven as quickly as possible, hopefully arriving by Thursday evening or Friday morning.


With the application of 15 year old sea-sickness medication, the second day began with a walk to buy food supplies, while 2 members of the professional crew remained behind, removing detritus from the propeller. Having lost a tin of tomatoes and spilt some milk we set off from Plymouth for Fowey. The weather was mild, with rain threatening throughout the day, which was pretty uneventful, except for a man overboard drill and a boat whose helmsman’s book was obviously riveting.

We arrived at Fowey and moored to an overpriced buoy with time to take a short stroll into town before having some fajitas. All in all, it was a reasonably pleasant day.

Skippers note.
After this was written the Fowey regatta fireworks were stunning. We had a grandstand view from the boat with the fireworks being ignited only 100 metres away.
My thanks as well to Ian H for his diving efforts in removing the fishing line from around the propshaft. A nasty job in dirty waters his efforts are appreciated.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

St Pauls Gold Duke of Edinburgh

Today was our D of E Gold group’s first day aboard the Tenacity of Bolton, so you can expect daily thrilling blog posts from five seasick and exhausted teenagers. We started off in Torquay, a day’s sailing West of our planned starting location Plymouth, at 7.15am. Most of us were late on deck and got an “oddly pleasant” telling off from (skipper) Ian.
After we had set off, our group (Kamil, Simon, Dylan, Alex and Jamie) began our scientific investigation into seasickness. When we were served egg/bacon sandwiches at 9am, nobody was feeling ill at all; however by 11am, designated scientist Jamie’s job was made somewhat easier – Simon, Dylan and Kamil were all curled up in pain with Kamil eventually succumbing. Meanwhile the boat weaved through lobster pots and buoys under the steering of the crew, most of whom had a go at the wheel.
7 choppy hours later we pulled into Plymouth marina, thoroughly relieved to have survived day 1 of 7. Thanks to the seasickness, the rejected lunches were turned into starters for dinner by master chef (first mate) Ian. Overall it was a relatively pleasant day for those who did not spend all day curled up on deck trying not to throw up (such as yours truly). Here’s to hoping tomorrow will bring more wind that we won’t have to sail directly into.

Plymouth to Milford Haven

Read more about Sail Training on board Tenacity of Bolton at

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Final day and under sail!

The forecast of, and much awaited, S/SW 4or5 was missing when we woke up, so we cast off and motored across Portland Harbour. We were heading towards Portland Bill, the fiercest tidal race in England, with the intention of going through the narrow inshore passage to avoid the race.
An hour and a bit later we were round the bill, the wind picked up but from the west and sail was set. We were all relieved to have some wind and enjoyed the sail which lasted across Lyme Bay. The final motor into Torbay, past the famous Mewstone, took us to Torquay marina where we are now snuggly tied up.
Sadly Dave, Dave, and Tom leave us to-day. Ian and I await our new crew of lads this afternoon and I am sure that you will get blog entries from them.

The magical mystery tour

The anticipated departure time of 0400 from Ramsgate was amended to 0900 (shame!) and we left in pleasant conditions. Skipper Ian’s concerns regarding clearing the harbour proved to be completely unfounded due to the skill of the crew (ahem). Sails were hoisted very shortly and the donkey was put to bed – at least for a while. David Green was first to take advantage of the then near perfect conditions by taking the helm. Tom Ward took over after a while, skillfully piloting us along the east Kent coastline with the white cliffs in sight for much of the morning and early afternoon. Tactfully, we allowed a cross-channel ferry priority as it shot into Dover but found the wind died away thereafter and had to resort to Dr Diesel’s donkey for a while.

This ‘while’ turned out to be something of an understatement since we were still motoring until 1430 the following day when we reached Portland. Sadly, all thoughts of enjoying the delights of a Michelin meal in Cherbourg went out of the window as the weather conditions deteriorated and we continued to bounce our way down the English Channel. This was more than compensated for by an excellent snack of sausage barms prepared by David Hodgson. Beachy Head came and went, when it was confirmed that as the weather was going to deteriorate we should get as many miles under our belt.

A watch rota was arranged for the night sailing of 2 hours on and 4 hours off, except for the Ian’s who did 3 hour turns, through the night. Tom was curious about the identity of our destination which continually changed - along with the weather conditions. All enjoyed the night sailing, especially the first part when the sky was clear. David H watched the moon dip below the horizon at about 0230. David G took over from Tom at 0500. Shortly afterwards we were caught in the wash (unavoidably) of a huge container-ship causing both ends of the dinghy to hit the water rather hard – though, thankfully, not at the same time. Other than that, the passage through the Solent was pleasantly quiet (note from Tom – this is obviously a euphemism from DH – the Solent was dense with activity – fortunately we didn’t hit anything, so perhaps that is what DH means by ‘quiet’) and DG had the pleasure of seeing the sun rising over the water. Motoring on, we passed The Needles to port heading for Weymouth or Portland. The weather worsened, though luckily without rain, and the seas became fairly rough.

Daylight rough weather is less bad than nighttime rough weather – it is easier to feel that you are still (just) in control of events – but does teach you the difference between a safe voyage (which I think we always had) and a comfortable voyage. Tenacity is definitely a safe vessel, but is not designed with either comfort or speed as the top priorities. Rounding one headland with a very strong tide against us, and sea conditions like the nautical equivalent of the sovereign debt markets, our faithful donkey was working hard to propel us at about 2 knots. But it kept going, we held tight, and the skipper looked suitably unconcerned throughout.

Portland Harbour was the biggest man-made harbour in the world at one time (maybe even now?) and is an impressive sight, especially at the end of a rough voyage. It was busy with yachts on trials for the 2012 Olympics, which (initially) concerned Tom, our helmsman as we approached. But skipper is made of sterner stuff and gave a fine display of ignoring them, on the grounds (I think) that we are much bigger than they are, and they can more easily dart around us than we can them. This may not be part of the official laws of the sea but seems to be the same logic for yachts keeping well clear of cross channel ferries, and works just as well.

Portland Marina has been well funded by Olympic monies and is an impressive facility. Plus – the staff are helpful, and the prices not outrageous. It really is an ideal place to spend a while, waiting for better weather. You can inspect Portland Castle, and brush up on your 16th century history. (The plum wine is recommended.)

By this stage in the trip, sleeping well on board is not a problem provided Tenacity is not in wild seas. The combination of tiredness and experience works wonders.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The start of something great…….?

Monday 8 August

All crew presented themselves on deck and ready to go (almost) at 0650, as instructed. We were in the classy surrounds of St Katherine’s Dock, close to Tower Bridge in London. This was to be the first sailing day on our 5 day trip to Plymouth; and the first visit of Tenacity to London.

The crew comprised three Old Boltonians of senior years; plus the two Ians (every boat needs someone who knows what they are doing). Manoeuvering a 24 ton yacht in close quarters with some other, very expensive and rather fragile yachts (apparently, they aren’t all made of concrete) is where skipper Ian definitely earns his salary.

We departed down the Thames, enjoying the view of the city in the bustle of a Monday rush hour, as we headed for the open sea. Skipper Ian soon gave the helm to Dave Green, who rapidly looked the part and even seemed to know his red buoys from his greens. Tom followed next and thought that he was doing better, with an impressive top speed of over 7 knots, but has knocked into second place by Dave Hodgson with an impressive 8.5 knots (admittedly, the wind was then gusting up to 28 knots but that’s another story).

Strong and gusty winds, in a busy shipping channel, do quickly sort out the rougher edges of teamwork. Suffice to say that nobody went overboard (seriously bad news in a yacht); we reached our destination of Ramsgate in good order, with not much tack broken; and had some great views of seals, herons, wind farms, old WW2 relics, one of the UK’s most dangerous old war wrecks (a large, unexploded ammo ship), and commercial shipping of every variety.

Catering on board was impressive, with Skipper Ian producing bacon butties at exactly the right moment. First mate Ian has all round talent, with setting sails under variable conditions giving a vivid demonstration of just what is possible.

The future holds an unpredictable mix of gusty winds forecast to be from the wrong direction; large sand banks that can only safely be crossed at high tide; a crew hoping for some decent French cuisine; and a skipper with plans to sail through the night, tomorrow. (The crew are trying to keep an open mind on this idea.) Keep tuned, for the next installment.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

St Katharine's to Plymouth

Read more about Sail Training on board Tenacity of Bolton at

The voyage up the Thames

On Saturday morning we hoisted sail as we left the mooring buoy and sailed for St Katherine’s dock in the City of London. We managed to sail most of the way down the Sea Reach before the twists and turns of the Thames made us call the engine into use.

The outer reaches of the Thames were a disappointment with industry and disused buildings dominating. Going under the QE 2 Bridge was a pleasant break, watching the M25 crawl passed above your head. Once through the Thames barrier everything changed as we went passed the historic edifice of Greenwich, the Cutty Sark, the Dome, the many blocks of swanky flats lining the river, Canary Wharf and finally up to Tower Bridge.

The amount of boats waiting to lock in was staggering. We arrived at 17.00 and finally locked in 19.45, a tedious wait dodging the river ferries. Finally alongside our berth by half eight the crew kindly took Ian and Ian off for a well earned beer!!

Photos of Tenacity’s first trip up the Thames will follow shortly.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Ipswich to St Katharine Haven

The first day of this passage took us to Queenborough on the isle of Sheppey. This north Kent port is a regular overnight stop for boats going up the Thames.

Today was a mixture of wind on the nose, wind in the right direction and then no wind at all. We had periods of enjoyable sailing and all of the seven new crew have smiles on their faces.

More news tomorrow of Tenacity's first ever trip up the Thames to St Katharine Haven.


Map of Ipswich to St Katharine Haven

Read more about Sail Training on board Tenacity of Bolton at

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The last day

We have just finished cleaning and making the vessel generally shipshape for the next crew. It is raining. Hard. The defrosting of the freezer required the heating of the cabin to a ridiculous high temperature, so we have retreated to the charthouse whence this blog is issued.

Today we had a short hop from Wrabness on the Stour to Ipswich (a surprisingly busy commercial harbour). Coming up the Orwell, we were forced to keep over to port and to sail between extensive moorings and the passing freight ships. This was slightly more difficult due to the effect of the tide though what Michael thought might be an “abandon ship” moment proved to be a pass of a port marker (very – Ed.) fine on the starboard beam.

As the weather had deteriorated since setting off, we anchored half way to have bacon sandwiches and to plan lunch.

We are now dab hands at mooring alongside jetties: a skill which was essential in the busy lock for the marina. It is rewarding to see how we have improved over the week whilst having so much fun.

We (Michael and Sam) would like to thank Ian and Ian – the permanent crew – for being so understanding and helpful: it has been an excellent week.

Colne to the Stour on Wednesday

Today we began to defrost the freezer; as banal as this sounds, it had one major benefit: all of the meat had to be used up. Thus excused, we proceeded to eat delightful bacon and sausage baguettes – the baguettes fresh from the oven – which really helped after a 0600 start. Today’s leg took us from the River Colne to Harwich thence up the Stour. The sea was glassy, with a covering of mist, which was slow to burn off leaving us with poor visibility as we moved past Clacton-on-Sea.

The Port of Felixstowe is an impressive mark of human vandalism on the flat golden fields of East Anglia. A very busy channel led to the mammoth container ships before veering to port and up towards Harwich. Mooring on ha’penny pier was in our minds, but first we had to skulk on a mooring buoy across the water at Shotley (putting into practice the skills we learnt yesterday). Once the pier had been vacated by one boat, we were able to jostle and juggle the other boats (re-mooring one) in order to provide us with space. The weather was incredibly hot leading to an ice-cream hunt during our stop and a search for shade among the picturesque 18th Century houses and taverns of Harwich.

The wind bucked up later, permitting us to practice man-overboard drills with ‘Bob’ (a float and rope) and to sail up and down seeing the chock-a-block channel and Felixstowe traffic. Since then, we have sailed up river to our anchorage, eaten a vast pasta tuna-bake and are now satisfactorily bloated from pancakes whilst listening to the ‘localised heavy showers and thunderstorms’ and thinking of our friend John on the Maplefield, stuck off Harwich beach due to engine failure: but that is another story…

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Walton Backwaters to the River Colne on Tuesday

Whilst the world held its united breath over the question of American default, we had a late rise at 0720 – when we just couldn’t resist the warm persuasion of the sun’s tendrils.

After breakfast, we lowered the tender and meandered around the Walton Backwaters coming up to buoys and seeing the marshes.

This afternoon we made a journey to the River Colne. During this time, we had fantastically sunny weather and light airs meaning that we spent some time lounging, sunbathing and reading before giving up on a return of the wind and unfortunately had to power-sail to our destination. Both Sam and Michael had the opportunity to sail into and pilot the boat into harbour which was very interesting. We have also plotted our route for tomorrow.

Even though the US credit event has been averted, there are other trials and tribulations at sea. After supper, we hear our second big ship to yacht warning as a container ship heading for Felixstowe, movement restricted by the narrowness of the deep-water channel, almost ran down the smaller boat. No more has been heard, so we assume the yacht got out of the way.

We are snug in our anchorage and heading to bed early in preparation for a dawn departure tomorrow.

Monday, 1 August 2011

A full day of sailing

After an early night yesterday, we left Lowestoft at 06.15 this morning. As forecast, the wind was suitable for sailing and therefore it was only necessary to use the engine to get out of the harbour.
For most of the day we used all four of Tenacity’s sails and achieved a top indicated speed of 7.4kts (although, taking into account a helpful tide, our actual speed was probably much higher).
As we have been heading south, we have entered busier waters. This afternoon we sighted many sailing vessels enjoying the conditions as well as two large container ships (masquerading as small towns) using the port of Felixstowe. Furthermore, we have now picked up both French and Dutch messages on the radio.
We are now sat at anchor and Skipper Ian is making biscuits for us. I am sure they will be delightful, but will report back tomorrow when we have tried them!
Perhaps, now we are at anchor in the Walton Backwaters, we shall take out the dinghy at low water to get a closer view of the varied wildlife (seals and waterfowl) and the scenery.
P.S. The biscuits were very good, although Ian says they were more crunchy than intended.