Hamptonne Country Life Museum

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Gosh! These posts are coming thick and fast at the moment aren’t they? Anyway, yesterday, being a bank holiday, we decided to do the tourist thing and visit one of the heritage sites on Jersey.  Jersey Heritage are a local charity who protect and promote the heritage and uniqueness of Jersey.  The Hamptonne Country Life Museum is one of the sites administered by Jersey Heritage and well worth a visit if you ever find yourself on this beautiful island.

I’m not going to rattle on about Hamptonne or what we had for afternoon tea.  Instead, I’m just going to put up a selection of pictures, enjoy.

This has been another Captain Corbett’s Adventure.  If I’m not on Jersey teaching a private tuition Day Skipper theory or Yachtmaster theory course, then I’m either spending time with someone on their boat, giving them the confidence to take their boat out with their family and friends on board or I’m off somewhere exotic delivering a boat. Either way, I’ll write it up and put it on the Blog for you all to see, so keep popping back to see my most recent adventure.

Breaking news: Sea captain turns hunter gatherer!

Saturday evening, I was round at a friends’ house enjoying a lovely Fabada which I’d made and adapted à la Captain Corbett and suddenly David said, “How do you fancy coming with me tomorrow and emptying the crab pots?”. How could I say no?

So this is us leaving Gorey Harbour on a sunny but slightly fresh Sunday morning at the end of May – I love living on this island!

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David was telling me a while back how he makes his own pots and how he’s been catching crabs and lobsters for years.  I was absolutely fascinated, especially as I’m normally cursing the pesky things when I’m out on a motor cruiser, with eyes peeled, trying to avoid the floats – the fishermen around here call them ‘buffs’; excuse the spelling if I’ve got it wrong! For all I know, they may call them ‘buffs’ everywhere, I ought to find out…

Anyway, David’s pots are less than a mile out of the harbour so we were soon upon them and lifting the first pot.

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I could scarcely believe it, the pot was full of Spider Crabs!  David and I suspect all the other local guys, who put pots out for personal use rather than for commercial reasons, adopt a conservational tactic of only taking the males and then, only the ones over 12cm long.

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Once the pot is cleared, it is re-baited and tossed back into the sea.

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When all the pots had been lifted, emptied and re-baited we headed in. Our total catch was five Spider Crabs, which were going to make a lovely supper with some garlic mayonnaise, some crusty bread, a little salad and some nice red wine.

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Back on the berth in Gorey Harbour – isn’t it pretty?

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What a splendid way to spend a Sunday and free dinner too!

This has been another Captain Corbett’s Adventure.  If I’m not on Jersey teaching a private tuition Day Skipper theory or Yachtmaster theory course, then I’m either spending time with someone on their boat, giving them the confidence to take their boat out with their family and friends on board or I’m off somewhere exotic delivering a boat. Either way, I’ll write it up and put it on the Blog for you all to see, so keep popping back to see my most recent adventures.

Circumnavigating the British Isles

This is going to be an epic trip, without any shadow of doubt.  Sadly, I’m only going to be able to make some of the legs but nevertheless, I’m going to chronicle the passages I do make and probably comment on notable happenings from the ones that I’m not on.  The last time I made a journey of similar magnitude was down the east coast of America, some of you may remember the Grand East Coast Tour. I think this is going to be just as exciting, if not more!  In order to protect the privacy of the owner of the boat, I’m not going to mention any names, including the name of the boat but I can tell you that the boat is a Botnia Targa. Whenever I’ve spoken with people in the industry about these boats I always get the impression they are the marine equivalent to the Camel Trophy Land Rovers – it appears that people who own these boats seem to wait until it gets rough and then go out!! Fortunately, not everyone who owns a Botnia Targa is loopy-loo and I suspect the ride around England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales will be a very pleasant and calm affair – at least I hope it will be when I’m on board.

So, the first thing to do is get the boat from Jersey to Southampton and that’s just what we did yesterday.  A suitable day appeared out of nowhere and after making some quick plans on Saturday, we were off at 08:45 Sunday morning.

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Flat enough it may have been but it was also wet and pretty miserable as we left Jersey and headed north for the Alderney Race.  Tripping along at 22 knots, we were soon at the race and swept through at 28 knot SOG with a handy bit of tide under us.  The Channel was absolutely empty.  We didn’t have to change course once to avoid ships and we only saw four in the shipping lanes anyway – the breaks in the conversation were getting longer at this stage.  I reckon there’s only so much you can talk about before it starts to become prying.  Maybe it was time for a game of I-spy…

“Hang on a moment, that’s not a freighter and it’s not going the same way as the other ship in the south bound lane either…I know what that looks like, it’s a forces vessel and it’s headed our way!”

Sure enough, they tucked into our wake as we sailed past and kept pace with us for a short while.  Nothing came over the VHF, so we carried on, assuming they would have seen our name and the AIS signature and done all the checks they wanted without having to stop us…

WRONG!

The next thing we see, they slowed the cutter right down and launched a RIB, which hammered through the sea after us.  Still no call on the VHF and I was beginning to wonder if it was working and at the same time dreading the, “Why didn’t you stop?” conversation that was bound to happen once they boarded us.  So, we thought it might be prudent, at this point, to slow down and let them come alongside.

In no time at all they were upon us and three large and slightly intimidating ‘blokes in black’ got on the boat.  They were Border Force and simply wanted to know who we were, where we’d come from and where we were going.  Actually, they were really nice guys, very polite and we had an interesting chat.  Right up until the point when they spotted the table.  It’s not a particularly remarkable table really, save for the fact that it is suspended by a stainless steel shaft which is attached both at the floor and on the ceiling of the cabin. When ‘underway’, the table is slid all the way to the top of the post in order that it is out of the way and nobody can hurt themselves by striking it when the boat rocks about in a sea. Clearly, this leaves a tall stainless steel post as the centre of attention in the saloon area of the pilot house – yes, it does look as though it is there for ‘pole-dancing’ purposes!  When the Border Force guys spotted it and asked what it was for, they and I found out, at the same time, that it was for me to practice my ‘pole-dancing’ skills on!  Now this came as a shock to me, as you might imagine.  After all, anyone who knows me will instantly testify to the fact that my sheer bulk alone would prevent me from completing any sort of manoeuvre on a pole upside down or otherwise, not that I wouldn’t have given it a go; I’m always up for learning new skills!

Apparently, as the Border Force guys left the boat, they were giggling and I had gone a shocking shade of scarlet – I will get my own back at some stage, of that I’m certain.  Drat and double drat!

Once the ‘giggling’ Border Force had disappeared and we were on our way again, I put all scary thoughts of ‘pole-dancing’ to one side (I could always pick them up again later) and we concentrated on the last leg of the journey.  It wasn’t long before the south coast of the UK appeared in the form of the white cliffs by the Needles on the Isle of Wight. The weather was improving all the time and the sun even put in an appearance.

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We were soon through the Needles and as we went through, we made the call to get clearance on the HM Customs National Yachtline.  N.B. you must let HMRC know when you leave and enter the EU on your boat. It’s a short call, nothing onerous, so no reason not to.  It would pay to have your SSR or other registration numbers to hand.

A short while later and we were threading our way through boats off Calshot Spit, heading for the Hamble.  At this point we called up Solent Coastguard on the Small Ships Safety Channel VHF67 and asked them to let Jersey Coastguard know that we had arrived safely.

As soon as we’d tied alongside and tidied up, I bade farewell to my crew-mate and toddled off to start my journey back to Jersey.  Over the next few months there will be more instalments from the trip. If you enjoyed reading this post and don’t want to miss any of the new posts I will make in the future, simply click on the link to Follow the Blog and you will get notified whenever I post a new entry.

This has been another Captain Corbett’s Adventure.  If I’m not on Jersey teaching a private tuition Day Skipper theory or Yachtmaster theory course, then I’m either spending time with someone on their boat, giving them the confidence to take their boat out with their family and friends on board or I’m off somewhere exotic delivering a boat. Either way, I’ll write it up and put it on the Blog for you all to see, so keep popping back to see my most recent adventures.

New Beginnings

On a sunny Tuesday in May, I was back to Italy one last time, to complete the handover of the boat I’d been skippering for the previous year.  It was absolute chaos, as the refurbishment had started and there were people, equipment, tools, food, shoes and plans scattered everywhere.  In the middle of all this madness I was trying to remember what needed work doing to it, what needed replacing and all the time I was showing the new owner how his new toy worked.

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Here’s Gary doing his bit with some of the water pipes that had perished.

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And here’s the remnants of the food shopping to be put away and also the impromptu office where we were going through the work details and the handover – the only bit of free space on the boat it seems.

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As most of you will know, I’m a tad anal about keeping things tidy but at the same time as I was stressing about the carnage, it was wonderful to see the boat getting a new lease of life.  When the work is complete she will be back to her former magnificence and ready for the coming season.

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What I certainly wasn’t expecting, was the new owner’s two friends who came along for a spot of sun and to spend some time practising their musical skills.  I had no idea what a treat we were in for when Kim and Billy walked out of arrivals at Naples airport with a guitar each.

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Here they are, giving it plenty on the flybridge!

Time to say goodbye…

It wasn’t long before my visit was over and I was heading back. I just had to get a couple of snaps of the Alps as we flew over and if you ask Dan I’m sure he’ll confirm that you have to get one or more Obligatory Wing Shots whenever you fly somewhere!

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It’ll be sad not being on the boat in Italy this summer but I’ve already got some exciting adventures lined up for the coming season, not least, assisting one of my customers to circumnavigate the UK in his Botnia Targa, now that will be worth reading about, surely?

Giving you confidence

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So, my contract in Italy on the 76 footer has finally come to an end and I am now back on Jersey full time.

Operating as a true freelance captain and RYA instructor again, I am now fully available to offer a whole range of skipper services to anyone who needs help building the confidence you need to safely take your friends and family out boating with you.

  • If you want to brush up on some rusty skills or you simply want a skipper to handle the boat while you enjoy the ride, then I’m your man
  • If you are studying the theory and it’s not making sense, then I’m your man
  • If you need an ICC (International Certificate of Competence) assessment, then I’m your man
  • If you need your boat delivering somewhere, then I’m your man
  • If you want to take clients out to give them a good time, then I’m your man

I’ve recently taught two separate Yachtmaster Theory candidates who were taking distance learning courses and they both tell me that they truly benefited from spending a few days on a one to one basis with me prior to taking their exams.  So whether that’s you or you’d just prefer to learn about the theory behind navigation, safety and etiquette on the water, give me a call and we can discuss times to suit you.

With summer truly on the way, it’s time to get the boat washed off and start planning those trips.  However, if it’s been a while since you were last out on the water, you might be feeling a little low in the confidence stakes.  Spend a few days buzzing around the marina with me and your confidence will come racing back and you’ll be good to go.  If you are intending to visit France this summer and you don’t have an ICC, then I can take you through the requirements and assess you as we go – much easier than taking a test I’m sure!

Perhaps you just want to sit back and let someone else take the strain.  Leave the driving to me and you can enjoy the time relaxing with your family and friends instead of worrying about tide times, mooring on an unfamiliar berth or going to that marina you’ve never been to before.  Impress your clients with a trip out on your boat and let a professional captain and crew make it work seamlessly for you.

I have many, many years of world wide cruising experience and teaching under my belt – let me share this with you and give you the confidence to properly enjoy your boating.

Sarky Sunday!

OK, so it’s Sunday, there’s a gentle breeze wafting across the island from the south, it’s a little over cast but the forecast is for sun later, what do you do next? Well, let me tell you – you get on a boat with seven other people and you go to Sark for lunch of course!

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It was a little lumpy on the way up to Corbiere but nothing we couldn’t cope with and then, once we turned the corner it was an easy run straight up to Havre Gosselin.  This is a super little bay on the West coast of Sark, just at the point where Sark and Brecqhou meet (actually, there’s a small channel that separates them but you know what I mean).

Picking up the mooring buoy was a breeze, as was getting ashore on the jet-rib but climbing up the zig-zag path to the Pilcher Monument at the top was not such a breeze, especially if you are as unfit as me it seems! It is definitely not the sort of hike to be attempted if you have heart issues but most people could make it to the top with a few stops to get their breath back I’m sure.

From the moment it flattened out, we broke into a brisk walk, enjoying the peace and tranquillity of an island devoid of mechanised transport (except for the tractors of course). In fact, we reckon the most noise came from our footsteps and the wind – how delightful.

It’s only a ten minute walk to the high street which, compared to previous visits, was looking a tad quiet.  Mind you, it was early May, so perhaps it’ll pick up later in the season.

There’s a visitor centre just before you get to town and Mandy simply couldn’t resist looking down the barrel of the canon…

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There’s always one who has to do this, isn’t there?

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We also needed a comfort break by now.  If ever you go to Sark and you need the loo, they are this way…

After a brief stroll down the high street, we headed for the hotel where we were meeting for lunch.  The Stocks Hotel is an oasis in the centre of the island, providing top notch accommodation and exquisite food to go with it.

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We tried the locally caught lobster and enjoyed every single mouthful. Sitting in the afternoon sun, sipping Sancerre and chatting with some lovely friends, has to be the most wonderful way to spend a Sunday.  Anyway, all good things eventually come to an end, so we took a leisurely stroll back towards the boat.

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Here’s a tower we saw en route.

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and here’s a cat!

At the monument, we started our decent and it’s at this time, every time I visit Sark by this route in fact, that I’m glad the return journey is down hill and not up!

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That’s the boat we came on – the one in the bay there, next to the other ones… long way down isn’t it?

Once we’d all got back to the boat, we strapped the rib on the back, untied the mooring line and we were off.  An hour later and we pulled onto the berth in Elizabeth Marina and that was us back in Jersey.

The next time you’re wondering what to do on Sunday…

This has been another Captain Corbett’s Adventure.  If I’m not on Jersey teaching a private tuition Day Skipper theory or Yachtmaster theory course, then I’m either spending time with someone on their boat, giving them the confidence to take their boat out with their family and friends on board or I’m off somewhere exotic delivering a boat. Either way, I’ll write it up and put it on the Blog for you all to see, so keep popping back to see my most recent adventure.

 

Skipper’s Tips #14 – Picking Up A Buoy

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These principles work equally well for yachts and motor boats alike. However, there is a caveat to the lassoing technique. I found this out when picking up a buoy in Cowes Roads once.  If you change your mind and decide not to pick up the mooring buoy, when you let the temporary line go – the one you’ve just lassoed the buoy with – you must throw the loose end well to the side before you start to pull it on board, as there is a very good chance that the tide will sweep the line past the buoy and free end will crossover the end of the line still attached to the boat, causing it to knot and subsequently making it exceedingly difficult to get away from the buoy.

Picking up a mooring buoy can be a little tricky at times, especially if it’s windy, the tide is running hard or there isn’t a pick-up line?  The simple solution is to set up a ‘lasso’…

Ask your crew to tie a mooring line to both forward cleats, lead the line around the outside of the ‘pulpit’, then coil the line up into fairly small coils – easier to throw – and split it into two coils. Standing at the bow, the crew can then guide whoever is helming towards the mooring buoy. Approach the buoy into wind or tide, or a combination of the two, whichever will allow you to gently come to halt and hover by the buoy whilst the crew throw the line over it. The line will now sink around the buoy and as you start to drift backwards and will capture the buoy by it’s chain.

This is only a temporary solution – the chain will eventually saw through the mooring line and you will drift off but it does take the pressure off the helmsman by saving them the trouble of having to dance around the buoy while the crew try to put a line through a tiny eye a metre or more below the deck height.

Now that you ‘attached’ to the mooring buoy, you are in a position to pull yourselves closer to the buoy with the temporary line and reach down to put a proper line through the eye on the top of the buoy.  Alternatively, you could get the tender out and motor round to the front of your boat and put the proper line through from a more friendly height.

Another method in light wind and tide conditions, but without a pickup line, is to pass the mooring line through the eye on the buoy at the stern of your boat, or for yachts, amidships. Ask your crew to tie the mooring line on at the bow, pass the line through the forward fairlead, keeping the line outside the rail and then down the deck to the stern. Now, motor towards the buoy, again into wind or tide as explained previously but as you get to the buoy creep past it, so that you stop with the buoy just forward of the stern. Your crew member, standing on the bathing platform, holding the mooring line, can now easily reach the eye on the buoy. They pass the line through the eye and walk up the side deck with the line, which is then attached at the bow as normal. Whilst the crew walks the line forward, the boat will slowly drift backwards and you will end up in the correct mooring position, just as the crew ties the line onto the forward cleat.

Beware though, some of these mooring buoys bite! They can be metal, rusty, big, heavy and have sharp bits. If you intend to attach yourself to a buoy by having a crew member pass the line through at the stern, I suggest you select the buoy with care, or put your boat on the ‘down wind’ or ‘down tide’ side of the buoy, so you aren’t drifted onto it as you drift back.

This has been another Captain Corbett’s Adventure.  If I’m not on Jersey teaching a private tuition Day Skipper theory or Yachtmaster theory course, then I’m either spending time with someone on their boat, giving them the confidence to take their boat out with their family and friends on board or I’m off somewhere exotic delivering a boat. Either way, I’ll write it up and put it on the Blog for you all to see, so keep popping back to see my most recent adventures.