The Armchair Sailor

Because its cold outside….

Taking a break

So after nearly two months of solid daily blogging its time to take a small break.

Approximately 2-3 weeks from today so expect blog posts to resume sometime mid/late February.

Time to take in a bit of the sea air.

See you on the other side.

Expect the odd blog post here and there maybe in the meantime.

Captain Out!


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The Captain’s Sailing Links – Tuesday 31st January 2017

Vendee Globe 2016/17 – KEEPING A GOOD LOOKOUT

Conrad Colman on Foresight Natural Energy crossed the Equator back into the northern hemisphere this morning at 0845hrs UTC in tenth place in the Vendée Globe solo round the world race. This is another important milestone for the Kiwi-American skipper as he also negotiates the Doldrums. Colman looks like he is being blessed with a relatively straightforward passage of the ITCZ, the Doldrums, racing slightly east of north without too many squally clouds around. The weather models suggest he should hold on to mainly E’ly winds until he emerges into the NE’ly trade winds.

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Alex Thomson: In Pursuit of Sailing History

The eighth edition of the Vendee Globe attracted 29 IMOCA 60 skippers, representing four continents and ten nations, to take on the only non-stop solo round the world race without assistance. Amid the field was Alex Thomson who sought to be the first British winner, who now upon his finish, shares in The Telegraph his remarkable attempt for sailing history… Day 1: November 6th – Setting sail from Les Sables D’Olonne  Sailed out of Les Sables D’Olonne today to begin what I consider to be the toughest sporting event left in the world: the Vendée Globe.

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Why You Should Take Ferries In These Three Popular Sailing Spots

Whether you don’t know how to sail, aren’t friends with someone who does, or don’t like sleeping in the claustrophobic hull of a tall ship, eschewing a private boat doesn’t preclude you from enjoying these three popular sailing destinations. Excellent ferry networks give visitors a taste of the soggy dollar life without the cost, responsibility, or effort of doing it themselves.

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Blast reaching under an asymmetrical spinnaker can be, well a blast, but walking the line between control and a wipeout can sometimes prove difficult.  Blast reaching under an asymmetrical spinnaker can be, well a blast, but can also take a turn for the worst fast if you broach or otherwise wipeout. With much racing time these days spent sailing windward leeward courses, the art of sailing on a windy tight reach at the edge of control has almost become a lost art. It is a particularly useful skill in point to point and distance races. So how do you keep on the hairy edge while avoiding the wipeout?  Here are Dave’s 4 quick tips for maintaining control when tight reaching with the kite up.

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Optimised to win: how Peter Morton’s Carkeek 40 Girls on Film won the highly competitive Fast 40+ class

Rupert Holmes takes a closer look at Peter Morton’s Carkeek 40 Girls on Film – an object lesson in how to get an edge and hold it consistently in a race series. The Carkeek 40 is a proven design that originally dates from 2012. Girls on Film, winner of four of the five class events this year to take the overall Fast40+ season title, is a Mark 3 version, and benefits from numerous small modifications. While many of these offer a saving of only a few seconds in certain conditions, in a fleet that’s renowned for incredibly close racing – the podium is routinely filled by boats less than 60 seconds apart – the collective effect of these makes a big difference to series results.

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#CharityTuesday – The Mission To Seafarers

About us

Piracy, shipwreck, abandonment and separation from loved ones are just a few of the problems merchant seafarers face. Around the world, The Mission to Seafarers provides help and support to the 1.5 million men and women who face danger every day to keep our global economy afloat.

We work in over 200 ports in 50 countries caring for seafarers of all ranks, nationalities and beliefs. Through our global network of chaplains, staff and volunteers we offer practical, emotional and spiritual support to seafarers through ship visits, drop-in seafarers’ centres and a range of welfare and emergency support services.

Seafarers rely on us

The Mission to Seafarers strives to meet the needs of all seafarers and their families, irrespective of faith or cultural background. Its simple mission is to care for the shipping industry’s most important asset: its people.

Seafarers can be separated from their friends and families for up to a year and precious shore leave is not always available. From the centres of the world’s shipping industry, our chaplains and their teams support seafarers who all too often have nowhere to turn to.

Throughout a long and distinguished history, the Mission has grown to become one of the largest port-based welfare operators in the world, providing a service in 200 ports, 365 days a year, across 50 countries. 118 of these ports have a Flying Angel Centre. International Headquarters (IHQ) in London directly supports over 50 front-line Staff and around 100 Honorary Chaplains in addition to an army of Volunteers, who visit ships, offer hospitality, drive minibuses and engage in a range of other welfare activity.

We are here for seafarers.

Why donate?

The Mission to Seafarers’ frontline staff are there for seafarers in trouble, distress, or despair. In many remote areas, the Mission may be the only help on offer and the only place vulnerable seafarers feel they can turn for support.

We rely purely on voluntary support to continue this work. Without you, there simply wouldn’t be the global network of support that gives hope and help to seafarers when they need it the most.

You can donate to support our work around the world through whichever method suits you best.


You can make an online donation now. You can also fundraise, or make a donation to someone who is fundraising for us by clicking here.

By phone

If you would prefer to donate using your debit or credit card over the phone, you can call our supporter hotline on 0300 555 1505.

By post

To donate by post, simply print and complete one of the forms below, and return it to the address provided.

Payroll giving

Payroll giving is an easy and tax-efficient way to support the Mission, taken directly from your salary, before tax. You can set up a monthly arrangement here.

Every penny we receive makes a vital difference to seafarers’ lives. Thank you.

Find out more about The Mission to Seafarers –

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The Captain’s Sailing Links – Monday 30th January 2017


Sébastien Destremau rounded Cape Horn at 1336hrs UTC this Sunday afternoon the final Vendée Globe skipper to exit the Big South and turn safely north into the Atlantic. The French skipper, who pit-stopped into Tasmania to check and repair the rig of his TechnoFirst FaceOcean, may have rounded in 18th place 37 days after the race winner Armel Le Cléac’h and four days and 16 hours after his closest rival, the Dutch solo skipper Pieter Heerema (No Way Back), said today he could scarcely believe what he has achieved so far on his 1998 launched Finot design which first completed the 2000-1 Vendée Globe course as Josh Hall’s Gartmore.

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Volvo Ocean Race – ‘The beginning of another adventure’

With just 268 days until the Volvo Ocean Race begins, Dongfeng Race Team are set to make the most of that preparation time having today become the first team to take delivery of their newly-refitted Volvo Ocean 65 at The Boatyard in Lisbon.  The handover marks the formal beginning of the Chinese team’s second consecutive campaign, and holds extra special significance as it is exactly two years to the day since Charles Caudrelier and Dongfeng Race Team won their 2014-15 homecoming leg into Sanya.

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Sailing World Cup Miami – British sailors win two golds on day one of medal racing

British sailors won two golds on the first day of medal racing at the Sailing World Cup Miami.  Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell won the 49er class by finishing fifth in their final race of the regatta. Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves had earlier triumphed in the Nacra 17 class, beating compatriots Tom Phipps and Nicola Boniface into second.   Miami, the first leg of the 2017 World Cup series, is the first regatta since last year’s Rio Olympics.

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Winter sailing has unexpected thrills

A full-speed sail to Bowen Island ending in lunch at a cozy pub, a cruise up Indian Arm surrounded by deep green fjords, or a brisk, wave-tossed race in Howe Sound; winter sailing has never been more popular in the waters around Vancouver. A wide variety of classes, workshops and racing opportunities mean that sailing in the off- season holds some unexpected delights.

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Superyacht News – Family appeal for increase in accident awareness

Following the tragic death of bosun William Black in 2010, his family hope to highlight the importance of crew safety… The family of William Black, a bosun who died in a tragic accident in 2010, hope to use his death to encourage captains, crew and managers to look at the current safety standards for crew, as well as how the industry responds to incidents after they have occurred.  As William’s sister Rosanna explains, there was little information regarding how the accident occurred, “He was travelling in the small tender back to the main boat, S/Y Burrasca, around 10pm at night. He left the harbour – there’s CCTV footage of him leaving the harbour – and all we know is that the boat he was on crashed head on into a stationary, moored, unmanned boat.“

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The Monday Product Review – Spyderco Ladybug 3 Salt Lightweight Rustproof Plain Edge Knife – Yellow

  • Made using 100% rustproof H-1 steel
  • Leaf-shaped hollow ground blade
  • Ultra-lightweight at just 20g
  • Made to the highest quality in Japan
  • Useful for sailing, diving and many other water based activies
  • Blade Length : 1-15/16″ (1.9375″)
  • This knife is Lockable
 H-1 does something no other blade steel can It remains 100% rust free and it actually holds a sharp cutting edge.  Spyderco’s Salt Series offers a collection of H-1 folders and fixed blades with a newly added keychain-sized Salt.  The new Ladybug Salt is nearly as small as your car keys and carries just as easily. Its lightweight FRN (fiberglass reinforced nylon) handle is coated with Bi-Directional Texturing® for slip-resistant cutting. It comes in stand-out Marine Yellow and easy to spot if dropped in water or on the ground. The H-1 hollow ground blade is available in a SpyderEdge or PlainEdge configuration. The LYL is clip-less with a lanyard hole to string a keychain or lanyard through. Whether light or heavy cutting the Ladybug Salt is a compact firecracker with explosive cutting ability in a small package that will never rust.
Overall Length: 4 3/8 (111 mm).
Blade Length: 1 15/16 (49 mm).
Closed Length: 2 7/16 (62 mm).
Cutting Edge Length: 1 11/16 (43 mm).
Blade Thickness: 5/64 (2 mm).
Blade Material: H-1 stainless steel.
Handle Material: Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon Marine Yellow.
Blade Detail: Plain.
Carry System: Lanyard Hole.
Purchase yours today here –

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Not the Weekender – Resistance is Not Futile..

“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

This is a short post in solidarity with the muslims around the world affected by the #MuslimBan

I was meant to write the weekender this weekend but looked on in horror at the news that I’ve been seeing on my feeds. The United States Of America seems to be run by the lunatics of the asylum.

Not going to say more than that just to say that Resistance is where it is at! Want to know more about the resistance. Google is your friend!





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The Captain’s Sailing Links – Friday 27th January 2017

Mike Peyton, greatest ever yachting cartoonist, has died aged 96

Mike Peyton, yachting’s greatest ever cartoonist, died late on Wednesday 25 January, aged 96.  He had been suffering ill health in the final weeks of his life but was still active until very recently, having been sailing last year with friend Roy Hart at the age of 95.  Peyton was born into a mining family in County Durham, the son of a disabled First World War veteran. He lied about his age to join the army himself and aged 19 was seconded by the intelligence corps to draw maps of the North African desert during the Second World War.  He was captured and despite escaping twice, spent most of the war in a prisoner of war camp, before being freed by the Soviets and fighting alongside Russian troops as they invaded Nazi Germany from the East.

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Maxi Trimaran IDEC SPORT claims Jules Verne Trophy

The Maxi Trimaran IDEC SPORT sailed by Francis Joyon, Clément Surtel, Alex Pella, Bernard Stamm, Gwénolé Gahinet and Sébastien Audigane claimed the Jules Verne Trophy for the outright round the world sailing record.  IDEC SPORT crossed the finish at 07:49hrs UTC on Thursday 26 January 2017.  Francis Joyon and his crew sailed the 22,461 theoretical miles in 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds, at an average speed of 22.84 knots.  Out on the water, they actually sailed 26,412 miles at an average speed of 26.85 knots.

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While they may be far outweighed in number by their motor yacht-owning peers, most sailing yacht owners wouldn’t swap their J Classes and regatta-ready yachts for anything. Here five owners tell us why they just can’t get enough of life under sail. The sea inspires Pete Townshend’s musical creativity. For most superyacht owners their life at the sea is the result, rather than the cause, of their successful careers. Not so for The Who’s Pete Townshend – celebrity superyacht owner of 38.4 metre Jongert sailing yacht Gloria – who says that he has found musical inspiration on the ocean for as long as he can remember.

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Video – Special Report: A Plastic Tide | #OceanRescue

More than eight million tonnes of plastic is thrown away each year and washed out to sea. It takes centuries to break down. It’s eaten by marine creatures. And it’s in our food chain. Your seafood supper may have a synthetic garnish. Scientists just don’t know what effects it has on our health.  Sky Ocean Rescue is doing something about it.

Watch the video here –

Cruising World – Keeping Your Batteries Alive

As we approach the holiday season many of you have had your boat packed up for the winter for as long as several months. Still others have probably just gotten around to packing it in for the winter ahead. The bottom line here is that a part of this drill should include a game plan for your boat’s batteries. Years ago, we used to remove batteries from the boat and store them in a “battery room” at the marina. In this magical room the boat yard personnel would take our batteries and connect them to a bunch of rather unsophisticated battery chargers for the winter. Here, the batteries would sit and percolate all winter, literally boiling themselves to death.

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Friday Funny – Why is a Ship called She?

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The Captain’s Sailing Links – Thursday 26th January 2017

A Future Vision for the America’s Cup

A vision for the future of the America’s Cup has been agreed by five of the six competing teams in the 35th edition for the oldest trophy in international sport.  During a press conference at The House of Garrard in London, United Kingdom where the America’s Cup trophy was originally crafted in 1848, representatives from these five teams revealed a framework agreement that would cover the next two editions, the 36th and 37th America’s Cup, due to take place in 2019 and 2021 respectively.  Racing in the 35th America’s Cup will take place in Bermuda in May/June of this year and the 36th America’s Cup cycle will commence thereafter.

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Vendée Globe history was made today when three solo skippers crossed the finish line at one after the other within three hours of each other, the closest finish between a trio of boats since the solo non stop around the world race was first contested in 1989.  Jean Pierre Dick crossed the finish line at 13:47:45hrs UTC to secure fourth place for the second consecutive time. Yann Eliès exorcised the ghosts of his horrific 2008-9 accident when he broke the finish line at the Nouch Buoy to complete the Vendée Globe for the first time at 15:13:09hrs UTC, one hour and 25 minutes after Dick. In fifth place Eliès’ Quéguiner-Leucemie Espoir is the first IMOCA configured with straight daggerboards as opposed to the new generation foils. One hour and 30 minutes later, at 16:43:54hrs Jean Le Cam brought his Finistère Mer Vent across the finish line to take sixth place.

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James Baldwin has become an established point of reference for small sailboat enthusiasts. His website atomvoyages is a wellspring of informations for people who are planning to start  cruising affordably. He is author of two books about his voyages aboard Atom, a Pearson Triton built in 1963 that has been twice around the world. Most of his sailing was done single handing on Atom, but during the time he spent in distant seas he also had other adventures aboard different boats and with crew from all over the world.  Today James’ main activity is consulting for customers, writing, sailing Atom locally and occasional longer deliveries. I had the opportunity to get to know and spend time with James in Brunswick, Georgia, while I was refitting my own sailboat and to join a “community of practice” of enthusiast cruisers that spontaneously gathered around him.

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New long range point of contact for UK Coastguard

From 1 February 2017, there will be new UK Coastguard emergency numbers for long range search and rescue.  For decades the UK Coastguard at Falmouth has been the point of contact for long range search and rescue.  Now, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has announced that the National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) at Fareham will take over this role.  The change is as a result of the reorganisation of HM Coastguard to a national network.  From Wednesday, 1 February 2017, new numbers for long range search and rescue will go live.


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Boat Food Thursday – ASIAN NOODLE SALAD

Serves 8+


1 pound noodles (linguine-type)
Chicken broth
2 tablespoons peanut butter dissolved in 1/4 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon ground chili paste or more to taste (I prefer Sambal Oelek)
1 teaspoon grated, fresh ginger
2 cloves minced garlic

Cook pasta al dente, rinse and drain. Toss with a small amount of chicken broth to prevent sticking. Mix together remaining ingredients and add to noodles. Then get creative and add whatever you like! Suggestions: sliced green onions, chopped green/red peppers, snow peas, water chestnuts, broccoli, diced chicken or shrimp.

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