England, The Olympics, Friends, and Aussiemite

Since the last update we had just left Antwerp on route to Brighton, we are now in Portugal and had an absolutely amazing sail from London to Lisbon but that blog will have to wait. Sorry for being slack but I will cover off England first then blog about our trip to Portugal and will endeavour to be more up to date in the future.

Crossing the English Channel was not quite as challenging as we first thought. It was actually nothing compared to going past the Entry of Rotterdam. There were super tankers but not nearly as many as Rotterdam. My first sight of England was the white cliffs of Dover which were nice. We then continued down the coast to Brighton which was a great sail but heading into the Marina was not. We were told by Brighton Marina that the channel is dredged to 2m at low tide and it would be fine to enter at 1.5m above low tide which should have given us a comfortable 1.5m below the keel. We came in on an ebb tide running sideways at 2.5kts and steep 3ft waves. As we rounded the corner I called to Adam to watch the depth closely. He said where fine 2m then a second later screamed oh shit 0.2m below the keel. Before he had yelled I heard the alarm go off and slammed the diesel into full throttle reverse. The engine groaned and every one asleep was on deck quick smart. As we hit the trough of a wave we touched the ground then as the wave height increased we started to get traction and we moved backwards. I just kept the throttle flat stick as waves smashed over the stern I could see the depth increase. We then circled the entry to Marina for the next 6hrs till the tide was over 4m above low. With a tired crew and the tide near high we decided to go for it again. As we came through the tight entrance the waves we were starting to break at which stage we were at the point of no return. The stern lifted up, the wave broke and we made it safely into Brighton Marina. After one of the most stressful experiences on this trip the Marina put us in a berth that would have left us high and dry on low tide so we had to re moor in another berth. I would advise anyone wanting to go to Brighton Marina to specifically ask for a deep berth.

Brighton was a nice little town; we started off with some boat maintenance and the final piece of the puzzle for the desalinator (some tubing). The desalinator is an interesting piece of equipment, it produces 60 bar (approx 870 PSI) of pressure to work and then pumps through 32 litres of water per hour. To do this it draws 32 amps. After all the pieces were installed much to my father’s happiness (project manager and tradesman for this installation) it worked perfectly. We can now make fresh water to within 320 ppm depending on the salt water going in.

After two full 10hr days of boat work and new installations it was time to relax and plan the sail up the Thames to spread some Aussiemite and cheer on our fellow Olympians. It also gave us some time to catch up with friends in the U.K. Rosie the sister in law of Peter Hrones the Director of Team Windcraft who I purchased my Hanse 445 through is a friend of mine and she came to visit with a friend of hers Veronika. They were great fun and took Dad and I out for a pork Roast and crackling at the local pub called the Royal sovereign. EJ the chef made an unbelievably tasty meal which was kindly given to us for free. We were very grateful and ate every last bit of extra crackling washed down with Heineken beer. I was keen to see the rest of the local pubs in Brighton but it appeared the mix of roast pork, crackling, and beer caused sudden drowsiness so we headed back to the boat for a well needed sleep.

The next day another friend of mine Jenna came to visit, she kindly showed me round Brighton then we drove to the Jack and Jill windmills and through the English country side. As I had never been to the U.K. before I was surprised to see so much country side, I assumed the country was more densely populated. I was presently surprised with the amazingly beautiful country side. We then went to Jenna’s parent’s place which is in a beautiful little village called Lindfield. Jenna’s parents greeted us with a refreshing pims before we continued on the whirl wind tour of the English country to Hunting lodge (Henry VII’s hunting lodge) and then Ardingly Reservoir which is used for sailing. All in all it was a very enjoyable day, thanks Jenna!

The next day thanks to Aussiemite our yacht sponsor we had been offered a berth at St Katharines dock right near the tower bridge. We left Brighton with 15kts from the South east put out the Gennaker and absolutely flew up the English Channel towards the Thames. As we entered the Thames customs were on us quick smart. They asked to hop aboard and as usual we let them, after I asked them about their dry suits they were very friendly and asked us all the usual questions about what we all do why we were here etc. The customs then asked where we had been and we said Brighton, they were amazed and informed us we had illegally been in England but it wasn’t our fault. The marina was meant to send someone down to the boat to immigrate us. Due to our lack of legality in this commonwealth country we had to sail to a place called Gravesend and clear custom. We had good banter with the customs officials discussing the Olympics, they were very happy to be kicking our arse. They then kindly offered us still illegal immigrants the service of rebating all our VAT on the boat parts that I had bought in Brighton. I took them up on the offer as they handed us back our passports and said welcome legally to England.

As this was my first time it London it was an amazing experience to be able to sail into almost the centre of London. As we came up to the tower bridge with the Olympics rings proudly perched up high we turned to starboard and Entered St Katharines dock. Here we were greeted with cartons of tasty Aussiemite. We opened the Aussiemite and got stuck right in, we had it with Bree and added it to sautéed mushrooms which was very tasty.

Thursday on the boat was spent relaxing and getting ready for a press breakfast for Aussiemite and a party with friends. The breakfast for the Press, Matt, Jan, and Tahlia from the Government of South Australia office of the Agent General went very well. An hour later I was pleasantly surprised with a case of Coopers – Thanks guys!

Then it was party time for friends from high school and uni. It was nice to have Carly, Penny, Anna, Phil, John, Tony, and Rosie + some of their friends aboard for some coopers, Aussiemite and drinks. The boat had around 20+ people with the music pumping, booze flowing and conversation peaking. A good time was had by all and after Security told us 4 times to move downstairs we finally did and continued into the wee hours of the morning. We had 15+ people downstairs with my father sound asleep in the front cabin. Much to everyone’s surprise he slept through the loud music and conversation. It’s amazing how many people you can fit inside a Hanse 445. I mean no one could move but we could still breathe and dance!

The next morning Diego and I my new crew member woke up to find the saloon floor black, as we re-caped the night we started to clean. Within an hour the yacht was ship shape and ready for us to explore the town. After a bit of Aussiemite on bread we went to Hyde park to catch up with Carly and Penny and watch the Olympics.  We got bored sitting still pretty quick so Carly took Diego and I on the Boris bikes for a world wind tour of London. We rode down through Mayfair down regents and oxford st and then went to Piccadilly for some nice food. It was a serious highlight – Thanks Carly

After that we travelled to South bank to what is called a pop up bar, a pop up bar is exactly what it sounds like it’s a bar that pops up for a few weeks then disappears. The vibe was brilliant with Brazilians dancing on the side of the Thames. Diego and I met Fadwa and Amy from Surrey who I invited sailing and Fadwa came with us after they did some thorough research online to ensure we weren’t crazy, Fadwa still wasn’t convinced but she decided to come with a friend. So the crew was now seven – Me, Adam, Pete, Daniel, Diego, Fadwa and Dowwa. Fadwa and Dowwa were both really nice and helped make the time pass quickly as we compared different cultures from Australia, England, Morocco and Mexico. When we arrived in Brighton the girls had to return to land and head home. It was sad to see them go.

The next few days were spent getting the engine serviced and yacht provisioned. We purchased some spinnaker gear to fly Ian Boxes spinnaker in the right breeze. We also bought 8 days worth of food for our trip to Lisbon in Portugal. We are now in Lisbon and we very nicely welcomed by Geoff and Nikki. As I said above the blog update for our trip to Lisbon and good times in Lisbon is next on the list.

A big thank you to Carly, Penny, Anna, Phil, Tony, John, Jenna, Diana, Fadwa, Rosie, Veronika, David Morris, Aussiemite, Team Windcraft, The Government of South Australia Office of the Agent General  and everyone else that made myself and my crews time in London absolutely unforgettable.



Captain Nick

“Sailing up the Thames and England”

From England, London, Brighton, The Thames, parties and sailing. Posted by Nick Black on 8/24/2012 (51 items)

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