Cawsand Anchorage

August 26, 2014 at 10:06 am

Pretty spot, good holding in sand.  I set the anchor alarm on the GPS and slept fairly well, even though we did roll intermittently.

The seagulls woke me to a beautiful dawn:

Later I was a bit dismayed to lift the anchor and find it wrapped in chain: It clearly can’t have been dug in… Not sure it’d been like that all night  or it happened as the tide changed.  But whatever, we definitely hadn’t moved far…

Supra’s Mackerel Poached in Sea Water

August 26, 2014 at 9:40 am

Had a lively afternoon in the Sound on Saturday… It was quite blustery, and I was headed out to The Eddystone, but by about 7 miles off the wind had built and was consistantly over 20 knots,and the swell was now fairly ‘significant’ (to me).

So I turned back to meet up with some friends in their rib who had been fishing while they waited for me and had a decent haul of mackerel to divvy up.  (They also brought their GoPro with them and took some film of me – can’t wait to see the results!)

Mackerel cooked in seawater

We headed back to Cawsand for a cup of tea, but by the time I got there they were rafted up with more friends of theirs on the yacht Supra who said they were going to cook theirs in sea water.  I was intrigued, and tried it… and it was pretty good.  The salt makes them really sweet, and surprisingly delicate tasting.

It’s really simple, just clean the fish and put them in a saucepan.  Cover them with (clean/open) seawater, bring them to the boil and let stand for 5 minutes.

Mackerel cooked in seawater

I had mine with tinned peas, carrots and new potatoes. Simple (old school). Nom nom…

Mackerel cooked in seawater

By the way, one of the mackerel catchers was my friend Debby Mason who is an artist and illustrator, working with mezzotints and etching.  I actually have one of her mackerel pictures (and love it).  Her lovely website is at

Also, Mrs Supra was one of the owners of the Forge 2 Gallery in Oxfordshire, specialising in British Art and Craft. Their website is here

Jester Challenge 2014

May 12, 2014 at 9:17 pm

I bought Duet 2 years ago with the intention of doing a circumnavigation of the UK with her at some point. It’s something I would still like to do, but I’d like to visit some places so it’s probably not going to get done in one season as I’d planned originally…

In the meantime I’ve stumbled across the Jester Challenge guys and been kinda charmed by their ethos. I say guys, because I cannot find any evidence of any lady skippers attempting any of the Challenges. Ever. (I may be wrong though…)

If you’ve not heard of the Jester Challenge (you must not call it a race, there are no prizes) then at it’s essence is simple, single handed ocean racing in boats under 30 foot with no sponsorship (the full rules are here) – And there’s usually a Hurley 22 amongst the fleet, which is probably how I found them…

There is a Jester Challenge every year from Plymouth, either to Baltimore (in Ireland), the Azores, or as it is this year, to Newport, Rhode Island.

So they were due to start from Plymouth yesterday, and if you’re in the UK you’ll be well aware that we had a bit of stormy weather roll in from the West last week.  I was thrilled to see this SIT REP (Situation Report) from Ewen Southby-Tailyour, the organiser, published yesterday evening, and it sums up the Jester Ethos perfectly;

This year, as with last year’s Baltimore Challenge, the weather tried it’s hardest to beat us.  Force 9 from the West with driving rain was forecast and indeed on the Saturday conditions were close to that. The forecast for today was no better and so it was decided to cancel the spectator craft in good time and have the start off the Royal Western Yacht Club’s start line from where the spectators could watch in comfort while the skippers could, or could not, sail depending on their individual wishes. It is not up to the coordinator to delay the start for that would imply taking that decision to sail or not to sail away from the skipper which of course is at the very heart of the Jester ethos. So at 1255 BST our very own, tireless friend and supporter Eric (who was first into Newport in 2006) fired the five-minute gun and Norm (our gallant and equally tireless supporter in Newport) fired the start gun. As it happened there was no one afloat on the line, indeed all the skippers were watching the firing from the Club. The wind was still gusting hugely and the rain was still driving in sheets – sometimes. Nevertheless, the Jester Challenge 2014 was now ‘open’!

Based on my maxim ‘seamanship not showmanship’ it was not the time for heroics but a calm assessment when best to face the Atlantic. At 1600 Andy Lane slipped and sailed, taking advantage of one of the increasing number of lulls while the others decided that a Monday morning (very early) start would give them a full day of light to get well beyond the Lizard. The forecast from Tuesday onwards offers a vast improvement in conditions.

I believe that six boats have now started, with a further four pending a late start.

Not sure there’s a Hurley 22 this year, but bloody good luck to them I say.

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