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Saturday, 23 July 2011

My blog is moving..............

I'm just so 21st Century! I now have my own website address and will be moving this blog there.

The address is -

It uses WordPress which I've never used before - so along with my studies for my yacht master, I will be learning this too!

Im also writing an official blog for South West Marine Training the RBE blog so if you are following this as a friend of one of the other crew members - you might want to follow this - the address is

Catch you on my website!  Bye!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Day 19 - Day Skipper Theory With Fred

Nearing the time we start our 2nd leg of RBE which will culminate in 2 weeks time in Bangor, N. Ireland taking in Scilly Isles, maybe Padstow, certainly some of E coast of Ireland, maybe Isle of Man, and Im pushing for us to pop over to the Menai Straits - but I might be losing the Welsh vote there!

Lovely day of theory with our new skipper for this leg - Fred Farmer - and we are making an "F Plan" to deal with this colourful character!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

RBE Day 18 - Day Off

Thank goodness its a day off today.  At 2 this morning I woke feeling very ill - a touch of food poisoning.  This is the first time that I wished I was back home.  Trying to vomit quietly on a boat isnt easy I can assure you - I was just grateful for the fact that we weren’t out at sea today.   I was ill until 6am, then fell fast asleep exhausted!
I really would have liked to have stayed in bed for the day - but we had a date with a fabulous boat at 9.30 and it was something I wasnt going to miss out on!
Kevin (the RNLI navigator) gave us a fabulous talk and tour of the lifeboat and the work of the RNLI.  It costs £400,000 to run the RNLI - I tried to guess how much it would be and guessed 30K - a little out don’t you think!!

We couldnt help but be impressed with the boat, and the work of these brave men as they work to save lives on our seas.  We were taken to the “Survivors area” and the engine room.
I then headed into town to get some ID photos - needed for my VHF licence and, eventually, my yacht master qualification!  Mike joined me and we ended up in Wetherspoons for lunch.  The perfect recovery from food poisoning - a Wetherspoons lunch!  We then went to the Prince William for a pint of Tribute

Lack of sleep and a lunch time beer meant there was only one place to be - in my cabin for a snooze. 
I woke to hear Pete and John busy studying again and comparing answers, but that was clearly exhausting for John……..

Chris is busy cooking dinner - lovely chicken with rosemary nicked, sorry, picked locally - gorgeous Chris!
We meet up with Fred tomorrow - he is joining us on the boat and doing some tuition and preparation in readiness to start the next leg.  Im ready to get going and looking forward to the next part of the adventure.  The Scilly Isles are beckoning…...

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

RBE Day 17 - Personal Survival Course

Still in school - this time - Personal Survival.  The morning was spent in the classroom learning about how to prepare ready for an emergency in the boat, what to take with us in the event of an emergency (I couldnt see “lipstick” on the list!), use of flares etc etc.  

We are being taken to a pool later to practice getting into a liferaft. 

Again on this course, we were joined by others doing the course for a variety of reasons - anti-pirate security on boats on the coast of Somalia, a guy working out on windfarms and another working on the passenger ferries on Scilly Isles - he has promised to wave to us when we sail by next week!
One of the main messages of the day was only abandon your boat when absolutely necessary - so you “step up, not down” into the life raft.  Its only when you practice using one that you fully understand this message.
Mike set up the liferaft

and first up was Chris who joined a group of exe-marines - they wore survival suits and Chris was given leisure wear and a lifejacket.  She did really well in the water with these fit, testosterone filled guys!

One tried to compete with Mikes role as “Littlewoods Catalogue Man” but it was hard to cut it in a bright red suit!

They practiced swimming in their gear,

then took it in turns to get into the raft before they entered it as a group.  We then became the weather - I was the rain - just to make it realistic!

I joined the next group and we only had one exe-marine in this one.  Mike and I wore the survival suits, as we will gain a different certificate which covers people working commercially (keeping our options open at this point).  They are one size only, and the crotch came down to my knees!
“Does My Bum Look Big In This”
I struggled to get into the raft - it had partially deflated due to the fact it had already been used by the other group, and the “wind” was particularly excessive, and my lovely red suit, complete with hugely oversized integral gloves, meant I couldnt get hold of the lines to help bring myself up.  A little shove from Duncan did the trick.  We then had to enter as a group - and I was the last one to get into the raft, and soon regretted my enthusiasm with the rain which I had managed to squirt into the raft  with the previous group.  The “Marine” got a little carried away, and having seen my poor effort getting into the raft previously took hold of me and yanked me straight into the raft, headfirst into the pool of water - for a couple of seconds I thought I was going to drown - in a liferaft!

The other group then performed “the weather” for us with just a touch of retaliation!
Yep - I can now understand that you would only want to get into a life raft as a last resort when your boat is either on fire or at its last stages of sinking!
South West Marine Training really do well with their education and then put on a display of lifeboat rescue for us…..

Only joking, we are lucky to be in Brixham during Torbay Lifeboat Week with a programme of activities.  It started with a parachute display,

then a display showing different rescue situations with the RNLI - fabulous!

This evening I met up with Nicky White and we had some girlie time together.  She treated me to a lovely meal and we spent the evening having a catch up - thanks Nicky!
Back to the boat at 10.30 to find everyone else back out the pub!  Time for bed for me!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

RBE Day 16 - VHF course

Yet another course today!  We were really hoping this one would be easier on the brain than RADAR yesterday!

Oh yes it was indeed, no offence to Neil yesterday, but this one was much funnier.

Lots of technical detail to get through, and lots of practice.

Duncan supervises Peter and Chris

John loves playing with gadgets!

Mike sounded really masterful on the VHF

I hadnt realised we needed to have a biology lesson - because apparently, people are in doubt where their mouths and ears are!   Duncan drew a technical diagram outlining anatomy for us -

Apparently, your mouth is south of your nose!

However, there was still some confusion!

"Are you receiving me? Over"  Hardly!

"Look behind you John"!!
"Mayday, Mayday, Mayday,
This is sailing yacht Round Britain Experience, Round Britain Experience, Round Britain Experience,
Mayday Round Britain Experience,
Our position is a little bit tricky,
So sorry to bother you, really dont want to disturb you but we are having a bit of a problem with our engine which is a little bit on fire,
Would you mind terribly giving us some help, when ever you can make it, immediate would be ever so kind of you, but we dont want to be a nusiance
Over, and thank you once again!"

Well - we all passed, despite the confusion over bodily parts (John would like me to point out here that he was not the only one who did this!  In fairness to him, I do remember when I first used a mobile phone, couldnt hear anything and had one of my children turn it the right way round!  One comment I would just like to make here was the feedback Duncan gave to John when he finished, saying "that was the most polite Mayday I have ever heard" 

We are all about to return to the boat and there is talk of fixing a G&T.......mmmmmmm.  Chris was up first thing to visit the fish market (she is taking this catering business far more seriously than me!) and there is fish pie for dinner - Im going to love being cooked for (I miss your cooking Debs!)

Monday, 18 July 2011

RBE Day 15 - RADAR course

Its now 5.30 and my brain is aching!  have just completed the RADAR course with Neil Penman at South West Marine Training, and my head hurts!  Back to school time, learning facts and figures, plotting positions on maps and doing MATHS (Mychelle, was thinking of you today!)
This is the 1st day that I haven't taken any photographs as it has just been pure study.  However, it is something I am going to take back to the boat with me and work on further - Im told I could get asked about it during my yacht master exam - and something which may well prove useful to use with poor visibility.  Its nothing like the old movies I used to watch with the machine that goes "blip" ...... "blip" ...... "blip" and there is an obvious ship!  It is far more about mathematics and physics and is definitely something to work on and have to dig deep into my brain cells.  It does mean I get to play with another gadget which always pleases me!
I've spent the first 2 weeks of this trip as quartermaster - but now my time is over and I have handed the wooden spoon and ladle to Chris and Pete who are going to work on it together - slight cheat of course, but I did have John as my Sous-Chef, always around as soon as I started to cook, chopping, slicing, stirring and washing up - Im looking forward to being his assistant too.
Course has now finished and Chris and Pete are heading into town to buy provisions for the week and Im looking forward to eating someone else's cooking!
Time to go and get a cuppa and rest my aching head!
Updated -
Well, clearly, it wasn't just me feeling the ache of the head from all this studying…...walking past the lounge area at the entrance of Brixham marina- I spotted Mike and John!!
John is worn out after studying RADAR

Met up with Nicky as Sam was at his kayak club this evening.  He looks gorgeous in his kayak (or is it a canoe Sammy?)

Oh no - Aunty Jilly has her camera poised again!

Sam looks cool in his canoe!

Action shot!

Handed my camera over to Joseph and he did a smashing job!

Me and my mate Nic Nak!  Pointing to the brochure for the RNLI  events week!

Although Joseph not too keen to be photographed with me!

Joseph loves being photographed with his Aunty Jilly!

A quick drink at the breakwater cafe and Joe had an icecream nearly as big as his head!
Joseph hates ice cream!

Yum yum!

Back onto the boat, just in time for supper - shopped for and cooked by Chris and Pete - what a treat - all the foods I love, crusty bread, cheeses, salads, humous, coleslaw AND stilton, digestives, butter and red wine!  Heaven!
We enjoyed a lovely evening when suddenly, some of the lights went off on the boat, then we smelt smoke.  Straight into action, I lept up and grabbed a fire extinguisher and a wet tea towel (!!)  the smoke came from Johns cabin and one of his LED lights had burnt out.
Oh dear!

This will now make us much more safety conscious - we all made sure we thought of our escape plans should an emergency ensue and avoid cluttering cupboards which contained the fire extinguishers with a knowledge of where they all were.  So good of South West Marine Training to set up this mini-emergency at 10pm to get us all thinking about fire safety on a yacht!
Exhausted, and the smell of smoke still in my nostrils I went to bed and had the best night sleep so far - it must be all this study and excitement!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

RBE Day 14 - Sailing from Dartmouth to Brixham

We now have a berth in Brixham for the rest of our study week before we commence leg 2 of RBE.
A gentle start following our night on the tiles in Dartmouth before a skipper arrived to bring us round.  His name is “Tank” and his girlfriend Emma joined him.
We prepared the boat to leave and set sail whilst still on the Dart.  The weather was the best so far on the trip for sailing and we all learned so much on this short trip.  Tank has a lovely way of explaining things to us, and we all instantly warmed to him.  We caught about 22knots of wind (this is a windforce 5-6) which was fab and we managed really good speeds, each taking our turns at helming.
John enjoying sailing

Chris looked cool as she steered the boat

Our skipper for the day - Tank!

Arrived into Brixham and I immediately started fixing lunch - a cooked breakfast - large quantities of sausage, bacon, mushrooms, beans and scrambled eggs and fresh crusty bread - just about managed to take a photo before the food was instantly eaten!

Sunday morning cooked breakfast at 1.30pm - perfect!

I find I am so tired during this trip and let everyone wash up (the beauty of being the chef!) whilst I went to my cabin and passed out for a couple of hours.
Im now in the office of South West Marine Training using their internet connection which is great - and how I have managed to catch up with adding photos to all my other blogs!

Update - Its now 11pm and Im tucked up cosy in my cabin.  I cooked 2 gammon joints in a large pan with loads of veg and lentils - then removed the gammon and finished them off in the oven with a honey and mustard sauce.  We filled our bellies, and there is lots left for lunch tomorrow - great winter warming food - its really windy and rainy outside and feels more like November than July.

We are grateful for the fact that this poor weather has coincided with our shorebased studies.  Tomorrow we learn RADAR, Tuesday VHF, Wed Personal Survival and finish the week with day skipper shore based studies before heading out on Saturday with our new skipper - Fred - and head to the Scilly Isles where Im certain the sun will be shining!


Saturday, 16 July 2011

RBE Day 13 First Aid Course

Good morning! A dreary one today!  Not to worry, I was up today at 6.30 and started making a packed lunch for everyone - for we are off to school today!

We are being picked up at 8.30 the other side of the Dart to be taken to Brixham - to learn First Aid!  Mike seems a little excited by this and thinks he is going to receive the Kiss of Life - even more excited when I said it will involve Annie.........a woman with a head and part of a torso!

Its Pete's birthday today - he has said he would much rather forget it altogether, so we have promised to only remind him of it hourly!

We have a table booked tonight in the new Tapas just along from the boat so we are all looking forward to that - as well as the completion of another course.  First Aid will come in useful after the hazards of Diesel Engine Management!

Catch you later!

Its now 5.45 and the first aid course is complete!  It was fabulous fun - and we all learned so much

Ready, steady, roll!

Our turn now

Our wonderful tutor Tracey

Pete saves another life!

We all had great experience of performing CPR.   Mike was particularly looking forward to the artificial respiration (mouth to mouth) and looked terribly disappointed when plastic heads and torsos came out (I did warn you Mike!)

Mike gets to grip with the torso

Then he makes his move

Not quite what he was expecting, but he performed the mouth to mouth beautifully!

We practiced bandages, and triangular supports and some of us got quite carried away indeed!
We all enjoyed tying one another up with bandages!

Look at my fine work - all he did was nick his little finger - overkill?

A fine job Chris!

Mike looks a little nervous as John bandages him!

We throughly enjoyed the course and now feel better prepared if there should be a medical problem.  It was assumed that my midwifery training and experience would mean I wouldnt have to do the first aid course - but unless anyone on the boat is in labour or havin a postpartum haemorrhage, I really felt the need to do it.  Caring for someone with an electric shock out on the ocean really wasnt part of any module I completed!
Picked up by Neil after the course to be taken back out our boat - he took us to Churston Manor on the way back - fabulous place! 

Chruston Manor

The RBE team!

Pete’s birthday as I have mentioned and we have a meal booked at the new tapas in Dartmouth and we are all starving hungry after our day of studying (although I did make everyone a packed lunch for the day at 6.30 this morning!
Strangest thing, on the ferry from Kingswear to Dartmouth - some very strange blue men appeared……..

Strange blue men in Dartmouth - with Papa Smurf!

Typical dress in Dartmouth - honestly!

Lovely to get back to the boat - even more money moored around us now……..
Enjoyed the evening - treated to the meal by the birthday boy - thanks so much Pete!  Really generous.

Happy Birthday Pete

Back to the cherub to find Jim, Sonya and friends there enjoying the beer there.  So embarrassing to find they then looked up my blog on their i-phones to read what I had written about them yesterday.  Paul their friend had no memory of talking with me yesterday - but asked how he could make comments on my blog.  He was told he could do that - but somehow I seem to be having problems with people uploading comments on here - I have a few, but some do not seem to be coming out - I rather hope this will be the case with him - sorry Paul!

We thought Dartmouth was a very affluent and refined place to be - however, on our way back to the boat we passed by a man who had just been attacked by another man, who was in turn being pined onto the floor by 2 other men with lots of drunk bystanders.  Having completed this first aid course - I was a little upset to find someone with a head injury, AND bleeding was standing up - that was one of the first moves to make with someone in this position - however, I did absolutely nothing as this extensive training taught me to evaluate the danger to myself first…..!
Mike and Pete now wandering back to the boat both speaking with strange accents like country bumpkins from Shropshire - thats their aim - but I think they have their counties wrong as they sound more like Somerset or Dorset!
Sleeping at night, can hear the locals bashing their way at the windows of the nearby cafe - we are far too posh for this place!  Goodnight!