Friday, 3 February 2012

Selling Calypso!

From building, sailing - to  The end of a great project for us, and the beginning of many adventures for someone else. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Rocking and Rolling Round the Island

For Jonah, Calypso, Hattie (Jonah's cousin) and me it was our first Round the Island race and according to the veterans it was the toughest one they can remember. Not sure if that was supposed to make me feel better as I spent most of the time round the back of the Island wishing I could die. Genuinely I think seasickness is up there with childbirth, and similar in that at the time you think "Please remind me never to do this again" but shortly afterwards you think "well, that wasn't so bad really". On the plus side, it was great to see Calypso really pushed and know just how much abuse she can put up with - I actually mean 'hear her pushed' as I was horizontal with my eyes closed at the time that Jeremy, Simon and Fiona were bracing themselves in the cockpit, Kit was battling with the spinnaker pole and being hoisted up the mast to retrieve halyards and the boat was rolling her way down past St Catherine's. Fortunately we had a very accommodating cameraman on board called Harry, who managed to film as well as help during the crisis points. We came a very respectable 23rd overall and 12th in the IRC class but the great excitement of the day was that Nick Rogers aka Uncle Stru won the race and the Gold Roman Bowl in his little Contessa 26 (built in 1968 by Jeremy). 3rd and 4th were big corporate boats, so it really was a triumph. At one point we nearly lost Jonah over the side during a particularly enthusiastic tacking manoeuvre but despite this, and feeling a bit queasy himself, he hasn't been put off and is really looking forward to more adventures in Calypso.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

All together now

That's the great thing about going cruising - we're all together - hectic schedules are forgotten and there's plenty of time to pickle around. On this little cruise we took our scow (pictured) and we all had a chance to sail and motor her around. There were swimming competitions with some friends (Maya was the first one to brave the cold water of the river) and plenty of fishing; Ini caught a huge mullet which he returned to the sea. We're still working with the boys on the concept of tidyness and not getting ALL your clothes soaking wet and thick with mud on the second day of a cruise, which does jeopardise the whole "happy to be together" vibe - but I think we're getting there!?

Monday, 16 May 2011

Hybrid hiccups

Calypso is fitted with a very exciting piece of kit - a diesel electric hybrid engine from Hybrid Marine . The idea of this is that we should be able to use the electric drive for most of our motoring needs - silent and pollution free, with the large bank of batteries necessary being topped up by a number of different methods; the solar panel, the wind turbine or the propeller when the boat is sailing. The generation from the propeller is fairly experimental on a sailing boat and we've had a few teething problems with this side of things. With too little pitch (that's the angle of the blades, in case you were wondering) the regeneration mode simply didn't work, too much pitch and the regeneration mode worked fine, but the engine stalled when being motored in reverse. So, last week Calypso was hauled out of the water once again so that Darglow, the propeller manufacturer could change the pitch again. Hopefully by trial and error we will find the perfect compromise between propulsion and regeneration.
Fingers crossed!

Monday, 9 May 2011

When the cat's away.......

For various reasons too complicated to explain I ended up stranded in Portsmouth recently and Kit decided to come and collect me in Calypso. It was the end of an Easter holidays of beautiful weather and Kit and the boys, including Sweep the dog, set off via Newtown Creek on the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth Harbour to pick me up. My absence meant that the boys had to rise to the occassion; ten year old Jonah steering, Inigo (8) on ropes and fenders and the five year old twins on the bow on lookout as they negotiated their way up into the busy naval port and across the shipping lane. The marina in Portsmouth is right underneath the impressive Spinnaker Tower and in the middle of a busy shopping centre. I arrived by train and found the boys roaring up the pontoon to meet me, followed by Sweep. I had been away for quite a few days and they had taken the opportunity not to change their clothes during this time. They looked SO out of place in the middle of a city centre - filthy, sunburnt but so happy, and very pleased to see me. Before taking them off for an ice cream I asked them to clean up a bit. Turns out that Kit had taken the risky decision to get them to pack for themselves which meant there was an excess of teddies in Rex and Kai's cupboard, fishing tackle in Inigo's and books in Jonah's - but no clean shirts. Cleanliness is overrated anyway!
(Kit didn't pack the camera - this is picture of clean boys)

Monday, 28 March 2011

Is it worth it?

Is it just me, or do most people sometimes resent their boats? For me it's not hours I spend fixing and tinkering but hours my husband Kit spends and I therefore spend looking after the kids on my own. And, (I confess) at the end of the winter I was beginning to wonder if it's worth it. Last weekend I was reminded of 'what it's all about' during our first trip of the season. We had a great friend Jonah Gouin (our son Jonah's namesake) visiting from the US. Kit, Jonah and I have had some great sailing adventures together in a previous life, filming and researching whales and dolphins in some incredible places around the world. Life is a little different now, for us not so exotic and for none of us so carefree but at least we can still get out on the water all together and have some adventures - and that is priceless and yes, I think it is worth it. (Someone please remind me next winter)!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

In again, out again

One of my favourite green alternatives on Calypso is the antifoul - or 'foul release' if I'm to be precise (see Building Calypso). So, when we pulled her out of the water last week we were all really intrigued to see how well it had worked. At first glance she looked pretty much like any boat which has been in the water for six months, but the difference is that after a light spray the paint looks shiny and new. Apart from a few minor war wounds from our eventful weekend at Newtown Creek (see earlier blog "Solent Adventures) she looks absolutely like she was painted yesterday. The manufacturer Hempel say that this new product (called Hempasil X3) should work well for a good 10 years, in which case this is a very, very exciting development - imagine no more copper leaching out into the water, no more annual scrubbing and repainting. Amazing.