Tall Ships

Tall Ships Today

Tall ships, by nature, conjure up images of beautiful examples of historic, traditionally rigged sailing vessels from bygone days that sailed the seven seas in all their grandeur.  In those days however there were many outside influences that made sailing in these tall ships a hazardous journey.  Take for example the perils of pirate intervention and disease that ran rife due to the small amounts of water and food that could be carried on board.  Plus these tall ships were prone to capsizing in heavy seas and storms.  A very different story from today’s Tall ships, the opportunities they offer today – and their modern day meaning.

Nowadays the definition of  “Tall Ships”  has become more closely associated with a an actual event or race for tall ships.   So let’s take a look at how this all came about.

In 1955 a London solicitor, Bernard Morgan, had the idea of organising a race to bring together the last of the world’s great square-rigged ships.  He obtained the support of Earl Mountbatten, and together with influential people in the sailing world, an organising committee was formed and went to work.  The result was a spectacular race from Torbay to Lisbon in 1956 which caught the imagination not only of the public, but also of the media who coined the phrase “Tall Ships’ Race.” It was judged to be such a success that the Committee formed the Sail Training Association,  in order that the Races could be put on a more permanent footing.

For over 50 years Sail Training International has been organising Tall Ships Race events for those vessels engaged in providing sail training to young people (ages 15-25).   There are estimated to be about 1,000 Tall Ships around the world working either full or part-time in sail training. Some of these vessels are specially adapted to provide places for trainees with physical or mental challenges which would normally preclude them from such adventure based activities.  They also cater and provide a number of tall ship places for young people from socially or economically deprived backgrounds.

Many young people participating in these Tall Ships race events describe it as making a real change in their lives with opportunities to develop key life skills such as team work, increased self-esteem and confidence, personal responsibility and leadership skills.  And because the opportunities are worldwide they can also develop a greater awareness, understanding and respect for people from differing cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.

Today there are numerous Tall Ships events held all over the world including the Mediterranean, Adriatic, North America and The Caribbean, alongside the well-established North Sea and Baltic events.  Public interest is immense – making Tall Ships Race Events one the world’s largest spectator attendance of any sport of exhibition worldwide.

And don’t worry there’s plenty of opportunity for those over the age of 25 to experience the wonder of sailing on these tall ships.

If you’re more of the adventurous type looking to take part in a hands-on role in a leg of a Tall Ships race there are a number of organisations worldwide that organise these trips.  Alternatively at the other end of the spectrum you can also enjoy a luxury experience aboard a tall ship in the Caribbean – where you can dream of swashbuckling pirates without the fear of actually seeing them!

tall ships

Annapolis Sailboat Show

Annapolis Sailboat Show, Annapolis, Maryland

Annapolis Sailboat Show Spring edition, will be held from Friday 26th April through to Sunday 28th April, 2013 and will cover a number of locations including the Annapolis City Dock, Ego Alley and Susan Campbell Park.  This is the second Spring event for the Annapolis Sailboat Show, and this year it has expanded the footprint in order to accommodate an even more impressive array of exhibitors and products on display.  Last year the show welcomed visitors from over 30 US states as well as from all around the globe.

This exciting event will cover over 2000’ of floating dock area where over 80 new and brokerage sailboats, both mono and multihull, will be on display.  Visitors to the Annapolis Sailboat Show will have the unique opportunity to board and inspect virtually every new model on the market, make side-by-side comparisons, and talk to experienced representatives in the industry about all the aspects of buying and owning a boat.

To complement the floating dock area there will be a line-up of over 100 exhibitors at the Annapolis Sailboat Show, covering virtually all aspects of marine services and accessories including boating equipment, electronics, clothing and footwear, finance and insurance and much more.

The Annapolis Sailboat Show will also feature the very popular Cruisers University, a four day educational event designed to introduce and train you for life aboard a cruising boat.  The event, billed as “The Ultimate Aid to Navigation”  will feature renowned cruising experts who will teach attendees over 120 hours of elective classes.

Attendees can choose from classes covering  one, three or all four days.   Topics include: Crossing the Gulf Stream, Hurricane Preparation,  Modern Navigation, Blogging and Web Communication On Board, Collision Avoidance and Short Handed Sailing. For anyone sailing, be it near or far, and just needs that extra burst of knowledge then this is the place to be.  The classes will be held at the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel and the Annapolis Recreation Centre and will start on the 25th April.

All visitors to the Annapolis Sailboat Show will be able to register to win door prizes donated from various sponsors and exhibitors.  Prizes range from sunglasses and boat supplies through to the Grand Prize Draw, where the winner gets a two hour private charter for 48 people aboard the Annapolis Schooner Woodwind, courtesy of WRNR Radio.

Anyone with an interest in boating and yachting will enjoy a day out at the Annapolis Sailboat Show, and with entrance fees of $12 for an adult, $4 for children 7-12 years and free entry for children under 6, it’s a great day out for all the family.

 Annapolis Sailboat Show



Image Courtesy of Glenway Rauth

Related Articles: United States Sailboat Show, United States Sailboat Show Annapolis

Nautical Terms

We use numerous well-known terms and phrases in everyday conversation but did you know just how many actually originate from nautical terms?

Well here’s a small selection of words and phrases originating from nautical terms – for your interest and amusement!  Maybe some should be taken with more than a pinch of salt….!


Turn a Blind Eye

So let’s start with one of those well- known phrases, to turn a blind eye,  meaning to ignore intentionally.  In 1801, during the Battle of Copenhagen, Admiral Nelson deliberately held his telescope to his blind eye, in order not to see the flag signal from the commander to stop the bombardment.  And he won!

Feeling Blue

If you’re sad and describe yourself as “feeling blue,” you’re using one of the nautical terms coined from a custom among many old deep water sailing ships.  If the ship lost the captain or any of the officers during its voyage, she would fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along her entire hull when returning to home port.


The term hunky-dory meaning everything is OK was coined from a street named “Honcho-Dori” in Yokohama, Japan.   Since the inhabitants of this street allegedly catered to the pleasures of sailors, it is said the street’s name became synonymous for anything that is enjoyable – or at least satisfactory!

Long Shot

Today it’s a term used for an event that would take an inordinate amount of luck to actually happen, although the origins are deemed to be from nautical terms.   In the early days ships guns were inaccurate except at very close quarters.  So it was extremely lucky for any shot to find its target from any great distance – hence the term – it’s a long shot.

I’m Pooped

My favourite of the nautical terms, to say that you’re pooped basically means that you’re completely washed out, and it comes from seafaring origin.  While in very rough seas if a sailing ship was drenched by waves that reached the poop deck, the highest deck of the ship, it was said to have been pooped – a term sailors used for the ship being completely washed out.

Bite the bullet

To bravely face up to something unpleasant, and bite the bullet, is one of the nautical terms that is  associated with soldiers, as well as sailors.  This originated from the practice of giving sailors and soldiers a bullet to bite during amputations or other surgery before the use of anaesthetics.

Showing your true colours

This expression, meaning to reveal your real intentions, originates from an old warship custom.  The warships would carry an assortment of coloured flags on board from many different countries,  and would fly them in various situations to deceive a potential enemy.

In nautical terms to show your true colours would be to fly the ship’s correct flag – revealing it’s true identity and colours.  A phrase used pretty much universally today.

No room to swing a cat 

This commonly used expression, indicating an extremely cramped or congested place,  is one of the nautical terms originating from the 17th century – and the cat wasn’t of the feline variety!

The cat was a whip with nine lengths of cord, with each cord having nine knots tied into it – the full name for the whip being cat o’ nine tails.  This instrument of torture was used to punish crew members for wrong doing and all hands would be called to the deck to witness the flogging.  With a full crew up on deck to watch, it became so crowded that the cat o’ nine tails was difficult to use without hitting other crew members, in other words “no room to swing a cat”.

The Sun is over the Yardarm

The last of our traditional nautical terms indicates that it is time for a morning drink. It was generally assumed in northern latitudes the sun would show above the foreyard of a ship by 11.00 am.  This was, by custom and rule, the time of the first rum issue of the day for the officers and men – the officers drinking neat rum, and the men’s diluted.

Eventually the phrase was adopted universally as a suitable time to partake in an alcoholic beverage – whatever the time of day!

nautical terms

Related Articles: Nautical Slang

Sail around the World – a dream or reality?

Is it a sailor’s ultimate dream to sail around the world?  Look how these people did it!

You don’t have to be mad to sail around the world – but a small element of madness certainly seems to help in some cases!

Are you the intrepid explorer who would want to sail around the world in the fastest possible time?  Or are you the more laid-back sailor who enjoys a leisurely pace, and would treat  this amazing circumnavigation as a big long holiday?  A 36 year long holiday maybe?  But more about that later….

Whatever your persuasion, to actually sail around the world is no mean feat.  And over the years there have been many people who have undertaken and completed this challenge – however not without a fair degree of controversy in some cases.

Take for example the first person to sail around the world.  To the reasonably educated, or maybe an avid quizzer, Ferdinand Magellan would probably be the answer.  Wrong!  He was the mastermind behind the expedition, but did not complete the voyage as he was killed in a fight with islanders in the Philippines.

The accolade went to Juan Sebastian de Elcano who, after Magellan’s death, eventually sailed the remaining ship back to Spain and completed the journey in 1522  – with only 18 crew out of the original 260 that set off in 1519 – the remainder having lost their lives during the voyage.

Maybe the 260 crew who initially joined Magellan wouldn’t have been so keen to go if they had known it was his intention to sail around the world.  That point Magellan had omitted to tell them when they applied for the crewing jobs – just in case he frightened them away!

The first ever solo, single- handed circumnavigation was made by Joshua  Slocum.  He set off to sail around the world from Boston Harbour, MA  in his 37 foot sloop, Spray on April 24th 1895 and returned into Rhode Island on June 27th 1898, taking just over 3 years for his trip.

British sailor Robin Knox-Johnston, made the first ever solo non-stop circumnavigation, starting his journey in June 1968, and arriving back in the UK 313 days later in his hand made yacht Suhali.  And Ellen MacArthur still holds the record she set in February 2005 for the fastest solo non-stop sail around the world by a woman.  Her record sail in trimaran, B&Q, took  in 71 days 14 hr 18 minutes.

The French also hold several circumnavigation sailing records including the fastest crew to sail around the world.  This was achieved in January 2012 by Loick Peyron and his crew in trimaran Banque Populaire V, during the Jules Verne Trophy taking 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes.

French yachtsman,  Francois Gabart, 29 won the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world sailing race after 78 days at sea, setting a world record and becoming the youngest person in a mono-hull boat to win the competition.  The Vendee Globe  , held every four years, is the only single-handed, non-stop around the world sailing competition and recognised as probably the most challenging sporting event in the world.

Or are you looking for a significantly more leisurely pace?

Abandoning the rat race and sailing off into the sunset is the stuff of daydreams for many.  And that’s just what intrepid couple Bill and Laurel Cooper did.  And they didn’t just sail around the world once – they did it four times – in 36 years!  Bill quit his high flying City job and sold their home in 1976 and sailed away on a boat they built themselves.  In 36 years at sea they have notched up 100,000 nautical miles, sailed across seven seas, travelled 22,000 miles along canals and rivers, and have dropped anchor in 45 different countries.

Or would you go for the super-luxury way to sail around the world, waited on hand and foot in your suite on a cruise liner.  Well if money is no object you could spend £64,000 on a suite for two on a World circumnavigation cruise, taking in 36,746 nautical miles covering 22 countries and 33 ports over a 110 day period.  There’s no hurry to book up for this voyage as it doesn’t go until 2014 – the 2013 sail around the world cruise is completely sold out!

To many avid sailors with time on their hands, the best way to sail around the world would be in a yacht or sail boat of their choice, at a completely leisurely pace and take as long as they want.  Maybe that planned stay in the Caribbean could turn into something a lot longer – and why not!

And if you want to sail around the world with that special person or a friend – or if you’re looking for crew – you could find them on lovesail.com. The ultimate honeymoon –  to sail around the world?   Well check this out – Finding Love on the High Seas

A special journey – in more ways than one!

sail around the world

Sailing tips for single sailors to ensure a smooth voyage!

A light-hearted look at sailing tips to snag your dream sailor

Sailors are renowned for being free-spirited, exciting and adventurous people – all those qualities that make for a great relationship.  But if you’re a newbie sailor you’ll need a few sailing tips to understand those nautical terms and etiquette, just to make sure it’s pretty much plain sailing.  Let’s be honest you’ll be much happier knowing that port is the left of the boat – rather than the place you wish you’d never left!

One of the first sailing tips for dating a sailor is communication.  If you’re looking to sail off into the clear blue yonder with the potential person of your dreams you need to be able to communicate in a vertical position – as well as a horizontal position!

You don’t need to be expert but at least learn some basic sailing tips and add words like “tacking” and “gybing” to your vocabulary – even better if you know what they mean!   And learn what the boom is – and not just for the sound it makes when it hits your head on its way across the boat!

Sailing tip two.  If you fancy sipping champagne, lounging around on the deck while cruising around Caribbean, that’s all well and good.  But you have to remember it’s not all idyllic calm in those waters.  If you think all you need is a string bikini, floppy hat, designer sunglasses and Factor 30 – then think again. Those winds can change in an instant – so be prepared with the appropriate waterproof clothing for your trip – and leave the hairdryer at home!

Sailing tips regarding the vagaries of the on-board toilet are a must!  Always important after the copious glasses of champagne or whatever  your particular tipple is.  Don’t be embarrassed about asking how it works, especially if it uses a manual pump.  You must know when to wet pump and when to dry pump – it will be far less embarrassing in the long run I can assure you!

And of course one of the final sailing tips for singles is where to meet that wonderful sun-kissed sailor.  You can of course go for the local option at your sailing or yacht club.  But for the more adventurous and definitely for more choice, you can log onto Lovesail  and meet your dream sailor.  Check out Love on the High Seas.  See….. it does work!

sailing tips

Heineken Regatta, St. Maarten Feb 28th to March 3rd, 2013 – prepare for “Serious Fun”

Heineken Regatta

Now in its 33rd year, the Heineken Regatta, one of the most famous regattas in the world, will be transforming the island of St. Maarten into an international sailing venue from 28th Feburary to 3rd March, 2013.  This is the Caribbean’s biggest sailing event and is again celebrating top-notch sailing with musical events, parties and a lot of fun.   The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta organisers and hundreds of volunteers will make the island stand out as a world-class boating destination with excellent facilities and events. “Serious Fun” – the slogan coined in 1982- will be the main draw as crews from across the globe man 200 boats of all shapes and sizes to compete in St. Maarten’s crystal-clear tropical waters.

The 5 days of exciting world-class racing features a variety of daily coastal race courses, with between 1 and 3 courses each day, returning to a different marina in the small Caribbean island of St Maarten each evening.  And when the sun sets and the competition ends, the party on the shore begins. That means four consecutive nights of festivities and great music during which Heineken Regatta sailors, tourists and island residents come together to celebrate.

The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta began in 1980 as a three-day event with just 12 boats. In 2007, a fourth racing day was added for spinnakers to compete on both windward and leeward courses and get an extra day of competing before the actual event; spinnakers now compete in the Gill Commodores Cup.  Match-racing series were added in 2009, providing a fierce challenge for skilled sailors.  Match racing involves sailing America’s Cup-style where two boats compete at a time. It’s a style of racing that’s catching on like wildfire worldwide and St. Maarten was one of the first regattas in the Caribbean to add it.

The best part about the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is that anyone can join in – on sea or on land. You don’t need to be a super sailor as there are classes for many types of boat. You don’t even need to own a boat. Several bareboat companies on the island rent yachts for the week.  In addition, there’s a crew board on the regatta website where sailors can sign up to sail on one of the race boats. The whole of St. Maarten – sailors, visitors and locals alike – are welcome to join in the parties where there’s live entertainment and cold Heineken beer. Each year the event definitely lives up to its slogan of Serious Fun!

For information on the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, contact:

St. Maarten Yacht Club
Website: www.heinekenregatta.com

heineken regatta


Image Courtesy of sraggio

Jolly Harbour Valentine’s Regatta and Rum Festival

Jolly Harbour Valentine’s Regatta – Where sailing meets fun!

Jolly Harbour Valentine’s Regatta, Antigua, which takes places from February 14-16, 2014 is celebrating its 21th anniversary – and with some style!  This international event is organised by the Jolly Harbour Yacht Club, and this year adds a new dimension in the shape of a Rum Festival supported by several major rum companies.  Competitors and visitors alike are invited to partake in a variety of rum-based events – as shore-side post-racing activities!  So don’t be deterred if you’re not a sailor as the parties and events are open to sailors and non-sailors alike.

Jolly Harbour Valentine’s Regatta and Rum Festival, billed as “Where sailing meets fun!,” will include three days of professionally-managed fun racing for boats with a maximum 10-foot draft.  Classes are available for CSA-rated boats, bareboats, Carriacou sloops, Lasers, Dragons and other one-design boats and dinghies.  And there will also be a pursuit race series with individual starts rather than fleet starts – ideal for those who prefer a more casual approach to racing.  This vibrant sailing event will also feature a poker run which, along with the dinghy racing, will provide perfect viewing opportunities for spectators.jolly harbour

There will also be shore-based events each evening from Friday, February 14th through to Sunday February 16th.  The Rum and Bites Party will  kick off the Jolly Harbour Valentine’s Regatta on Friday evening.  This will take place on the lawn adjacent to Jolly Harbour Marina and will offer party goers will seven different Caribbean rums including Angostura, Appleton Estates, Bacardi, Clements, El Dorado, English Harbour Rum and Mount Gay Rum.  And to complement the run there will also be a selection of delectable foods available from local restaurants and vendors.  On Saturday the Commercial Centre of Jolly Harbour will host the English Harbour Rum and Rythms Party featuring live bands and a DJ to dance the night away.

The final party, Rum on the Beach, will take place on Jolly Harbour’s south beach on Sunday 10th February beginning at 2pm.  Entertainment will include beach cricket, Chickie Hi-Fi, Spirited Bank and the Jolly Harbour Valentine’s Regatta Awards Party.  Laser Pico racing will be in action off the beach from mid-morning through to mid-afternoon.  Organisers are inviting boat owners to head to the beach to enjoy the festivities, and families from across Antigua are invited to spend a fun afternoon at the Regatta.  For those wanting to get out on the water, Wadadli Cats will be offering a tour on Sunday to watch the races.  Boarding at approximately 9am, the tour will include lunch and drinks and will arrive back at the Jolly Harbour south beach in time for the afternoon beach party.

jolly harbourJolly Harbour Marina, the Official Host Marina Sponsor of the Jolly Harbour Valentine’s Regatta and Rum Festival, has also announced that it is offering a “three nights for the price of two” special for boats that won’t be racing, but plan to visit Jolly Harbour Marina to enjoy the Regatta and Rum Festival.  To take advantage of this special offer, contact Jolly Harbour Marina at info@jhmarina.com

So don’t miss out on the Jolly Harbour Valentine’s Regatta and Rum Festival – get out there and enjoy the best of rum and racing!


All Images copyright Lovesail.com

Beach Chic Discount for Love Sail Members

Beach Chic

Beach Chic the online shop selling nautical gifts and goodies is offering members of Lovesail, the dating and social networking site for passionate sailors, 15% discount on all products sold in the online shop.

Beach Chics aim is to capture the vision of the blue circle, which is a 360 degree view of the sea and bring it affordably into homes and offices by using their design team to create products that give you that nautical feeling, as well as memories of  nostalgic and romantic times spent at the seaside.  They produce many of the items in-house and are working with many individual talented designers in the UK, most of whom live by the coast and are passionate about producing exclusive products for BeachChic.
So whether its a seascape print, stak jak chair, sailboat lamp or a beach hut money box, BeachChic are offering a 15% discount to all members of Lovesail on any of the products sold in the online shop. Just order your gifts and enter the code at the checkout.  The code can be found on the  “Member Home”  page of Lovesail when you log into your Lovesail account.


beach chic beach chicbeach chic beach chic

Extreme Sailing Series or Extreme 40 Sailing Series

What is the Extreme Sailing Series?

I’m fairly new to sailing as you will know, and keep seeing tweets and references to the Extreme Sailing Series at the moment.  I’m not sure what this is so thought what better way to learn than to write a blog about it.

So, the Extreme Sailing Series is a series of  sailing races.  Currently the teams use  a class of catamaran called Extreme 40.  As the number would suggest, the catamarans are 40 feet long and, coincidentally, can attain speeds of 40 knots.  Other impressive statistics include a mast length of 62 feet, a 23 foot beam, extreme sailing seriesa mainsail measuring 75 square meters, a jib of 25 square meters and a Gennaker of 110 square meters.  They displace 1250 kg of water (slightly more than me!)  and sorry for the inconsistancy in units of measurement!

The series of races,  now in the 5th year, is a globlal event with races taking place in nine venues around the world.  These nine venues, or Acts, will result in 282 races being won or lost, each lasting 20 minutes and for a total of  47 days.  Here are the venues and dates:

Act 1 Muscat, Oman 22-24 February 2011

Act 2 Qingdao, China 15-17 April 2011

Act 3 Istanbul, Turkey 27-29 May 2011

Act 4 Boston, USA 30 June to 4 July 2011

Act 5 Cowes, UK 6-12 August 2011 (on my doorstep)

Act 6 Trapani, Italy 16-18 September 2011

Act 7 Nice, France 30 September – 2 October 2011

Act 8 Almeria, Spain 12-16 October 2011

Act 9 Singapore 9-11 December 2011

The teams seem to be representing their countries (11 in total) and currently the leaders after Act 7 are Groupe Edmond de Rothchild (France) with 61 points followed by Luna Rosa (Italy) on 59 points and third is Emirates Team New Zealand (New Zealand)  with  54 points.  Points are allocated as follows: 1st place = 11 points, 2nd place = 10 points, 3rd place = 9 points, I think you get the idea, and penalty points can be awarded for crashing into other boats, or causing a nuisance by sailing badly.  Double points are awarded for the final race at each venue, which can result in some very extreme sailing and a tense finish.   The winners of the series receive just the honour of winning!  Recent changes have meant that the sailing courses are set out close to shore at each venue so spectators have an up close and personal view of the action, and it really is not to be missed.

All that remains to say is if you would like to know more there is an excellent website at Extreme Sailing Series.  Here you can find information on all the teams, the results, venues and also photos and videos of the Acts.  See you in Almeria!

Image courtesy of untipogratico

Polypipe Regatta

The Polypipe Regatta – Portsmouth Harbour Yacht Club

Yesterday I was lucky enough to sail in the Polypipe Regatta.  This is a sailing day for novice and experienced sailors to have a fun day racing around Port Solent.

With around 70 boats taking part, the day started around 8am with tea, coffee and bacon sandwiches at Portsmouth Harbour Yacht Club.  Then we found our allocated boats, chartered from Sunsail, and after a quick safety briefing we were off.  We motored out of the Harbour and once out of the Harbour we practised putting up and taking down the spinniker.  We motored off to the starting point and waited…and waited….and waited!  The wind had dropped and all was dead calm.  We strained at the radio to hear starters orders, but nothing.  Lunch came and went as did the sandwiches and finally at around 1.30 we were given the course instructions and the countdown began.  We tacked around the starting line and were in a good position when the race began.  No sooner had we started then the wind dropped again and we just sat dead in the water.  We inched forward to try and catch the wind and eventually we were lucky and were off.   The course was short and once we had rounded the first marker and were on the homeward stretch the wind dropped again and we finally limped over the line in 8th position.  As soon as we crossed the line, the wind picked up and we were off.  The Yacht Club called it a day and we all made for home, some under sail, some under motor, for tea and cake back at base.

Despite the calm conditions much fun was had by all the crews and much money was raised during the Polypipe Regatta for The British Heart Foundation and John Merrick’s Sailing Trust

If you would like more information or would like to charter a boat for your company next year go to Polypipe Regatta

Polypipe regatta

The 2 Pauls!

polypipe regatta

Me at the helm!

polypipe regatta

A Lost Gaffer?