Day 17 – Nearly there…….

Day 17 nearly there..

Sorry I’m late posting this one, busy day, so nearly there and some history about the Northumberland Fusiliers…….

Hi Everyone

Very nearly there and what a great trip. Shame that we have had to motor the last three hundred miles but it has allowed us to clean and tidy Casamara. A few minor repair jobs scheduled for ST L. Thanks to everyone on board and bigger thanks to my wife and family who have indulged me in this adventure. Love to you all. Simon P

Over to Charles for the history lesson and Julian for gastro news.

Battle for St Lucia – the feather in my cap

Charlie’s second contribution and one that he’s keen to write as he has a story to tell; its one that isn’t however related to life on Casamara over the last 24 hours but is pertinent to our imminent “nearly there”arrival to St Lucia. In 1778, the British Army was sent to St Lucia to make battle with the occupying French and restore British sovereignty over the Island. The Northumberland Fusiliers, the 5th of Foot, was the unit selected to take on this task. Battle was joined on St Lucia, and the white feather hackles from the headdress of the defeated French soldiers were taken by the Geordie victors and worn in their hats. The popular myth is that the white feather hackles had red tips because they were dipped in French blood. The truth behind the story is that the Northumberland Fusiliers new addition to their uniform was so admired back in England that all infantry regiments were ordered to wear them; to give the triumphant Northumberland Fusiliers the recognition they deserved they were given a Royal status, thus the red tips. I (Charlie) am a serving soldier in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the descendent regiment of the Northumberland Fusiliers, so have worn the hackle with pride every day of my service and will be wearing one in sailing hat today as we land. A few days in St Lucia gives me the opportunity to understand the detail of the run up to the confrontation in 1778 and visit the battlefield(s); very exciting if that’s what fires your rockets. If you want to know more about the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers do visit the Regiment’s Headquarters in the Tower of London adjacent to the Jewel House. Charlie

fusiliers

Well we are now only 6 hours from our destination, our ETA is just past midnight local time. I do have a similar feeling now to when I finished a trip I did some years ago, when we sailed from Hawaii to Tahiti. That trip was 2,500 miles straight down the middle of the Pacific. Essentially myself and my traveling companion Tom had overstayed our welcome on the US mainland and rather than try to leave via an international airport, we decided to fly to Hawaii (classed as an internal flight) and to slip away by boat instead. Having spent some time on Maui, we left around midnight one night and just sailed off in a 37 foot yacht that was very basic to say the least. It had no engine and no heads and the only means of navigation was a sextant. After nearly 4 weeks at sea and having overcome all sorts of challenges, we landed on Maupiti which is one of the outermost islands in the Tahitian island group and then had the pleasure of visiting Raiatea, Bora Bora and finally Tahiti itself!

As you know this trip has been somewhat different in terms of the total quality of the vessel we have sailed in, but the feeling of achievement is none the less because of that! I’m not sure quite yet, what we will have as our final supper before heading into the local restaurants for the rest of the time we all have in the Caribbean, but lunch was a filling pasta dish with prawns, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts and herbs all wrapped up in a white wine and cream sauce. I have very much enjoyed writing about my culinary adventure on this trip and hope that you have enjoyed reading about it. If you would like to keep up with my cruising cuisine column, you will find it in the Sailing Today Magazine, where over the following few months, I will be featuring some of the dishes that I have prepared over the past few weeks. Also a selection of the recipes will, as always be posted on our website GN Espace or you can always email me directly for information at julian@gn-espace.com on any of the issues and galley equipment highlighted on this trip.

One final mention is that of a new GN Espace cookery course that we will be launching at the London Boat Show in January 2012.  Adam Gray, my Michelin starred colleague, who has his own cookery school in Northamptonshire and I will be doing a series of cookery courses, partly land based there in Northamptonshire and partly yacht based in the Solent, for anyone who would like to get more acquainted with the rudiments of galley catering. Again for more details please email me at my email address above or come and see me at the London Boat Show in January 2012.

Thanks again to everyone who has followed our progress and good luck in all your sailing adventures, wherever they may take you. Julian Kimberley 

Image: St Lucia Sunset courtesy of Ardyiii’s Photostream

 

Day 16 – Crew Overboard on the Penultimate Day

Crew Overboard

I was starting to worry the blog wouldn’t be coming today but now I know why….Caribbean time!  So here we have Day 16 – crew overboard!

Day 16

Hello everyone

Our penultimate day at sea!

There was a hole in the wind predicted a week or so ago where there was little or no wind just off St Lucia. We had hoped by the time we reached the area affected, it would have moved on but no such luck! We managed to keep going under sail slightly longer than other yachts due to our northerly approach, but when the wind moved onto our nose and had dropped anyway to below 5 knots, we too had to concede that the engine would be required to get us in, unless that is, we wanted to spend another week 350 miles away from all the celebrations!

One rather unexpected benefit though of this lull, was the chance to go for an Atlantic swim! Crew Overboard.  Skipper Simon had always said that if the opportunity arose he would be the fist to go in and indeed he was! We took it in turns to dive off the bow and swim to the stern where we had trailed some warps and fenders to catch onto. Even in what was then incredibly calm, almost motionless seas with hardly any wind, the speed at which the boat and you drift apart is quite staggering! All safely back on board and lots of photos taken, sprits were as high as they have ever been!

We decided also to go onto St L time today, so all the clocks and watches got put back 4 hours. It made for a longer day of course and as the decision to change happened at 12.30 GMT it was now 8.30 am Caribbean time. Tim, (quick as ever) chipped in that whilst he had was just waking up for his watch and some lunch, it was now really time for breakfast and fancied a full English! Needless to say this was met with a chorus of approval and I was duly dispatched to do the honors. Lunch was served at 2pm local time and consisted of a Gem and Iceberg lettuce salad, with baby tomatoes, beetroot and a balsamic dressing, accompanied by a platter of cheese, some cold meats and warm baguettes. It is such a lovely lunch of which I never tier and reminds me so much of lazy summer holidays spent with my family over the years in various places in France but more latterly in the Dordogne region just outside Bergerac, wonderful memories! Dinner was beef steaks, cooked medium rare with a mushroom and grain mustard sauce and mashed potatoes. All in all delicious and a thoroughly well fed crew.

Fresh stocks continue to hold up well and we could easily be out here for another couple of weeks and still not have to resort to tins. I have to say too that the galley on these Discovery yachts is a real pleasure to work in and with the integrated galley system that we supply to Discovery and other leading boat builders is extremely safe and efficient. Both Discovery and ourselves regard and describe it as the benchmark for modern galley design and fit.The only other consideration for anyone looking to do long ocean passages with their yacht would be the refrigerated under floor gastronorm container pods and other gastronorm storage options and to perhaps upgrade from the standard/traditional single axis gimbaled GN Espace cooker to our unique multi directional gimbaled version (MDG). All the cookers come with the choice of either gimbals but with the MDG version you have the advantage of a cooker that takes care of pitch as well as heel and has an almost gyroscopic effect, ensuring an even more level, comfortable and safe cooking experience whilst at sea. The other advantage with this particular model is that it gives yacht designers an alternative as to where they can site the cooker in the galley, traditionally on the port or starboard sides of the yacht. With this version it allows for the cooker to be fitted athwart ships if required and consequently can lead to more options in galley design and layout.

Look forward to updating you all on our arrival in St L in around 20 hours time. JK 

For more details on the gastronorm system visit GN Espace

Follow Casamara’s arrival on the Fleet Viewer

crew overboard

Image: Crew Overboard courtesy of someone on board!

 

 

Day 15 – A Guest Blogger on the Guest Blog!

Guest Blog

Day 15 – Charlie’s guest blog

Civilization as we know it and the skipper is chilled; so this blog, my first, is from Charlie – the new boy on the block. Until I arrived in Las Palmas I had not met any of the crew – it was a leap of faith and one that I have no regrets. Day 15, week 2 and my god what an experience it has all been. We have just eaten the most fabulous Sunday Lunch thanks to skipper Simon, with more than a little help from our talented Julian. Roast lamb (laced with knobs of garlic), roast potatoes, cauliflower, leeks in a white sauce and gravy; and this was all consumed with hardly a movement from Casamara. She was bowling along at 7.5 knots on the most delicious broad reach, stable, powerful and purposeful. For we are up against it. The weather is changing. For 14 days we have enjoyed the trade winds which, to quote the book, in November are “almost guaranteed to blow at 15 – 20 knots”‘ … until now. We are 450 nm from St Lucia but the winds are forecast to turn light and fluky and possibly disappear altogether. There was lots of debate on board this morning as to whether we should continue on our current strategy – a northerly hook into Rodney Bay, or whether a southern approach would be more fruitful. Our goal is still to complete the crossing without using our engine. I suspect that this may be reviewed if we have to sit motionless for 24 hours!

I have been the radio op for the trip reporting in to the net controller and taking down the progress of our friends in the radio group on a daily basis; you guys at home are far better informed being able to study progress on the ARC website. I am very much looking forward to meeting some of the voices in the flesh in St Lucia as there are some interesting sounding characters. There have been a couple of Happy Birthday serenades transmitted; although we haven’t had any birthdays on board, Simon’s son Alex and my son Olli are both turning 20 tomorrow and December 7 respectively. Amazingly, both are in their first year at Newcastle University, so Happy Birthday boys – have you met each other yet?

So what of Casamara – she is quite the most outstanding yacht, safe, seaworthy and very comfortable. What do I particularly like? The ability to make fresh water and to to have a shower every day. It is very humid even out at sea and as I type I am glowing gently; so having a shower makes such a difference. And we have a big fridge, and freezer so everything is cool! Time has flown; it’s been a great crew with lots of laughs. Thank you Simon and thanks Casamara for a wonderful experience. Love to all our families at home and see you soon – have all the Christmas cards been written? Charlie.

What a wonderful guest blog from our guest blogger! There is very little to add on the food front, as following on from our mega Sunday lunch, we have all just been helping ourselves to light snacks this evening and watching a few movies between watches. The general feeling of anticipation now that we are closing on St Lucia is growing by the minute. We have started to think about awards for each other (all very comical) and will no doubt be in a position to enlighten you more, once we have agreed the final categories! Fish have continued to elude us these past few days, but we have still not yet launched our secret weapon! I think I will finally unleash that tomorrow and can confidently predict a fish supper tomorrow night!! JK 

guest blog

Thank you to Charlie for a great first guest blog and indeed Simon and Julian for sending in such regular and informative updates on life aboard an ARC Race Yacht.  Lets hope for some pick up in the trade winds for an engine-less arrival.

Julian’s website can be found at GN Espace

Image: Courtesy of Landhere’s Photostream

 

Day 14 – Under 700nm to go

700nm to go

700nm to go and Roast Lamb.  This has to be my favourite roast, I hope you managed to cook it without any mishaps…..

Day 14

Hi everyone,

We are now under 700nm to ST L. Today has been quiet with just one gybe to check gear etc.

We have watched films, drunk beer and sun bathed. Had the company of some dolphins for circa 45 mins, which was nice. Have seen one other yacht today. Apparently we are 3rd in our class and hope to maintain or improve this! SP

My watch took me up until 9am this morning, so I went off to bed and slept until midday when my watch started again. I think it’s the first time I have done that and felt fantastic as a result!

Lunch was potato salad with a selection of cold meats and warm baguettes. Skipper asked for the mayonnaise on the potato salad to have some grain mustard in it, so I duly obliged and I have to say it adds quite a bit to the flavour. Dinner was tuna steaks with basmati rice and a cranberry sauce, which I thought might be a little festive now that we are after all into December. Tomorrow is our roast day and we plan to have roast leg of lamb with all the usual bits! It’s hard to believe that it’s been a week since we last had our roast pork, each day just seems to merge into the last but we are certainly eating well!

I promised to mention the vacuum packing and the advantages it has not just over the food but in other areas as well. It is worth mentioning that Adam Gray my colleague and Michelin starred chef, who will also be presenting with me at the London Boat Show 2012 is a specialist in this field. He will have many more tips I’m sure but a few that I have found most useful, are the fact that you can store food in portion controlled bags, which helps reduce wastage and keeps liquids sealed in and not running around the bottom of the fridge. Fresh food that looks like it is about to turn can then be cooked, vacuum packed again and then kept for longer still! The speed marinating that can be achieved with the GN Espace vacuum containers is an obvious one too and the fact that all sorts of pre-prepared meals can be stored in this way. In fact there is so much to write about on the subject and how it helps on such a trip, we may have to give over a whole session at London 2012 just to cover it! Other areas though are equally varied, for example if you want to keeps tools and emergency items secure and free from salt water contamination, or paper charts dry etc, the options are endless.

It often strikes me that racing crews if not already, should take advantage of such ideas, certainly for their food on board. I know from what I have read that they mainly favour the dried food option, which these days can be quite tasty I’m told, but I still wonder if that is the right one for moral? If not continuous, they often have legs at sea, twice that of the one that we will have crossing here and moral has got to be a fundamental issue with keeping those crews in the best possible racing shape both physically and mentally. Fresh food, if it can be made available, would I suggest go along way to helping in this regard. Cooking is a 24 hour issue too and having to race on the edge of each point of sail, must make life in the galley a significant challenge. We need to be talking more to the organisers and participants of such events, to see where we can suggest such additions and alternatives and certainly possible changes/improvements to their existing galley design and equipment. JK 

700nm

Main Image: Roast Lamb courtesy of Acme’s Photostream

Other Images:  GN Espace Vacuum Storage.

 

Day 13 and thoughts turn to home.

Home Thoughts

Thoughts turn to home on Day 13

Hi Everyone

Busy night last night with squalls, so everyone has had a restful day today. The full English got put back to lunch and we duly sat down to the ‘works’ at 3pm after the ARC radio net reports.

This evening we had a simple supper of cheese and biscuits with some slices of apple. I think everyone is hoping for a quiet night tonight and some sleep! Tomorrow I will do report on how the vacuum packing has gone so far, certainly we are in no danger of running out of fresh food and have found that it also has many other uses for life on board!

As we get into the last 4 or 5 days of the crossing, I find my thoughts turning increasingly to life at home. I have been thinking a great deal about my family and friends and can’t wait to see everyone. Our little girl Isabella who is 4, nearly 5 is starring as Mary in her school Christmas play early next week and as I will still be out here having this wonderful experience, shall sadly miss it. I am so proud of her, she is such a little star and will be brilliant, of that I have no doubt! Hopefully there will be plenty of video taken, so shall look forward to seeing all of that on my return! JK

home

The first of the fleet are arriving in St Lucia  now so visit the World Cruising Club site to catch up with the news.

For more details on the vacuum storage system Julian has mentioned visit GN Espace

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Day 11 Again! – Squalls

Squalls on Day 11

Day 11 again, maybe this is due to crossing time zones or the squalls!

Hi everyone

Great day sailing with some good boat speed. Also experienced our first squalls – which I find quite intimidating as they come very quickly with big increases in wind and more challengingly wind direction. We have radar on during the night so we can spot them ahead.

Casamara is going really well – the design and build quality really shine through on a trip like this.

We are now under 1000nm and bets have started on ETA in St Lucia.  So will now hand over to Julian for gastro news. SP

We have had a good day today food wise despite me feeling a little weary.  I am sleeping in the forepeak and we have had some big swells and squalls the last few nights and sleeping has been very tough to say the least!

Breakfast continues to be of a healthy light variety, although the boys have tonight put in a request for a full English, so that will be my first job in the morning!

Lunch today was pasta with smoked salmon and herbs in a white wine and cream sauce and proved to be very popular, as even the skipper asked for more! Dinner tonight was one of my old favourites, Beef in Guinness! It doesn’t take long to do and is really one of those dishes that warms the heart. I sweated off some onions in a pan with some olive oil, a little garlic and then added some sauté potatoes left over from last night. Having got Tim to dice some carrots and some celery for me, all that went in too for a sauté, along with the usual seasoning. I then transferred all this along with some chopped mushrooms to one of our GN Espace casserole dishes with the liquid sealable lid. I then diced some stewing beef and coated it in flour. Using a little olive oil, I sautéed all this in the same pan as before until the edges of the beef turned brown and then added it to the casserole dish with all the rest of the ingredients. Pour over a bottle of Guinness, a splash or two of red wine, a little Worcestershire sauce, season again to taste and once the lid is firmly in place, put into the oven rack and allow to cook. Once ready, I served it with some potatoes and a little butter. This time they all asked for more! Luckily I had prepared plenty, as it so often tastes even better the following day. If you would like to see any recipes such as the Beef in Guinness, you can find a selection on our website at www.gn-espace.com

I promised to mention a little more about the integrated system that we have for the galley and I have to say that doing this trip has only made me wonder even more how people cope without it! In even light sea conditions the boat rocks and in an Atlantic swell or similar, it rocks a great deal! Preparing and cooking food in such conditions is not for the faint hearted! Sure you can just opt for the pot noodle, but why should you have to? This system ensures that everything stays where you put it, similar to a jig saw puzzle, all the bits fit together to complete the picture. The gastronorm containers that we use are the building blocks of the system and fit with not only the GN Espace cookers but the Waterstation sinks, fridge/freezer, under floor fridge/freezers/larder and cupboard storage etc.

All different sizes of gastronorm container fit in the same way with all the individual bits of kit by orientating them one way or the other. Like an A4 piece of paper, it can be scaled up or down depending on your requirements. The Waterstation sinks double the surface area of the galley as you can work on multi levels, so you can prepare food more easily and even more importantly your cooked/hot food stays firmly held in it’s built in fiddle when you need to serve it. Essentially you can take your dish/dishes of whatever gastronorm size you want straight from storage to your Waterstation sink for preparation, all held firmly in place, then into your oven to cook, again where the shelf design hold all dishes firmly in place, so there is no likelihood of having it slide out onto your toes. Once cooked it goes safely back to the Waterstation sink again for serving. The same dishes can be used for storage. cooking and serving and consequently greatly reduce any resulting washing up!. This description may give you an over view of the system and how it works, although it is really only the beginning, as you can go on adding bits like central serving stations in both the saloon and cockpit tables and so on, The central serving station is a wonderful addition if entertaining guests on board and a feature I know some of the larger major boat builders are choosing to opt for, as it allows for both a hot and chilled facility. I suppose in essence you can have as much or as little of the system as you like, the cookers are unrivalled in the marine market as a stand alone item, but when you add the other aspects of the system to them, then you truly transform the galley into some where you can comfortably go and work in all sea conditions. I hope one day soon, someone comes up with a similarly clever system for those who have to go up the mast in such conditions! JK 

squalls

Day 9 – Gybing

Gybing

Day 9 – Gybing already!

Hi everyone,

Beautiful morning spent lazing around.  This afternoon it was a bit cloudy and we took the pole down to check for wear and tear and then gybed.  This evening the wind has picked up and we are up to 20 plus knots.

We have participated in the SSB net, which allows us to share experiences and wind tactics. (Nigel the net controller is a bit of a legend on Casamara!) Our SSB appeared to work well today as we have problems with the net hearing us.

We have seen no other yachts, just sea and more sea. We have finished our first twenty litre wine box and on to the next. We expect to be half way tomorrow lunch time (GMT)

I am just about to go on watch and it is very dark. The moon hardly appears and sets very early. SP

Food wise, it’s been fish and more fish just recently!  As soon as Tim, our resident comic (and believe me he is funny) puts his line in the water, he comes up with something!  We have attached a photo (above left) of his most recent conquest, although he is not one of the two in the shot, out of sheer modesty! It is in fact our charismatic skipper Simon and technical wizard Iain.

The Dorado was filleted and in the pan within minutes despite the gybing. It was done with a little butter and herbs with the skin on, it doesn’t require de-scaling and the skin is in fact one of the tastiest bits.

We are all feeling replete and pretty healthy.   Supper tonight was Tortellini pasta with chorizo sausage and pesto sauce, a favorite of Paul’s, along with a little white wine!

Tomorrow is my preferred watch day, it gives me 6 daylight hours off, so I will have time to bake a cake and make some soup.  I have my beautiful wife to thank for the cake recipe I plan to do tomorrow, as she regularly does the cakes in our house and having regaled the boys about how good they are, they are all now eager to see if I too can pull it off!

We are approaching half way and the food stocks are holding up very well indeed.  We will have no problems at all with the fresh food diet we have planned for ourselves during the crossing, thanks to the vacuum packing and rotation of stock with the fridge/freezer, it all seems to be working nicely to plan.

I will talk a little more over the next few days about the integrated system my business partner Ralph originally came up with for the yacht’s galley, which started our company GN Espace five years ago.  It truly does revolutionise the way you can cater and cook whilst afloat and if interested in good food and especially safety in the galley, it is a must in my opinion for any off shore experience! JK 

I have just one question….when SP says they expect to be half way by lunchtime, does this refer to the voyage or second winebox?!

gybing

Image: Crescent Moon courtesy of El coleccionista de instantes Photostream

 

 

ARC Race Update from Casamara

ARC Race Update

How exciting, Julian has sent in the first of what I hope to be many first-hand reports on the ARC Race (see previous post Creative Cuisine for the Casamara Crew).  Here it is:

Day 1

 

Everyone is ok and getting their sea legs at the beginning of the ARC Race.  We did 165 nm in first day.  we appear to have gone slightly more east than others but are now going SW.  have been flying two head sails and main and sailing along at a speed of circa 7.5 knots.

 

First night was a bit bumpy as we hit the wind acceleration zone but today was all blue skies.

 

We treated ourselves to a full english breakfast to ensure we weren’t too concerned as to what time we would get lunch. However as things turned out, we had a great start and sat down to smoked salmon and brown bread around three, I had been told when joining the boat that one of our watch leaders Paul, did a legendary spag bol and was going to offer to do supper that first night, I gratefully accepted and have to say the legend lives on!.
 

 

 

To Follow Casamara’s progress visit the Fleet Viewer

ARC Race

Many thanks to Julian from GN Espace

Image: The ARC Race fleet as seen using Fleet Viewer at World Cruising Club

 

Atlantic Rally for Cruisers or ARC Race

The ARC race

The ARC race is one of the biggest trans-ocean yacht races in the world.  Starting this year in November from Las Palmas Gran Canaria and using the North-East trade winds, over 200 yachts will travel the 2700 nautical mile route to finish in St Lucia about 3 weeks later.

 Dates:

25 November 2012

24 November 2013

The Race

The race is open to anyone that has had a minimum of 500nm cruising experience.   Also the Skipper an one other crew member need to have undertaken a minimum level of training and the boat needs to have certain safety and communication equipment on board.  The World Cruising Club organise a series of seminars and training courses to help prepare the entrants for the rally.  It also helps if you are slightly unhinged!  It is an annual event and very popular.

Arc Race Entries

Entries are taken from October in the year before the race with the deadline for entries being 1st April in the year of the race.  However, it is advised to book as soon as possible.  Register with the ARC Race website to receive notification when the entry list opens.

ARC Race

ARC Race

To get a flavour of the race, Lovesail was lucky enough to post a daily diary from the crew of Casamara, a Discovery 55 which  took part in the race.  To read the entries just see here or look under Sailing and Boating Events and then Racing at the top of this page.

Here is a excerpt: Day 15 – Civilization as we know it and the skipper is chilled; so this blog, my first, is from Charlie – the new boy on the block. Until I arrived in Las Palmas I had not met any of the crew – it was a leap of faith and one that I have no regrets. Day 15, week 2 and my god what an experience it has all been. We have just eaten the most fabulous Sunday Lunch thanks to skipper Simon, with more than a little help from our talented Julian. Roast lamb (laced with knobs of garlic), roast potatoes, cauliflower, leeks in a white sauce and gravy; and this was all consumed with hardly a movement from Casamara. She was bowling along at 7.5 knots on the most delicious broad reach, stable, powerful and purposeful. For we are up against it. The weather is changing. For 14 days we have enjoyed the trade winds which, to quote the book, in November are “almost guaranteed to blow at 15 – 20 knots”‘ … until now. We are 450 nm from St Lucia but the winds are forecast to turn light and fluky 

For more information visit the World Cruising Club website where you can also follow the fleet as they cross the Atlantic.

Image Rogue Nublo, Gran Canaria courtesy of maccanti’s Photostream