March Newsletter – Competition and Casamara Need Crew

March 2012 Vol.1 Issue 7 – Casamara

Latest News

Casamara need Crew

Many of you will be familiar with Casamara, the Discovery 55 that took part in last years ARC Race and posted daily updates of the race on this blog. After a fantastic crossing, they now need to sail her back to the UK from St Lucia. Her skipper is looking for experienced crew that would be interested. Free passage and food is on offer as is an opportunity of a lifetime. They will be leaving Rodney Bay, St Lucia around 22 April 2012 and taking about 30 days to reach the south coast of England stopping off in casamaraBermuda and the Azores. You will need to be an experienced sailor, coastal skipper minimum, and get yourself to St Lucia for departure around the 22 April. If you are in the Caribbean it would be an ideal opportunity to travel to the UK for the Olympics! If you are interested please drop me an email through the contact page of the website (link at the bottom of any lovesail page) and I will pass your details on to the skipper.

March Competition

We are giving away 3, 1 year gold memberships to the site in our March Competition and it’s very easy to enter. Just tell me the top 3 sailing website you visit. Just email me at through the contact page of the site listing your 3 favourites. They must be sailing related websites to qualify, there are no right or wrong answers and please do not list Lovesail! Names will be put into a hat and 3 winners drawn. Please let me have your entries by March 25th 2012 and winners will be notified by email after that date. Memberships will start from 1st April 2012. Good Luck!

Artist Member

One of our members, Brendan Chandler, is a very talented artist and how allowed us to showcase his seascapes on the Lovesail Blog, Lovesail news, please take a look if you haven’t already. If you have a talent that you would like to showcase on the blog, then just drop me a line through the contact page of the website, link at the top of the blog, and we can discuss it.

System Upgrade

We will be upgrading the Lovesail software over the next month, this should not affect members, and you will see some improvements to the site. If you experience any problems then please do email me at the usual address.


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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…….

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 Royal 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


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 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

guest blog

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.  Let’s 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 


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


The first of the fleet is 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

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 


in the groove

ARC Race Casamara are in the groove – Day 8

In the Groove

Day 8 (not sure where Day 7 went!) and the Crew seem to be having a blast and getting in the groove!

Hi everyone,

Today has been another blue sky sailing day with great trade winds.  We have sailed nearly 1200 nm in a week and no engine.  We replaced the broken main sail batten which required a piece being hack sawed off and reconnected with a new connector.  We are running with main sail, solent and poled out genoa and have been experimenting with fine tuning to reduce rolling and wear and tear. We nearly lost the block on the end of the whisper pole but recovered it just in time.  We have now had three Dorado fish on board and they are getting bigger and bigger.  We are all having showers and Iain keeps washing his smalls at an alarming rate.  Iain is doing lots of sextant sights and I have had a go as well but boy is it difficult!  Crew spirit is high and the music has been blaring out and we are getting in the groove.  I am now going off watch now and to bed! SP

 Food wise today, we planned for a Sunday roast, so started out with cereals, fresh fruit and some delicious yoghurt for breakfast. Lunch was indeed roast pork with all the trimmings, accompanied with roast potatoes (of course) and some fine beans and fresh broccoli!  We sat down to enjoy it at around 2.30pm GMT and spend the next three hours talking life stories whilst it all went down.

The members of our crew are all so diverse in their life experiences and fascinating when they get going.  The feeling of camaraderie and shared adventure that we collectively feel, is making for a truly wonderful experience!

Having tested all the GN Espace equipment in the factory numerous times, especially the marine cooker, I knew I had good equipment on board to be able to turn out so good meals and I have been extremely impressed with it’s performance at all levels.  The gas consumption is extremely economical as expected and doing a roast is, along with other more complicated dishes effortless!  Truly does deliver home from home cooking capabilities on board. JK 

So Julian’s Tahitian lure must have done the trick!

If you have just joined us please look back over the previous posts to catch up with Casamara’s sailing adventures during the ARC Race.  To see their position please use the World Cruising Club’s Fleet Viewer

in the groove

Image: Sextant courtesy of El Bibliomata’s Photostream


Day 5 – ARC Race heroes up the mast

Up the mast

Great excitement on Day 5, with mast shenanigans…

Hi Everyone,

Well we were going fine and Charlie and I were on watch commenting on how much fun this was when suddenly the genoa ended up in the water – pitch dark.   All hands on deck and we dragged the sail back on board, The Selden swivel shackle had failed (!!!!!!!!!). We waited until light and discussed a plan. The furler head was up the mast and we needed to get a line on it to haul it down.   First volunteer was Charlie who made a valiant effort.   Second volunteer was Paul who went for a mash and grab.   Third time lucky was Julian who with a different technique was a hero and got a line connected.  Charlie Paul and Julian are true heroes and I am lucky to have them on board.  This was a major task with 15 knots of wind and rolling seas.  Then we were able to pull the furler head down and haul the genoa back up and get underway.

Then the batteries got hot and would not accept the generator charge so we had to take the lids off and allow fresh air circulation.  We now have fully charged batteries!

 So we are all tired and will have early dinners! SP

Julian will now update you on gastro issues:

Well we had all kinds of plans today from baking fresh bread to catching enormous fish, but all seemed to go out of the window sometime slightly before the sun got up!

We ending up having bacon and beans in a sandwich for breakfast and little more than cheese and biscuits for lunch.  For slightly lucky but equally unnecessary reasons as detailed above, I have found myself with an evening off, so am looking forward to what will no doubt be a fantastic supper! from my fellow comrades.

 Despite this brief but equally challenging interlude, we will be back with a full culinary report as from tomorrow! and more news on our fishing tales and overdue successes! JK

What a hero Julian is turning out to be, cooking gastronomic delights on board and scaling masts!  One question though….were they Heinz Beans?!


ARC Race progress can be seen at Fleet Viewer

Visit GN Espace to see the galley equipment Julian is using to cook up his bacon and bean sandwiches!

Image: “There’s bean a murder!” courtesy of robbophoto’s Photostream