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 10 – Casamara Spa Day!

Spa Day

Day 10 and the well-fed crew of Casamara decide on a Spa Day…….

Hi Everyone,

Well we achieved half way and rather than celebrate with a big meal as the rest of the fleet appear to have done (we have a big meal everyday) my crew decided to treat the skipper to a SPA DAY.  This involved filling the hot tub behind the wheel (A discovery 55 unique feature) and being treated to a MANICURE AND PEDICURE (with industrial nail files) tomatoes over the eyes and a facial.  See picture below.

On the sailing front we are now on to mark three of the whisper pole set up devised by Iain and Charlie, which seems to be working well.  We have gybed once and now on a course of 297 degrees.  We have seen no other yachts but heard from Island Wanderer.

The only other information to report is that the crew have now discovered that I use the forward heads under cover for a particular procedure!!!! Charlie and I are on watch from 12 -3am – last night was relatively windy up to 28 knots so hoping for a quieter watch! Apparently it was very bumpy for those trying to sleep – sorry. SP

Hi everyone, yes Skippers Day today to celebrate the half way mark.  He has had lots of pampering during the spa day, as you can see! (and well deserved too)!  The crew had decided, that due to his outstanding leadership so far, it was the least we could do and his great sense of humour and huge sense of fun, has allowed us to post the attached!

I have a night off tonight, because Simon and Charlie are cooking, so am sitting chatting looking forward to our party night supper.  I did do the cake though today as promised and that will be our desert. I will let you know Fi (my wife) what the boys think, but it’s looking good so far!

For lunch we finished off the Dorado fillets that we had left over from yesterday and I poached them in white wine, with lemon and parsley (delicious) accompanied by a mixed leaf salad.

So back to the half way mark spa party and look forward to regaling you with (some of) the inevitable stories tomorrow! JK

For details on the galley solutions visit GN Espace

Image: A land-based Spa Day! Courtesy of ex_magician’s Photostream



Day 9 – 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?!


Image: Crescent Moon courtesy of El coleccionista de instantes Photostream



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

a fish

Day 6 – A fish as last for Casamara’s Crew

 A Fish, a fish, my kingdom for a fish!

A fish at last for Casamara’s crew to feast upon.

Hi everyone,

As you can see from our track we are now going west having come South to avoid the wind hole.  We will be on this tack for circa 1700nm having done over a 1000nm is just 6 days.

After the challenges of the genoa shackle and mast climbing yesterday we have had a quiet day sitting in the sun and chilling out – this is after all trade wind sailing!

Tim caught a fish, our first fish a small Dorado – a good looking fish and we will have this for supper! yummee.

We are going to try the parasailor tomorrow!

Simon P

Hi everyone, just taking a break from making bread and nursing a few bruises to update you on the menu, which today, since we have not had to do the Casamara mast impression on the Cirque De Soleil is back on track! We treated ourselves to a full English breakfast today with lots of orange juice and filter coffee, followed by a lunch of tomato,onion and avocado salad with balsamic, warm baguettes, cheese and assorted pate’s. I have filleted the fish, a Dorado Tim caught earlier on a hand line and following a consensus of the best way to taste such fresh line caught Atlantic fish, will simply pan cook that tonight in a little butter on the hob and serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon! My mouth is watering just writing about it. Before I get back to my bread making though, I should just add that we have now lost three, maybe 4 lures, with another big strike again on the rod around lunchtime, taking not only the weights and lure but this time most of the line as well!. There are some big fish out there that’s for sure!  Tomorrow we will change tactics again and go for our secret weapon, which is a beast of a lure, make up of all sorts of home made things and secured to a piece of rope, an old idea taught to me by a small Tahitian lad about twenty years ago, it worked back then in the Pacific, so will see what the Atlantic’s inhabitants make of it. JK 

No end to Julian’s talent huh?!

Image: A Fish, A Dorado (I hope this is the kind of Dorado you caught, much nicer looking than the other one I found on google which was grey and boring!)

a fish

To see the track that Casamara is following use the Fleet Viewer

And to see the specialised galley oven used to pan fry the Dorado visit GN Espace