In two evenings spent on the ocean (mostly within a quarter mile of the coast) we have seen and heard some amazing things… Two peregrine falcons chasing each other, ducks with ducklings chattering away, a pair of razorbills talking to each other making a great noise, choughs, porpoise, billions of very small creatures in the water, doves, guillemots, shags and best of all three puffins!!! All at once, doubling my lifetime sighting of puffins in one go We live and work in the best place in the world! #visitisleofman #bestplacetobe #oostwestthuisbest#puffins #lifeisblessed
Gotta love having young folk working here… Something new every day!
Had a great time at Manx Radio yesterday,
with Beth and Christy on the Women Today program, talking about boats, sharks and Strictly! If you missed it here is a wee clip about my trans Atlantic astro nav adventure / Yachtmaster Ocean exam.
A small armada of kayaks, paddleboards and the pink rowing boat took to the water last Friday to get a closer look at a basking shark swimming around the bay. The shark was there for several hours just swimming along with his gobbag vooar wide wide open, getting merrily plankton drunk in the evening sunshine. This shark was smaller than the previous encounter on Thursday, perhaps just 6 or 7m long.
He seemed to enjoy the audience he had around him, treating folk to some really close passes. At one point the there was a kayak and a paddleboard, next to each other, maybe a foot space between them, the shark swam past them, turned around and swam right between the two of them with his fin placed exactly in the gap. It was truly incredible!
Since 5 o clock had been and gone we managed a staff kayak and row boat outing this time round #worstjobintheworld
Here we are after work last night, Jen Kneale and Wendy Stevens, off Bradda Head, in a 10’6 hot pink rowing boat. It is a beautiful evening, mirror calm, warm and sea is full of life, gannets, jellyfish, plankton. It has all the right ingredients for basking sharks. We get a little excited when I spot something, it is moving too fast over the water for a bird…. could it be? Oh my word it is!!! It’s a SHARK.
We’d been sat at a good distance away from the shark, just drifting, quietly wishing it would come closer for a photo, but at the same time quite happy that the giant is over there. Then we realise we may have drifted in to “the menu” and we are hoping our little pink boat won’t get mistaken for a prawn! Careful what you wish for…. eventually the inquisitive creature did want to find out if we were a prawn.
Mild panic sets in when I realise that I am never going to be able to row us away from the shark at any speed. The only option is to stow the oars in the boat and sit tight. I look at the seagulls around the shark, they aren’t worried by them, I shouldn’t be either.
But oh my word, this one is big! And swimming straight for us. We are treated to an amazing sight, its head must be the same size as our boat almost, its enormous mouth is wide open. We are 10’6, the shark is easily 3 times us… 30+ feet.
It is hard to describe the feeling of complete awe at these majestic creatures, the world’s gentle giants, so close you could have touched it (if you were brave enough – we weren’t!). It is a totally humbling experience, you’re in a tiny boat with a massive shark, there is nothing you can do other than trust the shark. I have to trust the shark, it swims under us, inches away giving us a rare display of its whole body through the clear water. Life is blessed.
Well that was a fun afternoon yesterday. Buchan Badge nautical with Form 2 asking “Who keeps us safe on our coast?” Fortunately for the class they are in good hands, with teacher Miss Ashton being a member of the Coastguard and myself being RNLI crew. We bring our gear in to school, have a bit of a fancy dress session and share some stories of rescues and our activities around the coast.
It is always fun when the youngsters realise there is a fourth emergency service (and it isn’t the AA!), “You can dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard” always a handy tip when you live on an island!
Yesterday we hosted our annual Sail for Gold Regatta at Port Erin, with 15 boats and 18 youngsters out on the water it was certainly a good spectacle to watch. The fleet comprised a wide range of classes, including an RS Feva, two Topper Vibes, one Tera Pro, two Topaz, a Laser Radial and six Tera Sports! Admittedly racing was slow due to the light breeze, but luckily, once the breeze had settled to the west it held and built slightly in the final couple of races.
It was great to see so many newcomers and more experienced sailors to take part. Among the top sailors were Patrick and Alec Cope, both really embracing the spirit of the regatta with Patrick helming the RS Feva for his petite crew and little sister Daisy, and Alec offering words of encouragement between and during races to younger brother Max who was sailing in is own RS Tera Sport.
Alec Cope stitched the series up nicely counting three bullets after discarding a second from Race 1 which was won by Patrick and Daisy Cope in the Feva.
The battle for second and third place was hotly contested by Georgia Harding and Nickolas Ellis, with positions changing frequently between them throughout the afternoon. It was Georgia’s day in the end with two seconds and a third to Nickolas’ two fourths and a second. This is the first time in five years that a girl has finished on the podium at this regatta, beating Amie Shute’s third in 2012 and the first time ever that a girl has won the RS Tera Sport fleet. Well done Georgia #thisgirlcan
Further down the fleet there was plenty of close racing and after four races Luke Crowe and Jake Orme, sailing in the Topaz’ finished on equal points with and without the discard! Charlie Mugan, Euan McConnell, Max Cope and Oscar Jackson all taking the helm in the this regatta for the first time enjoyed some close racing. Oscar seemed to have the upper hand in the middle of the fleet counting 5, 5, 6. Dylan Sewell, sailing his Laser Radial came fifth in Race 2, which is a great result for the Radial in this competitive fleet.
Peter Cope and William Mugan took on Wilf Kermode and Ben Brunschweiler in the Topper Vibe race, some “centreboard awareness” issues in the Kermode / Brunschweiler boat gave Cope and Mugan the lead after Race 1 and they went from strength to strength getting to grips with the kite and putting in some tidy gybes by the end of the day.
1st. Alec Cope (RS Tera Pro) 2, 1, 1, 1
2nd. Georgia Harding (RS Tera Sport) 3, 4, 2, 2
3rd. Nickolas Ellis (RS Tera Sport) 4, 2, 4, 4
4th. Patrick and Daisy Cope (RS Feva) 1, 3, 8, 9
5th. Oscar Jackson (RS Tera) 5, 9, 5, 6
6th. Jake Orme (Topper Topaz) 12, 11, 3, 3
7th. Luke Crowe (Topper Topaz) 6, 12, 6, 5
8th. Peter Cope & William Mugan (Topper Vibe) 11, 7, 7, 7
9th. Charlie Mugan (RS Tera Sport) 7, 6, 9, 8
10th. Dylan Sewell (Laser Radial) 10, 5, 10, 10
11th. Max Cope (RS Tera Sport) 9, 10, 12, 12
12th. Euan McConnell (Topper Taz) 13, 8, 13, 13
13th. Wilf Kermode & Ben Brunschweiler (Topper Vibe) 14, 14, 11, 11
14th. Jackson Katz (RS Tera Sport) 8, 13, DNC, DNC
This week is giving a similar forecast to last week, with easterly winds around force 4. So in Port Erin this means we’ll have flat water, an average wind speed of less than force 4, but it might be gusty in the offshore breeze. Hopefully this sunshine will last too.
We will be on the water from 5 o’clock, with the latest launch time at around 7.30pm, giving you more flexibility with start and finish times. If you’ve sailed before, there will be someone on the beach to help you rig, launch and recover the boats. We’ll have a safety boat on the water with an instructor on board, so if you want a little bit of coaching whilst your’re out just ask.
If you are new to sailing and want to have a go our instructors will guide you through the basics and on the water tuition will be given too. Sessions will run every Thursday regardless of the weather, if it is too windy we’ll run shore-based sessions on navigation, weather, tides, knot tying and general sailing theory.
You can attend as many or a few sessions as you like. The price per week is £22 per person.
Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. To book your place please get in touch.
So, while the Squad were away competing at the RS Tera Nationals, we were busy with our final Race Academy weekend of 2016.
On Sunday afternoon to round off the course we had our own three race regatta. The fleet was slightly diminished with all the Teras being at Pwllheli, but this gave us some exciting and really close racing between the 8 boats we had on the water.
|Class||Helm||Crew||Race 1||Race 2||Race 3||Total||Result|
|Topaz||Monty Williams||Nickolas Ellis||4||1||2||7||1|
|Laser 4.7||Leighton Ginty||5||2||1||8||2|
|Laser 4.7||Peter Harper||3||3||3||9||3|
|Topaz||Gwen Thornton||Grace Templer||2||6||6||14||5|
|Topaz||Jack Haywood||Douglas Dixon||8||8||8||24||8|
Georgia Harding was awarded the Endeavor prize at the RS Tera Nationals for her perseverance to complete all the races especially in the windy weather on day 2- her confidence on the water and sailing knowledge has improved dramatically which is fantastic to see 😀⛵️