Categories Archive

Terrorist….Don’t Travel ???

Posted on: November 9, 2015

With what looks like another terrorist attack in Egypt there seems to be the usual knee jerk reaction by way of stopping people travelling there. It was the same when there was the attack on tourists in Tunisia earlier in the year.

Taking the most recent attack in Egypt if there was a lack of security would it not be better to slightly improve it?

Stopping people travelling to places after there has been terrorist activity doesn’t do anything apart from cause more problems. You have as much chance of suffering a terrorist attack in the UK as proved by the 7/7 attacks and the Manchester bomb. Would the Trafford Centre or Blackpool Pleasure Beach not be just as tempting a target for some brainwashed Jihadi nutter?

I personally say “business as usual” as far as travelling goes otherwise they have won. Simple as that !

More often than not it’s a case of closing the door after the horse is already down the road. I’m not saying go skipping to the airport with gay abandon just don’t be put off because once one place has been attacked the next target will probably be in a different place. It’s just something we have to learn to live with.

In modern times we have had some form of terrorism blighting our lives for years. We’ve had Baader Meinhof, IRA, Black September, Tamil Tigers etc and even the Welsh Nationalist Movement who firebombed English owned homes in Wales. Wherever you travel you can be at risk from something so if you want to be completely safe stay behind your own front door.

I’ll not waffle too much on this subject but suffice to say if anyone is worried about travelling abroad then I suggest you’d be just as likely to be hit in your own part of the world as you would on a beach in Spain.


Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!

Posted on: September 28, 2015

Now that I’m finally moored up in La Linea after what was a whirlwind voyage from the UK with a fantastic crew I actually feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

The voyage itself can only be described as EPIC and leaves me with some wonderful and amazing memories.

As I write this update the sun is setting over the Bay of Gibraltar and where I sit typing at the chart table on board the yacht I glance up and see the golden rays of the sun slicing through the portlights. The heat of the day has decreased and a light breeze is arising and wafting that unique smell of Mediterranean air mixed with the fresh smell of the sea.

The crew have departed and are awaiting their flight back to the UK. I have been browsing through some of the photos and videos we took during the voyage and I feel blessed. Blessed that is to have such people to share such an adventure.

As I reflect back on the time at sea it reminds me of the Talking Heads song, ‘Once in a Lifetime’ where he is saying about the journey through life and there comes a point where you sit back and say to yourself  ‘How did I get here’ ?

One moment I was a 16 year old school leaver humping bags of cement around a builders yard and the next I’m a 50 year old starting another new adventure doing something I love in a land of what feels like an endless summer.

Over recent weeks we have endured stormy weather that pushed us to the edge of our physical and mental boundaries and have had the liberating freedom offered by being out sight of land for days not knowing what is happening in the ‘real’ world. That really is a sense of freedom and proper escapism. We had the pleasure of seeing some beautiful sun rises and as it followed it’s route over of heads seeing it set and turn the horizon into a flaming masterpiece.

I have done longer voyages but this one will stay cherished in my memory after the absolutely brilliant experience with some of the finest people on the planet. When we reached our marina and finally secured the mooring lines it was actually a bit of an anti-climax. By that I mean there was no punching the air or group hugging we just sorted ourselves out individually and then got ready to go out and celebrate our achievement………..and celebrate we did!

The true feeling of success will come the coming weeks when we each reflect back and think of the life and times on board with each other in the experience of a lifetime.

I’ve already posted some of the pictures and videos but there will be many more to come some of which are hilarious, not least the video where we are all singing and drinking (drunk) in bayonna after crossing Biscay.

Tomorrow  and the following few days I have a few jobs to sort on the yacht as this weekend sees the first of our charters and straight after that I have the first group of people coming out training for their Skipper licence. I will be back in the UK on October 21st for a couple of weeks then return to do some more charters in November.

Some people might say I am lucky to be doing what I do & where I do it and yes, there is possibly a bit of luck here and there but generally it’s been about me getting off my arse and grafting for what I want to achieve and having the focus and determination to carry on even though there have been problems, some massive problems in fact, but in life we all have problems and challenges of varying degrees during everyday life and it’s about how we deal with them and move on that gets the results.

So keep your focus and…………….. CARPE DIEM 


We go tonight !

Posted on: September 17, 2015

After being weather bound at Milford Haven for 5 days we now have a reasonable window for good sailing conditions to head out into the big, blue wilderness of the Atlantic and cross Biscay. Our original plans have changed (as they generally do when sailing) so our planned first stop of Bayonna may now be missed if we are making good way so our next stop could be the beautiful Portuguese town of Sesimbra.

The first leg from Fleetwood was quite challenging to say the least. After a good first day of sailing the weather changed for the worse….and then got EVEN WORSE. During the hours of darkness of Friday night/ Saturday morning we faced some pretty horrendous conditions. The saving grace was I suppose the fact that it was dark so we couldn’t see the size of the waves coming our way. The only time we got a view of the waves was when the bow of the yacht was hit by a wave and threw a tsunami of sea water up into the air and along the yacht. All this enhanced by being in the middle of severe gales that were gusting up to 50 knots.

Every crew member did their bit and performed well during the challenge. I can say that when my watch finished at 0130 I was absolutely both mentally and physically drained. So much so that when I retired to my cabin I slipped into a virtual coma which is very unusual as I don’t tend to sleep very well whilst on passage.

I decided to leave entering the river to the marina until daylight hours as I deemed to do it in those conditions during darkness would have been a bit too risky not least the fact that there were numerous large tankers and cargo vessels in the area.

For anyone wishing to track out progress you can follow us on http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/

Just search for Atlas by typing in the mmsi number of 235091719

This tracker works via VHF signal so it could be that for certain times our position will not change until we come back into range.

All being well my next report will be from some foreign shore!


Soaked in Treasure and Blood 

Posted on: September 9, 2015

 As my mate Bruce says:

“Sometimes tomorrow comes soaked in treasure and blood”.

Now that’s quite an apt statement for me at the moment with the impending relocation of Atlas to Spain.

The meaning is that though things turn out great there’s a price to pay for it as in battles in years gone by when the treasures gained were soaked by the thought of the blood of soldiers spilled in order to get it.

In all the years I’ve been sailing from Fleetwood and generally circulating around the Wyre & Fylde area I have been privileged to come into contact with some absolutely brilliant people both in business and pleasure. Many of these have turned into being very good friends, not least Craig at the beach kiosk in Fleetwood.

I will be sad that I won’t see many of these people as often as I’d like.

The move for me is semi permanent so I’ll be back every couple of weeks or so which means that you’ll not quite be getting rid of my ugly ‘boat race’ so easily. Although I might not be around the area as much I definitely intend to her in contact with many of the wonderful people I’ve got to know.

I’m also lucky in the fact that I can honestly say, without exception, that everyone who has chosen to come out sailing with us have been brilliant. Not once have a thought on returning back from a sailing day that I’d be glad to see the back of any individual person. Once again, many of these have gone on to be become very good friends.

I’ve also been completely overwhelmed by the amount of emails, phone calls and expressions of good will to me for my new venture.

We set sail around 10am in the morning and I could not have a better crew with me. They are not only very experienced but also very close friends in whom I have complete faith.

I’m very much looking forward to the voyage. Unlike a previous long voyage I’m hoping we all look back on it and think it was a real adventure of a lifetime.

The previous long voyage from Athens back to Fleetwood was plagued with bad luck and misfortune not least the death of my father just one day before we were due to set sail.

This time there has been even more preparation and planning so bring it on! 

It’s unfortunate that the marina at Fleetwood seems to be on the wane. There are some really nice people and some good friends up there with whom I will make a point of visiting whenever possible.

I’m sure that when we sail out from Fleetwood for the last time I will have a tear in my eye as we are waved off on our voyage to the new world.

For all those who read this and those intending to come out to Spain let me give you one HUGE

THANK YOU

And to finish I will quote my mate Bruce again!

“There’s a new world coming, I can see the light”. 


D-Day is almost upon us !

Posted on: August 17, 2015

Well the date set for the BIG move is September 10th so barring some inclement weather we shall be heading toward our new base in sunny, southern Spain.

We shall leave Fleetwood and head to Crosshaven, Co Cork where we will restock provisions before heading out into the Atlantic and crossing the Bay of Biscay.

We will make landfall at the Spanish port of Bayonna and then make one further stop at Sesimbra in Portugal before rounding into the Straits of Gibraltar to arrive at our new home in La Linea de la Concepcion.

Although the yacht Atlas and the business will be based over there permanently I myself will be out there for approximately 2 weeks at a time and returning for 2 weeks as the schedule dictates.

There are plenty things I will miss around the area but I intend to keep in touch with people and haven’t ruled out other activities in the area in the future.

Many have asked the reasons for the move and apart from the weather the main reason is the management of the marina by ABP who, whilst I was receiving some exceptionally bad service earlier in the year (which cost me dearly), told that if I complained they would increase my mooring fees which if nothing else is basically commercial blackmail. There are of course numerous other issues but they seemed to think I had no other option as I had put so much into setting the business up from Fleetwood. It is a great shame because they don’t realise what having such a business is for the area not least the fact that I brought the huge brand of IYT (International Yacht Training) to the area. The FIRST sailing establishment in the UK to break away from the Royal Yachting Association which they don’t seem to understand the gamble I had taken in doing so.

That said, I have ABSOLUTELY no problem with all the lads (Daryl, Simon, Ian Mike, Dave etc)who actually run the marina. Those chaps are brilliant and actually hold the place together.

I honestly would have thought that with the number of yachts leaving Fleetwood they might have encouraged someone like me who has been so proactive in promoting the area.

Anyway, that’s all I’ll say about it now so it’s onwards and upwards and with the number of bookings that have come in for the holidays and training it’s perhaps something I should have done years ago.

I look forward to year round sunshine and cruising around Spain, Portugal, North Africa etc with the whales and dolphins.

Why not have a read about the holidays CLICK HERE