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Cape Town at last

By AlithiaNo Comments

After 20 days at sea, and some pretty good weather routing between two weather systems, we arrived into a fog bound Cape Town where Alithia will be staying for some down time. This gives the crew a chance to fix the boat after a tough 6500 miles at sea which unfortunately caused some damage. We will be getting all the sails off and serviced, the boat cleaned and all the broken parts mended from the trip. While there we will be lifting her out of the water to replace the thruster door with a new improved stronger solution. We will also have the opportunity to complete repairs to the keel bulb after an unscheduled encounter with the seabed!

Pit Stop in Fernando de Noronha

By AlithiaNo Comments

After a tough 15 days slogging it out upwind from Antigua to Fernando de Noronha off the Brazilian coast, Alithia has sustained some damage. The bow thruster doow has been ripped off and we have had to get a replacement made in Italy and shipped out so that we can effect a temporary repair before heading off to Cape Town, some 4000 miles away across the Southern Atlantic.

It took two of us repeatedly diving under the bow to remove the old brackets and fix the new door with some locally fabricated brackets in order for us to continue oour journey.

HMS Oardacious win TWAC 2023 by over 100 miles

By UncategorizedNo Comments

At 13:15 on 17th January, the Royal Navy team of HMS Oardacious crossed the finish line of ‘The Worlds Toughest Row’ across the Atlantic in first place, more than 100 miles ahead of their nearest competitor. They also broke the Military team rowing record for the event by over 12 hours.

I had been involved with the team over the summer, working with them to hone their boat polars which enable me to give them more accurate weather routing. In fact by taking a more extreme route right from the start, which had them in almost last place after the first day, they stuck with my routing plan and trusted in what I was telling them. Two days later they were leading the fleet and extending that lead with every sched that came in.

This year the weather was very unusual, as I had discovered a few weeks ago when I sailed across onboard the 80′ Sailing Yacht ‘Alithia’. The strong trade winds simply were not there and at the western end of the track, usually an area of strong wind, there was in face a large wind hole which needed very careful planning to get through successfully.

In the end though, the team of sun mariners managed to sustain a lead of over 100 miles to the end. Very proud of them, they did exactly as I asked them to do.

A huge achievement by all the teams rowing across, but it was nice to work with another successfull team in this daunting challenge.



Onto a new boat – Alithia – Solaris 80 hull number 1

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After the Champagne Hippy project, I am now off onto another eighty footer, only this time we are off on a circumnavigation.

The plan being to sail the Med this summer, taking in Sardinia, Italy, Sicily, Malta, Croatia and Greece. Then back to Palma for a month yard period before siling down to the Canaries and after a couple of weeks cruising with friends and family of the owners, we sail across to the Caribbean for Christmas and New year

Finishing the ARC

By Champagne HippyNo Comments

19 December 14:12 Champagne Hippy crossed the finish line in Rodney Bay, St Lucia. The 13th boat to cross the line and the first Oyster to finish. We had done it, against the odds. Just three months earlier the boat still had no engine room or saloon, or any of the power units installed. In fact the keel only went on the last weekend of August and the boat only hit the water for the first time since the rebuild on 4th October, just 7 weeks before the start of the ARC.

It was a success for everyone involved, from the build team back at the yard in Essex, to the crew who raced it across the Atlantic.

Champagne Hippy is now on charter in the Caribbean for the season (drop me a line if you are interested in chartering her). I then fly back out to Antigua to pick her up and sail her back to the Mediterranean to go on charter there for the summer.

We will be back for the ARC 2020 and we still have places (again drop me a line if you are interested), but for me it is back racing on Panther in the Caribbean 600 and the Heineken Cup in St Martin.

Getting ready for another Trans-Atlantic

By Champagne HippyNo Comments

Well here we go again, getting ready to fly out to St Lucia to join Champagne Hippy for a final trip back across the Atlantic before she goes to a new owner in Majorca.

It looks like there will only be 5 of us onboard, Myself, Jake as first mate and (brilliant) engineer, Lee and Guy and we will have Kat looking after us on the crossing.

This may well be my last crossing on Hippy as the new owner currently has no plans to take her back to the Caribbean. In the meantime I have my own boat to deal with – Karelia, a Farr designed beneteau 50 which is currently in Greece. More on this as the story onboard unfolds.

If you want to follow us across the Atlantic on Champagne Hippy, I will as always have my trusty Yellow Brick satellite tracker running. We plan to leave around 17/18 April and it should take about 3 weeks.

To follow us go to

Half way across

By Champagne HippyNo Comments

After a very slow and frustrating first week, we wanted to be amongst the most southerly of the fleet, and that is where we found ourselves. The plan being to keep going south until we picked up the trade winds which would then propel us westwards. They were slow coming but after a week we were well on our way and working our way through the fleet. Our goal was to be the first Oyster across the finish line in St Lucia.

The trip wasn’t without issues. We had a problem with the autopilot when it got wet and stopped working. I was having flashbacks to my around the world record attempt on Pixel Flyer. We managed to get a workaround for it and continued on our way.

At the half way mark we decided to celebrate and have a proper naming ceremony for the boat, with Champagne of course. This boat is so different from the out and out racer Pixel Flyer, with fridges and freezers, air conditioning and an ice maker!

Nick and James were loving the competition with the other boats and every 6 hours we would be checking the tracker website to see how we were doing against the other boats. Dot watching was getting pretty addictive!

In Las Palmas at last

By Champagne HippyNo Comments

We finally arrived in Las Palmas early morning the day before the start. We had a very busy 24 hours ahead of us. As well as finish the boat build, we had to remove all the extra kit we had with us and start getting the boat into race/trans-Atlantic mode.

Ready to go at last. After filling the fuel tanks and getting the last of the building kit off the boat, we left Las Palmas an hour and a half late for the start, but with almost 3000 miles ahead of us to the Caribbean we were not too worried.

Onward to the Atlantic…

Pit-stop in Plymouth

By Champagne HippyNo Comments

As we headed down the channel, there was increasing bad weather out to the west, so we decided to stop in Plymouth and wait for the weather to pass. While it gave the guys time to crack on with the building below decks, time was ticking on towards the start of the ARC and the weather in Biscay shows no let up for a week.

Eventually the weather cleared and we were able to head off, we didn’t have time for any more overnight stops if we were going to make the start in time.

sailing boom beam ropes sunset

Getting to the Start of the ARC

By Champagne HippyNo Comments

Time was running out to finish Champagne Hippy and we needed to start heading south if we were going to make the start of the ARC race in Gran Canaria. So very early morning on Thursday 7th November we slipped lines from a frosty Essex marina and headed down the river to the sea. Conditions were nice and calm and we motored all the way towards Ramsgate by which time the wind had filled in and we could unfurl the sails for the very first time.

start of the arc sailing

With a chop saw screwed to the cockpit table, the team continued working to finish the boat as we sailed along the south coast.

Follow the story and more on Patreon. There you can watch all the videos of the rebuild of Champagne Hippy as well as the Solo Around the World record attempt on Pixel Flyer.

fast hosts sailing arc