Sailpb blog

Bart's Bash - Shearwater September 2015. 1st and Last.

September 22, 2015
Just a great chance to meet up with all my sailing friends at Shearwater and to hire the club Comet Duo for the morning.
We can all dream of becoming great sailors like Bart was, and more importantly, raise some money to help others.
My 1st race was a dream. I had it on a plate: perfect wind to get me sitting forward and out, a start 5 minutes before the rest of the fleet and a well known course which gave me just three tacks from the bottom to the top of the lake. I was sweating buckets and had a dry mouth and racing heart. Calm down Barnesy - it's just a bit of fun. Not a bit of it. Every moment and ever movement counts when you hope you are still in the lead.
...and for a contrast, the second race gave me a poor start, and somehow I just kept hitting every buoy as I want past so I got plenty of 360 turns in. After a bit I got in Oli's way, so had to do a 720, and after that I kept Oli company at the back of the fleet. I've got the hang of sailing downwind backwards now, even with two jibe marks to boot. With a bit of effort I came last. I used to come last in the Laser without even trying.
Thank you Shearwater. Thank you Bart.

Second Time Lucky. Orford to Snape day sail.

August 23, 2015
Finally got the Mirror to Snape on a perfect day's sailing and a high tide! Even got a tow part way to Aldborough before the wind kicked in and then hammered up the ever smaller channel towards the bacon butties at the pub. The journey home was eventful too. I was skimming over mudflats at 5 knots with only inches under the Mirror. I left my companions in a Cornish Crabber behind when they tried to cut some corners too - on a falling tide... Don't do it!!!!
18 Nautical Miles under sail, 5 hours sailing and a 2-mile tow at 6 knots.  A good day sailing.Photo of Owl at Ipswich park.

Come sailing with me!

August 23, 2015
Tall Ships Youth Sailing Trust is doing a trip from Portsmouth to the Channel Islands and back September 7th to 13th. I'm on it as a watchleader. There's still time to book up yourself! 

Sailing a Cabin Cruiser on the Solent. Day one.

July 28, 2015
Tuesday 21st July 2015. Up at 4.30 am and a lovely drive down to Lymington. The Car, is how many times better than a boat? !) Gets you everywhere, 2) Quick, 3) Comfortable, 4) Cheap per mile. That's at least four times better.
However, boats it is, so let's remember what happened: I got sails on and stuff chucked in the cabin, and only a couple of pints of water in the bilges. I'd gone down so early hoping the boat hadn't already sunk since launching the day before, because, in the first 20 minutes I saw about a pint of water seep past the keel bolts. What if it had got worse in the night?! I'd forgotten that there is a 1/2" wooden plate between the hull and the bilge keels so this had taken up water and expanded to stop the leaks.
So, off we go - with sails up and down to one mooring line, engine started and we're going forward! Heading, we think, for Yarmouth - and why not? Well, the wind and tide had other ideas. It became clear that with an incoming tide and a force 3-4 headwind we could tack back and forwards for four hours until the tide turned and we weren't going to get there! Change of plan, Newtown Creek is nice too, and two miles down wind and tide. That took about 20 minutes and there were lots of boats heading into the creek. I chickened out of following them in and deployed the anchor which I had handily stowed in the cabin ready for use. The system is: Check the chart for a shallow patch, Check if you can see the bottom (drawing 2 feet it tends to be ok to sail until some sort of murky bottom is apparent.) I could see some clumps of seawead, Luff up to wind, slow down, gently drop anchor and wait for it to catch on the bottom, slowly let out the rest of the chain and some rope, check again for 'bite' and drop the sails. Put on GPS and make a note of the reading. Go to sleep, make tea, etc.... Did I say I was single handed?
Once the tide had turned and the wind had got up to 3-4 with a bit of 5, I reefed the main and set off on a close haul. The tide did all the hard work and we made it straight into the the channel at a cracking 5 1/2 knots - just below the speed limit! I sailed onto the pontoon, dropped the sail, and ripped a bit of sail batten pocket. Worse things could have happened in my first sail in a new boat, the boat's first sail since 2004 and my first single handed cabin cruiser voyage. We'd clocked up about 15 nautical miles, dealt with 3-foot waves, anchored, moored and plenty of other stuff. Most satisfying!


Cafe Swing trad jazz session on 15th July.

July 5, 2015
These hugely popular 'all join in' sessions at the Swan Hotel in Bradford on Avon really rock, so come along and enjoy the fun! Bring your sax if you have one and play some low down dirty blues with us too!oops, that's probably the wrong photo!

Chalk and Cheese sailing trips.

April 28, 2015
Went 14 Nautical Miles in the old Mirror on Friday. Up from Orford towards Snape with all my camping gear and a boat repair tool kit (the mast came down last time I sailed it). It was blowing up just nicely as I surfed downwind on a slack tide to Aldebrough and we did 4 miles in 75 minutes. The next hour was increasingly blowy and challenging on broad reaches while trying to work out which withies were marking port and which starboard. Fortunately I could pull up the daggerboard and try again when I got it wrong - unlike the poor bloke in a cruiser who was stuck on the leeward mudbank looking a bit sheepish about calling up a tow off on his VHF radio.  When I got to Iken Cliff I was faced with a long beat up a narrow channel and decided to turn turtle and head back to Orford before the tide started to flood in earnest and I had to stay the night in Snape. The thought of company and a warm bed spurred me to head for home against the tide and wind. It took 3 1/2 hours and a sore backside from sitting on the gunwale in a wind that had a force 3 - 4 feel about it.

Sunday/Monday saw me on a 41 foot yacht sailing from Chatham to Dover. We stayed on the pontoon at Queensborough
 overnight, went to the pub
 and were welcomed by the locals who seem to have a strange tradition of painting upside down
. The following day we enjoyed fair winds and fair tide all the way from Queensborough to Dover. We made roughly 50 miles in 8 hours an average of about 6 knots. The sea wasn't exactly flat while I made chicken sandwiches and washed the inside of the fridge for my lovely hosts. The helm was light and responsive and the company good. I leaned lots and particularly liked our navigators calm style. He plotted a fix on the paper chart from the GPS and gave the helm a course to steer and distance to the next buoy. This was repeated every five minutes when we were close to sand banks, and every 20 minutes when the going was easier. The buoys came up like clockwork but it would have been very easy to have picked up the wrong ones if John hadn't been constantly checking the chart. It's so easy to assume the buoy you are seeing is the one you want and not to have noticed a buoy just off your course which marked a sunken wreck isolated shallow. At one point I was helming for the gap between a red buoy and a green fishing boat until we noticed a more pointed green buoy closer to us.

Both trips had their hazards and challenges. Both were fun and gave me a sense of achievement and both could have become very sticky if things had gone wrong. !0 feet? 41 feet? Both good!

Next week it's 200 feet from Dartmouth to Poole. 

Half Term Trad Jazz Party!

January 26, 2015

Half Term Trad Jazz Party

at the Swan Hotel,

Church Street, Bradford on Avon,

Wednesday 18th February 2015, 8.30-11pm.

The New Academic Feetwarmers and friends welcome you to have fun and participate in a jam session hosted by Peter Barnes at the Swan Hotel.

Admission is free and our Landlord James has offered a free drink to every performer, so come along and make this a night to remember!

The following music will be played and copies of melody and chords for B-flat and concert instruments can be downloaded in advance from this link to an amazing trad Jazz website:

Ice Scream. B-flat

Careless love. F

See See Rider. B-flat

One sweet letter. B-flat

Alcoholic Blues. F

Royal Telephone. B-flat


Almost Like Being in Love. B-flat

Graveyard Blues. C

I Get the Blues When It Rains. F

Autumn Leaves. Dm

Mood Indigo. B-flat

Black and Blue. B-flat

Blues My Naughty Sweetie.. B-flat

Ice Scream. B-flat

If you wish to bring your own pieces, please provide 4 copies in concert and B-flat pitch so others can join in too! Singers should make sure they provide music in the key that they are happy to sing in!!

My email is Plesase feel free to ask me any questions.

Three Cheers for Live Trad Jazz!

'Play it Happy Pete'. 


Boat Show special! Sail there in the 72-foot Challenger!

December 29, 2014
Last chance to book BF120 and to join me on 13th - 17th Jan 2015! Have you got £199? Have you got the guts for Portsmouth to London in January? If so, book now at and come and have fun in what is probably the world's best yacht.

Day Skipper with Sailing Ventures - Dec 2014 Force 8.

December 13, 2014
Actually, we were in the boat, trying to get some sleep in a 'Violent' Storm Force 11. We sailed in Force 4-8 from Lymington to Cowes, Buckler's Hard, Yarmouth, Newtown Creek..... and back. Learnt to moor up, sail sideways, and backwards, plan passages, sail a planned passage at night and all the other things you do for RYA Day Skipper. Martin our skipper was smashing. Check them out on 

...and by the way, did you know that Bucklers Hard is named after the men who used to select the bent timbers for use on specific parts of the ships. These guys were called 'Bucklers'. So, there's an interesting fact that you won't find on Wikipedia!

Pottering in Poole

July 22, 2014
I've just had a sail 'round the istand' and out to 'Old Harry Rocks' in a Westway Potter. Lovely trip, lovely weather!  
Thank you Jon!

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