Milebuilder Weekends (or 2 days mid-week)
You will join the yacht at 1800 on the first evening evening (eg Friday on a weekend). Over a coffee we’ll discuss the weather forecast and possible destinations and you’ll be able to play a full part in the decisions. Then after a safety briefing we’ll get under way for an evening sail down the Medway to an anchorage – ready for an early getaway on the tide in the morning. This allows time for everyone to become familiar with the boat and then enjoy a pleasant meal together. Occasionally tides and wind may persuade us to depart immediately on a longer passage.
On the Saturday we usually aim to make a passage of around 65 to 85 miles to France or Belgium. If the weather or other circumstances are unsuitable for this we choose an alternative destination in Kent or Suffolk – making the most of the available conditions.
After dinner ashore on the Saturday night and some rest we make an early start on the Sunday and sail back to Chatham – arriving around mid to late afternoon.
The trip is all about hands-on sailing and you will play a full part in a watch – sharing the jobs of watchkeeping, helming, sail handling, and cooking. You can also participate as much as you want in passage planning, pilotage, and navigation. These milebuilders are not structured training courses so unsuitable for RYA certificates. But expert advice is always on hand to improve your skills in helmsmanship and sail trim and you will get a good insight into passage planning and execution.
In a typical weekend trip to France you will experience 2 X qualifying passages over 60 Miles, 2 crossings of the Dover Strait TSS, pilotage up and down the Medway and Thames estuary, a man overboard drill, a foreign port entry, some night sailing, maybe some spinnaker sailing – and fun!
And if you have sufficient experience with us, with prior agreement you can plan and skipper one of the qualifying passages.
Short Milebuilders (12 to 16 hours – 1 long day)
These are very similar in purpose and concept to a milebuilder weekend but compressed into a single long day. The aim is to build knowledge and experience in passage planning and passage-making with plenty of opportunities to practice and get coaching in pilotage, navigation, using radar, and also in helmsmanship and sail trim. Crew will join at Chatham in the early morning (depending on the tide), plan, brief and get going. Depending on weather and tides we’ll sail an outbound passage of between 30 and 60 miles and then a return passage to Chatham finishing in the evening – perhaps as late as 2100. If you have the requisite knowledge and experience you can ask in advance to skipper one of these passages. But others can sail as watch leader and crew with full involvement in the planning and sailing.
More varied sailing. Consider joining one of our adventure sailing holidays which offer superb experience and further training in varied locations and conditions.