Tuesday 30th January 2018
The crew, Peter Best (owner of Honey Bee), Peter Soddy, Mark Bales and Mike O’Brien, are planning to take 2 to 3 months (depending on the weather) and visit around 40 ports and anchorages in England, Scotland and Ireland. The route will see them leaving Honey Bee’s berth in Beaulieu on the south coast toward Dover, up the East coast, round the top of Scotland and then back down the West coast through the Irish Sea to finish back in Beaulieu. The crew are meeting all the costs of the challenge themselves so everything donated will go to the charity.
Update - Homeward bound!
The crew set off today (15 May) homeward bound after a 2 week break.
The journey round Britain has not all been plain sailing for the crew of the Honey Bee but they continue to have some great sailing - here are a few snippets from their blog.
Tighnabruaich to Inverkip April 29th
In demob mode we made the short trip to Inverkip which marked the end of the first part of our tripCrinan to Tighnabruaich April 28th
We woke up to a hard frost on the boat and pontoons with steam rising from the water and again it was sunny. We tackled the last locks and were soon ushered into the final sea lock taking us into lower Loch Fyne. We went down the Loch and into the Kyles of Bute and found a mooring at Tighnabruaich.
Craighouse to Crinan Canal April 27th
It was a very strange experience taking Honey Bee through locks and seeing sea below us. After 8 locks we reached the Cairnbaan hotel for an overnight stop. It was about the first full sunny day and the canal was beautiful.
Loch Ailine to Craighouse (Jura) April 24th
We had a great reach down the sound of Mull in sunny weather and then had a beat up the channel to the Firth of Lorn. When we eventually arrived at the Sound of Insh the wind died so we took the sails down and motored into the Sound of Luing. We were achieving 9 knots of with the assistance of the tides and went past the house on the north of Jura where George Orwell wrote 1984.
Mallaig to Loch Aline April 23rd
Not a great forecast - South West force 5 to 6 increasing 7 later (just less than a gale). past the islands of Eigg and Muck around Ardnamurchan head down to the isle of Mull.
Plockton to Mallaig April 22nd
The tides at Kyle Rhea meant that we didn’t leave until 1000 hours. Even then we were too early and we had to slow down under Skye bridge up to the entrance of Kyle Rhea - a narrow channel between Skye and the mainland connecting the sound of Sleat to Loch Alsh. In these narrows the tide can run at 8 knots and at the south east end with a southerly wind against a south flowing ebb tide there are dangerous overfalls (breaking waves).
Gairloch to Plockton April 21st
A long beat into a 17 knot headwind toward Rona before the wind died down to nothing and we had to motor in to a visitors mooring. Plockton is rightly named the ‘Jewel of the Highlands’.
Stornoway to Gairloch
We were really glad we waited an extra day as there was a very big sea running and the previous day would have been a lot worse. We tied up in Flowerdale bay and walked to the Old Inn for a well earned pint.
We last saw them stuck in Stornoway a storm hit on Tuesday 17th April with 40+ knots of wind. On their tour of the island they walked to the lighthouse at Skalpay and watched a tanker out at sea in the ‘Minch’ ploughing through the big seas. By Wednesday night the wind was as strong as it had been and they were going stir crazy – but the lovely staff in the Blue Lobster café served coffee and cakes each morning as their donation to Teenage Cancer Trust.
The Honey Bee crew have had lots of adventures during their first 1000nm. Currently hunkered down in the outer Hebrides at Stornoway to avoid a particularly nasty looking storm they have had time to update their blog which makes an interesting read. Here's just a flavour:
Loch Eriboll to Stornoway April 13th
This leg was important as it marked the rounding of the North of Scotland and about half way -c 1000 NM and the start of the journey down the Western Isles.
We first had to negotiate Cape Wrath which lived up to its name. Even 4 miles off the headland we had to drop sails as the confused sea tossed us around like a cork in a bottle.
Stromness to Loch Eriboll April 12th
When we woke we sensed an unforecast lull in the wind. We quickly got prepared and left . We were soon broad reaching in 22knots of wind and soon made good time towards Loch Eribboll. PeterB held the speed record with 10.4knots. Sunshine and good winds behind us made for champagne sailing. We motored up the loch to find a sheltered anchorage under the snow topped mountains. Stunning!
Wick to Stromness 10th April
In many ways this crossing was the highlight of our trip and kept us awake with excitement. It is one of the most dangerous crossing in the UK. We were well prepared having spoken to the Wick Harbour Master for about half an hour as well as the RNLI lifeboat Coxswain – this is valuable info you can’t get in the pilot books.
They had neap tides (least aggressive) and dawn broke as they hugged the coastline to take advantage of a back eddy which meant they had the tide with them. As they crossed the Pentland Firth the water was swirling and constantly changing character and direction – a foreboding environment even in its least aggressive state.
Blythe to Arbroath 3rd/4th April
With the big seas that had been made by the recent strong winds, the pouring rain and the wind against us it made for a very uncomfortable night.
In Arbroath they met Bill and his son Cameron. Cameron is one of the teenagers they are raising money for and when they saw the flag they popped down to see them. After such an horrendous journey to Arbroath the crew were delighted when Bill invited them to his guest house ‘Harbour Nights’ on the harbour front for a traditional breakfast – Arbroath smokies and poached eggs – excellent!!
Check out the blog for updates and more detail about their trip so far.
26 March Update
One week in and the crew have arrived in Lowestoft after a very snowy start at Beaulieu! The winds were not kind for the first few days (with a windchill of -10 degrees on Monday) but after Dover the crew have had a great sail - including managing to find their way safely across the Thames estuary negotiating the sandbanks and ships!
2 March Update
The crew have just completed four very cold days preparing the boat in Cowes. The boat has been polished inside and out despite the snow showers. A survey was completed and a clean bill of health recorded. The hull was antifouled to resist weed growth and barnacles which slow down the boat through the water. They returned the boat to her mooring on the Beaulieu River in gale force winds and sub-zero temperatures and were grateful to make their way back up the A34 before the worst of the weather closed in. Current departure date is 19th March as the weather is improving and they may see some South-Westerly winds. The engine will be serviced this week and ashore all plotting is complete and the crew now start on their passage plans which is a legal requirement.
We thought it would be good to raise some money for those less fortunate than ourselves and believe that Teenage Cancer Trust is a charity that everyone can identify with. We have all been touched in some way or another by cancer, be it close family or friends, work colleagues or neighbours. It seems particularly worse when it impacts a young person. Cancer does not differentiate and every day seven young people are diagnosed with this dreadful disease.
This is not a challenge to be taken lightly - while the 4 man crew are all experienced sailors, none have completed a circumnavigation of our shores so this will be a whole new experience. Peter Soddy said:
"I competed in Leg 1 of the 2015/2016 'Clipper Round the World Race' which was a challenge but coastal sailing around Britain will pose a whole new set of challenges to be faced."
Plenty of preparation has gone into the sail including plotting potential courses, collecting information on harbours and anchorages as well as assessing potential tides around the coast. And in early December 2017 they were all thrown into the water on a sea survival course to experience the trials of getting into their life raft if the worse happens and they have to abandon ship - Not something they would want to do.
Pippa MacBain, Local Fundraising Coordinator at Teenage Cancer Trust, says:
We're so grateful to the Honey Bee crew for taking on this amazing challenge to support young people with cancer – we'll be cheering them along the way! Currently for every young person with cancer Teenage Cancer Trust reaches, there’s another we can’t. Money raised will ensure every young person facing cancer has access to our expect care, regardless of where they live or choose to be treated.