Reunion and Reception

Duet’s young crew from Dylan Thomas School, although now hardened sailors, were pleased to step onto dry land after their 36 hours at sea.

What an achievement – sailing from Swansea around Lands End in somewhat adverse weather conditions to arrive in Falmouth just in time for the reception laid on to celebrate their arrival.

The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club generously offered their facilities for the reception and, being a gloriously sunny day (for a change), the reception was outside on the lawn with Duet tied up alongside the wall. The Commodore and other flag officers made Duet’s crew and guests feel very welcome.

The young people were presented with their certificates of achievement by their Champion Jo Gooding who paid them a surprise visit which rounded their voyage off nicely as she had been there to see them depart from Swansea.

The reception was also attended by Duet’s owner, Christopher Courtauld who was joined by quite a number of his relatives who turned up to support the occasion.

Christopher has been involved in sail training for over half a century! In 1960 he co-founded the Ocean Youth Club with his friend Christopher Ellis using their own sailing vessels, Duet and Theodora. For 10 years the two vessels sailed alongside each other until Theodora was decommissioned in 1971 (Duet continued to provide sailing experiences for young people). A recent restoration of Theodora has seen her relaunched under her original name of Kindly Light.

On Saturday, just prior to the reception, these two very special vessels met in Falmouth for the first time in 40 years with Christopher Courtauld, Malcolm McKeand (Theodora/Kindly Light’s new owner) and two of Chris Ellis’s children, David and Emma Ellis in attendance.

May it be the first of many meetings for the two vessels!


Dry Land at Last

Leg 8 Day 7

Day 7

Courtney: Today was rather unusual, after finishing our final shift we arrived in Falmouth but before docking we spent about an hour cleaning up the boat and tidying up on deck (i.e. Tucking in loose rope ). After arriving inFalmouthwe all went to the showers again and then went exploring the high street, looking for a nice café so we can buy lunch. Afterwards we moved the boat across the pier and arrived at the reception where people were able to look around the boat and ask questions, at first I found speaking to strangers slightly awkward but I soon settled and felt comfortable. I enjoyed the reception and the company of the others but I felt that I wasn’t used to big social events.


Interesting but kind of fun day today. Memories of Courtney’s deep moments from 4 in the morning shifts still fresh in mind, and thoughts of the fact we’re home tomorrow was enough to keep my spirits high for one day longer. We arrived inFalmouthat around 10 and had a last, proper clean up of the boat. We went and had a nice, warm shower, then wandered around town a bit. The town was small compared toSwansea, but it was nice all the same. And, they have damn nice pasties! The evening reception was… interesting, to say the least. I felt awkward talking to people, but I coped okay. We successfully gained our Competent Crew certificates, and we can now look forward to a good night’s sleep, and then the 6 hour road trip home. Mum, dad, Rhian and my own bedroom, here I come!

 Josh Stock:

Today we finally made it toFalmouth. The day started on the last leg around lands end and then down toFalmouth. When we made it toFalmouthwe went for showers and then to the town centre for food. Finally we went to the event where we celebrated the one hundredth birthday of the Duet.

 Joshua Longhurst:

Continuing long shifts, we eventually made it toFalmouth. After showering in the docks we went to the yacht club where we were welcomed and congratulated for completing leg 8 of the journey aroundBritainon the 100 year old boat, the Duet. We were also given our competent crew awards.

 Jessica Brain:

The long shifts are over. I repeat, they are over. Yes, we are here, we are inFalmouth, finally! WE ARE FREE! Well, kind of. We still have to spend the night on the boat, then WE ARE FREE! We arrived inFalmouthearly hours this morning, had a shower and went around the town for food. When we got back we had photos and a Duet tee shirt then went to the yacht club for a reception where we were given our Comp Crew certificates and celebrated with other members of the club. Courtney and I had a wonderful time. I know. When the celebration finished, we went back to the boat, had food and played cards before having our last night on the boat. Thank you, Duet, Dawn and Paul, for this magnificent experience. I shall hold it with me forever.

 Luke Williams:

Finally we have arrived after a long day of sailing toFalmouth. Once we arrived we sat down to debrief before going for a shower then off for a walk around the town we then came back to the boat to clean up before going to the reception which was very formal. We then came back to a meal of chilly and rice. Then we played a game of cards before getting ready to go to bed



Fun & Games Before a Tiring Passage

Leg 8 Days 5/6

Day 6

Courtney Thomas:
Yesterday we started our 4 hour shifts, which meant waking up at 2:45am and getting our beds clear, putting our bags stowed away and getting breakfast ready by 4 am. As you can imagine, this was extremely difficult and I had to drag myself out of my comfy bed and out onto the freezing deck. The four hours went by very slowly and I spent my time either watching out for buoys or helming, both of these jobs seemed to make me sleepy and when our shift was over, we slept for about 2 hours if we didn’t have any cleaning or cooking to do. By the time our third shift was over, we were approaching Lizards point and within about 10 hours we would reach Falmouth, at long last! I can’t wait until we finally get there; I really want to get back on land ASAP. During one of the early morning watch we saw dolphins and a seal! The dolphins leaped out of the water right next to the boat and it was so cool! But I STILL think British dolphins look like mushrooms

Jessica Brain:
Today we started our four hour shifts. We woke up at four to get the boat ready to go and when we were off, my group, Josh L and Luke, went back downstairs and back to sleep. Our shifts consisted of watching and helming, and sometimes other things, and then sleeping and cooking when we were off. Unfortunately for me, I was ill. Not seasick, but my IBS was playing up and made me very ill. I powered on as much as I could but I was still very weak. Seeing dolphins, seals, whales and the beautiful lights and stars made things a little bit better, but sleep was overpowering everything. Off shifts went extremely quickly, as for on shifts, they lasted forever.

Joshua Longhurst:
We started our 4 hour shifts today, which I wouldn’t advise anyone to do. After hoisting the mainsail, foresail, jib, topsail and mizzen, my watch group went below deck to catch up on sleep. When the watch group is above deck, we take half hour shifts helming the Duet, with the rest of our time on watch for buoys. Below deck we were cooking and cleaning. The first four hours of the day were the easiest; the rest of the day was tough because we didn’t get much sleep.

Lauren Squibb:
4 hour shifts started today. I hate getting up early, so I was not amused to say the least! Not much really went on. We did our work on deck, ate and slept all day. Nothing much too it. Although there were a load of dolphins swimming beside the boat, so that was amazing! The weather was amazing. Warm, bright, and the sea was calm. I caught a small sun burn on my face, and the back of my right hand. Not both my hands, but my right hand. It’s annoying, kind of sore, but I shall survive! Not much to say here as today was boring. Home in 2 days. Cannot wait!

Luke Williams:
We had a very early start we had to be up and ready by 4am to begin are journey down to Falmouth Jessica josh l and I were in 1 group for watch so lucky we got to go back to sleep we then had to get up by 7 to start making breakfast for 8. We then change over for our long 4 hour shift it was a lovely sunny day and we got to see lots of dolphins and even a whale.

Josh S:
Today we began the long journey from our anchorage in Milford haven to Lands end. We were split in to two watches consisting of me Lauren and Courtney, and Josh Luke and Jess. Both watches had to do four hour shifts, four hours on deck and four hours below deck where you would cook, clean and sleep. This was quite a long day as the shifts on deck took ages, while the shifts below deck seemed to fly by. It was worth it though as we finally got to go see lands end towards the end of the day

Day 5

Courtney Thomas:
Today was quite easy; there was still work to be done but not as much as usual. Dawn taught us how to play an aggressive game called “spoons”, Josh had about 3 heart attacks as everyone scrambled around, trying to snatch a spoon from the table. As usual Dawn was extremely competitive but unfortunately, she lost to Luke, so he might not make it out of this boat alive. Fingers crossed!

Joshua Longhurst:
Today was interesting… after cereal, Dawn taught us to play a game. A game of serious concentration and determination… a game called “spoons.” The other Josh got a surprise when we dived to the table to get the spoons. You still alive? Haha.

Jessica Brain:
Today was fun, full of games. Dawn taught us a very tense game called Spoons. It was very luxury and petrifying at the same time, and I came second! I shall be teaching everyone how to play it when I get home. We also played games that Phil (Mr Lee) brought; some line game that was very confusing and I lose, so I didn’t like that one, and then a game called ‘who’s in the bag’. That was good, you had to pick out a card with a person’s name on it and describe/act out that person to your team. I think my team lost that but I didn’t really care, it was fun. After that, we played chase the ace, which again I did not win. Later on, Dawn and Paul taught us some knots which I thought I done well. Finally, we went sailing, anchoring down just out of the Milford Haven marina, and off to bed to get up at 3am, ready to start the big sail to Falmouth tomorrow.

Lauren Squibb:
Kind of a lazy day today. We cleaned a little, made food… spent most of the day chilling and playing games. The first game we played after breakfast was by far the best, most amusing game I have ever played! Dawn taught us how to play and mentioned how she doesn’t like to lose. The game was called ‘spoons’. I’ll be forever explaining via blog how to play, so it’s whatever. But it was a fun game, and Josh Stock had a minimum of 3 heart attacks whilst playing due to the object of the game to be to grab a spoon to stay in the game. You still alive Stocko? Lol. We played games that Mr. Lee (Phil) brought too. But they weren’t as good as ‘spoons’. Although playing ‘Chase the Ace’ was amusing because we were all determined to make Mr. Lee loose! Haha. Um. Not much else happened. Dawn and Paul taught us how to do a few knots, most of which I forget the names of, but we were taught how to do it. Later in the evening, we set off again, anchoring down just outside Milford Haven marina. We had an early night in order to be up at 3 in the morning to start our 4 hour shifts to get to Falmouth. Yay, early starts! (Please, note my sarcasm!) Cannot wait to get to Falmouth. 3 days to go, then I can go home!

Luke Williams:
Today was a very relaxed day. After breakfast we played a game of spoons before we set sail to the edge of the coastline in Milford haven where we anchored down for the rest of the day. We also played a game of tantrix and guess who’s in the bag. We then played a game of chase the ace which I beat Phil by 1 point but lost to josh right at the end we then sat down to a nice meal before we finally went to sleep

Joshua Stock:
We started the day in Milford haven where we were anchored. It was a fairly lazy day, as we spent most of the day playing games like spoons and chase the ace, and cleaning the boat. Then after this fairly quiet day we went to bed.


Beggars can’t be choosers…or can they??

Leg 8 / Day 4 

 Phil – After a brisk walk up to the local shops on top of the hill, the group are feeling good and all suffering from land movement. We refuelled and made our way to Beggars Creek. We continued with our sail training under the Sun in a very idyllic setting. The waters were calm and I barely noticed we were at sea. The group used the Tender to go to land which looked really good fun! A new way of cooking jacket potatoes was learnt by all and another attempt at apple crumble went down well. All in preparation for our final journey tomorrow.

Courtney – Today we took a walk to the local Co-Op to pick up some pepper for Dawn, who desperately needed some on her eggs. Later on we took a small blow up boat and we sailed to a bank surrounding by trees, and found the path we needed to take but it was blocked by Ivy so needed to turn around. On the way back we found crabs, fish and small jumping bugs that chased Jess and I across the rocks. I HATE jumping bugs, blech.

Josh L – Today I woke up to yet another wait for breakfast. After our brunch/breakfast we went to the Co-Op to pick up supplies for the boat. After, we anchored further along the river bank to wander around a wooded area. To get to the path we had a climb over the cliff face. Not all of us could get up to the path as most of us slipped down the bank, cut our hands open, bruised ourselves etc. It was fun though, nice to stretch the legs. Tomorrow we set out and anchor again back to where we first anchored in Milford Haven, where we will wait for the good weather…fingers crossed.

Lauren – Long day to say the least! Weather was lovely though. We took a small boat from the Duet to another part of the river where we were anchored. We had a small test on boating terminology, which I had forgotten. Today has proven that I am physically incapable of climbing, but whatever, I don’t particularly care. Dinner was…um fun to prepare. There was a lot to do, but it was all edible. Washing up after has killed me though. My back aches and so do my shoulders. Note to self; give mum more credit for looking after us! Mixed emotions today, but it was a good day!!

Josh S – Today we sailed to Beggars Creek where we anchored. It was an easy trip as the weather was very good. Once we made it to Beggars Creek we took another boat out to the shoreline where we tried to find a pathway. It was a very fruitless endeavour as we couldn’t even get up the first hill. I arrived back to the Duet for tea and finally bed!!

Jessie – Today was calm, after breakfast we walked to the shop to get pepper and towels. During the walk I had a phone call from home that cheered me up very much. When we got back I sorted my clothes out and cleaned the boat. We then did a bit of calm sailing and stopped at Beggars Creek. We put up the Tender (air boat) and all went over to the shore, where we had to climb up the hill to find the path and get to the other side. Due to some people not being able to climb we were unsuccessful and needed to come back. Oh, and I almost started climbing. When we got back I made dinner (jacket potatoes) and cleaned up. Today was nice and sick free!!! Yey!! I think hearing form my parents made me feel a lot happier and calmer but some people are getting on my nerves. The boat is too small to get along with everyone I guess.

Luke – Today was a much better day, nice and calm and lovely and warm. We had a nice walk up to the shops to get pepper and towels. After that we had a nice sail over to Beggars Creek to anchor down fro the rest of the day. We went to shore to find something interesting but we couldn’t get far as some people couldn’t climb the hills. We then came back to a nice meal before bed.

Beggar's Creek


Wind shift awaited

Leg 8 / Day 4

Duet continues to lie at anchor, now in Dale Bay, awaiting a shift in the wind direction. While they wait the crew have been working through the RYA Competent Crew programme so they should be experts in knot tying and the theory of sailing by the time the vessel is able to get underway once again.

Dale bay is well sheltered from the fresh south westerly winds and the beach, untouched by much development, is a ideal for barbecues, games, and exploring.

The hoped for windshift is now a feature in the forecast but Duet will no doubt allow a little time for the seas to settle before she sets sail for Falmouth.

View across dale bay


Showers, dry clothing and sleep

Leg 8 / Day 3

Courtney says: The waves were much, much calmer today as we arrived in Milford Haven. So we had a comfortable journey and later on I had a shower which was awesome. Can’t wait until bedtime!

Josh L says: Waves? Where you go? Not that I’m complaining! Much calmer today, calm enough to deck up in Milford Haven where we have taken cover from the elements. After a short debrief, I ran off to use the deck showers…bliss! After staying up all night on deck last night freezing, it’s just what I needed. It’s been a very quick day today, but around the corner is an early start.

 Lauren says: Day 3 was a lot better. I didn’t feel sick to the point I wanted to go home at all and I was eating properly. We spent the day in Milford Haven so we could send our soaking stuff through the tumble dryer, and have a well deserved shower! On the way in I learned to navigate a little and I steered the boat a bit. (Proper term begins with ‘H’ but I can’t remember it…) The day was fairly easy and enjoyable, so it will be interesting to see what the last 5 days bring! I spoke to mum, dad and Rhian too. (Rhian is my younger sister). They all miss me, I miss them, and mum and Rhian should stop being wimps! I’ll be home on Sunday!

Josh S says: The day started in Milford Haven where we were anchored. We then sailed through the mist to Milford Haven Marina. It was a long trip but the waters were calm so it was easy. When we made it to the Marina we could finally get back on dry land. Where we could have a shower and dry our wet clothes. Once we got back to the boat we all fell asleep.

Luke says: Today was a much better day. We set sail to dock up in Milford Haven, the sea was a lot calmer today. I was on watch for the way down. Once we got to port I had a lovely shower but whenever I closed my eyes everything felt as if it shook. Then I was carrying all the gear to get it dried once we had done that we went to bed.

 Jessie says: Today I was better! I was not sick and we didn’t go on rough waters. I had some cereal this morning. We sailed through the mist into a marina where we stayed at night. It was fun, I got to drive!! And no, I didn’t almost flip the boat, I was a good driver. I had a warm shower in the marina and it was lovely! We also got to dry our stuff but most of them didn’t dry. I ate dinner, it was good potato, ham and cheese, and chocolate orange angel delight, it wasn’t that nice. Sleep will be better tonight and I’m glad I haven’t been sick. I wish the rest of the trip would be like this, but I don’t think its going to be!

Phil says: A good lie in was welcome but we still needed to be up. Breakfast was served but it was midday by the time we had finished. The mist was heavy and cold, so we took our time to get to Newland Marina to moor up for the night. The guys are learning new skills each day. Josh S can now butter bread, cook eggs and bacon and cut cheese, as well as developing his sailing lingo. All the kit is now dry and the showers were really hot and powerful which was great! Good nights sleep was had by all!

At anchor in Dale Bay


Waves, dolphins and bombs

Leg 8 / Day 2 (Monday)

Courtney says: Despite the crashing waves, heavy wind and freezing water, I feel fine and am enjoying (almost) every minute. Unfortunately, I’ve missed seeing dolphins and the army shooting at us but I did see millions of stars last night and I’m glad I chose to go on the Duet.

Josh L says: Wow! Mad day today. Sea sickness hit us all. With my start of the day hugging the bucket. I could have gone home then and there. But after going above deck, I felt SO much better! As everyone stayed below deck trying to keep their stomach contents, I kept watch above deck rolling around on roller coaster waves. Finally anchored up early hours. The highlight of my day, however, was being shot at by the ministry of defence as we sailed around the coast.

Lauren says: Day 2 was damn rough! I spent most of the day sleeping and throwing up! I haven’t felt so ill in my entire life. But, as we sailed into Dale lake, (I think that’s what it was called…) I recovered enough to have something to eat. Cheese sandwiches. Win! Before going to bed we all went up on deck to finish clearing up and I’m glad I ventured out. The air helped and the night was gorgeous! Stars out above the ocean look prettier than they do at home. J Only downer other than being extremely ill, is I missed seeing the dolphins and the ministry of defence shooting at us! L

Josh S says: started off the day in OxwichBay. Water was fairy calm but I was still sick though. Then we sailed from Oxwich to Milford Haven. After spending two hours on deck I was absolutely soaked and freezing. I then spent what seemed like minutes but was actually hours below deck being sick and trying to sleep. Finally we made it to Milford Haven at 2 in the morning, where we anchored and finally slept.

Luke says: It was a very wet and cold and I was sick whenever I went below deck but as the day went on it got better and better. First it started with the dolphins coming up to the boat, then the MoD firing at us. It was just very cold on deck doing an hour shift. When we finally anchored down, it was a beautiful night with all the stars and lights.

Jessie says: OMG! The waves are crazy! Being sick, wet and cold is not fun at all!! The boat does not stop rocking and almost everyone has been sick, not fun!!! On the bright side, I saw dolphins and we got shot at by the army. The boat is nice at midnight. All the stars were out and the water was much calmer. I haven’t eaten today, only an apple and warm water. All my stuff is soaking wet, so it’s a cold wet night for all. I wish I was home!

Phil says: What a day The sea was crazy! A huge swell and lots and lots of sick. Only myself and Courtney was not sick but the smell of saucepans and buckets full of the stuff was horrific.On deck it was amazing. The dolphins came to say hello and the gannets were dive bombing for food. Talking about bombing, the MoD gave us a very close firework display with missiles and bombs, which kept us on our toes.The lights of  Milford Haven were upon us and the feeling of relief was immense. It seemed to takeages to get in though. Cheese sandwiches were served at 3am and a very,very wet bed awaited. Phew!!!


Duet takes shelter in Oxwich Bay

Leg 8 / Day 2

Putting gaskets on the storm jibDuet is riding comfortably to anchor in Oxwich Bay awaiting a break in the fresh south westerly winds that are forecast to blow for the next 48 hours.. Her position at the end of the Gower Peninsular puts her in a good place to spring off once conditions permit.

The crew from Dylan Thomas Community School comment . .

Courtney battles on….& sees fish in Oxwich Bay,whilst waiting for the big winds to pass….Josh loves the colour of the storm jib,& has enjoyed being out on the bow sprit…Josh 2 says, I feel terrible but enjoy making the bacon…Luke says I’m fine,have got over the sea sick now…Lauren says, tiered, miserable but the experience of the challenge is good…..Jess says,sailing is FU…with a great big N…Phil says Bumpy start. Did anyone else feel the earth quake? & have seen more sick here then I did at Uni!!!

. . .so it sound as though spirits are still high despite the weather. If you can get it wo work for you there is a webcam of Oxwich Bay here 

Sheltering in Oxwich Bay