Duet in Yarmouth

Leg 10 / Day 2

Young people from York Children’s Services joined Duet on Wednesday  and by the following day had made a successful passage past the Olympic racing off Portland to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. Here they were spotted by good friends of the Cirdan Trust Marion and Richard Heming who have kindly supplied this photo of Dawn (Skipper) and Paul (Mate).

Duet in Yarmouth Harbour

The vagaries of internet connections have so far prevent the young people from getting their log updates through but at least we can see that they weather was good in Yarmouth Harbour!

As she heads for Eastbourne Duet is leaving the stronger winds to the West and with South and South-westerlies she should make speedy progress towards her destination.


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!!!


Soggy but still happy . . .just!

Leg 6 / Day 2  (Sun 1 July)

Ryan . . . Woke up at 6am. We got breakfast, 3 of us went up on deck to start our shift. Me and Andy finally got the anchor up after a struggle. We set off about 6:45am. It was a bit of a shock because last night everyone was unhappy and saying they wanted to go home BUT today was different. Everyone was enjoying it. Then mad Andy started being sick again.

I’ve been on deck most of the day. Just shows how different everyone responded today. Just rolled a snout. Up to puff it. Back soon. . .!

Paul (Tiny) . . .  It has started again. I woke up around 9am and moved to adry bed for a decent kip but only slept ‘till 10:30am. Had a wash and went up for a watch. Steered the boat for a while and have been SENT to bed as I am NEEDED later. Any excuse to get rid of me!!

My turn to make the munch tonight so it’s going to be banging!

P.S ‘Sicknote’ Andy has been sick again but is finally up working Ahhaa!! With his bucket!

Forgot to say, me and the bold Lexi nearly swam with the fish last night trying to get the Jib sail down. As it was lowered we couldn’t pull it in quick enough and it went in the water pulling me an Lexi towards the edge of the starboard bow of the boat. Resulting in me hurting my finger on the guard wire. What’s the irony in that . . .!

As for our bags. . . .well the majority of them are as wet as the boat itself. The hatch in the forward ‘bunk room’, if you want to call it that, was left open leaving us to sleep in soggy conditions and in the same clobber we worked in to keep warm. So far though, it has been good. Everyone is keeping each other’s moral high enough than no one has contemplated suicide by drowning . . .so far!!

Duet beating upwind in lively conditions


Dolphins, seals, crabs and a frog named Gilbert

Leg 5 / Day 4 & 5 (Tuesday 26th & Wednesday 27th June)

Caledonian Canal – Lynn of Lorne – Oban – Crinan Canal – Ardmarnoch Bay

Saskia . .It was hard beginning this morning setting up the sails and allowing the wind to guide us forwardWe sailed south past the Lynn of Lorne passing scenery so devastatingly beautiful.. So enigmatic it was hard to look away!

The weather brightened up around noon and we all enjoyed a much deserved lunch of lasagne and chips.

Levels of excitement reached a crescendo when we witnessed a pod of dolphins swimming by the boat. It was magical. Watching the animals leaping out of the water was truly a sight to behold.

.It was a mad start to the day when leaving Oban. Trying to haul up the 60m anchor chain before breakfast was not easy. Fitness has definitely improved.

I have now decided how I feel about sailing. It is literally methadone . . .all consuming. No greater feeling in the world than when the boat is cutting through the  icy water.. . .smooth . . . free.

Hilda . . .It’s just a few days after midsummer and we are way up north and west so it gets dark really late. At midnight you could almost read a newspaper. Then it is light again by 3am.

On Saturday and Sunday it rained often but the sun came out on Monday and we had two glorious days of sunshine with just enough wind to sail but not so much that the sea was rough.

After sailing south from our anchorage we sailed past the Isle of Seil – we didn’t see any seals except for a brief glimpse of a seals head checking us out. But we did sea the ‘bridge over the Atlantic’ which connects the Isle of Seil to the mainland over a narrow stretch of sea at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

For nearly an hour we were accompanied by about twenty dolphins which swam by the boat. One of them rolled over and stared at us from underwater with it’s beady eye.

We continued south past the Gulf of Corriwreckan and the famous whirlpool north of Jura where the Atlantic is squeezed through a narrow underwater chasm.

We could see a strange stillness on the sea’s surface which could lure underwater sailors but we kept at a safe distance

Saskia . . .Get up. Eat. Pass through a lock. Rest. Pass through a lock. It rains. Pass through a lock. Navigate. Pass through a lock. This was the perpetual motion of the morning. It was exhausting work manually move the 15 lock gates going along the Crinan Canal. However when we got out into the open sea things got better. We passed endless islands and uninhabited coastline. In my peripheral vision I could see the horizon stretching for miles around, mist shrouding much of the land. We docked up near Loch Fyne and lowered the anchor for the night. As a special treat we wre allowed to go ashore in a small dinghy to explore and have a treasure hunt.

Shelly . . . Today was a hard day as we had to pull the boat through  the locks as it weighs 27 tonnes. We also had a fun day as we saw loads of dolphins.

Kayleigh . . .Today we have seen amazing mammals in the Lynn of Lorne. We saw dolphins and the head of a seal. And we went past a whirlpool near the Atlantic Ocean.

Hilda . . . Gavin has been busy throughout the day making repairs to the boat. He never asks for thanks but whenever he disappears you can find him beavering away somewhere onboard, for example tying elaborate knots to fix the guardrails around the deck.

Francis showed us how to draw our position on the chart by putting a cross on the latitude and longitude reading. This apparently would be useful in case we got lost.

The Crinan Canal is completely different from the Caledonian Canal. It is much narrower but fortunately we didn’t meet any oncoming vessels. There wasn’t much room to pass. It’s much shorter but their are lots of locks – and unlike the Caledonian Canal where the lock gates are machine operated, these are manual – you have to push them open. It’s very slow.

The lock keepers have been friendly. Almost all like to chat and passing tourists enjoy watching the boats going in and out of the locks. We talked to many international visitors doing our bit for international exchange. We went through the Caledocian Canal together with a big Swedish yacht in tandem, motoring across the locks and lochs.

Although the Crinan Canal is only 12 miles long it seemed to last a long time. It felt like being trapped in Groundhog Day. That we’d never get out of the canal.

Heather . . .The trip up to now has been amazing. We saw dolphins and they came right up to the boat. We also found a frog and called it Gilbert. We went through lots of locks that we had to push open ourselves. It was hard work and a really back breaking task.

We anchored up at Ardmarnock Bay and pumped up the dinghy and went ashore. We had to find four things. It was hard to find them as we left it to the last minutes when the boat was coming back to get us.. We made a fire but it didn’t work for long.

When I was tying the fenders to the side of the boat, my glasses fell off into the water and they sunk.

On the island we found a crab and called it Gavin.


Great with Marmite

Leg 4 / Day 3

We had a chocolate sponge cake made for us by Jonny Johnsons wife which was “Damn fine” & now the staple for this idyllic sail

‘Southerly 4 at Rattray Head,Sunny & warm’ is a gift from D.O.Andy from Aberdeen…”Morning rolls for fishermen” he said. We said, “Great with Marmite!”

…”I’m Scottish & I never heard of them!! Very buttery,& great for a fuller figure!!!”

Thank you all.

Eating in the cockpit


Wet passage

Leg 4 / Day 1

Connect crew on deck with guitarFollowing a wet passage to Aberdeen the group from Aberdeen could only manage a few words. They were:

Jack . . . relieved

Oscar…that was an experience

Aaron….the spewing has finished!!!



Susie…my boss has got a lot to answer for!

Duet can be so close to nature that everything has nature in it…everything is wet & airing, even the guitar had to be emptied!!

Leg 4 group on deck in foul weather gear



Weatherbound in Scarborough

Leg 2 / Day 3

Duet will be staying in Scarborough today as a 2.9m swell pounds the harbour walls. The swell has built up over several days of onshore winds making the security and comfort of the harbour a much more attractive option. Duet is tucked inside the commercial harbour with the local fishing boats who are also sheltering from the weather.

The day will be spent in preparing Duet for the onward voyage as well as having some games on the beach. The group are also expecting a visit from local scouts who will be coming to view the boat. The young Duet crew will be hosting the scouts and showing them over Duet.

The visit has been organised by Nick Taylor, the local council’s Renaissance Manager who was first introduced to sailing as a boy on a voyage with the Ocean Youth Club aboard Duet. He is now the Commodore of the Scarborough Yacht Club. He spotted Duet sheltering in the harbour and came down to introduce himself.

Fishing dock Scarborough









Photo credit: Carl Spencer


Arrived Scarborough

Leg 2 / Day 2 Sunday 3pm

Duet and her crew have arrived in Scarborough having sailed non-stop from the River Orwell in Suffolk in challenging conditions. An easterly wind meant fast progress but lively sea conditions. The crew were keen to make some distance to the north before the wind began to blow from that direction and make conditions yet more uncomfortable.

“Despite the discomfort of seasickness the young people and their leaders did a great job” said Skipper Dawn.

Chart showing route from River Orwell to ScarboroughHaving sailed through the night, all on-board are looking forward to a good square meal, some sleep and a rest day tomorrow. Despite the difficult conditions, feedback from the crew is still positive. James says “Fantastic trip so far”. Dom said “The trip so far has been ‘very interesting!!!’” whilst Kannet says “I have had an amazing time”

Sailing the whole distance from Harwich without using the engine means that Duet has not charged her batteries so is telephoning her reports in rather than use valuable electrical power charging the laptop.

So far this leg has offered plenty of adventure for the group of young people. We can’t wait to see the photos. Congratulations to all on-board. What a great passage!




New group joined Duet and sailing north at 10 knots (that’s fast!)

Leg 2 / Day 1 at 1215 Saturday Duet reports . . .

After an 0330 start from the River Orwell  most of the new group are feeling somewhat queasy as Duet flys north up Cartlon Roads (off Lowestoft) at 10 knots in a fresh easterly wind. The sea is sparkling says the skipper. Not sure what words the group would use to describe it!



Fair winds for London

With only 5 days to go, Duet has set sail from the River Orwell in Suffolk bound for London to be ready to begin her Voyage to Success which starts on Monday. She has a forecast for fair winds but with the risk of occasional poor visibility.

She is crewed by a group of young people deemed to be at risk of offending who are aboard to develop skills of teamwork, self-reliance and responsibility.  They are expected to arrive in London on the morning tide on Saturday having explored parts of the Thames Estuary.

Meanwhile, in Lincoln, the first group of young people from the Barnardo’s Lincolnshire Leaving Care Service have had their final briefing before they assemble on Saturday to make their way down to London to begin their adventure. For many, this will be their first  experience of travelling outside Lincolnshire.