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  • Topsail Adventures Ltd - Amelie Rose and the Hungry Sailors The Whole Story...
    have visited to date Brighton has no natural feature within which a harbour can shelter and has been entirely man made by sinking huge caissons into the seabed to tear a safe harbour from the teeth of an unforgiving sea Whilst far from pretty this solution is entirely workable and we were to thank these caisson s repeatedly over the next days At 4pm the crew appear and D J set to work building this episode s ingenious contraption a wind powered coffee grinder We look on amused as the increasing howl of the wind threatens to uproot anything not nailed down and causes repeated downsizing of the wind turbine that drives the device By the time a successful test is completed the fins describe barely the circumference of our ships clock and yet still drive the attached grinder at a rate to be proud of With the device built filmed and dismantled we re all off duty again until cook day dawns The sun rises upon an interesting Sunday The plan has been to film Amelie Rose s arrival and departure scenes in the morning followed by the big dinner scenes over lunchtime My first call as I awake is to the Assistant Producer who has trouble hearing me over the din I outline to them as best I can the scene that confronts me The wind is consistently inconsistent varying from Force 5 to 8 with each passing moment I can t see the sea from where I m standing but I can hear it rumbling against the breakwater and I can see the spray as waves crash right over the top every minute or so I indicate that it might not be a good idea to go sailing and after a brief but we only need a few shots debate the matter is settled During the day various yachts appear looking wet bedraggled and thoroughly pleased to reach a safe haven which adds weight to our decision to stay put A few boats choose to head out regardless the majority of which return fairly promptly and one of which we have to call back in This Danish yacht decides to extract itself from the berth next to us using Amelie Rose as a pivot point to spin their boat Now this sort of thing is acceptable when plenty of fenders are deployed to protect the boats but in this case the pillock Skipper decided that the perfect protective device would be his kedge anchor which he kept stored over his stern This leaves a two inch gouge in Amelie Rose s paintwork a fact that he ignores even when it s pointed out to him As he sets out to sea I run up to the Marina office to get his details and they call him back in on the VHF He arrives and denies that it s anything to do with him until we point out the paint that s still stuck to his kedge at

    Original URL path: http://www.topsail-adventures.co.uk/index.php/Features/Amelie-Rose-and-the-Hungry-Sailors-The-Whole-Story/Episode-15-We-get-Bashed-in-Brighton.html (2016-04-26)
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  • Topsail Adventures Ltd - Amelie Rose and the Hungry Sailors The Whole Story...
    like some from the boat footage of Brighton Pier about a mile back West No problem we say and I gun the engine to get it all over with as we re scheduled to be at Newhaven by 0900 and the clock is ticking After another 20 minutes of just one more shot Martin finally pronounces himself happy and we re finally heading back in the right direction The breeze by now has moderated to an F3 4 but is still in the West but which is lucky motoring into a head sea is a fools game and would have seen us at least an hour late Having checked in with Newhaven Port Control to ensure that we don t run into any big shipping movements in the Harbour we are directed to tie alongside a barge that is lying on the East Quay We get this achieved with a little help from some dock workers who have been rousted by Port Control No doubt hoping to get their faces on TV they seem amused and underwhelmed in equal measure by the from their point of view miniature warps that we throw up to them After a few minutes of confusion as they reveal a total lack of knot tying ability we are secured and ready for the team to swarm aboard Twenty minutes later we are at sea again and finally get to hoist some canvas With the engine quietened we enjoy a lovely sail along the coast toward the infamous Beachy Head Thankfully no one seems intent on hurling themselves off on a fine morning like this and we sail past revelling in the early sunshine Once past a gybe puts us on course for Eastbourne s Sovereign Harbour and we are soon dropping sail off the entrance Like Brighton Sovereign Harbour is entirely man made although in this case it has been gouged out of the land rather than constructed at sea The four marina basins were dredged out of an area of shingle known as the Crumbles to the North East of Eastbourne and are entered via pair of 50m locks that run 24 hours a day We negotiate the lock and then cruise through the main marina basin through a lifting bridge into the North Basin where we tie up Marinas normally bring me out in a rash as Amelie Rose can be a cow to control in a tight space especially when reversing is called for Sovereign Harbour is happily an exception to this rule Big wide corridors and sensibly spaced pontoons leave plenty of room for manoeuvre and the surrounding buildings whilst making the view somewhat drab do at least provide welcome shelter from the breeze This is just as well as another August blow is on it s way The next couple of days pass easily enough all the sailing shots are in the can from Monday so there s little for us to worry about and apart from the odd walk

    Original URL path: http://www.topsail-adventures.co.uk/index.php/Features/Amelie-Rose-and-the-Hungry-Sailors-The-Whole-Story/Episode-16-Crumbles-in-Eastbourne.html (2016-04-26)
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  • Topsail Adventures Ltd - Amelie Rose and the Hungry Sailors The Whole Story...
    the map So it s up here he says right fine I nod then left here mind you don t cut that corner bit shallow there uhuh ok then between these buoys yep fine then along here right turn and then you ll be in the turning basin yep got it then just spin the boat and reverse up to the quay WHAT ah oh boy The thing about traditional boats like Amelie Rose is that they re designed to go forwards preferably in a straight line With four feet of boat in the water at the bow and seven feet at the stern they really don t like to deviate from their favourite pastime which is ploughing onward at high speed This makes them fantastic sea boats but pigs to control in a tight space under engine They weren t designed with engines in mind and they certainly weren t designed to go backwards With Amelie Rose reversing is something of a black art You weigh up all of the forces acting upon her figure out what you expect her to do prepare carefully and then look on with a mixture of amusement and pure panic as she proceeds to head off in an entirely different direction to that which you d anticipated So Uhm you remember I mentioned that we don t really DO reverse I say especially not in a tight space with no emergency exits a bunch of tide shoving us up the channel and surrounded by other boats The response Ah With the crew all ready to go we resolve that the HM will accompany us up the channel in his launch The idea being that if called upon he could tow us backward up the quay if we re not using our engine Amelie Rose can sometimes be persuaded to behave I figure that this is as well prepared as we can be so off we go Actually looking back on it we had fun It is the most bonkers approach to a mooring I d ever seen The buoys he d mentioned were so close together I d have not even noticed the channel had I not seen him head up it We thread Amelie Rose through them with about a foot spare on either side and before we know it are at the turning basin Heart in mouth I spin Amelie Rose and engage reverse with the entire crew ready to fend off the anticipated accident As it was the last thing Amelie Rose was expected to do she of course decided to head backwards in a perfectly straight line In hindsight we had a light wind blowing across the quay channel pushing on her bow and correcting her normal tendency to pull to port in reverse but at that precise moment I didn t know or care why We putter backwards past the indicated mooring and then pop her against the quay sweet as a nut Once tied up we pull

    Original URL path: http://www.topsail-adventures.co.uk/index.php/Features/Amelie-Rose-and-the-Hungry-Sailors-The-Whole-Story/Episode-17-Reversing-into-Rye.html (2016-04-26)
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  • Topsail Adventures Ltd - Amelie Rose and the Hungry Sailors The Whole Story...
    alerting the warning beeper A quick phone call to the manufacturers guarantees that a new gauge will be delivered to Ramsgate for us and finally I can ring the Producers to let them know that all is well and we ll be with them by Wednesday afternoon This means a 0330am start for us so we hit the hay early We nose out of the lock into the darkness of a Summer s early morning with heavy hearts We re approximately 60 miles from Ramsgate with the forecast we have this means a 10 hour trip stretches out before us Now usually we d be relishing this we ve lost too many great sailing days to the god of film schedules already this summer so why the long faces Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep You get the picture Add to this that we have to go below every 5 minutes to visually scan the gauges because we can t trust to the alarm and this promises to be a long voyage indeed Steve manages approximately a hour of it before suddenly disappearing below with a desperate but determined look on his face Five minutes later Silence Ah blessed silence Well actually the engine is still running as there s very little wind at this early hour but the beeping is gone almost Every bit the skilled bodger Steve has found the blasted alarm and wrapped it in tape to dim it s piping voice We still have to duck below every five minutes but at least we ll arrive sane rather than like two pavlovian hounds drooling mindlessly in time to the beeps As the day gets into it s stride the breeze fills in nicely from the West and we are soon bowling along without a care in the world Passing Dungeness we are surrounded by porpoises of every size and type putting on a brilliant show I have never seen so many cetaceans in one place We later surmise that the outflow of heated water from the Dungoness reactor makes this a food rich patch and clearly the marine life around there doesn t have to work much for grub The next hour is spent watching them all simply buggering about fantastic Eastwards ever Eastwards we plow on Amelie Rose gurgling to herself happily as she shoves the sea aside We pass Dover with little trouble and then we have a choice to make Before us lie the Goodwin Sands Huge shifting sandbanks of ill repute these nasties are renowned for swallowing ships and must be treated with respect Our choice is whether to head outside them up the main channel into Ramsgate or to save an hour by cutting inside up the trickier small ship route We opt for the more demanding inner passage and begin to scan the horizon for the buoys that will help us make landfall in safety As we approach the

    Original URL path: http://www.topsail-adventures.co.uk/index.php/Features/Amelie-Rose-and-the-Hungry-Sailors-The-Whole-Story/Episode-18-On-fire-almost-wrecked.html (2016-04-26)
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  • Topsail Adventures Ltd - Amelie Rose and the Hungry Sailors The Whole Story...
    little South of West blowing offshore over the Foreland cliffs rather than driving waves inshore The new weather system was gusty but not actually that strong and was swinging rapidly around the compass to blow more from the North which would be perfect for us once we d rounded North Foreland Within a couple of hours we d done this and for the first time in a while found ourselves heading West into the Thames Estuary We breathe a sign of relief at having slipped past with not even the slightest slapping but our labours are not over yet The Thames Estuary extends like a hand facing outward from the Thames mouth Each finger is a deep channel heading in towards the historic ports that jostle for space along it s coastline But it s what lies between the channels that causes all of the trouble hereabouts A mass of constantly shifting sandbanks lie in wait to catch the unwary seafarer The better marked of the channels betwixt the banks carry an almost constant stream of big boat traffic These monsters will leap up at you from seemingly nowhere One minute there s a clear horizon 10 minutes later a towering mass of metal is bearing down on you with horns blaring if you ve been lucky enough to be seen by their lookouts From stem to stern these fellas can measure over a quarter of a mile and they re moving at anywhere up to 5 or 6 times Amelie Rose s cruising speed so there is no room for error and it often pays to take the less well marked but quieter channels to reach your destination We choose a route somewhat between the two extremes initially heading up through the quieter South channels before joining one of the main routes but aiming to sail along just outside of the deep water As we approach the main fairway we are suddenly caught in a squall another feature of the passage of the cold front Unstable air masses move rapidly up and down causing short lived but frantic downpours within which the wind will change direction and speed rapidly and the rain falls so heavily that it s difficult to see the bowsprit from the aft deck I leap below and spin up our radar to watch out for any surrounding traffic but even this is having difficulty seeing through the clutter We re just joining the main channel when I do make out a big ship closing rapidly from astern and open the hatch to let Steve know As it turns out I discover him standing in clear sunlight looking directly at the guy the squall has passed as quickly as it arrived From here on in we have a lovely sail entering the Medway just as darkness gathers it s cloak around us and arriving at Steve s Yacht club in time to have supper ashore with friends We awake to a lovely Summers day with light

    Original URL path: http://www.topsail-adventures.co.uk/index.php/Features/Amelie-Rose-and-the-Hungry-Sailors-The-Whole-Story/Episode-19-Smacking-Oysters-in-Whitstable.html (2016-04-26)
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  • Topsail Adventures Ltd - Amelie Rose and the Hungry Sailors The Whole Story...
    to have an expert on the helm all we have to do is control the revs run around taking photos and beaming happily 1233 Passing the Dome and approaching my old offices at Canary Wharf It s all so much more interesting as you approach all of the bits you know from telly etc 1247 We pass the Greenwich meridian and the Greenwich Observatory itself back in the Western hemisphere again 1310 Off Canary Wharf doing a piece to camera about the differences between my old office and my new office Probably won t make the cut but I enjoy the feeling of looking back on my old life whilst sat aboard my new one 1315 Off the Mayflower Pub we turn and stem tide for a while according to Bob it doesn t do to be early Or late In fact you really really have to be bang on time otherwise the Bridge Control guys get quite stroppy apparently 1339 Heading back in the right direction again and we ve just gone past Cherry Garden Pier at the other end of which is our old flat where we lived as we were dreaming up this whole plan 1350 Wow Cool there s the bridge We re just keeping steerage and letting the tide do the work Bridge Control have just been on the VHF this is really going to happen 1358 We re now just 400 metres from the best known bridge in the world and all of the traffic has just disappeared from it 1400 Amazing amazing amazing it s opening For us 1405 What a fantastic experience Folks were waving someone was even calling Amelie s name turns out to be ex guest Dora thanks for that and all that chaos just for us Am so chuffed AND we get to do it all over again in 25 minutes At 1428 We do indeed get to do it all over again as we escape from London Pool It would have been fantastic to have stayed here but the only places to moor are all privately owned so we have to head back down river to South Dock Marina As we approach I can see that Bob is looking a tad ruffled as he tries to control Amelie Rose in the strong cross tide at the very narrow entrance to the South Dock lock gates Would you like me to take her I offer and am slightly surprised to have a Thames Pilot who has driven more boats than I ve ever sailed on look rather pleased to accept The lock entrance is indeed a little tricky but we manage it without too much to do Inside the lock there s a moment of interest as we realise that Amelie Rose won t quite fit along the walls and so with a single bowline and sternline we have to sit in the middle of the lock controlling her under engine whilst they run the lock cycle This is

    Original URL path: http://www.topsail-adventures.co.uk/index.php/Features/Amelie-Rose-and-the-Hungry-Sailors-The-Whole-Story/Episode-20-We-bring-London-to-a-Halt.html (2016-04-26)
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  • Topsail Adventures Ltd - From City Streets to the Open Seas
    direct them Indeed re connecting their guests to the UK s sailing heritage seems to be a big part of the couple s mission Sailing aboard Amelie Rose is a way to get hands on experience of what it was like to sail aboard a boat of Nelson s era enthuses Nick without the bad food and the beatings of course They go on to make it clear that good food is particularly important to them aboard Amelie Rose a well fed crew is a happy crew and with this in mind the galley has been equipped with a catering style GN Espace cooker and a large custom built fridge with a Frigoboat keel cooler Yet more high technology is hidden under the chart table in the form of an EFOY Hydrogen Fuel Cell to keep the batteries topped up We re no fans of burning diesel says Nick in a boat as enviromentally friendly as this it s a shame to be running the engine an hour or two every day just to keep lights on Square in the forefoot deep and upright at the sternpost with a long sloping keel a high rise of bilge and a trademark lute stern Amelie Rose is modelled on Isles of Scilly Pilot Cutters from the early 1800 s In their heyday there were 46 boats working the treacherous waters surrounding these remote Southwestern outposts of the British Isles On station in the North Atlantic in all weathers they would watch for the approach of square riggers bound for the Bristol or English Channels and then race to get their pilot aboard first Crewed by just a man and a boy these boats reached a near perfect balance between sea kindliness and speed and were incredibly strongly built in order to survive

    Original URL path: http://www.topsail-adventures.co.uk/index.php/Features/CityStreetstoOpenSeas/Page-2.html (2016-04-26)
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  • Topsail Adventures Ltd - From City Streets to the Open Seas
    believe helps to balance the French forename great for a boat who spends time on both sides of the English Channel The 9 foot clinker sailing tender by Chris Rees who built Pete Goss Spirit of Mystery sits upright atop the saloon skylight and is called Mary Rose after Nick s Mum who died of Motor Neurone Disease in January 08 having followed the project avidly up to the framing stage When asked why they have chosen to base their business in Poole Harbour rather than in the heart of the Solent like so many other charter business Melisa replies Poole is a beautiful base to sail from right in the heart of the Jurassic Coast England s first natural World Heritage Site we re just three hours sailing from the Solent but well placed to make passage to Cornwall and the Scillies to the West or the Channel Islands and Brittany to the South Plus Dorset s great for good locally produced food adds Nick and we have decent rail links to the rest of the country How has the first season afloat been Fantastic says Nick really really hard work but incredibly rewarding Looking through our photos from the year makes me smile every time The people we ve had aboard have been lovely and the reception that Amelie Rose gets everywhere she goes just makes me really proud of what we ve achieved So what s next We re taking Amelie Rose back home says Melisa a trip to Cornwall for the Pilot Cutter Review and Championships followed by an adventure out to the Isles of Scilly where it all started Whatever they do next we re sure that it will be done with bags of enthusiasm and commitment and we wish them well Amelie Rose is

    Original URL path: http://www.topsail-adventures.co.uk/index.php/Features/CityStreetstoOpenSeas/Page-3.html (2016-04-26)
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