Eilean wishes you good holidays!

Eilean with fellow classics next to the World Swimming Championship

Since the end of ‘Puig Vela Classica Barcelona’ we have carried out a number of day-sails with clients, guests and, most rewarding of all, children. The children were invited from the highly respected pediatric hospital ‘Sant Joan de Déu’, a majority of who are recovering from cancer. All are wonderful, full of energy with big open eyes as they step aboard and get to be a ‘Captain for a Day’. I hardly touch the helm keen to get them to turn their focus towards the boat and the sea, even to them manoeuvring Eilean back onto the dock. The children help with hoisting sails, grinding winches and tacking the sails. We also get them tying knots that I like to think they can continue practising once they return home. Its not all sailing. The water pistols come out along with the water bombs and before long everybody on board is soaked to the bone! Its a fun day out and when you lead the life we live and then get to share with those fighting for survival there is nothing more grounding, worthwhile and inspirational than providing a day out on the boat on the sea. One of the girls told me, as she took a short break from looking out over the water, “Before I had cancer I’d never seen the sea, and now when I’m around it, it fills me with hope”.

Until the middle of August we remain in Barcelona getting Eilean ready for the rest of the season and in particular the Panerai regatta in Mahon, Menorca. Its all about varnishing! We are here with a number of other classic yachts all doing the same including Mariquita, Mariette and Moonbeam of Fife. The sandpaper, blue tape and brushes are out, and the music’s playing as we all fight to sand the brightwork under the awning in this mid-summer heat. We also provide the backdrop to the World Swimming Championships, in particular the Open Water Swimming and over the next few days the High Diving events where competitors dive, twist and curve from a towering 27 metres, only 1 metre shorter than the top of out main mast!

Varnish work on the foredeck

Varnishing the helm

We’ll be back soon with Mahon regatta imminent and a race to win! Enjoy your holidays.

Sailing to Barcelona

Eilean in Barcelona

Needless to say we made it to Barcelona. We caught a 10, maybe 12 kilo tuna that went straight into the freezer and has fed some of the regatta crew during the Puig Barcelona regatta. After the previous delivery report we motor-sailed a majority of the remaining miles and managed to arrive in Barcelona at 19.00 on Tuesday 9th July.

Eilean in Barcelona

We are now in the middle of the classic sailing regatta here, our first non-Panerai event with strict instructions not to break anything! The wind is very light and so it is a challenge to get Eilean in a challenging position but we have enjoyed two race days so far with one remaining.

Eilean in Barcelona

We then spend the rest of the month here and entertain children, guests and Panerai enthusiasts.

In a Sicilian mood

In a Sicilian mood
We left Sciacca, on the south coast of Sicily, at 06.00 on Saturday 6th July, the night after the Panerai World Meeting came to a close at a nearby resort. The three journalists arrived on Friday afternoon, one writing for Le Figaro and the others for the Spanish daily ‘El Pais’. As two of them have never been on a boat before I think leaving during daylight hours was the way to start the 600 mile voyage. We had some lovely sailing with 4 sails up(the most we carry upwind on delivery) and as the day moved it became increasingly bumpy. When Stefano the Chef (aka Chefano) cooked up a filet mignon of pork with saute potato it was hardly sampled by our guests on board as they swiftly made for their cabins. The 4 crew are working on rotation and carrying out all the watches day and night. Pretty tired to begin with after our back-to-back events (Naples regatta and then entertaining off Sciacca) but 34 hours into the trip we are starting to come round. Everybody is a little more perky this morning having had a lovely tuna pasta for lunch (caught off the back of Eilean 6 days ago), the sun is out and we are sailing beautifully along on our rhum line at 6.5 knots.
In a Sicilian mood

Napoli’s magic

Eilean - Le Vele d'Epoca a Napoli

After 3 years of tweaking and a Winter of serious changes Eilean is finally up there and performing. Not least due to the hard work of the crew this last week, 5 of Eileans’ angels on board, that saw 2 practise days and 4 days of racing in the Gulf of Naples.

Joining our class were a number of fellow Fife designs including the Big Boat ‘Mariquita’, the Marconi cutter ‘Hallowe’en’ and the 12-Metre ‘Vanity V’. There was stiff competition from the Sparkman and Stevens yawl ‘Manitou’ and 2 more 12-Metre yachts completed the class, ‘Emilia’ and ‘La Spina’.

On our first day of racing we were hopeful but after three quarters of the race we finally submitted to gear failure and retired from the race. We were gifted with the strongest breeze of the season so far, around 15 knots true, and the new main winch was unable to take the additional loads. Back to the drawing board. Luckily we organized for the old main halyard winch, stuck in the container in Viareggio, to be delivered that night and first thing in the morning it was duly fitted ready for another days racing.

Eilean - Le Vele d'Epoca a Napoli

The second day took us way out towards Capri, a 13 mile upwind leg followed by 13 miles downwind. Certainly a test for ones attention span and one we were ready for. Frano, the tactician, read perfectly a beautiful lift off the Sorrento shoreline that found us surprisingly close to ‘Hallowe’en’ after the windward mark. The big gennaker was set along with the mizzen staysail and we headed off downwind. 2 gybes later and after over 4 hours of racing we crossed the finish line, only to find out later that we had won our first 1st place since Eilean’s restoration back in 2009.

Now the pressure was on to confirm it wasn’t a fluke! The next day saw us racing a triangular course within the bay twice around. We had a good start until ‘Mariquita’ painfully rolled over the top of us leaving us standing upright in her dirty air. Fortunately we made it round the first mark in behind ‘Hallowe’en’ and headed out to the right for the upwind leg. Another shift taken advantage of saw us close in on ‘Hallowe’en’ with ‘Manitou’ right there as well. ‘Manitou’ rounded first, ‘Hallowe’en’ and then us and while ‘Mantiou’ and ‘Halowe’en’ fought for clear air we took the more direct line and managed to be in front of them both by the windward mark. We held position on the next leg only to lose out to the shift on the beat this time around. Finally we came in 2nd on corrected time.

Eilean - Le Vele d'Epoca a Napoli

All down to the last day we were keen to keep up the good work especially as we had Panerai CEO Mr Bonati on board and we were keen to impress. We took part in the parade in the morning that took us around Castel del Ovo and then proceeded 8 miles out to the downwind start-line. We had our third great start in a row and led the fleet into the bay. A great tussle between us and ‘Hallowe’en’ ensued down the coastline and we changed position a number of times with the faster ‘Hallowe’en’ eventually pulling out in front. A short but exciting day with all crew 100% focused and we were rewarded with not only beating ‘Mariquita’ on the water but our second 1st position of the week, by 28 seconds on corrected time!

‘Manitou’ was to win overall due to us having the same results in three out of four races and therefore our discard counted which was our day of gear failure and retirement.

Either way the point has been made. Eilean is back fighting fit and ready for the next regatta.

We now head to Sicily for the Panerai World Meeting where our colleagues have a chance to enjoy some sailing and after only 3 days there we head on to Barcelona where we will be based for the next month.