You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category.

So another year has slipped beneath my toes and I have not written. Not because I have not wanted to but because I have not finished a post, and so on seeing a friends post and the fact that it does not have to be paragraphs long, with copious awesome photos I felt it was time to start again and write. Fill in a few gaps over the next few weeks with what has been happening during the last year and what is going on now.

At the moment we are anchored out in Sardegna, in a place called Portisco, which is on the Costa Smeralda and it is August 15th, Ferragosto, Italy’s biggest holiday, one that basically closes the country down and people go to the beach. If you were inland in some of the cities there would be silence as everyone has vacated the cities for the coastal regions of Italy and Sardegna is one of their favourite spots. We are actually fighting a mistral, a wind that is howling around us so not only are we anchored off the island in a fairly protected bay but so are numerous other yachts of all sorts of size and shapes… sail and motoryachts. There are certainly far more motor yachts anchored out here, as in superyachts or giga yachts than the sailing superyachts ! As far as sailing giga yachts there are not really so many in this world and really do you want to go so big ? I really feel this whole size of yacht is getting out of hand especially in the motor yacht world. The wealth to own one of these could feed a small country,  let alone probably help out some country’s banking issues… But at this moment that is a subject I should not dwell upon.

We are in guest mode, but the poor guests are unable to get off the yacht due to the strength of the wind at the moment. If we could get the tender into the water we would, but then trying to get into the tender with this wind is another issue, as is getting ashore with out being soaked to the skin unless you are wearing wet weather gear in 30 degrees in the middle of August in the Mediterranean !!

I have not been ashore in a week, and am at the end of my fresh produce, so now desperate to get ashore and shop, but being that it is Ferragosto, the shops are closed and nothing really will get restocked until next week so I am weaning my crew on fresh food, but really they cannot complain as having made fresh tomato sauce that I can use for pasta, or roasted vegetables and plenty of their favourite steak in the freezer they are not going to fade away ! But as for the guests it is slightly different as the berry department for breakfast is really at it’s last limit !

As I look out of my porthole, I am watching as we sail around on the anchor, white caps breaking all around us…I am wondering if the guests are going ashore for a dinner they have been invited to, as I must get on and prep their dinner should they not be able to get ashore, and need to get on with crew dinner. So for now I need to fly, start the oven up, thread the teriyaki tuna onto skewers, steam some rice and prep up some vegetables for the crew, before salting the prawns for the guests as a starter and prepping up their main …. and oh la their dessert a roasted peach and vanilla risotto, a new recipe to play around with.

Photos will be posted next time as will a little bit of what has been going on in the last year… but until then I need to go as time yet again is slidding fast underneath my feet

At anchor in the calm... unlike today in Sardegna ! Ferragosto 2014

At anchor in the calm… unlike today in Sardegna !
Ferragosto 2014


Autumnal weather in one continent means Spring weather in another and you know me I follow the sun, so the time to climb up to the Northern Hemisphere is nearing…

I think Spring is the most wonderful of seasons with flowers, blossoms of fruits all awakening from the cold dark winter days. Everything is so young and fresh. The green of the leaves is so bright, the white of flowers is so white and then the new tastes of fruits and vegetables is always so vivid and fresh. I am eager to get back to the Elderflowers, to make some elderflower cordial which is loved by all, watch how the Wisterias are flowering and drooping over buildings, fences and other trees, the leaves on the trees growing the changes along streets as shadows form from the new leaves, alleyways are covered in ivy and the heat of the sun makes everything open up again after those months hidden away in the cold. There is of course the launch of the boat again after a winter ashore which is always an adventure in its own, then the stepping of the mast, the hoisting of the sails and of course then the sea trials to make sure we are all sorted again to start a summer of sailing, racing and fun throughout the Mediterranean.

Now is the time to start writing again and fortunately I have a workshop to attend to help with food photography so I hope this coming summer there will be some more photos of foods, markets, places I have visited to share with everyone



Wow so the last post was a quick over view of the summer of 2011 and now I must catch up with 2012 so I can get up to date again and begin a fresh start of 2013..even though I have missed January and if I am not careful it will be March before I know it missing the whole of February as well !

2012 was a long year of cruising, not that I am complaining it was a lot of sea miles, and a lot of hours cooking and creating, which together were great.

Starting out in Antigua, in the West Indies where we cruised south through the islands.The islands are volcanic, and lush full of vegetation rain forests on some, sugar cane on others, or sand cays just made literally of sand, broken shells and maybe a palm tree with reefs around them full of fish, squid, shells and live coral, wonderful different sea weeds but this year was the year of the Sargasso seaweed invasion. It was so bad that on the eastern side of Antigua people had to be evacuated from hotels as the fumes were so toxic after the seaweed had filled up the bays. We saw the seaweed all season and even out into the Atlantic on our crossing back to the Mediterranean.

Pitons, St Lucia

Pitons, St Lucia

The winds are always fair in the Caribbean, so everyday the sails go up and we are sailing in fantastic conditions down island. As we are sailing almost all day meals are somewhat restricted to what I can prepare at a 30degree angle without everything in the fridge flying out of the doors if I dare open them ! My repertoire of sandwiches or wraps has grown so much in the last few years and so now in the Caribbean waters it changes again with the different foods stocks I can get there. The Caribbean is dominated by American imports until you get to the French or Dutch islands where the European foods are shipped in ( much to my delight !) They have wonderful fresh tropical fruits here which we devour with enthusiasm, pawpaw, mango, local pineapples, the black pineapple, avocados so big you have to hold them with two hands, passionfruit so sweet and full of flavor, pink grapefruits, soursop, custard apples, limes then there are the real starchy root vegetables used in all kinds of West Indian dishes dasheen, breadfruit, yams, sweet potatoes, callalilou, with plenty of ginger, nutmeg, chillies, lemongrass, coconuts and young coconut to drink and sugar cane ready to be chewed, not to mention the herbs and other locally grown veggies. The markets are always lively, full of noise ladies singing, men arguing, discussing the cricket. The colours are vibrant with umbrellas protecting the produces, the stall holders clothing and then the fruits and veggies.Johns Market, Antigua The fish markets are often filled with reef fish, that they sometimes skin before you see them which I find quite hard to look at, but there are also the Mahi Mahi, Tuna, spanish mackerel, conch and of course spiny lobsters are caught locally in the waters around the islands, and are sold from the local boats or sometimes in the markets.

Buying Lobsters from local fishermen in St Lucia

Buying Lobsters from local fishermen in St Lucia

Finding more organic produce this year was such a bonus, in the BVIs and the USVIs. Being able to find locally grown produce is such a benefit to us all, not only does it provide income to local farmers, but the produce lasts longer, has such wonderful taste, is in season and so therefore is full of nutrients as opposed to the ones flown in or shipped in, in refrigerated containers. These foods do not last and have very little flavour. We did do an experiment with some strawberries that we bought, obviously shipped in from the USA, and they lasted for 5 weeks in the fridge with no sign of mould, or decrease in shape or size… Did make me wonder what they had pumped into these poor fruits before they made it onto the shelves. I now make sure I do not buy that brand. Strawberries are spring and early summer fruit so why not just enjoy them then!

Dog Island, Anguilla

Dog Island, Anguilla

We had a great season cruising the Grenadines, Windwards, Leewards, St Barths, the British Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands before turning Eastwards and sailing back to the Mediterranean via the Azores. Catching fish along the way but our biggest catch was just inside the Mediterranean as we passed through the Gibraltar Straits, ships all around us a big fat yellow fin tuna, about 25kg.

Yellowfin Tuna in the Gibraltar straits

Yellowfin Tuna in the Gibraltar straits

We arrived in Valencia in early May and had about a 4 week stay there which was magical. Cycling to the market each day in Cabanyal was wonderful as I would come back to the America’s Cup Port, balancing bags on the handlebars, tied onto the back and of course in my backpack swerving through the barricades that they were putting up for the Valencia Formula 1 Grand prix. Each day I would have to go another way. Sometimes I would cycle there with another chef off another boat and other times alone. It was the start of my day.



Valencia has so much to offer so many cycle lanes, the old town, the new city of arts which is build in the old river bed, the paella rice paddies, the long sandy beaches, the vineyards close by… If you have not been go and visit. Being there at that time of year was great, all the spring vegetables young favas, asparagus, wonderful rafa tomatoes, speciality of this area together with the Valencia tomato which is like a large beef tomato that they fill with tuna to serve. There was dried fish, smoked dried tuna, the markets are just so alive with food, and people I hated the days I would miss going there. My Spanish improved yet my Italian took over with most words but I was understood by most people. I am still not fluent by any means but one day..

Superyacht Cup Palma 2012

Superyacht Cup Palma 2012

After Valencia we sailed out to the Baleares, Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca and Minorca. We raced in a regatta in Palma which as ever was great fun, but frustrating as we did not do as well as we could, but it was worth the effort to get back into race mode for the season. Straight after the regatta we shot off to Sardegna to celebrate birthdays with many guests onboard with wonderful summer weather, catching more tuna along the way. I had plenty of filleting to do and prepared sushi and sashimi for the guests and crews delight as it was so fresh.. From Sardegna we cruised Corsica which was full of interesting bays, red rocks, pine forests, calm seas, warm weather and long sunset sails, before we headed back to the Italian mainland, and along the French Riviera in the height of the season.

Expensive cherries ! St Tropez

Expensive cherries ! St Tropez

Tackling the market in St Tropez in July is something I could do without. I had not been there at that time for at least 20 yrs and could not believe the change, in fact saddened by the change as it appeared to have lowered its standard and the fruit and vegetables stands were nothing like they had been. But saying that I still did manage to buy some wonderful things at wonderful prices and had to fight my way back to the port loaded up with bags on shoulders filled with wonderful breads, berries, other fruits and vegetables and a granny trolley filled to the brim. I am not sure the holiday makers in St Tropez really enjoyed having to tackle me on the narrow walkways or pavements as I lugged everything back down to be picked up by the tender. Lobsters at the market were brought back for dinner that night so I prepared a feast whilst the guests enjoyed an afternoon in the sun.

From France we headed back to Italy to start out regatta preparations. We did our regatta preparations in La Spezia this year as sadly our place in Isola da Maddelena was closed, so we worked with others during Ferragosta the big Italian summer holiday, prepping up the boat, emptying her of all unnecessary items, sails, dinghies etc that we do not need whilst racing and hit Sardenga with a bang for the Maxi Rolex Cup. A whirlwind of crew, food, racing, parties etc for 10days exhausts me but I love it as we pushed ourselves and came in 2nd in our class which was fantastic.

wrap a regatta up..!

wrap a regatta up..!

Banoffee whoopee pies

Banoffee whoopee pies

A quick turn around and we were off in perfect conditions to get back to La Spezia to refit the boat before turning around and heading to Greece and Turkey for the last of the Mediterranean summer warmth. We were so spoilt with the weather it was amazing. We cruised the coast of Turkey going to Greek islands when we felt like it and had a relaxing time at the end of the season over in the Eastern Mediterranean enjoying autumnal fruits and vegetables, eating wonderful local foods ashore and enjoyed a tranquil pace of life as the season was slowly coming to an end but with a long Indian summer. Buying fish and prawns from local fishermen, small boats coming up offering fruits and vegetables, or ladies making spinach and feta pancakes which are just so tasty when freshly made I can never pass them by.

Spinach and feta pancake seller...Olu Denis, Turkey

Spinach and feta pancake seller…Olu Denis, Turkey

Being back with very old friends there was wonderful, not only did I catch up with close friends in Turkey who taught me a few new recipes using dried aubergines and courgettes, but my favourite time was with my best friend and family in Rhodes, where we ate at their restaurant and spend as many hours as I could with them. Pappou the grandfather, who is just a wonderful character, told me off for not preparing my octopus the correct way to dry it, but oh boy did it taste good once it was fully dried and then grilled. It was the first piece of seafood I had tasted in 2012 as this was the year I gave up eating all seafood, for environmental reasons.

Dried aubergine, courgette and chilled. Kusadasi market, Turkey

Dried aubergine, courgette and chilled. Kusadasi market, Turkey

Drying octopus on the life lines whilst cruising in Turkey...2012

Drying octopus on the life lines whilst cruising in Turkey…2012


Our crossing back to La Spezia was just a dream, we seemed to miss any form of bad weather and hit the dock in time for a storm to come through and dump snow on the mountains in the first week of November ! Our fishing success continued until the end when we caught the most magnificent Mahi Mahi between Greece and Italy. We docked in a small village just outside La Spezia called Le Grazie which is stunning, and the small dock is full of classic yachts, so we did stand out in a crowd there being a carbon fibre yacht amongst wooden yachts. The locals were insistent that I should be served first at the only fruit and vegetable shop so long as I told them my story and where we had been, how long we would be there for, how many people onboard and anything else they saw necessary to ask me. Again my broken Italian helped me become a local for those 2 weeks we were there and I know when I go back in May they will once again question me as to where I have been for the winter and what I will be doing for the summer. I do also benefit from all the questioning as I ask them what they are going to do with the produce in their hands for lunch or dinner as everyday they come in and buy what is required for that day, no more or less. Unlike me who is always buying a bit more just incase we suddenly drop the lines and go to sea ! Once the yard was prepared for us we motored over to the other side of the bay and came out of the water for the winter. The boat is out of the water for the whole winter, having lots of maintenance done on her and I was given time off.

Back online…

I know it has been ages since I last wrote, but work took over and time slipped by way to fast for any control with my writing !

Where to start as there appears to be so many months that have been missed so I will have to condense the last 18mths or so into a few paragraphs with a few photos to help catch up to the present.
The summer of 2011 flew by with intense racing and cooking, then cruising and cooking, back to racing and cooking and into a yard period before heading off to the Caribbean for the winter months. The summer was spent mainly cruising the Spanish and Italian waters, going from La Spezia to Sardegna, Menorca, Mallorca, Barcelona, back to Mallorca cruising Ibiza and over to Mallorca again and onto Sardegna for another regatta before heading to the Italian mainland and French Riviera before being hauled in La Spezia and off to Antigua.

Summer as always was fun, full of fresh fruits and vegetables that I could find in local markets. Visiting Barcelona was wonderful even though it was rushed with guests I did manage to get to La Boqueria one of the amazing markets there, where I scoured for vegetables, fruits and fish. Parts of the market have become so touristic with juices made up, fruit cut up ready to eat in more plastic containers, but into the depth of the market you could find the real fresh foods that I was looking for. The fish market was so full of fish I wondered where all the fish had been fished, caught let alone who was going to buy it all by the end of the market. Did it really all get sold was going through my mind as I left there, and really how many other markets were filled with fish each day and was all that sold as well…

Las Ramblas fish market

Las Ramblas fish market

I could have just kept on buying as I just kept on thinking of new recipes and ideas to use with all the delights around me but also understanding that the fridges would be over flowing with food if I bought more and also the fact that I could barely walk with what I had already bought. I was so thankful that I had a taxi that would come back and pick me up as I had left wonderful fresh bread that I had bought at a fantastic artisan bakery. Wonderful spelt breads, rye breads, regular wheat breads and the delicious smells of a bakery were just wonderful as I walked into the shop. A place I will definitely be back to visit, and buy…
So Barcelona was fun, I did of course have to do the normal run to a supermarket as well, which is always fun to me as you never know what you might find or not in some cases.

Coming back to the boat full of goodies meant a good hour re organizing fridges, storage lockers and just getting my mind around the fact that crew needed lunch and the guests would be back wanting a snack for tea and then a three course dinner. Now was the time to decide as to which piece of fish to use, which vegetable to add to the dish, what starter and thankfully having planned ahead there would be a dessert ready in the fridge.

From Barcelona we headed back out to the islands and ended up anchoring off Formentera the small island off Ibiza which has wonderful white sandy beaches.

Sunset Formentera July 2011

Sunset Formentera July 2011

Formentera to Ibiza to Mallorca and that ended up being our milk run for a few weeks during the summer months before we headed East towards Sardegna to get into regatta mode

Cooking continuously for crew and guests came naturally as we sailed around the islands enjoying the tranquility of the bays we would find to anchor in for the night. We changed guests, food likes and dislikes changed with the guest change, and I served varying meals throughout that period, figs stuffed with mozzarella and basil and wrapped in Jamon, seared monkfish with roasted Prosciutto, skate seared with a rich tomato sauce, sesame crusted tuna, grilled calamari, chicken stuffed with sun dried tomato pesto, octopus and potato salad, roasted snapper, chicken kebabs marinated in yogurt and spices to name but a few and as for desserts the list continues… chocolate mint cake, chocolate fondue, plum and cardamon mousse with roasted plums, pistachio meringue, lemon freeze slice, chocolate tart, rhubarb fool with ginger shortbreads, stripped ice cream cake, poached pears, white chocolate shots with strawberry syrup, pavolova roll with berries…

Berry pavlova roll

Berry pavlova roll

Sardegna meant the final regatta of 2011, the Maxi Rolex Cup in which we pushed ourselves hard against our competitor and we succeeded in a good week of racing and left feeling buoyant on our win, knowing full well that it meant a tougher time in 2012. We had to rebuild what we had removed for the regatta and move on up to the mainland to pick up guests for the final cruise of the season taking us into the South of France.

Leaving there we headed to La Spezia for a quick haul, timely as we had caught more fish on our sail down there so the guys in the shipyard were happy to have fresh fish handed to them as we arrived. Italians are always grateful for fresh fish !

Happy fishermen Villefranche to La Spezia

Happy fishermen Villefranche to La Spezia

Summer 2011 was coming to an end and we had to prepare the boat for the Caribbean winter ahead.

La Spezia market was alive and kicking early on Saturday morning when I went to stock up with some fresh veggies and fruit for the weekend. It was great to get there again and walk through looking at all the wonderful produce waiting to be bought, cleaned and cooked or just eaten as is. The strawberries and peaches just piled up next to one another with melons, lumquats, apricots lying in waiting to be gently placed in paper bags weighed and taken home. I was in my element wandering around picking up what I needed. 6 large bunches of basil to make pesto, kilos of apricots for fruit salad in the morning and maybe an apricot sorbet if I have any left. Plenty of peaches, nectarines as I just devour these as they are so delicious eaten straight. Cherries ready for eating but maybe I should try out that recipe I found of cherry and chocolate cup cakes. Berries which are just so sweet and always good on their own, in a savoury salad or fruit salad. The young salads are all waiting to be taken and cleaned and tossed with other fresh salad vegetables and enjoyed. 

Fresh Anchovies

Fresh Anchovies La Spezia Market

In the middle of the market there was a crowd of people all watching and then taking part in the salting of anchovies. They are prevalent around these waters and are loved. The one village Camogli is the famous anchovy port, where you can always eat them. I adore fresh anchovies fried or marinated and was taken in by the crowd to watch as anchovies were headed and gutted and then rolled in salt and then put in large glass jars and covered in salt.

You went to the main table where the anchovies were lying in crates waiting to be bought together with the jars and salt, then there were plastic containers and sieves for you to use and partake in the salting.

Preparing the anchovies

Preparing the anchovies to be salted

There was a lot of chatter and laughter as people took part or just watched as I did, envious of the time these people had to be able to do this.  Unfortunately I did not have time to buy a kilo or more of the anchovies and salt them myself but maybe another time I will. I did however buy some that were already prepared for me to fry up quickly and sprinkle with chopped parsley and lemon zest with some olive oil. Delicious and so quick to prepare.

I also bought some King fish which I baked in the oven with olive oil and lemon juice and then tossed with boiled new potatoes, parsley, more olive oil and lemon juice, and plenty of seasoning. I topped the dish with freshly boiled eggs and served it with a tossed salad of different leaves. A great light and fresh Saturday lunch for the crew who were hard at work so that we could have a day off on Sunday before we start early again on Monday hard at it so we can leave La Spezia on Tuesday after my final shop… excitement is building for our season to begin


Our new 3Di race jib arrived hours before the sail designer so it was winched onboard early the next morning and laid out on the deck ready for hoisting.

3Di jib on foredeck

3Di jib waiting to be hoisted

Nihat with his newly designed sail

Nihat looking at his newly designed 3Di sail

Finally after so long we are sailing again… The first day in weeks of rain and we go sailing with the new 3Di sail. It was a short but sweet sail, as the rain came in and we had to make a few adjustments to the head of the sail before we can try her again but generally everyone is pleased and now eager to finish up in the yard and go sailing. Our sail designer Nihat from Norths came over from Valencia to spend a couple of days with us here making sure the sail is 100% for us to go racing with it in 10 days… The sail was hoisted up the new forestay and into position for us to unfurl and bear away ….before the rain hit. We had a few other people on board, the riggers just checking all the work they had done in re stepping the mast, and a few people from the shipyard. It was quite funny as you could tell who were sailors and who were office people.  We had sailing shoes on they had socks on … !!They quickly learnt that they had to take those off before they slid down the decks.

It was the first day for me to start making sandwiches for this season ! Blackened chicken wraps were eagerly eaten by the crew and extras that we had onboard. Having found several new ideas these past few months I am keen to start to make new sandwiches this race season to keep the crew interested in the food as well as the race ! Having spent a few days stocking up with dry stores I now have lots more hours of shopping for fresh stuff, so that I can start to prepare sandwich fillings, canapes and cakes for the regatta in Porto Cervo which starts in early June. There will be a few mornings spent at the market in La Spezia before we leave here and then of course down in Sardinia where the Saturday market in Olbia is always great fun to visit as it is so local and I just love wandering around it picking out typical Sardinian foods, fruits and veggies.

Yesterday we splashed…! It was great after 5 mths on the hard we finally got back into the water again … It was mid afternoon and after testing the engine, generators, thrusters and a few other things the lines were dropped and off out we went to put on the mainsail. It took us a while and by the time we got back onto the dock it was 11pm…It was a good feeling though to be back on the boat with water lapping underneath …

Splash May 23rd 2011

Our last day on the hard has come and gone…. I am in disbelief in a way but the yacht is sitting in slings, the last part of the hull has just been sprayed, 8.30pm with antifoul, the apartments are all being packed up as I write this and we will go in early tomorrow to watch the boat being launched.

It has been a crazy week outside the shed with so much going on, long hours and tiring days. I stocked up with heaps of food, and drinks, whilst the boat was being cleaned and detailed inside, as the boys continued to work on engineering issues and whilst the deck crew worked on getting the deck ready for the mast and boom to be reinstalled on Thursday.

Mast stepping May 19th 2011

It took a while but with the largest crane I have seen next to a boat the mast was lifted and installed… having put more silver coins, plus some others on the tongue we were all happy with the stepping of the mast. It was in and the boom was brought up and the gooseneck was secured with the pin… yeh ! We are looking like a sailing boat again, and it is only a matter of a couple of days when we shall perform as a sailing boat again!  

Food however this week was slightly pushed aside as we would be onboard until 9pm so on the way home we would stop for a pizza locally before all collapsing into our beds. I can only imagine that this is going to be the same for the next week as the owner arrives also and we will be sailing as much as possible once he is onboard, testing the new sail and every system to make sure we are fit to race in 10 days in Sardinia !  Mind you I am going to have to start cooking immediately with the owner and friends onboard, so once my fridges are on it will be all systems go for me as well, and as I have lots of new ideas and recipes to try I am keen to get cooking again onboard !                                                                                  

Saudade leaving the shed 4pm May 16th 2011

Wow… finally at 4pm yesterday afternoon we were moved out of the shed. Had we really been in there since Dec 22nd 2010 ? I had a similar feeling when we actually took the boat out of the shed in Fano for the first time in April 2008. This time however the boat had plenty of room, so with the travel lift she slowly came out of the large shed we had been in for so long. There had been a long wait of anticipation all day as we had arrived and expected her to move earlier on in the day but no the preparation was long and slow but they did make sure to protect the paint job which we all appreciated as it was only a week old.  Slowly she came out and then had to be turned and put over the pit where our keel now hangs. We have to be over this area, on containers so that the engineers can finish off the work on the changes made to the keel during the winter months. It is all in aid of us being a faster, stiffer race boat when we are racing against our arch rival, Visione.

It was quite exciting going onboard today having natural light flood through the port holes, coach roof and hatches ! Might seem trivial but it means a lot after having been stuck inside for so long. 

However, reality kicks in as time is running out and we have to get everything ready for not only the regatta but also for the owner to arrive next week to come and partake in the sea trials that we have to do after we go back into the water. What it means for me is stocking up and being ready to cook again  ! Having done one major stock up of dry stores, I had to finish this off with some items I just could not get last week, so I shot off to another supermarket where there is also a small health food shop so I could get a few more things, before heading back to the large cash and carry to do a beer stock up. This I knew was going to be large as I need to get guest beer and race beer… 

Beer trolley

Beer trolley

It may seem like a large quantity of beer to be hauling up on the boat for a regatta that only runs for 4 days with 2 day of training but we do have some thirsty boys onboard ! We get through it all and then two weeks later have another regatta so I guess I will be stocking up again for the next regatta ! 

As I got back to the boat I had to get the beer into a scissor lift with the help of Pete, the Mate, and then with more help on deck we managed to get it all onto the boat and then away in lockers. Tomorrow will be water, coke, poweraid, ice T …

Getting things ready for dinner

Getting things ready for dinner

Back to the apartment to do dinner with some of the tomatoes I  bought ! Well I just could not resist the cherry tomatoes, just one crate ! It might be a large crate but I was eating them the moment they were on my trolley… just like eating sweets/candy to me … delicious.

Tonight though was pork spare ribs, risoni ( rice pasta) with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil with olive oil, and steamed asparagus with mashed boiled eggs and crispy prosciutto.

It all went down well with the hungry crew when they came back from the boat after a long day onboard.

Now I am baking some banana bread as we in all the apartments we had some bananas that no one was going to eat but they were just perfect for banana bread so as I write this down the smell of the banana bread cooking is wafting around the room…. I will have to run down to the other apartments and make a delivery of banana bread tonight so they can all have some for breakfast … or midnight snacks!

Banana Bread

a very simple recipe I use so much with the old bananas that I have onboard. It is delicious straight from the oven warm, the next day or toasted a few days later with lashings of butter !

3 brown soft bananas ( or more up to 6 )

2 eggs, whisked lightly together

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup broken walnuts

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180/360

Grease a loaf tin 

Mash the bananas in a bowl and add the beaten eggs and mix well. Stir in the sugar, and then the flour and baking powder. Finally stir in the walnuts and pour into the prepared tin and back in the oven for 50 mins. Turn it once during the baking.



Well we have been in the shed in Picchiotti shipyard in La Spezia since Dec 22nd, and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. We will be out on the hard over the pit this week, meaning that we will be in the water the following week meaning we will be in on our way down to Sardinia for the Loro Piana regatta. I am getting excited but am also slightly panicked at the amount of work still to do to be ready for the regatta, let alone just to go sailing again after so long, with the boat having been almost stripped of so many things that are all being put back together having been serviced, painted, overhauled. Now they just have to be turned on again and tested, and being that we are a boat, most of these things have to be done once we are in the water so of course there will be this immense rush when we go in the water.

I drive past the mast and boom lying in cradles as I go in and out of the shipyard. They have both been sprayed, touched up and now are being re built ready to go in this week. The halyards are being re led, the lighting has all been re wired, the aerials are all reinstalled and new rubbing strips are tightly secured onto the spreaders as we have been destroying our spreaders whilst we tack. The riggers have been down regularly and now have finished what is needed to make sure the mast is ready to be installed next week

My first big dry store shop was interesting as I battled with two huge trolleys which are flat so can hold boxes of food and drink, so are way bigger than your regular supermarket trolley! I had to push my trolley past the tasty cherry tomatoes which is so hard for me but with no fridges on and only small household fridges in our apartments I knew I could not buy the crates that I would love to have. Next week I kept on reminding myself ! I had not realised how much food I would have to buy not only for the regatta but also just to replenish my empty lockers which look only semi full after being filled with what I had bought. I have many more trips to the shops to do yet to feel satisfied with what I need for summer cruising with race crew, guests and family onboard for the majority of this coming summer. As we are so late in being launched the owner will want to be onboard as much as he can having missed cruising this summer he is so keen to get back onboard, and I have certainly some similar feelings.

The shed has been cleaned, any covering on the boat has been stripped off, the sails well almost all the sails are back in the sail locker, and also in the lazzarette. The bimini is back on, but is ready to be removed the moment we get down to Sardinia. The magic trims are being tested, the winches are all working, the mast is rebuilt and ready to be put back in next week, as is the boom. The travel lift has been moved into the shed into position but no straps until we get the call from the paint company that they are happy with the paint and we can be lifted up and out over the pit to work on the keel for the next week.

Tomorrow is a big day then for the shipyard and for the boat… 

Travel, cruising, cooking