Sailing to The Hidden Olive

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On Easter weekend, Bessie Ellen and the crew will be sailing into Sutton Harbour in Plymouth, helping to launch a new eco-friendly initiative by one of Plymouth’s newest eateries, The Hidden Olive.

Returning to a traditional method of importation, we’ll be the first of three historic tall ships to deliver produce from all over the world, carrying premium Caribbean rum and chocolates, paprika and several Spanish products right to The Hidden Olive’s kitchen door. This is not only a sustainable method of transporting food but also gives out zero emissions, reducing the carbon footprint – something the crew and I feel very strongly about.

We’re no strangers to Sutton Harbour – we visited last year during Plymouth Pirate Weekend and really enjoyed meeting the visitors, and this time will be that bit extra special to us as we’ll have a chance to catch up with the owner of The Hidden Olive, Sam Bagshawe, who sailed with us for four years and we miss very much. We’re so excited to see that he’s integrated the Bessie Ellen’s history into his new business though!

If you’re in or around Plymouth between 25th and 28th March and would like to take a look at Britain’s last wooden trading ketch, please come and say hello, and why not pop into The Hidden Olive for a delicious bite to eat? We certainly will be!

Skipper, Nikki Alford

 

Bessie Ellen – Supporting the INSPIRE Foundation

We’re proud to support the INSPIRE Foundation, a unique national charity that’s dedicated to raising money for research, practical solutions and ultimately to improve the quality of life for those with Spinal Cord Injury – some 40,000 people in the UK alone.

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Why have we chosen INSPIRE? Quite simply, it came about chatting away during a long night watch with our Bosun James Steevenson about what our assorted families were up to.  James is on board to gain experience and hands on training before continuing towards a career in the sailing industry and is doing superbly well in all fields. We’ll be sad to say goodbye to him in June when he continues on with his maritime training.

James’  father, Rory  was selected as Executive Director of the INSPIRE Foundation in September 2012. He is Secretary to the Trustees, responsible for all fund raising and coordinates all research projects with the National Scientific Committee in the major teaching hospitals and medical schools throughout UK.  On leaving the Army he fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition rebuilding his 27 foot yacht now moored in Keyhaven near Lymington and furthered his interest in voluntary charity work. Rory has two student sons Bill (23) and James (22) and his main interests are cooking, DIY, sailing, skiing and country pursuits. He is a member of the RNLI and a Trustee of the Royal Hampshire Regiment.

One of the charity’s main fundraising events takes place at the Royal Navy vs. Army Polo Tournament held at Tedworth Park, near Andover, every summer. A packed day of celebrity polo matches, a two-furlong dash, a wheelchair relay and a three course lunch, it culminates in a fundraising auction, in which we’re pleased to offer the ‘Bessie Ellen Experience’ to the highest bidder –  a week’s sailing on board Bessie Ellen, or a bespoke corporate day for 12 passengers to fit in with the ship’s itinerary.

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Anne Luttman-Johnson, INSPIRE Patron and a keen paraplegic sailor, pictured below, thanked Bessie and the crew:

This is one of the most generous gifted auction lots ever and the Patrons and Trustees are simply delighted that Nikki Alford and her crew are able to contribute so much to the INSPIRE Foundation with this wonderfully opportunity on board Bessie Ellen. Thank you so much’

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If you’d like to find out more about the charity, or donate to this amazing cause, visit www.inspire-foundation.org.uk

 

Our Gourmet Galley : Orange and Almond Cake

We bring you another tantalising recipe, this time for Orange and Almond cake, baked under sail! Watch and learn as Bessie Ellen’s owner, Nikki Alford, gives Classic Yacht TV a lesson in baking whilst at sea!

Using a recipe from the Polpo restaurants in London, this delicious cake is now a firm favourite with those who sail with us. This particular recipe requires a moderate amount of gas, but on the other hand no flour so it is a great wheat free treat for those concerned. (An oven is essential!)

How to service (serve) a rope

 

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The arts of a sailor such as serving, splicing and knotting is fast becoming a dying art, skills are lost, tools are harder to come by, and sailors seem to have less & less wish to whittle or turn out their own   Drugged by the power of smartphones, social media, the fo’c’sle has become a very different place than when I started life at sea 20 years ago.

One of the first arts we would learn was serving a splice.  Aboard sailing ships much of the wire rigging would be parcelled and served, rope eyes and strop-blocks all dressed smartly in turns of marlin. Today, even though materials are modern and hardier, serving is still an important task to learn, finished off with a waterproofing of linseed oil and tar offering the appearance of a well-dressed ship.

TO WORM AND SERVE A ROPE – TAKEN FROM THE RIGGERS GUIDE & SEAMANS ASSISTANT – PUBLISHED 1877.

Set up your work between two points and heave taught.

Worming the rope is to fill up the vacant space between the strands of the rope with spun yarn in order to render the surface smooth and round for parceling.

Parceling a rope is wrapping old canvas round it, cut into strips two or three inches wide according to the size of the rope.

The parcelling is put on with the lay of the rope.

The service is of spun yarn, put or hove on by a wooden mallet; it has a score in the under part according to the size of the rope so as to lay comfortably on the rope.

The serving is always laid on against the lay of the rope, a man passes a ball of spun yarn taking the turns well out of it at some distance from the man that is serving the rope; when the required length is put on, the end is passed under the last 6 turns and hauled taught before cutting off.

 

Our Gourmet Galley : Paella

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It goes without saying that on arriving at a foreign port, a trip to the local market is a must, and in Galicia each stall is piled high with wonderful ingredients not found at home. The fish stalls display an array of strange looking fish, shellfish and seamonsters, all looking so appetising that you cannot help but buy a little of everything. For example, our chefs bought: calamari (squid) langoustine (big prawns) almejas (clams) and mejillones ( mussels) to go along with chicken for our Paella.

Preferably you need a large paella pan and a burner

This recipe serves 18, so adapt to the number in your party.

Ingredients

18 chicken thighs, 2 whole garlic, 4 onions, 2 whole chorizo sausages, 1 pack paella seasoning (saffron, white pepper cumin & paprika mix), 1.5kg paella rice (long grain works just as well), 2.5 litres stock, 1 bottle white wine, 3 large squid cleaned and cut into rings, 2 kg prawns, 2 kg clams, 2kg mussels, 1 large bag frozen green beans, 3 red peppers sliced

Instructions

  1. Fry chicken pieces in olive oil until brown and nearly cooked through. Add a good handful of chopped garlic along with some chopped onions and chorizo, fry for two minutes or until soft.
  2. Add your rice (a good handful per person) then add the stock and wine to cover the rice along with paella seasoning. Leave to simmer. You can add more stock or white wine if necessary.
  3. About 10 minutes before the rice is cooked, add all your shellfish to the pan along with some green beans and sliced red pepper. Keep stirring until cooked, adding more liquid if required.
  4. Serve with a good sunset!

 

Soraidh Hebrides

Farewell to the Hebrides and all the other magical places we have been this summer.  Although the weather was not perfect, all our guests company made up for the rain with smiles and good humour.  Oban our host port has been more than welcoming and we say goodbye to all friends here.  It somewhat feels more like home than Cornwall.

At 1700 this afternoon, Bessie Ellen will set off to home waters of the Westcountry where we will stop in Fowey for the shipyard before heading on down to Northern Spain for some late summer sun.  The forecast is not looking great even now, heavy rain later tonight and winds from the South West which makes sailing hard given that we only have six days!  Never mind, what ever happens we always have a good adventure.

 

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Off to St Kilda

All crew reported back aboard.  The last of the stores are stowed and the weather is looking like it may be a bit kinder to us this time.

Our aim? To get to Kilda under sail and as of the forecast this morning I think we will make it this time.  The ship will  anchor overnight in Tobermory before heading off towards Castlebay on Barra.  The plan seems to be at the moment, a morning in Barra before heading off early afternoon the 68NM to St Kilda.  The window is short, Tuesday and early Wednesday before the weather starts to turn against our favour again.

This year it seems that few of the charter vessels here have managed many voyages out here as the weather has been so dreadful. Never mind, the beauty of Scotland is that is is fantastic in amy weather and always a sheltered haven to hide in.

Photos from Hirta I hope later in the week.4a2ba0_e3b3fd1a2eca4bc0b158102f78be16ec.jpg_srz_980_496_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz

Tempted by Tall Ships?

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Irene is heading for Belfast’s maritime event of the year and you could be there too.
For three days, Irene will join in the celebrations for the gathering of Tall Ships before they set sail on a voyage to Norway.

If you have never experienced the sight of these vessels under sail now is your chance. You can stay aboard in comfort and assist the crew to haul sails and steer. Our wonderful chef, Rachel will provide you with exquisite meals and home baking to keep you fuelled up

Ireland’s hospitality is renowned and guaranteed you will find music, arts and song wherever you explore.

If you are interested in learning more, or wish to book this voyage, click here for more details.

Last minute spring deal

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Now only £290  24 April –
Sun 26 April, Falmouth – Falmouth

Take one of the best sailing areas in Cornwall, add a few ounces of sunshine, a 100 tons of tall ship a dose of fresh air along with  a pinch of salt water and stir for a great weekend afloat.

Join me, Nikki and my crew as we get going into the new sailing season and summer. This weekend we have special guest and mariner Topsy Toner who will be telling stories and explaining the not so dark art of celestial navigation.

Navigation using planets and stars is as old as ancient Greece, but with the arrival of GPS and the more recent computerised navigation software we are finding the more traditional methods of navigating using a sextant to position fix are becoming replaced by newer and quicker technology.

Topsy will be explaining the uses of the sextant and how it works along with practical demonstrations and classes during the day. Throughout the evening he will go through some of the finer points and hold discussions around the table. The classes are not compulsory and will run for those of you who are interested alongside your traditional sailing experience aboard Bessie Ellen.

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Apart from teaching, Topsy is also a master of the Mandolin and Banjo, so do bring your instruments to join our evening sessions.

For more information or to book in click HERE