Protecting our oceans – something you can do NOW!

Accept the Trash Isles as an official country and help protect our oceans

Every year eight million tonnes of plastics are being poured into our oceans. It affects over 600 different species of sealife with at least 1 million seabirds dying each year. There is now so much of it that an area the size of France has formed in the Pacific Ocean. And by 2050, there’ll be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

The Plastic Oceans Foundation is taking this country sized trash patch and turning it into the world’s 196th country – named the Trash Isles. They have submitted a Declaration of Independence to the United Nations, but need our help. To be specific they need us to ‘become a citizen’, to pressure the United Nations into approving their application and recognise the Trash Isles. If Trash Isles becomes a country and a member of the UN it will be protected by the UN’s Environmental Charters, which states:

“All members shall co-operate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the earth’s ecosystem”

In a nutshell it means that by becoming a country, other countries are obliged to clean up Trash Isles.

What the founding citizens of Trash Isles say

Sarah Roberts, who has campaigned about plastic pollution at education institutes up and down the UK and is an important Trash Isles ambassador, says: “This indestructible material upsets every level of the food chain. If our oceans can’t function properly, they won’t be able to support fish stocks, absorb carbon to protect us against global warming or generally do any of the things that our lives are dependent on.”

Tim Nunn, an ex-surfer photographer who’s dedicated to documenting plastic pollution around the world and another Trash Isles ambassador says: “We’re now finding dead whales washing up in Norway and The North Sea with stomachs full of plastic bags. It’s no longer an isolated problem. Wherever I go, from the most populated coastlines on Earth to the remotest Arctic beaches, we find plastic. If we don’t all act now, then we face an ocean devoid of life in the near future.”

Oxted Offshore Club members can join Sarah and Tim to become Trash Isles citizens and make the pledge to cut down the amount of plastic we consume – from using a refillable bottle for water to bringing our own carrier bags when we go shopping – and to make as much noise as necessary until people start to listen.

The petition will be delivered to:
UN Secretary General – António Guterres

and you can sign it here:

You can also read a whole bunch of disturbing facts and figures about plastics in the oceans on the Sky Ocean Rescue website:

Sky Ocean Rescue







LIVE! Turkish Oxted Expedition Sept 2017

Here in lies the story of the intrepid adventures of Oxted Offshore in Turkey September 2017.

Arrived in Gocek, Thursday 14th September 2017 to be informed that our Yacht will not be delivered to Gocek due to some problem, however the charter company has offered to send a minibus to pick us up on Saturday and take us to Bodrum, a trip that takes 3 hours.  This upsets our plans somewhat as we were due to meet up with two other OXO yachts; on the upside our new passage plan sailing from Bodrum back to Gocek will be very interesting.

On arrival in Bodrum we discovered the boat actually had an electrical fault with the engine and a marine electrician was busy trying to trace the fault.  We decided to decamp to a local bar and then go shopping to give the electrician some space.

On our return we were pleased to find out the boat was fixed so we split into two groups, the boys checked off the inventory and the girls went off to buy provisions.
Once we were all showered using the excellent marina facilities and a few sundowners we headed to the old town for dinner which was also excellent.  The old town is a great place to go shopping and Jasper and Kevin took advantage of the very low prices to avail themselves of a new Rolex each.

Back to the boat only to find a live band had kicked off at the adjacent Yacht Club; a few donned earplugs and went below to sleep through the  din whilst the rest stuck it out on the back of the yacht.

Bodrum is a huge marina which does look impressive in the evening.

Sunday 17th

We motored out of Bodrum heading for the ancient ruins of Knidos which interestingly took us very close to the Greek island of Kos.

We anchored in Knidos for a swim and lunch followed by a trip ashore to check out the ruins.  Dingy was launched from the davits and immediately started filling with water due to a missing bung.  A replacement bung was fashioned from an old camera lens cover and dingy was relaunched, this time successfully.

After lunch we left Knidos and motored down the coast to Palamut where we went dropped anchor and went stern to the dock.  That night we had dinner in a lovely restaurant adjacent to the beach we nearly abandoned after it became clear the waiter could not understand us at all.  Fortunately the owner of the restaurant did and I t all worked out well in the end, he even produced an amazing birthday fruit surprise for Penny’s birthday.


Monday 18th

We motored out of Palamut and with little wind headed off to Dirsek via a small gap through the Greek island of Simi where we anchored for lunch and a swim in the strong current that runs between the islands.

After Lunch we continued our journey to Dirsek where we found a very sheltered bay with a single remote restaurant.

We ate another tasty meal that night, in fact you would struggle to find a bad restaurant in this area.

Tuesday 19th

We woke up to a damp boat as a heavy due descended overnight. The bay had crystal clear water so we went for a swim before enjoying breakfast which included toasted yesterday bread.  

No wind today, so more motoring was required with a Eastery heading towards Gocek, not much to report as the sea was like a mill pond although we did see flying fish on occasion skittering across the sea.

For lunch we popped into Bozukali and we’re warmly greeted by a restaurant owner keen for us to take  a mooring ball and warning us not to anchor due to the poor holding.  With a promise of Ice Cream we took up his free offer and after lunch and a swim five of us swam over to the restaurant for refreshment.  Promises of ice cream however turned out to be false and he was very keen for us to spend the evening on his mooring even telling stories of a yachting event filling up the bay at Ciftlik where we were heading next.  Ignoring his advice we left around 15:00 and headed East to Ciftlik.

With about 7 knots of wind there was little opportunity to sail so more motoring was required arriving in Ciftlik around 18:00.  

On enterance to the bay there was no sign of a busy yachting event,

 in fact three restaurants were attracting our attention with flags however comments left in Navionics favoured the middle restaurant so we headed for that which had excellent showers and as ever very nice food.

Wednesday 20th

After stocking up with some provisions and admiring the Terrapins in the pond adjacent to the restaurant we set off for Ekincik (motoring again due to lack of wind) where our plan was to anchor in the bay and eat on board for a change.  

To get to Ekincik we strayed into a restricted Turkish Navy area and were promptly encouraged to change course after being hunted down by a Naval Patrol boat.  Lunch was delayed to 2pm. Adventure on the high seas indeed (well Turkish Waters anyway).

Visit to Dover Coastguard – a great insight to rescue services

On Friday 18 August 15 members of Oxted Offshore Sailing Club visited the Dover Coastguard Operations Centre. We were given an incredibly interesting insight to the work undertaken at Dover, not just in co-ordinating search and rescue services for vessels in trouble but also in monitoring our coastline and some 170 commercial vessels that enter or pass through in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world every day.

An Aerial View of Dover Coastguard, built on the site of Langdon Battery at the top of the White Cliffs

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Would you like to go sailing?

Have you ever thought you’d like to try sailing but don’t know where to start? You’re in the right place!

To give you a real, hands-on feel of what sailing is all about – and maybe set you off on a whole new adventure – Oxted Offshore Sailing Club will be hosting a small number of Sailing Experience Days in the Solent during the autumn of this year and Spring 2018.

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‘Stiletto’ – Slow Boat to the Med

Andy Giles and Jane Paulson have embarked on their long-awaited ‘Slow Boat to the Med’ big adventure with their Bavaria 33 Cruiser ‘Stiletto’. They crossed the Channel on 15 April 2017 and their final destination is the island of Ikaria in the Eastern Aegean – Andy’s roots.

We’ll be updating this page soon. In the meantime jump to their blog for the latest news!

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‘Nick Nack’ sails around Britain

Nick and Gail Leaver cast off on 11 May 2017 to sail their Dufour 325 ‘Nick Nack’ around Britain in leisurely style. They will be cruising up the east coast and then down the Caledonian Canal before meandering back to Port Solent later in the year.

Postcard from Gail on Friday 1 September

The best laid plans of mice and men – as a local might have put it – rendered our intentions of going to Skye, Staffa and Colonsay as impossible due to gale force winds, driving rain and poor visibility most days with weather forecasts changing from one extreme to the other at less than 24 hours notice.

We retraced some of our steps southwards from Tobermory down the sound of Mull to Oban Marina which is actually on the Isle of Kerrera  (with a courtesy ferry to Oban pier). On leaving Tobermory we had one dolphin for company in the rain.  Oban had a supermarket to top up stores and a small local museum and a few shops. I thought there would be more to see/do but it was full of walkers and walking shops.

The Isle of Kerrera is very quiet, about 45 people live there. It had a walk around the island and one across, and we did a bit of both, Nick telling me it was a short cut to the marina. We walked – well, bog trotted – around, through and in a bog (about an hour) and then had to wash our trousers, shoes and socks. The upside of this was due to the wet weather we did not get bitten by any midges as apparently it was too wet even for them!

On to Ardfern, a lovely spot at the top of a Loch. To get there we sailed down the Sound of Luing, generally at well over 12 knots over the ground with an extremely big spring tide under us, generally in a SW direction but occasionally in ever decreasing circles when the helms-person didn’t  spot the vicious whirlpools in time! Two particular interesting moments: first was me telling Nick that on the charts we were sailing over a submarine exercise only to see “black things” in the water! On a second glance it was not a sub but a pod of dolphins (thank goodness). The second was a beautiful blue Rustler 44 yacht flying a white ensign came in! Nick was going to take a line for them – but no need, as from nowhere a waiting team arrived. Later, on the way to shower block, I met the lady owner and her husband and said hello – as you do! (For the avoidance of doubt it was me on the way to the shower block not HRH.)  They left after breakfast, we assumed to go to meet the family at Balmoral?

Plan A was to go west through the Corryveckan (aka the Witches Cauldron) when a mile away at the sight of a standing wave nearly 3m high and white water beyond (it was still a spring tide) we took the sensible route – reverted to Plan B! Beating to windward down The Sound of Jura was almost as exciting, but safer as far as Craighouse, the principal settlement on the Isle of Jura. We picked up a bouy in the bay looking over to the distillery. That was the easy part! The tidal waves in the bay rocked the boat from side to side as our head pitched and pointed to windward. I just took to my bed with a pill until the wind and waves dropped enough to cook dinner. No telephone, wifi or radio signal available till next day’s potter over in the tender to the Jura Hotel … coffee, shower, lobster lunch washed down with a wee dram from the next door’s distillery. If only it would stop raining for a while!

At anchor off Jura

Just one of the many distillery visits!

After a couple of days in Jura we sailed and then motored to Port Ellen on Islay. I don’t remember much of the next day as we visited 3 more distilleries in quick succession on a 6 mile walk. It only rained in the evening that day which made a lovely change.

Port Ellen

We left Port Ellen in the usual F6 squalls, driving rain and near zero visibility, encountering the Calmac car ferry which appeared suddenly in front of us out of the gloom in the narrow approach channel. We had an otherwise fast, uneventful crossing to Ballycastle, arriving in time for the “lively” Auld Lammas Fair. Security was high – and that was before we reached the market stalls selling body armour and toy Armalites! The locals were very friendly and Nick assured me that the Guinness was the best he has had for some time. We had a day out with a rambler bus ticket visiting the Giant’s Causeway and the Rope Bridge with a walk along Whitepark beach as the Atlantic rollers crashed around us.

Ballycastle Marina in the middle of the Auld Lammas Fair

The Giant’s Causeway

We left Ballycastle in sunshine, yes I did say sunshine and what’s more it stayed dry all the way around the Mull of Kintyre to Campbeltown. Our first voyage without full follies since June! It was so good to have visibility and be able to see the numerous islands, most covered in purple heather and green grass which made them look like they were covered in velvet.

Tomorrow we head up Loch fine to Tarbert or Portvadie – will it be dry and bright, we will have to wait and see?

Postcard from Gail on Saturday 9 September

Campbeltown was interesting – it was the first time we had to raft up alongside another boat. The harbour master was surprised that so many boats had arrived that day but given the wind strength we were not! Next day, on visiting the RNLI shop as we always seem to do, we were talking to the chap – who said “have you been on one of our lifeboats?” No we hadn’t, so he gave us a personal tour of the Tyne class lifeboat – it transpired that he was the head mechanic, having had a background in engineering.

We actually had a good a good sail to Campbeltown with dolphins around the boat. We didn’t see them until they came up close and started to breathe noisily and, hearing them, you could look in the right direction to find them. This was also our first day of sunshine since we returned to Scotland on 7 August. Our next trip was to Tarbert, our second day in sunshine. Friends had recently visited there and recommended the scallops sold live from holding tanks, but we arrived late on Saturday and the shop was closed until Monday by which time we had already left so we didn’t get to taste them.

Next we  sailed on to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. Nick had last been there in 1967 on the Dartmouth Training Squadron frigate HMS Torquay. We took a bus trip around the island which was made all the more interesting by the local bus driver’s commentary. The harbour showers and toilets were fascinating, being built about 140 years ago with polished copper pipe work and amazing appliances – nuff said!  We wanted to go on to Arran but the thought of another stormy night on a buoy didn’t appeal so we moved marinas to Ardrossan for a night.

A typical view of the Isle of Bute

Marina facilities in Rothesay!

Our last stop was Troon: the tail end of another storm meant a very early start to do the last 9 miles which seemed like a lifetime, with the wind F7-8, enormous waves breaking on the deck and, of course, heavy rain. The nice bit was entering the harbour to a welcoming committee of dozens of eider ducks sheltering from the storm. We are now packing the boat up for over-wintering here.

Over the 37 days we have been in Scotland we have enjoyed only 3 without rain! (The last fine day was timely for packing up sails etc.) The rest of the time we have found ourselves either sheltering or sailing in F5-F7 winds (regardless of forecast), driving rain and near zero visibility to and from unfamiliar ports among “iron-bound” coasts.

Cabin fever while daily drying out kit!

Although there were moments, when the rain stopped and the clouds broke, when we could view the amazing scenery (with and without rainbows), the last month has been a struggle to keep warm and dry, especially to deal with wet sailing gear every time we stopped. Consequently, we have reluctantly accepted – with no change in the 10 day forecast – to curtail this part of our trip and return home.

Looking forward to catching up with family and friends very soon. We will return here to Troon in early May 2018 for the next part of our adventure…..



Postcard from Gail on Monday 21 August

Well here we are back in Inverness, Scotland, having flown from Gatwick on the 7 August. It was good to be back on Nicknack: all was fine all be it a little dusty!

We left Inverness marina and headed for Clachnaharry sea lock to start the journey along the Caledonian Canal. We stayed the overnight in Seaport Marina (near the sea lock) to restock the store cupboard at the nearby Co-op. Next day more locks and swing bridges then before we managed a short sail on Loch Ness in a fickle wind from every direction. No sign of any monster unfortunately although the depth sounder showed very shallow water from time to time in the middle of the Loch: could this have been Nessie swimming directly under our keel?

Moored at Fort Augustus

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Yarmouth Harbour updates for 2017

Yarmouth Harbour have established some new features for visiting yatchsmen over the winter months:

  • ‘MOOR and enjoy Yarmouth’ is an overview film about Yarmouth town to ensure visitors get the most out of their stay. Watch it here
  • FREE showers are now included in the price of the visitor mooring.
  • Cockpit Essentials is a new visitor refreshment lounge with freshly ground coffee, bags of ice, local products, 24 hour news, Wi-Fi and charging points.
  • Their new website now includes an updated ‘Yarmouth Directory’ 

Portsmouth Small Boat Channel Update

Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth have issued the following important notice about changes to the Small Boat Channel at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour.

1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by the Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth, that following the widening and re-orientation of the Portsmouth Approach Channel, as depicted on the newly published Admiralty Chart 2625 (2 March 2017), further adjustments have been made to the positioning of the Small Boat Channel that runs between 4 Bar Buoy (50 46.97N 001 06.48W) and Ballast Pile (50 47.62N 001 06.83W). This notice supersedes LNTM 23/17 (Small Boat Channel Re-alignment) and should be read in conjunction with the regulations contained in General Direction 7/10 (Portsmouth Harbour Entrance – Approach Channel, Small Boat Channel, Swashway and Inner Swashway).

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Sign the Petition – Lobster Pots and Small Craft Safety


The Cruising Association (CA) have sponsored a Government petition to change the rules regarding lobster pots and small craft safety.

“We believe that the current, voluntary, arrangements and guidance have not been adequate and that the number of call-outs, by the RNLI and coastguard, to small craft disabled by fouled propellers and rudders shows the significance of the problem.

We hope that all stakeholders will work together, with DEFRA, to find a solution, particularly one that is cheap and practical for our fishermen.”

At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament. Deadline is 10 October 2017. Click here to sign the petition.

Many thanks to Roger for bringing this to our attention.