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Sailing On The Solent!

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As documented elsewhere selling shoes has been an extraordinarily damp affair to date this year.  Thus it was with some degree of relief, combined
with excitement that we kindly accepted back to back invitations from DARKSTAR owner Ed Stacey and the sail charter company DREAMSAILING 
http://www.dreamsailing.com/.  DREAMSAILING has had a long standing link with the Thomas Dainty website as has Ed being one of Thomas Dainty’s oldest clients in purchasing terms!  The Hudson black and suede and Howard R mahogany are amongst his flag ship styles!  Please view link for shoes http://www.thomasdainty.co.uk/search?q=hudson  http://www.thomasdainty.co.uk/search?q=howard  Ed has very kindly lent Dark Star to Ellen MacArthur for the Round the Island Race. Ellen and 7 youngsters from the Ellen MacArthur cancer trust will be sailing on Dark Star.  Ellen says “Everyone at the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is thrilled that the owner of Dark Star has welcomed us on board for the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race. This will be a completely different experience for the young people in recovery from cancer. I hope through all the weekend’s fundraising initiatives that we can help many more young people in their recovery from the illness in the future.”  Well done Ed and all at Dark Star!

DARK STAR’s name some wrongly attribute to a Sci-Fi movie whereas in fact this sleek 90 foot yacht was named after a Grateful Dead tune of the same name. Ed “a real deadhead” greeted us last Saturday in the relative shelter of Oceanfront Marina Southampton.  Within minutes we were enjoying hot coffee tea and bacon rolls whilst he introduced us to the crew of Richard, Lotty, Bobby and Dom.  Richard and Lotty have just sailed Dark Star back from a winter in the Caribbean. That in itself sounds a pretty alluring prospect but all the more so after the June we have experienced. What better than a plane from Paris or Amsterdam in December or January to the St Barts and off to explore the Virgin Islands? Although personally Sail week or just hanging out in Nelsons Harbour is something that I have always wanted to do in Antigua. We hadn’t exactly signed up for next winter before we’d left port but it was well and truly on the “To Do Agenda.” We set sail as those very keen yacthie racing types prepared the rig on the new Helical Bar racing vessel which is sponsored by ICAP. There are no home comforts on that sleek racing machine and the only surprising thing is that it appeared to me the entire crew was yet to reach driving age!  Out on to Southampton Water, where in truth I am not very familiar with the landmarks, the winds were gusting up to approaching 40knots certainly high 30s. Fortunately Dark Star, all 90 feet of her with no less than 30 tonnes of lead under her keel is according to Ed “impossible to capsize”..Approaching 12 knots I think he might have a point. As we approached the starting line for next Saturdays RIOW Race we thought better of it and turned and set sail sharpish back to Oceanfront where Lotty prepared wonderful salads and home baked tarts washed down with a couple of Stellas and a glass or two of rosé wine .

This past Saturday we were joined by a small combined group of Dreamsail virgins and others who have sampled life on Kallista another Dreamsail vessel (a modest 50 footer based primarily in Port Grimaud). More bacon rolls and slightly less gale force with remarkably a smidgeon of blue skies and developing sun (surely some mistake -Ed) and off we went into Southampton Water once more. Certainly conditions were less breezy but enough to give one guest a good work out at the helm. We once again saved the IOW for another day and this time parked up on the Hamble for another splendid Lotty lunch. There was much entertainment at the mouth of the Hamble as one yacht under French flag struggled to come to a halt whilst others did multiple turns of the jetty before a vacant mooring made itself available. One could quite imagine SEASTART being a very viable business on days like this. After lunch we ventured out into the water again giving chase to various RED FUNNNEL ferries that dominate the channels here. One can well imagine that pilots of the RED FUNNEL ferries have plenty of expletives for the weekend sailor. DREAMSAILING and their crews are far from that and will give you a splendid vacation in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean depending upon where you find them.  Next stop for them South of France and off to the Amalfi coast taking in Sardinia and Corsica!

Rugby Shirts for the Round IOW are available. Also any interest in taking Dark Star please check out the link http://www.dreamsailing.com/yacht-fleet/sailing-yacht-Dark-Star.php you will never want to come back to dry land.  Fat chance of that this summer!!

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