Yachting can drive you up the wall

We were leaving Douglas after being there for longer than we intended. It had been nice in Douglas but it was time to depart and continue on our journey. It was a marginal sailing day so although we set the full sails, our speed over ground was between 2 and 3knots. Even though that is really slow, we were sailing and for Beverley and I we were happy with that. About the only major incident that happened was that I finally wrecked my trainers. I had bought new ones while we were in Liverpool and it was a good thing that I did.

Dropping the main

As we got towards Port St. Mary, we needed to drop the main so we decided to run through the steps

  • Put the engine on – Start the engine so that the helmer in in control of the yacht
  • Detangle the halyard – Take the halyard off the winch and run the halyard through your hands, removing any tangles that occur
  • Flake the halyard – Lay the halyard out so that the halyard can run freely when you drop the sail
  • Turn to wind – Turn the boat so that it is facing the wind. We always look at the back of the sail when we are doing this and when it has an S shape on the back of the sail it is time to drop the sail.
  • Drop the sail – What we have found is that we need to prime the clutch before hand, by lifting is just enough so that we can get a finger under the clutch. Put your finger under the clutch and wait until the drop command, then open the clutch fully.
  • Secure the boom – We have a line which goes from the boom to a cleat, so adding that and pulling on the main sheet secures the boom so that it no longer sweeps the deck
  • Tidy up – Once dropped there is always one or two ropes to tidy up and put in the bag. On top of that various pther lines like halyards and reefing lines need tidying up.

Harbour wall entrance

Seeing as we were coming in to Port St. Mary and we had been told that we would be on the harbour wall, we decided to film our entrance as one continuous flow.

  • Fenders – Secure the fenders high so that they can protect the side of your boat.
  • Dock line – Set one dock line to the centre cleat of the yacht and be ready top attach to the ladder
  • Temporary Line  – Use the dock line to tie up to the ladder. It has to be secure as that is what will hold you while you get your boat set.
  • Long Harbour lines – Attach long harbour lines to the front and back of yacht and carry the other end of these lines to the top of the harbour wall and secure them.
  • Add the riser – On some harbour walls these already exist, but when there isn’t, be prepared to fit your own riser. Always remember to check your tide heights, because when I fitted the riser I forgot that there was to be another low tide while we were on the wall and that would be 30cm lower.
  • Add the angels – Add the angels to the front and back harbour lines to keep them tight

Isle of man tides

If you do decide to go to the Isle of man, think about the 40 night deal, it could save you money. Also make sure that you download the local tidal charts that can be found at


The tidal streams around the island can be very different to the main Irish sea currents, so do make sure you know the local tides

After Port St Mary

We left Port St Mary, to catch the slack in calf sound and a North going tide around the island, we saw a basking shark and a whale of some sort. We were also motor sailing so we decided to fill up with the spare diesel that we had on board.

Filling up at sea

To fill up at sea, choose settle conditions, when your yacht is settled. You must have a self priming siphon onboard, which makes life fairly easy. Use the siphon to fill up your tank and if you do it right not a single drop of diesel will be dropped which is the way it should be.

Raising money for the RNLI

The RNLI turned 200 years old on 4th March 2024. So as sailors and people who promote the joy of sailing, we thought that we would like to raise just £200. What we hope is that other people take up the shout and raise their own £200. In the last 200 years the RNLI have saved over 144,000 lives and yet they are funded entirely by people like you. They are not government funded.

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