More Sea Trials

More sea trails today, this this in 20kts of wind and slightly more challenging conditions. Putting one reef in was a different than that on Yaga, with everything having to be done at the mast.

The procedure was to loosen the kicker then go to the mast and put the cringle for the reef onto the horn.Loosen the lazy jacks, then back to the cockpit and raise the main. Back to the mast and tighten the reef. Quite a lot of toing and froing. I’ll see how this all pans out and may change the reefing system if it proves too difficult in rougher conditions.

Ed and I sailed up Southampton Water as far a Town Quays marina, where we had both kept our yachts many years ago. Passing many cruise ships we thought about pre COVID times where the area was a hive of activity. Hopefully, with a vaccine in sight, prosperity and activity will once again return.

Queen Mary II in her dock, where once Titanic berthed.
Cargo vessel with Azura in the background

Clean up and Bonding with Seraphim

An early start today. Left Esher at just before 0700 and arrived at Universal for a day of cleaning and putting things away.

It’s amazing how much stuff came off Yaga. So much so that I decided to allocate one of the stern cabins as a workshop and storage area. I barely managed to fit it all in. Yaga, for a 30 foot yacht had so much clever space on her.

WIth that job done, which took me most of the morning, I started on the bilges. I managed to soak up 5-6 litres of what tasted and was salt water. I managed to speak to John, the previous owner, and he confirmed that he had taken the log out recently, so it may have been that, will keep an eye on it. Everything looked reasonable and I also emptied the shower tray bilge area, which had a slight blockage.

I bilge area was remarkably cleaned and in great condition for a 20 year old yacht. Paint was all intact and the bow and aft area were bone dry. With dehumidifier and heater on, I left the floors up and had a spot of lunch, which comprised of a pancetta and mushroom and chilli omelette.


After lunch, it was time to attack the cockpit locker. This was a similar and quicker job. I the days clean up process I found interesting items belonging to both previous owners, which ranged from engine spares, cockpit cushion covers, lifting keel sliders and surprise surprise a pound coin in the aft cabin bilge 😊

Time to go home with satisfied and with a feeling that I am bonding and becoming a part of my new Seraphim.


My First Sail on Seraphim

Luckily the COVID restrictions still permitted me to be able to gain access to Seraphim and be able to take her for a sail. I was fortunate enough to have the help of Ed, who kindly came to the marina to give me a hand.

I arrived fairly early and did as many checks as i could remember. Engine oil, water levels, strainer, etc etc etc. Having disconnected the shore power I started her up. Huge amounts of white un burnt diesel filled the surrounding area, but soon dispersed. I left her running for a while and completed a quick tidy up, by which time Ed had arrived.

So, after a walk around and explaining the lay of the land to Ed, we prepared our lines and slowly slipped out and reversed out of the marina. The tide caught us, but we departed with a metre to spare, something I must watch out for in future manoeuvres.

We headed out into the Hamble river and initially performed some reversing and turning manoeuvres , before continuing downstream. It was wonderful being on the water again and especially in my new yacht. Passing Mercury marina, where Ed and I had completed all our courses and YachtMaster instructor qualification, we reminisced about happy times pre COVID. We soon arrived at our destination, a line of pontoons at the mouth of the river, where many yers ago, we practised on our training courses.

Practising reversing onto a river pontoon in the Hamble

We practiced forward and reverse moorings and general boat handling. All rather fun and enjoyable, learning how Seraphim performed. Only 10 knots of wind, so ideal for an initially learn and feel exercise.

Having acclimatised myself to Seraphim, it was time for some sea trials. We headed out past Hamble SCM and into Southampton Water. Raising the full main and completely unfurling the genoa, we turned the iron maiden off and enjoyed the peaceful serenity of the wind and waves. After performing a few tacks and at the edge of the Solent we turned back and headed downwind, with the keel raised off course 😊

Ed, multi tasking with winch and helm.
Me checking the main sail and Ed on the helm

We headed back up the Hamble and decided to top up the fuel tank. Although, I had half a tank, it would be good to top her up for two reasons. One to prevent water accumulating in the tank and two, because in these strange times one never knows when an opportunity like this may present itself again. 120 litres and £151.05 worst off we then continued upstream and back to our temporary home port of Universal marina. I decided to back into the berth in what turned out to be a perfect manoeuvre.

The day was completed with a first meal on Seraphim which we had on deck. A home made tomato and chic pea soup garnished with olives and Feta cheese. The perfect end to a perfect day, with many thanks to Ed for being there and helping me out and forming another strong and shared memory.

The peace and tranquility of the River Hamble

New Beginnings

At last the search for my dream yacht is over and the day has arrived where I take possession of her. An OVNI 385 , currently called “Seraphim III”


The search started in April 2020 just after we entered self isolation and lock down due to COVID 19. I had planned to visit the Ukraine with my friend Stas. The trip was meant to encompass my 60th Birthday and a visit to the town where my Father was born and lived for the first 12 years of his life. A visit of nostalgia, history and ancestry. Hopefully, I will manage to resurrect this adventure. The other adventure, was a sailing trip, with best mate Ed, from Sardinia to Venice via Croatia. Again, a postponement rather than a cancellation, I HOPE!!

I started by reviewing my criteria and requirements for my new yacht. After 12 years of sailing Yaga, my 30 foot fin keeler, i soon realised that one of main limitations was the ability of getting into many more shallow draft marinas, harbours, shallow bays, creeks and rivers. I needed a sturdy yacht that could go almost anywhere, and with a shallow draft. This led me towards the aluminium OVNI range


Finding one is not easy. They are in high demand, and finding one in lock down even harder. The events that led me me to my final purchase were a series of bizarre and random coincidences. From travelling to Scotland, viewing yachts on line in France, speaking to previous owners and brokers. Ironically, my eventual choice led me back to Southampton. This is where I found Seraphim III an Ovni 385, owned by a wonderful couple, Nicola and John Rodriguez. After a few visits, chats and inspection the deal was agreed. By sheer chance, Yaga was sold within 4 days of finding Seraphim, by a chap who had lost his Huzar 30 to a storm, when she slipped her moorings. So the planets and stars aligned and the deal was done.


Yaga. A final farewell to a faithful friend that took Alex and I on many fine and memorable adventures. A remarkable yacht. We will miss you Yaga but not loose touch.
Seraphim about to be lifted for an inspection and scrub down.
A bottom wash for her new owner
John and Nicola waving a found farewell to Seraphim with Ed looking on in admiration at the emotions.
Seraphim at her berth at Universal- under new ownership.