Testimonial of Ross and Cyndy Moncrief (Australia)
‘Sailing with Kurt and Anita on I Dolce is a special experience. With two instructors and just two guests, you have one on one attention for all aspects of the chosen leg.
In our case, we sailed from the Solent (Portsmouth / Lymington) to Cherbourg via the Channel Islands, presenting a smorgasbord of passage planning opportunities. Compared to our moderate tides in Australia, the large tide range and subsequent strong currents in the Solent and around the Channel Islands are more pronounced and need careful attention. Fortunately, Anita clearly relishes the opportunity to instruct and over-see the planning process, so the end result is largely guaranteed, subject to conditions encountered on the way.
On arrival at any of our destinations (Guernsey, Sark, Alderney or Cherbourg), the culinary skills of both instructors comes to the fore. Kurt in particular has an extensive repertoire of local (Flemish) recipes that keeps the appetite keen for another serving, Of course, being a Belgian yacht, there is always chocolate to follow up!
When first negotiating our preferred leg with Kurt and Anita, we anticipated sailing on an HR 342, similar in size to our Hanse 342 in Australia. It was a real surprise to discover they had successfully negotiated the purchase of a larger HR 43 – the extra 9 or 10 feet provides such an enormous increase in volume, plus a very marked difference in way-making. Cyndy in particular loved the extra space in the forepeak, not to mention the ‘girls chat room’ on the rear of the boat. The upgraded version of I Dolce is a really comfortable yacht with the ability to make quick passages, even in adverse conditions.
Mention also needs to be made about the team spirit and interchangeable roles / skills held by Kurt and Anita. A critical incident onboard interrupted our plans at one stage, requiring medical attention for a crew member. Despite the seriousness of the situation, Kurt and Anita remained focused and attentive to the safety of the boat and its crew, enabling the crew member to receive attention, and the leg to continue to its final destination. Accidents do happen, and it is reassuring to know the instructors can handle such events.
Our lasting impression of our active cruise around the Channel Islands is one of delight. The islands speak for themselves (take the opportunity to see ’The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ if you can), and Kurt and Anita know the best spots to anchor, whether at a marina or on a mooring in a secluded cove. Walking on Sark and Alderney will remain special moments of our trip, as will getting to know a little of Kurt and Anita. Here’s hoping we can do some more in the future!’
Context: The critical incident Ross and Cyndy refer to is Anita breaking her leg when moored at a mooring buoy in Alderney’s Braye Harbour. It was a stupid ‘wrongly stepped down’ accident resulting in a twisted fracture requiring first aid on board -given by Kurt- followed by a repatriation to and surgery in a hospital. The accident happened in the late afternoon. Anita has been repatriated, first to Guernsey hospital and afterwards to a Belgian hospital for surgery. Kurt was able to continue the leg towards Cherbourg as planned with Cyndy and Ross as from the next morning’.