Majic Crew for ARC 2006

Majic 2's great ARC 2006 adventure
Peter Howe
Sun 3 Sep 2006 12:01

49.27.72N, 2.31.86W


The five crew of MAJIC² come from a variety of backgrounds and combine a wide experience of sailing.  Apart from their similar age (described recently by their medical consultant as “hitting the prostate barrier”), residency (all live in Guernsey) and a common friendship, they are probably as widely varied a crew as the ARC will see.  All are sailing generalists and each able to step into any role onboard.  The common friendship tends to keep fist-fights over trimming to a minimum.



L to R : Mik Underdown, Ron Wilkes-Green, Peter Howe, Peter Norey, Peter Lanoe



PETER HOWE learnt to sail a mile above sea level (in a Laser on Germiston Lake, Johannesburg) and says he has been going downhill ever since.  Apart from a couple of extreme experiences in the Indian Ocean in a Van de Stadt 42, much of his sailing has been based in Guernsey.  His progression through the ownership of a J24, Beneteau 305, Sadler 34 and J110 to J120 is the stuff of legend in the chandleries and boatyards of the Channel Islands and south coast.  He took up two-handed sailing in 1998 because when fully crewed he couldn’t see the instruments.  He has now completed four Torbay Triangles, including an outright win in 2002 and a class win in 2004.


As well as Majic², he also owns a half share in a Jeanneau 37 in Tortola, and terrorises the charter fleet at the annual BVI Spring Regatta with a crew of Guernsey pirates.  Pete never sails to win - his philosophy is simply to sail as fast as possible over the shortest distance possible, and celebrate heavily if he does well; or indeed if he doesn’t.  He treats sailing as a contact sport, and considers that winning the parties is just as important as winning the racing.


Apart from being owner/skipper, Pete organised the delivery to Las Palmas and is the quartermaster, although he describes himself as the vintner.


PETER NOREY (Nookie), the skipper’s administrative right arm for the past 14 years, has been mucking about in sailing and motor boats since the old king died.  In his more lucid moments he tells stories of dinghy racing in Oman, creek sailing in Nigeria and motor boating in Puerto Rico. Another Torbay Triangler, Nookie now runs a 36’ motor boat but still spends more time sailing.  He grows horns if permitted to take the helm at the start of a race.


The rest of the crew believe that one of his ancestors must have acquired some squirrel genes at some stage, as he never throws anything away.  His bosun’s bag still contains unusable thirty-year-old broken bits of old dinghy, and he keeps an ancient perished inflatable and a seized outboard in his cellar, in case they ever come in useful. 


Pete is responsible for electrics and electronic navigation, although a doctorate in maths doesn’t necessarily help him to subtract 180º from a bearing.  The fact that he flew light aircraft for decades means he still tries to take us over lighthouses rather than around them.


MIK UNDERDOWN’s first boat was a tin bath in a Guernsey boiler pit.  It sank.  He subsequently progressed through his father’s and grandfather’s fishing boats (frequent trips around the lighthouse), borrowing fisherman’s dinghies (frequent clips around the ear) a decrepit pram dinghy (confiscated) and local Sea Scouts (first sailing experiences in a Montague whaler).  At the Naval College at Dartmouth he finally learned to sail, in a Morgan Giles 43, Nich 36 and various service vessels.  The Royal Navy, sailing half-tonners and Dragons in Devon and ten years in oil exploration in the North Sea have left their scars, as have sailing and motor-boating offshore around Guernsey


In ’82 he started short-handing with a Round Britain in a Sigma 33.  As well as still racing fully-crewed, he is the most persistent offender in the Torbay Triangle 2-hander, with seven races completed.  He also ran a RYA sailing school for a while.  He has a host of sailing anecdotes, some of which are actually true, with which he plans to keep the crew awake in the quieter moments of the trip.  At 54 he is the nipper of the crew, which doesn’t say much for the others.


Mik is the boat’s medic, bosun and “old-fashioned” navigator.  He has promised to teach everyone how to use a sextant, if he can remember where he left it, and which way up to hold it.


RON WILKES-GREEN was brought up with his feet in the water on Guernsey’s east coast, also cutting his sailing teeth in the Sea Scouts’ whaler.  He has been sailing ever since, racing and cruising in local and Channel waters and cruising in the Mediterranean.  His sailing CV includes a selection of JOG and RORC races, skippering a Fastnet and ownership of a variety of yachts including a Swan and a Grand Soleil.


Ron currently crews on an X-362 in Guernsey, and the original intention was for three Majic² crew and three X crew to sail the ARC in two watches, with a case of champagne on the best mileage.  The other two X-men have unfortunately had to pull out (although still assisting in other ways) so we have already drunk the champagne.


Apart from back-up on navigation (as an Ocean Yachtmaster), Ron’s practical background means that he is responsible for all things mechanical on board. He is the quiet man of the crew, although given the capacity of the other four for generating noise, that isn’t saying much.


PETE LANOE (Pill), is a late addition who blagged his way onboard from the delivery team.  It seemed like a good idea to include him on the ARC, to encourage him to get the boat to Palma in one piece and not drink all the scotch.  He has been christened Pill as we now have three Petes onboard.  Pill started sailing with his school dinghy club and is one of the Guernsey Yacht Club stalwarts, which means he has his own bar stool. 


Despite being the oldest man on a local Sigma 33 (and a legend in the Sigma fleet at Cowes every year) he is still doing the foredeck, principally because his cigars are too offensive for him to be allowed in the cockpit (we haven’t told him yet, but the cigars-banished-to-the-front rule applies on Majic² too). He also navigates the Sigma on longer races, although we haven’t yet worked out how he does it from the foredeck.


Pill’s role on board Majic² is to help everyone else out with their own roles.  As a good engineer (he rebuilds ancient Landrovers for fun) he will back up Ron with mechanics, and he will have input on the nav.  He claims to be a keen meteorologist so we will let him play with the grib files, and he can help Mik on the foredeck as necessary. 


We haven’t come up with a watch system for five hands yet, other than Pill’s suggestion that he sleeps all the way across.  Two-on two-off and a standby sounds good, but its difficult to rotate the watches and still get everyone to do a watch with everyone else.  Mik prefers Naval watches with two short dogs, and there has been a suggestion that we should all be up from 1800 to 2000 each day to socialise and eat.  Pete H likes the short-handers’ routine of three hours on at night and four during the day.