25th May – North to Dublin

I was reminded that Eire is a ‘foreign’ country as I struggled to get Euros, couldn’t find a radio station on my little DAB tranny and by the Irish Coastguard voices on the VHF, which I sometimes cannot understand though they speak English.

 

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Guinness Time

Arklow sprawls across the River Avoca and is not a pretty town; you won’t find designer shops here, but it is quaint in a shabby honest way, busy, full of ordinary folk and it inclined me to think a sweeping statement – the Irish are all really nice people.  I didn’t have to adopt a rictus smile to receive many warm greetings wherever I strolled.   There’s character too – the gable of a pub declared ‘Guiness Time’ and other murals adorned shuttering with dramatic images.  Across the river I could make out – almost smell – my previous home, the fish dock.

 

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Arklow Murals

A-Jay does attract attention and has received many nice comments, such as from a German Skipper of a large immaculate motor-sailer, who pronounced A-Jay to be a trim little vessel and went back to get his camera, to photograph Smiley.

 

I have a thing about bilges and whilst you couldn’t quite eat your dinner out of mine, I suspect they contain less Salmonella than a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.  Getting down and dirty today confirmed a minor fresh water leak and a dead electric bilge pump so my obsession does occasionally pay off.  Talking of dinner, I now know that when the juice from my chicken Kiev catches fire in the oven, it’s cooked.

 

Passage planning in a rare hour of sun on the poop deck is a joyous experience and I allowed myself to be lulled into the belief that summer might have finally decided to join us, heralding perhaps a pleasant inshore passage to our next stop, Dublin, there to celebrate the Skipper’s 60th and a happy reunion with friends and family …. some Guinness too perhaps.

 

Next morning Linda from the enormous boat astern with the vast derrière (the boat’s) kindly took my bow line, as I began the Willis exit-in-reverse-master-plan, which bombed from the outset, requiring a seamless lightning fast transition to hastily concocted plan B, which saw Team A-Jay rocketing forwards and curving gracefully if accidentally past the derelict Beneteau 48 ahead.  Linda, who had been expecting a reverse exit looked mildly surprised.  Only I knew that Lady Luck had definitely been holding my hand, as I said thanks to Linda, who tossed my warp onto the foredeck beautifully.

 

There is a truth here though – you are more likely to succeed in a manoeuvre, particularly with a wind and tide situation, if you ‘boot’ the boat, rather than ‘faff’ with too little power.  OK, if having booted it you cock up, at least the resulting prang will be sufficient to really give your audience something to pick over in the pub.

 

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Looking Back to Arklow

Three hundred metres out an orange and black Custaims RIB drew alongside with 2 officials, one of whom boarded.  Nice chap and I was impressed, as they only have 2 cutters to cover the whole of Ireland and yet they managed to find me.  He very politely checked all my boat documents and passport, noting approvingly – fortunately – that I was a Major.  It could have gone the other way …….

 

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Custaims Cutter Hovers

The day started well as we actually managed to sail for a while, until the wind decided to leave us, so I hand steered the rest of the way, book in one hand, tiller in the other, one eye on the view, t’other elsewhere ……. I really didn’t mind as the scenery was gorgeous, a complete contrast to the bleak, sinister dark smugglers’ cliffs of Cornwall.  Rolling green Wicklow hills sloped gently down to the sea, with little beaches like smiles beneath canopies, lying beneath a sky like dirty meringues piled high and behind, the soft dark smoky grey Wicklow ‘mountains’ rolled across the horizon.

 

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Mizen Head

I could hear a cow in distress, the gentle hiss of sea sucking on sand and the ugly throb of a diesel fishing trawler approaching from the North.  Two Terns circled the boat noisily, one trying to find a landing spot though I couldn’t think why as we were only half a mile out – perhaps they liked Blur…..

This bucolic peaceful idyll lasted an hour before the wind dropped below 5 knots and, as we only had a few hours before the tide turned, Yanni was asked to provide additional motive force and I stood Smiley down, taking over his duties.

 

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Wicklow Head

The sea was flat, the wind gone and the miles slipped slowly by as we passed Mizen Head, Wicklow Head, Greystones and Sorrento Point often with no more than 7 metres beneath our keels.  I decided to go inside of the Muglins, up Dalkey Sound over-looked by some lovely houses and was surprised when Boreas suddenly flicked two fingers at us and sent 20 knots shooting up our nose.  Where did that come from!

 

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Dalkey Sound

 

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Looking Back to Dalkey Sound

In Sandy Cove just outside the enormous man made structure that encases Dun Laohaire Harbour, we switched to Saga Mode, engine in neutral, 2,3 … sails down, 2,3 … fenders out port side 2,3 …. warps fitted and led back to cockpit, 2,3.  For some reason I tend to set up for port side to and endeavour to jockey my position to come in to land thus, rather than switch warps and fenders at the last minute.

 

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Dun Laohaire Marina

The marina staff ignored my call on VHF 80 so I called them on the phone for directions as Dun Lohaire Marina is vast.  So big that they have put floating showers and toilets half way between the Visitors’ berthing area and the shore side facilities, in case you get caught short.

 

Three or 4 sailing school boats were practising this and that as we came in to land, which I don’t like, as your every move is closely scrutinised by professional skippers.  Still we made it, crabwise, landing a little bumpily in the gusty conditions, like the 1845 Aurigny Tri-lander in from Jersey.  Dublin at last, 486 nautical miles out from Guernsey.

 

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Dun Laohaire

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Evening in Dun Laohaire

A stroll through down town Dun Laohaire revealed Maritime and Shackleton Museums; as someone who visits every maritime museum he can find and for whom Sir Ernest Shackleton (who was ¾ Irish) is a super hero, along with the likes of Sir Robin Knox Johnston, this was great.

 

Anyway, repairs needed to be made for I had discovered that Billy the bilge pump had burned out.  Tripping over the step at the chandlers, I fell headlong into the shop and arrived on my stomach alongside the counter.  They were very polite though and all was well as they had a replacement Billy, plus the fuses I needed and by tea time Billy had been replaced by a bigger, better model – the story of life!  RIP Billy MK1!!

 

That night I saw a fender floating nearby, which snorted and shook – it was a seal but he disappeared, sinking lazily beneath the surface as I failed to grab the camera in time.  Next morning blessed by cold rain and a strong, chilly wind we rolled across a frisky white capped sea to Dublin Port, cringing on the side lines as large ships entered.  Port Control told us to run down the Southern edge of the channel to Poolbeg, a little rustic yacht club marina.   Staff gesticulated to our berth as we approached and instructed me thus;

 

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Shipping in Dublin Harbour

 

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A-Jay in Poolbeg

Shoot for the pontoon then stop your engine before you get there as there is a sleeping bag in the water … .last year there was a dead bloke with €5,000 in his pocket!”

 

Later the genial Yacht Club volunteer advised me:

 

“The Old Gaffers are in Town this weekend, so put on your drinking boots!”

Sound advice I am sure.

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By ajay290

The Skipper Relaxing near Milford Haven

Skipper at Ease

I met Owen in the marina toilets and discussed marine tackle as you do.  It turned out he was the first mate of a yacht next door to A-Jay and he also had an issue with his main VHF radio, one’s main link with the outside world at sea, which he knew to be water ingress, a serious matter.  He later valiantly helped me in my unsuccessful, bad tempered attempts to retrieve my passage planning folder.  Dave from Windjammer Marine Services retrieved it, embarrassingly, in a jiffy and diagnosed my VHF problem as simply the faulty splitter fitted by yours truly, which he removed – I do try (to be fair it had lasted 7 years).

‘IT guru’ Kevin Rogers is clearly another ‘bon oeuf’, being short, 60, married to an accountant and a sailor – we had much in common.  He popped over because he had spotted A-Jay as the boat mentioned in the latest ‘Practical Boat Owner Magazine’, which she is, to chat and to seek details on behalf of his wife of the pièce de resistance in my ‘heads’, which naturally I was delighted to provide ad nauseam.  He also very kindly drove me out to see some nearby parts of lovely Pembrokeshire and we paused for coffee and cake at the Dale Yacht Club.  So much of any of life’s little detours is about the people you meet – thank you Kevin.  The forecast was better and Barry the barometer had pulled his pants up so we would go on the morrow.

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Leaving Milford Marina Dock, 0700

Sleep held my hand for too few hours before Team A-Jay nosed into the Milford Marina lock at 0700 bound for Eire on an unusually pleasant morning.  Tugs were hovering in the estuary entrance like crabs, waiting to grab their prey, a huge fat, red tanker which was approaching as I suffered another “Doh!” moment, dropping one of my lovely, large white fenders overboard.  Of course this was in full view of the Obergrüppenfuhrer, three tug captains and the entire crew of the fast approaching leviathan.  I wasn’t going to lose my fender though, which was whizzing upstream at 2 kots, so went back to edge of the shipping lane to scrabble for it, which gave me a lovely close up of the tanker.

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Bye Bye Milford Haven

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Big, Fat Red One

Kevin had suggested I head out through Jack Sound, which is sandwiched between Skomer/Midland Isle, a national nature reserve and seal breeding area, and the mainland.  Anyway, this is why we found ourselves fast approaching the scary looking Blackstone Rocks which you have to leave 100 metres to the West, in order to get the correct transit through the narrow, terrifying looking gap that is Jack Sound.  The tide runs fast so there is no turning back and it felt a little tight as we shot through, but in retrospect no more so than some Channel Island passages.

Jack sound

Jack Sound – Best Place to View it!!

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Approaching Blackstone Rocks

We headed across St. Brides Bay, destination South Bishop Light, which we left to port simply because the conditions were good and it suited our course and the wind direction.  ALWAYS pass to the West if things are not so favourable.  Here we made our first sighting of a Puffin, such a tiny, comical looking little chap, so we celebrated by digging into the nose-bag for sausages to accompany my half pint of Espresso coffee.  The Bishops and Clerks gave us a bit of a pasting as we powered through at 9 knots, soon leaving Ramsey Island behind and on into a restless St. George’s Channel, an area I had only ever previously heard of in shipping forecasts.  I still don’t know where the Channel ends and the Irish Sea begins.

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Sailing to Eire

I had calculated 2 more hours of favourable tide, before it headed us for another 6 hours, though our destination at this point remained one of three options stretching from Wexford in the South to Dublin in the North.  Just before lunch I spotted my first Swallow of 2015, swooping and darting towards England; at this point I decided to reduce power consumption by switching off the fridge and towing the milk behind in the cold water, by way of a rope and clove hitch (see Rachel of Dog Groom Room fame for tips on clove hitches).  It looked strange to see it skipping along behind us, but I can report it to be a success!

Puffin Number Two was spotted just after lunch as we stormed along on a broad reach with winds between 14 and 20 knots satisfyingly ahead of schedule.  Goose bumps shivered across the surface of the sea and tide scrapped with wind, kicking froth from the tops of the crests as Wexford came abeam 25 nautical miles to the West.  ‘Goldfrapp’ failed to attract the dolphins this time, but I suspect the skipping milk carton may have had something to do with that.

A friend said before I left, referring to solo sailing; “but what happens if something happens?”  The answer of course is that something unexpected invariably does happen, thus becoming almost the ‘norm’.  So it was that at tea time, Harry the autopilot spluttered his last gasp and spat out his £400 dummy, which was hugely inconvenient because wind and waves, though not so challenging as the previous leg from Padstow, were from directions that precluded the proper use of Smiley (if we were to maintain our chosen direction) and we still had 8 hours or so to go.

Time to switch to ‘Saga S.A.S mode’ – gritty, determined, no panic, steady or something like that – which began with a few well-chosen expletives shouted to the Heavens, which restored the skipper’s spirits, as I took the helm for what would be a very long flog.  At that point I was reminded again how difficult it can be to steer with a confused quartering sea, as we slewed through arcs of 60 degrees for several hours.  Still, it kept me warm for it was a very chilly May evening.

Glancing at the radar again I saw what appeared to be the Scilly Isles moving up from the south just before the rain hit us.  Visibility,  now very poor, had never been more than about 15 miles during the day, so I had seen little of the shipping, revealed by the radar, ploughing up and down ahead of us.  At 1830, we hove-to (jib backed, helm a lee) in order to stop and sort ourselves out; A-Jay settled nicely as I prepared for night sailing (navigation lights switched on and working – check; torch – check; navigation items in place – check; additional clothing to hand – check; hand held VHF to hand – check; hot drink – check) – sounds a palava but when solo and helming in the dark, you have to have quick access all these things and those I had probably forgotten.

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Approaching Arklow

As dusk cloaked us, the Irish coast emerged tantalisingly slowly from the horizon, in the shape of Cahore Point and it became more difficult in the gloom to write the hourly log with one hand, the other locked on the tiller.  By sunset I could see the glow of the South Arklow Light, marking the southern end of a windfarm – and Arklow, our chosen destination, of course.  Arklow has a narrow entrance between two long, thin arms and you have to watch the fierce cross current before the entrance and your ‘groins’ inside.  As we crabbed towards what I guessed to be the entrance, things were not made any easier by the light pollution that virtually obscured the pier head navigation lights, particularly as the moon had just decided to hide beneath the stacked, black clouds above.

By midnight, we were alongside in the commercial fish dock, a very smelly dead beat haven slippery with guano, drinking hot chocolate and listening to Beethoven (still on page 475).  We remained a further day in the fish dock, dining on smoked salmon, cous cous and Irish stew.

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Fish Dock, Arklow

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Arklow Fish Dock, Sunken Yacht in Background

Raymarine had agreed to ship out a new autopilot to await me in Dublin and their local agent kindly offered to courier his own unit to me in Arklow, to use on the passage North.  Before we left the fish dock, with its sunken yacht and down at heel fishing boats, I witnessed a full blown Irish row between the crew of a battered little fishing boat and the boss, apparently the wife of the skipper, who appeared to have forgotten to pay the troops – including her husband -, all this to the chorus of “Dahdeeeee! Dahdeee!!!!”, from two small children in the car, one of whom was leaning on the horn.  This altercation was remarkable both for its sheer volume and longevity, so deserves a mention.

We left through a cloud of blue smoke that smelt like nothing I’d ever come across before, emanating from a battered collection of aluminium panels shaped vaguely like a boat.  A few minutes later we were alongside a crowded pontoon just past the marina entrance, our lines taken by a fellow traveller, overlooked by well-heeled Irish retirees in Marina Village.  Breakfast in the sunshine on the poop deck consisted of scrambled eggs on smoked salmon, with crusty rolls and half a pint of Espresso.

Here we will kill a little time while we await for the autopilot and explore, which reminds me of a poem written a while ago

 

Time

Time drags so in traffic jams

Or the stressful hours of work

But flies us through bright moments

Every second SO precious

 

Time flies on gossamer wings

At night brings dreams some wanted

Others like thieves steal the night

Leaves you raw come the new dawn

 

Time heals the wounds of the heart

Eases painful memories

Soothes fever of the spirit

Calms the seething tortured mind

 

Time sees you enter the World

Stays with you through life’s journey

Observes all you see and do

Holds your hand until the end.”

I have a sneaky feeling that Arklow might be my kind of place as the main butcher in Town proudly displays the following sign across a large, posh red canopy;

“Corned Beef a Speciality”

 

And the optician’s sign reads;

“Op

tic

ian”

By ajay290

18th _ ?? May, Gale Bound in Milford Haven :-)

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Dale

Howling wind high over the cliff drove the night away and sent gusts swooping through the rigging.  Rain came, angry drumming fingers on the cabin roof as A-Jay swung and tugged at her harness like a startled race horse and I lay snug in my green maggot with Beethoven (Page 474).  I could see the shredded sky through shiny pools and rain drops on the sky light and a little later a weak sun escaped, to add a little brightness to the day.  Barry has gone all moody and this weather is set to remain for several more days – I really do wonder WHO stole summer?

The rain, heavy now, I welcome, for it sluices through joints, blocks, nooks and crannies flushing out the heavy salt crystals – and of course it will reveal any leaks, always useful.  Somewhere I have a little gammon so have decided today is roast day, but first I decided to seek shelter in Milford Marina which would open later in the afternoon, though persuading Mr. Rocna to come with me I knew would be no easy task.

I called up Milford Marina to announce my arrival later; I am the only visitor riding out this weather in the bay, but I will now give up after 2 days and nights and go and join the others in the marina, especially as the milk is off, the bread green and the sausages have grown a white mould …. plus a gale moving up from Lundy is imminent.

Nearer the time I checked in with the Milford Harbour Obergruppenführer, advising him of my intentions; he told me to beware the Irish ferry due to leave shortly.  Now for Mr. Rocna; the wind was only 17 or 18 knots now in the sheltered bay and I found the technique was to haul in the rode to the point where it wouldn’t come any further.  Then pause, with the shank just free of the bottom the fluke still buried, await a lull and go for it and in no time the Mr. Rocna was landed and A-Jay’s sharp bows swung obediently round towards the estuary.  We were soon surfing at 7.5 knots upstream past a huge terminal with Boreas blowing hard BEHIND us for a change; what joy, what bliss!

The terminal, strung out over a mile, looked as though a giant had been playing with a Meccano set and in the middle had placed a Lego blockhouse, the Obergruppenfuhrer’s HQ; we felt VERY small as we shot past but we missed the timing for entry to Milford Marina.  There is a waiting pontoon, which today was bouncing around in the gusty wind; we made it, without touching the pontoon and the skipper didn’t fall in – might just be getting the hang of this.

Waiting to enter Milford Marina

Waiting to enter Milford Marina

Up on the green hillsides wind turbines turn lazily and oil tanks and chimneys speak of the work done here.  The forecast came through as I sipped Horlicks and the radio reported imminent Gale Force 8 coming up from Lundy, as well as Plymouth and Sole, so for once I reckon the skipper had made the right decision.  Barry, who’d dropped his pants, agreed too.

We shot through the lock gates at tea time and headed for our allocated berth – except I couldn’t find it, entering and reversing out of two berths in the strong, gusty wind before finally arriving at D 07.  It was good to see 2 helpers emerge from yachts nearby for it really was very blowy; “I’m solo, thank you,” I shouted.  “So am I” said the bearded ‘poet’ with my stern line.  “Me too” said the tough little Dutchman with my bow line.  There you are – reduced to my proper level by others who are doing much the same thing, probably rather better and with no heroics.  The Dutchman was on his way to Ireland and reckoned he might go on Wednesday – yes his boat is bigger, but get this; he had done Falmouth to Milford haven in one hop.  No whinging, whining blogs about short hops unlike me!

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Outside Milford Marina

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Looking across Milford Haven

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A-Jay Outside Milford Marina

Milk, bread and sausages bought from Tesco, so all is well with the World.  A steak at Martha’s Vineyard nearby went down well too, though I refrained from joining the rest of the diners who ALL stood up from their tables and watched as a yacht came in, fighting the strong wind, hoping to witness an expensive prang.  You just know that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you are ALWAYS being watched in the boating world …… whether by mark 1 eyeball with or without binoculars, or radar.

I am particularly happy as Tesco sells garden compost.  Those long suffering folk who have been bored by me about the unusual heads arrangement on board, will understand where I am coming from.  I am not sure what the ‘poet’, or those watching eyes made of this skipper staggering back from Tesco to the boat, with a sack of John Innes’ best.

Sadly I never did find that gammon ….

Another gale is raging as I await the boatyard hand, who will help me disassemble my hatch arrangement to retrieve my passage plan folder and help restore life to my main VHF set, which I fear succumbed to so many hours with sea water sluicing over the cabin top.  Luckily I fitted an emergency VHF antenna, which I connect to my hand held VHF and this seems to give a transmit range of 20 miles or so; I have also received from 75 miles away.

Toot! Toot for now!

By ajay290

16th May Padstow to Milford Haven

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Fishing Boats in Padstow

All stories have a beginning, middle and end.  In the beginning of this short tale was an early start from dreamy Padstow and dawn was breaking, as we slipped through the pier heads and up the narrow dredged channel, past a visible Salisbury Point that had been but a dark shadow on arrival.  Pausing off red Greenaway we sorted ourselves out, watched by dolphin nosed Stepper Point before rounding Pentire Point under sail by 0630.

A little while later, a curt log entry read; “rough, grey, sh…y!” and so we entered the middle section of the story.  The salty playground was full of bullies left behind by the gales that had passed through hours before.  The wind was only 20 – 24 knots, not enough to stop A-Jay thrusting both full sails skywards, but the combination of the motion that caused the boat to pitch and crash like never before, as Boreas the God of the North Wind perched mockingly on the pulpit, was enough to spoil our fun.  We sailed awhile, but the wind direction meant that many hours and miles would be added to the long passage and, being solo, I decided the best option was 50/50, so Yanni gave us just enough shove to head higher to the wind.

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Dolphins in the Rough

At this low point, less my spirits flag God sent the dolphins to play, 6 or 7 of them and sprinkled diamonds on the sea to glitter in the wan sunlight, just for me I felt; humbling.  I’m an old hand at dolphin photography now, so managed a couple pictures.  All would be well.

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Dolphins

The haze on the horizon reduced long range visibility such that all but one of the oil laden or empty behemoths heading to or from Milford Haven passed unseen by eye, but captured on the radar screen as elongated, curved purple blobs.  Hartland Point slipped by to Starboard and by lunchtime Lundy Island lay abeam, sometimes lost in a trough, but closer than I wanted for the tide was sweeping us towards the Bristol Channel.  I tacked out to sea and with the help of a little more Westing in the wind, managed to set the bows more towards our waypoint off Linney Head 30 nautical miles or so North.

I found tropical fruit mix and water to be a brilliant mix in these horrible seas for I had no wish to seriously deplete my generously stocked nose bag just then.  In between lookout and log writing I lay and dozed showered occasionally with flying spray. It was about here that I suffered another of my not infrequent “Doh!” moments when my folder containing the passage plan shot under the hatch garage never to be seen again, as A-Jay crashed nose down into a deeper valley.  Oh well, this is when the good skipper pulls out his Plan ‘B’, which for me comprised the damp Almanac, chart and a fast fading memory of my notes.

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Linney Head

Gradually and oh so slowly, the pencil marks crept across the chart and by tea time I placed the first mark on the next chart – progress!  An hour later I handed the genoa as the gusts were stronger now and I wanted better visibility, as we closed the coast.  So the long middle bit ended and we began the shorter end bit, usually for me an interesting and exciting time especially if visiting for the first time.  My spirits soared on the wings of modest triumph as we hit 8 knots, for we had caught the tide just right at HW + 1 ½ though more by accident than design if I am completely honest.  So we swept passed Linney Head where I agonised about which side to leave the Turbot Bank and on towards Sheep Island.  I had decided on the Eastern approach as I did not want to cross the ship channel at the estuary entrance and because I had noted this dry comment in the Almanac; “…avoid St. Annes Head to the West when rough, as yachts have been capsized.”  Fair enough boss!

In close to Sheep Island and Blockhouse Point, avoiding the Chapel Rock (where do they get these names from!), before turning off Thorn Point across the estuary towards Dale Cove and as we did so, I saw upstream a huge disgorging tanker pointing at us, like some enormous lobster from its rock crevice home.  I am not very superstitious, but I had everything crossed in the desperate hope that my chosen anchorage would be peacefully, calmly habitable; it was.  We had had dolphins, diamonds and now a peaceful haven, not so bad.

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Crossing the Estuary to Dale

Taking advantage of our small size and ability to take the ground, we edged deep into the local moorings close to the Southern cliffs and dropped the Rocna in 4.5 metres of calm water half a mile from the beach just before sunset, fourteen hours and 60 miles out.  Looking at the logbook with a mug of tea I reflected that the wind strength though playful, had not been excessive but it had been stubbornly contrary; however the sea state, recorded in the log every hour as “rough” told the true story.  I noticed too, as I swapped the logbook for Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn, how short had been the log entries a sure sign that I had not been a happy skipper.

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Looking Ashore in Dale

Morning broke and no, it hadn’t been a dream.  Daylight revealed Dale to be a lovely little spot, a rural idyll incongruously close to the oily life blood being pumped ashore from terminals little more than a mile away.

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Peaceful Dale

I reflected over porridge on what on earth we all did before mobile phones, Ipads or Monster Wet Wipes for I find the latter amazing for a host of uses including wiping thick crusts of salt from windows, vital parts and the radar screen.  The other miracle of modern times for me is ACF 50, reputed to keep naval aircraft protected from the marine environment and which I spray and wipe liberally into important orifices.

As I finish this, 0.4 metres of muddy water lie beneath our keels at low water and I’ll review forecasts and tides before deciding how long we remain before moving upstream to Milford Marina, for I fear we’ll be here awhile.  Before I leave the keyboard, I am what one might call the nautical equivalent of a train spotter and it amused me to find the followed moored around me;

“Moody, Mirage,

Halcyon, Westerly,

Hunter, Cobra,

Sadler, Hillyard,

Arvor, McWester,

Seamaster, Verl,

Maxi, Crabber,

Halmatic, Trintella

Cox & Red Fox too”

Toot! Toot!

By ajay290

16th May – North to Milford Haven (Part 1)

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Evening in Padstow

Having enjoyed supper shore-side last night, its back to shipboard rations for our last day in Padstow.  The Skipper’s brunch is an impressive affair when in harbour, though I say it myself.  Naturally no such repast can be considered complete without Black Pudding, but I find that asparagus goes beautifully with it.  Mind you, I do miss Guernsey butter to sauté it in.

Feeling a little exercise was needed I set off to do the washing via a lengthy chat with a lovely holiday maker, who was sitting on a dockside bench within touching distance of A-Jay.  Back aboard and with the washing strung up, he asked what message my signal flags (washing) represented.  “Help!!” seemed the only sensible answer.

At that moment, a feathered Squadron Leader from 617 Squadron came in low and with unerring accuracy released his bomb load – I doubt it was a female, for she would have shown respect for my washing.  It was more of a ricochet than a ‘bull’s eye’, but I was impressed.  Of course it was on the night of the 16th May – anniversary tomorrow – that the Dambusters made their epic raid, so I guess he was getting a little late practice.  He should do well.

I had hoped to hire a bicycle for a few hours, but what with passage planning and washing, I limited myself to a town walk and a visit to the National Lobster Hatchery; fascinating.  Did you know that lobsters have no need of anti-ageing cream?  Their cells don’t age like ours and they can live to 100 years or more given a chance.  Did you also know that they can regrow a leg (sometimes lost during moulting), reach 1.4 metres in length and that female lobsters can lay 20,000 eggs, though 19,991 don’t seem to make it ….

Even Padstow Harbour Wall is Gorgeous

Even Padstow Harbour Wall is Gorgeous

Padstow is very lovely and busy with visitors even this early in the season.  Americans and Germans seem to love the place, perhaps because it is clean, tidy and orderly.  It is disappointing if you need chandlery (there is none) and supplies are limited, but great if you want quality B&B or Cornish made artefacts.  ‘Quaint, restful, quintessentially British’ seems to sum it up.

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Looking Uphill out of Padstow

It’s time to go, so we will slip out through the lock and into the dawn tomorrow at ‘o-sparrow-fart’ and turn Team A-Jay’s bows North towards Milford Haven, having given Pentire Point and the dangers off Rump Point a sensible offing.  The forecast is likely to be NW (sigh!) 4/5, occasionally 6 with cloud and sunshine and the journey will be approximately 75 nautical miles.   Team A-Jay will cross the mouth of the Bristol Channel, marked by Hartland Point Lighthouse (built in 1874) to the South and St. Gowan’s Head to the North passing Lundy Island at the Southern end.  We’ll play ‘push me’, ‘pull me’ with the tide, but over 12 hours or so, the overall effect should be neutral.

There is a military flavour to this leg, with warnings that submarines like to play in the area and that the Catlemartin Range Area extends well out to sea, though the guns should fall silent this Saturday – we hope.

All being well, we will drop the hook inside the mouth of Milford Haven in Dale Bay, which Angie reminded me was something of a family favourite when she was a child – this little bay witnessed the sinking of the ‘Dixon-one-design’, so I hope not to repeat family history.

I’ll send this now as the fishing boats arrive to offload their catch, lest my destination is not covered by wifi …. Toot toot

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Slipway Padstow Inner Harbour

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Padstow Inner Harbour

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Harbour Entrance

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Quaint Padstow Street

By ajay290

12th/13th May – Team A-Jay Round the Corner at Last!!

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80′ Dutch Schooner Leaves Penzance – Just!

The nicest thing about lingering somewhere is the people you meet, such as Wendy and Dave on the Moody 38 next door in Penzance.  They were very kind and invited me to dinner where we swapped memories and told salty stories.  Just before I left for Padstow, Wendy kindly presented me with age-defying (well it looks like the same stuff!) insect repellent cream for Scotland!  Thank you Wendy!

The nasty low that threatened to incarcerate Team A-Jay a little longer seemed to have moved off NE faster than previously forecast though more bad weather was predicted for Thursday, but for now Barry the barometer was optimistic so it was time to check over the passage plan notes, which went something like this:

LEG to PADSTOW 12/05/2015

Expected forecast 24 hours before; deep low moving NE over Scotland to Iceland.  High pressure expected Tuesday 12/05.  S/SW 5, slight/moderate, occasionally rough, Moderate/Good.  Following 24 hours; W/SW 4/5, becoming variable 3 / 4, slight/moderate, occasionally rough.

Updated forecast inserted here …..

Tides 12/05;

Milford Haven                   Dover                    Plymouth            Penzance             Padstow (13/05)

HW         1329                       0605                       1254                       1154                       0107   (enter 2307-0307  )

HW         –                              1842                       –                              –                              1348   (enter 1133-1548)

LW          0719                       1306                       0636                       5636                       0619                      

LW          1953                       –                              1912                       1650                       2014

Padstow anchorages; Stepper Point (W), Quin Bay (E), the Pool.    Padstow VHF 12

Tidal streams; inside counter tide North running round Land’s End from Dover -3 (1542)

1100 – 1200

1200 – 1300                                                                         ETD 1230                              128° M

1300 – 1400  HW – 5h 42m to – 4h 42m                                                                   200° M past Penzer Pt.

1400 – 1500  HW – 4h 42m to – 3h 42m                     Runnelstone 1445            245° M to Runnelstone

1500 – 1600  HW – 3h 42 to – 2h 42m                         North running counter tide starts 1542

1600 – 1700  HW – 2h 42m to  – 1h 42m                    Longships 1615                 312° M to Longships

1700 – 1800  HW – 1h 42 to – 42m                                                                               33° to clear Cape Cornwall

1800 – 1900  Dover HW 1842                                                                                       49° M to Trevose Head

1900 – 2000  HW + 18m to + 1h 18m

2000 – 2100  HW + 1h 18m to 2h 18m                       Sunset 2055 (approx. St. Agnes Head)

2100 – 2200  HW + 2h 18m to 3h 18m

2200 – 2300  HW + 3h 18m to + 4h 18m

2300 – 0000  HW + 4h 18m to + 5h 18m

0000 – 0100                        

0100 – 0200                                         ETA between 0100 – 0230; Tidal stream NE at Padstow, 0.4 kts

                                                                                                Sunrise 0515

Dover HW 13/05 0734…

Secondary port = Milford Haven 63 nm N.  VHF 12.  13/05; HW 0207, 1448; LW 0839, 2114. Dale or Sandy Haven Bay.

On the reverse I always draw a sketch of the destination, highlighting key lights, buoys, approaches etc…. Waypoints are also input into the main and back up GPS.”

Padstow Passage Plan

Padstow Passage Plan

The Journey as at 13th May

The Journey as at 13th May

It’s time to get cracking because we have only done 300 nautical miles in getting on for 4 weeks, an average speed of about minus 1 nautical mile per hour; but that’s fine because much time has been spent with many special people, which has been wonderful.  I’ve almost run out of UK friends and relatives now, so the next 2,000 miles should be rather faster.

A quick bilge check takes no time and will show if there have been any leaks of engine oil or other vital fluids – a little soapy fresh water was discovered this time, so from inside or above the waterline, not from the sea and unlikely to be a major problem.  The other usual checks and fixes were done, before I concocted an eclectic stew (recipe available, if I can remember it) for the journey.  No alcohol the day before (although a modest slug of ‘hair restorer’ found its way into the stew) and porridge for breakfast; all systems go.

The tough Cornish skipper of the nearby gaffer told me as I cast off, that he had just come back from the World gig racing championships in the Scilly Isles where he came 30th in his race – I must confess he looked remarkably fresh, particularly given the tons of liquid refreshment I had seen being shipped out for the event.

We departed under the friendly, cheerful gaze of Clive the duty harbour official and I was profoundly grateful that Team A-Jay made it out through the narrow entrance without embarrassment; as ever, I switched into Saga Mode and took my time, pause two, three … getting ship shape and the sails up.  The start looked promising with a good breeze gusting 21 knots, though the steep hillsides might have contributed.

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Carn Du

Tater Du

Tater Du

The headlands of Carn Du with its Black Rock and Tarn Du above the Bucks passed by as we closed Runnel Stone leaving it close to starboard and thence on to the Longships lighthouse, which again we passed close to the South and West.  “There is displayed (at Longships) during storms a wild panorama described by John Ruskin as an entire disorder of the surges… the whole surface of the sea becomes one dizzy whirl or rushing, writhing, tortured undirected rage bounding and crashing and coiling in an anarchy of enormous power”.

Runnelstone Ahead

Runnelstone Ahead

Today a big, bully of a 4 metre Atlantic swell was sweeping in from the West which beat up the irritable sea left over from the bad weather in the shallower coastal areas, making for a very lively ride, particularly off Longships reached at approximately Dover HW -3. This meant we then began to enjoy the N running counter current and thence the NE flow up the North Cornish coast.   It was no surprise to see on the chart a scattering of wrecks off most headlands.

I had a well-stocked nosebag to hand and plenty to drink as I had become dehydrated on a previous leg, so decided to log my water intake, a good reminder I later found.  I have to confess that my stew, enjoyed at supper time with coffee, was rather yummy and “Jamaica Inn” replaced “Beethoven” until darkness descended.  I have a little torch on a lanyard for the dark hours, which I thought was a great idea … except I often forget where on earth I last hung it.

There is nothing really to report on the scenery after we left Land’s End – it was off to starboard and was unrelentingly bleak and dull in a dangerous looking way.  By now we were in ‘the lull before the storm’ and the wind eased to around 5 knots, so Yanni was engaged to give us a barely audible gentle push.  Noting position, speed and conditions hourly established a routine and sunset soon came at around 2100, though it carelessly left a rosy flush splashed across the horizon for quite a while.  I picked up forecasts every 3 hours or so, including notice of gales coming up behind us from the South and West later.  At one point I focused on an area of the GPS chart-plotter and counted the wrecks shown – 37 and it was by no means the most densely populated area.

Newquay was ablaze to starboard and all the more notable for the extensive areas of coastal blackness elsewhere.  Here we encountered an eerie phenomenon for there was a big swell still running.  Newquay would sparkle one moment, as we breasted a crest and then disappear, as if all the lights had been switched off, as Team A-Jay sank into a dark trough and the black rising crest ahead blotted out the view of the coast.

The light on Trevose Head that marked my run in to Padstow was clearly visible in the darkness reminding me that in many ways I find night-time coastal navigation easier.  You must trust both your own judgement and instruments, but most areas are well lit with navigational lights, some distinguishable over 20 miles away.  I will mention radar here as it proved of great value for two reasons.  The first was that I failed to spot a fishing boat, but spotted its purple blob on the screen and when I looked there it was, ½ mile away.  The second was that it picked up the Quies Rocks off Trevose Point, proving that they really were where the GPS said they were, which is not always the case, very comforting on a black night

I had planned to anchor off until morning either at Quin Bay or Stepper Point as I was very tired and it is a tricky approach up the Camel to Padstow, but several factors combined to change my mind:

  1. I didn’t know if the bad weather would arrive whilst I was anchored.
  2. A-Jay is designed to take the ground.
  3. I had memorised the entry route and lights for the Camel River and identified Stepper Point Light, visible as you close the Point (which in the darkness looked like the head of a dolphin) from the West and the aptly named Greenaway red light that marked the left side of the channel into the River Camel. There they were, on the button, with one of the green starboard channel markers now beckoning me in.

So Team A-Jay went for it as the little ferry surged out, momentarily bathing us with its searchlight perhaps because he didn’t believe any idiot would be coming in at 0130.  There is of course the infamous Doom Bar, which ignored us and I recalled that one should keep St. Saviour’s Point very close to starboard in order to stay in the narrow dredged channel.  We did, so close I felt I could reach out and touch its spooky black shape, but the depth gauge never showed less than 3 metres, in an area with sand bars all round.  There were many domestic and commercial lights polluting night vision, but we could clearly see the green-over-green and red-over-red of the outer harbour entrance and then we were in, the only night time arrival.

There is a huge sense of satisfaction in achieving a long passage, more so at night and this is one of the best things about solo skippering.  It’s down to you – cock up or success; no excuses.  It was time to celebrate with another bowl of stew.

This morning, we were joined by some enormous yachts, which I guess did not want to risk a night time entry and I don’t blame them – I wouldn’t either in a big deep keel yacht.  I think small is beautiful!  I also think Padstow is a lovely spot, though in fairness to Fowey, this might have something to do with the euphoria of a successful night arrival and the sunshine that greeted me later that morning.

Padstow Outer Harbour

Padstow Outer Harbour

Looking out from Padstow

Looking out from Padstow

Quaint Padstow House

Quaint Padstow House

A=Jay in the Distance, Tourist in the Foreground

A=Jay in the Distance, Tourist in the Foreground

It is such a gorgeous place, that I will bore you with some more photographs another time … for now, toot toot!!

JMW

By ajay290

Sorry folks, the first paragraph should have read like this ……

 

“Team A-Jay weekend in Penzance

You won’t find anything posh left in the showers in Penzance ‘wet dock’, but you do get 8 minutes hot water for your £1, though actually this isn’t quite right.  You put the coin in, the countdown starts and you then have to run back into the shower room and disrobe – if like me you are bound like a sausage in salopettes and long johns it takes 2 minutes, so you have 6 left, just like Falmouth.  There the similarities end though, for Penzance ‘Wet Dock’ is delightfully laid back and makes but a passing glance at ‘elf & safety’, which means you can turn the hot water up as much as you like!”

My proof reader has just been keel hauled …….

By ajay290

Team A-Jay weekend in Penzance

Can you see the dolphin? 

You won’t find anything posh left in the showers in Penzance ‘wet dock’, but you do get 8 minutes hot water for your £1, though actually this isn’t quite right.  You put the coin in, the countdown starts and you then have to run back into the shower room and disrobe – if like me you are bound just like Falmouth.  There the similarities end though, for Penzance ‘Wet Dock’ is delightfully laid back and makes but a passing glance at ‘elf & safety’, which means you can turn the hot water up as much as you like!

The Harbour Office wouldn’t take my payment (£1.50 per metre per night) until the day of departure because “it would muck up the book keeping, you see”??? …. strictly cash or cheque as debit/credit card machines haven’t got this far yet.  Dockside electricity and water are available, but no cable or hose can reach Team A-Jay – or most of the other boats.

New autopilot fitting and the stereo speaker

Cornish over engineering and the speaker that entertained the dolphins

My autopilot tiller-pin repair failed on the journey here, so I chatted to the engineering boss at Penwith Marine Services and an hour later, I was the proud owner of a traditional piece of Cornish over engineering.  The welder who did the job loved my ancient Shark sailing shoes, which he swears by and gave me a website where they can be bought for £11!

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There isn’t much space for Gry Maritha!

They still have pirates in Penzance

Pirates of Penzance

Looking around the dock I feel at home for the scene can only be described as eccentric;  an ice breaker (yes really) in one corner, the Scilly Isles Gry Maritha dominating one wall and an eclectic mix of ‘live-aboards’ including a ‘pirate ship’ complete with cannon, as well as lovely old gaffers and tatty plastic jobs scattered around the dock.   Amazingly the skipper of the lovely wooden gaffer next door is about to embark on a very similar trip to ‘Team A-Jay’ departing in June, including a Dublin pit stop.

????

Work continues on the leaning post box

It’s never dull either – always something going on.  Last night, after my Spam and ketchup sarnies and soup, I watched in amazement as an enormous trawler, lying dockside of a gaffer with a 15 foot bow sprit and the 55 foot Guernsey registered yacht, was manoeuvred out and the yachts returned alongside in 10 minutes, with no drama, not a single shout, all in true laid back Cornish style.

This weekend the World gig racing championships take place in the Scilly Isles.  Years ago we were there at the same time and watched incredulously as the ladies’ teams practised – they ‘gigged’, or perhaps rowed, faster than our old Westerly could go.  Judging by the enormous pile of kegs being loaded into Gry Marhita today, ‘gigging’ is very thirsty work.

Shades of Treasure Island

Sailors of yore used to say “sail South until the butter melts” … for me it is “sail West until the butter runs out” … which it did in Penzance; good cooking requires butter of course, but it’s time to replenish perhaps after a pint at the Admiral Benbow, which brings back memories of Robert Louis Stephenson’s fabulous story, Treasure Island.  I also say that when the wind whistles in the rigging, as it is now, it’s time to put the kettle on …….

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Looking out through the grey wetness towards St. Michael’s Mount

This morning saw the arrival of the rare lesser clouded sunshine, so it was time to do the ‘doby’ and string it up to dry, followed by a brisk walk in town.  Rounding Land’s End, or Penn an Wlas, literally the ‘end of the land’, is not to be taken lightly for it is the graveyard of thousands of vessels over the years.  So it is worth doing the passage plan very thoroughly, a task I did in the afternoon sunshine.

Doby day

Doby day

Tomorrow we’ll move to take on water and be ready to leave when the lock gate opens on Monday morning.  Timings won’t be perfect for the tides round Land’s End, so we may have to kill time and we’ll probably have to drop the hook off Padstow, before entering on Tuesday …. that’s the plan, but who knows?

Right now ‘Captain Fry-up’ on the live-aboard next but one to me is at it again and I’m drooling, so it’s soon time to stroll off for a pie and a pint.  Thinking of food reminded me that I decided to ‘go Spanish’ on arrival here and was salivating over the idea of my ‘variation on a tortilla’ as we closed Penzance from Falmouth …..

Onion – sliced and caramelised

Garlic and fresh ginger – chopped and added towards the end

Seasoning

Diced sauté potatoes

Sliced chorizo – added so that the juices are absorbed by the potato

Beaten egg – poured over at the end

Grated Parmesan cheese – sprinkled over the egg

Delicious!

See you in Padstow … or wherever, toot toot!!

By ajay290

And so to Penzance

And on to Penzance 7th May 2015

 

A belated snapshot of the ‘crooked’ boathouse at Fowey;

The old crooked boathouse of Fo(we)y

Silent witness to history

From behind the lens, like a toy

Stands across the river from me”

 

Well if the calamari was the saving grace of Fowey, the steak and ale pie, enjoyed in the company of the Cornish Willi, at the Shipwright & Chain Store merely added to the pleasure of being here in Falmouth.  Later I was gobsmacked to be asked by the barmaid if I was that guy sailing round Britain …. small place Falmouth.  I persuaded her (I think)  that I should get a free pint of Cornish Knocker on my way back.

 

Solo parking can go wrong!

Solo parking can go wrong!

I think a quick note of appreciation of my 35 camp followers would be in order.  My WordPress ‘dashboard’ informs me that there have been 2,522 views, 121 on the best day ever; wow!!  I have to confess to press ganging the 35th follower (good day Peter Willis) and true, it doesn’t quite match Adele’s 22,500,000 or Goldfrapp’s 44,500 Twitter followers

 

Salcombe mud remains!

Salcombe mud remains!

I’ve been watching the barometer (I’ve called him Barry), though I don’t think he has noticed.  Like a seedling reaching for the sun, it’s been rising from the gloomy, stormy depths of around 980 to a happier 1016, bringing promise of a little peace, albeit coming from the wrong direction.  Weather is one of those subjects I can read about repeatedly and learn nothing – but me and the barometer; well we have something going and I am beginning to understand what to expect when he drops and sulks in the depths, or rises to giddy heights.

 

These days we are spoiled, what with easy access to the internet even on board and a Navtex receiver that churns out forecasts from France to Scotland, ensuring that the latest Met Office forecasts are usually at one’s disposal.  But I don’t complain.  This data tells me to expect W/WSW F4 on the diamond morning that is 7th May and ‘Barry’ the barometer has crawled North to 1018 so off we go.

 

It was one of those days; another part of the mainsail stack pack failed and the main sail halyard decided to become intimate with the radar reflector, 35 feet up.  Time to switch to Saga Mode … take it slow, two, three, engage brain, two three, tackle one problem at a time, two, three ….

 

An hour later, Smiley was at the helm as we slipped past Black Rock and tacked through the Wriggler for the Manacles, before squeezing Black Head and slithering towards the nasty Lizard, whose wicked seas have born witness to the death throes of many a fine ship.

 

Black Head

Just after informing Falmouth Coastguard of our movements I heard what I thought might have been a familiar voice …”Hello Brixham Coastguard, this is …[indistinct]” … “Unknown call-sign, this is Falmouth Coastguard … Brixham Coastguard does not exist … over”  Did I detect a “hurrumph!!” or was it my imagination?

 

Dolphins!!

At this point I became certain of two facts relating to dolphins, one well known, the other less so.  1.  Dolphins are playful and curious; 2. dolphins LOVE Goldfrapp.  Two minutes after I had a put the CD on at ‘party’ volume, 3 dolphins came up to the stern, shoulder to shoulder with their beaks literally 18 inches from the speakers.  They stayed just long enough for me to scramble to my feet, grab the camera, fall over and drop the camera ….. Six of their mates soon joined them and for 30 minutes I had their full attention, as I took a million empty photos and yards of blurry video, until they left me for lunch at a nearby trawler.  This small episode was awesome – a pleasure and a privilege.

Sadly the wind soon  guttered and all but died so I put Harry in charge and he gave us a gentle push close in round the nasty Lizard and onwards across a gentle, rolling beam sea, more Labrador than the snappy, jumping terriers of our last leg.  Driving deep into Mounts Bay it was time for tea with Beethoven (Page 335).

Half a mile out from Penzance I checked in with Falmouth Coastguard, who kindly wished me a pleasant evening and prepared for harbour with much cussing as I wrestled with the uncooperative mainsail.  I reminded myself that you should NEVER do such tasks with the engine in gear and autopilot on – you won’t get back to the boat if you fall in (easily done).

Docking with a 500 ton ship yards behind you is a character building experience and we berthed just in front of and below a towering ice breaker and a bare breasted figure-head that adorned a fading beauty of an old gaff schooner.  I fly an Alderney pennant as well as my Guernsey ensign.  Imagine my surprise when I was hailed by 2 ‘locals’, Mr. McDonald from Alderney and Mr Castle from Guernsey!  10 minutes later a large Guernsey registered yacht docked in what is a pretty crowded little ‘wet dock’.

 

I feel I might have to be here a day or two, so I may write again from here, but for now I’ll leave you with Kenneth Graham’s words, spoken by little Ratty;

 

Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

 

 

By ajay290

Onward to Falmouth

Falmouth Leg

Note on the past: The Penlee lifeboat, the Soloman Browne, was lost with all hands whilst endeavouring to rescue crew from a stranded freighter near St. Michel’s Mount on 19th December 1981 in Force 12 winds and 60 foot waves!  Since then the people of Mousehole, who lost several of their men, turn the village’s Christmas lights off at 8 pm for an hour, on the anniversary of this tragedy.

Fowey exit

Fowey exit

A sleepless night in Fo(we)y drove me out, bound for Falmouth next morning though the forecast of F5 -7, on the nose and rough seas was not encouraging.  Age has taught me that when very tired, take things slowly … talk yourself through a task.  Something like:  “kneel, two three, undo clove hitch, two, three, stand, two, three..” this means less cussing and less chance I find, of missing something and so it was that we were in pretty good order as we headed out into a grey morning.

I cannot remember seeing any boats bashing westwards since leaving Weymouth, but some going the other way running comfortably before the strong winds.  Today I had for company a racing fleet surging East, scattered like frothing, colourful counters across a huge chequer board.  Some skippers were taking it very seriously and sailed their boats beautifully.

Frankly I won’t bore you with details of another “crash, two, three; rock, two three; roll two three; splash, two three …” journey.  Tedious for you and for me, as we ploughed our furrow through 3 metre waves with an irritatingly short fetch.  Anyway my chinograph pencil marks inched inexorably across the chart; Mevagissey Bay, Dodman Point (where my nosebag was immersed), Gull Rock, Nare Head, Manacles Buoy (left to port) – all came and went and at last, 5 hours later, St. Anthony‘s Head which sits opposite Pendennis Point and hides the entrance to Falmouth and St. Mawes.   In the rainy greyness it was a little difficult to pinpoint the way in, but Black Rock and the huge towering grey flanks of two RN Fleet Auxiliaries to port served as excellent marks.

 

Huge!!

Huge!!

Closing Falmouth

Closing Falmouth

As I closed the Falmouth Yacht Haven I saw a boat I thought I recognised from salty articles in Yachting Monthly, so I smiled and waved as we puttered past.  I must have looked sufficiently dead beat and useless as the charming mature lady crew member came over to take my lines, with a welcoming smile. Mind you I suspect her smile might have been caused by the sight of my crash helmet under-which lurked my woolly hat, which had slipped rather fetchingly down over my eyes.  The Falmouth Visitors’ Yacht Haven was almost empty because none of the boats that had pre-booked had turned up because of the weather.

He didn't look too well!

He didn’t look too well!

Next day we refuelled before the weather made it difficult and I was lucky enough to meet Martin, a Falmouth resident, moored next door.  Having spent too long trying to repair my shore power system, he took pity on me and cheerfully volunteered to take over and made a much better job of it than I, all for the price of 2 cups of coffee.  I offered him one of my bully beef sarnies, but he apparently hadn’t eaten breakfast or lunch since he was 18, 48 years ago!  I just could not do that!  Talking of bully beef, I was disappointed to note I had purchased the lean variety – very bland.

Falmouth is a great place to be storm bound and the marina is equipped with the usual mod cons such as showers.  It is amazing what one sometimes finds in public showers – like the very posh pair of bright green gentleman’s trousers with a set of Calvin Kleins, which sadly were not my size.  The overnight charge, inclusive of VAT and electricity was £23.64, which seems par for the course, but makes me grateful that A-Jay is a relatively petite lady, though she does have a big bum.

He's been here a while!

He’s been here a while!

My other neighbour has a much larger yacht of similar shape and there isn’t much to spare between the posterior of each yacht.

Two big bummed ladies

Two big bummed ladies

Guest book entry J:

05&06/05/2015                 Falmouth                                                            Cousin Peter, wife Jo and family

It was great to catch up with fellow Willi, Peter, Jo, Michael, Mary, Anna and little Luke and we shared a lovely supper at their home and tonight will dine this evening at the Chain Locker where they serve Cornish ales such as Doom Bar, Honey Heligan and Cornish Knocker.   Of these three, one is the odd one out –   Doom Bar is also the name of the bar I have to cross at Padstow.  I am only slightly less alarmed, to discover that its name is derived from the word Dune, rather than deadly danger.

Lovely Falmouth

Lovely Falmouth

I have this thing about Aussies and Kiwis; I have an unshakeable belief that they are all tough, no nonsense capable types – a bit like the ‘Aussie’ dressed in T shirt and shorts who emerged out of a New Year blizzard at the top of a Lake District pass and helped push us out of the snow, a few years back.  Today a huge slab sided sailing catamaran rocked up.  The Aussie skipper politely refused my offer of help as he was an instructor and, with the nearside bow attached to the pontoon and the boat streamed out at 90°, his crew member put the helm over and reversed against the warp and amazingly the monstrous boat swung obediently alongside despite the stiff breeze.

Yanni stripped bare

Yanni stripped bare

It is important to thoroughly check bilges and engine regularly, a job I dislike but I felt I could put it off no longer.  My check revealed 1.5 gallons of diesel tainted liquid, most of which had oozed from the fuel tank top fittings when filled to the brim – something to keep an eye on.  Having removed the engine box, my check list went something like:

Oil level –check

Coolant level – check

Pipes – check

Pipe joints and connectors – check

Fan belts – check

Water pump visual – check

Engine mounts – check

Leaks – check

Sail drive gasket – check (the boat might sink if this fails)

Sail drive sea cock open and not seized – check

Raw water strainer – check

Oil filter – check (from water)

I believe in a rewards based routine on-board, so a real Cornish pasty was consumed with gusto.

The Met Office says tomorrow will be F4 W/WSW (booo!) and the sea will probably still be lumpy from these gales – but hey!  What’s new?!  So unless things change drastically, we’ll set forth for Penzance, about 35 nautical miles to the West……

 

Toot toot!!

 

 

The wind blew his strawberry plants over

The wind blew his strawberry plants over

 

 

 

Grrrr!!!!!!

Grrrr!!!!!!

 

By ajay290