Pippin Heads South Until the Fruit Cake Runs Out

If perhaps the number 4 had brought me a string of bad luck, number 5 ended it, for it was the fifth and final pre departure disaster; it was the death of Pippin’s elderly bow thruster which had vainly given it’s all, assisting the harbour dory berth a wounded and rescued Pippin against a stiff northeaster.

Now it really was time to go after weeks of angst filled delays.  Confidence battered and temporarily at a low ebb, it was appropriate to call my mate Roger, to assist with Pippin’s exit from her berth on a gusty afternoon.  Job done and Hercule the wind vane took over as Pippin trotted gently downwind towards Jersey, to stretch our legs gently.  It was good to be going and, as the wind rose, I pointed Pippin for home into another northeaster, which teased at 19 knots as she put her shoulder down pushing out an easy 7 knots towards Sark, then home.

The first Fray Bentos (steak and kidney) of the season slipped down a treat before bed in a calm Hevelet Bay, secure in the lee of Castle Cornet and it’s ghosts, as Pippin lay tethered to the Rocna anchor buried deep in the sand.

Next day fishermen’s bobbers appeared too close too often, preventing complacency as Pippin surged down Guernsey’s south coast, ambushing every last scrap of wind to make good speed.  A loan fishing boat fell astern as Guernsey slid deep into the mist at coffee time.

Certain routines need to be adopted off shore, not least the switch to bucket and chuck it mode.  Pippin has a thoughtfully designed cockpit for this, just the right width and depth to safely adopt the correct position, though two particular dangers need to be borne in mind.  The first is a bucket slide at the critical moment, and the second is wave action causing physical collapse into the bucket.  Both will cause much cussing and even more mess, though thus far this routine has been managed without incident, though there is a long way to go.

Then there is the galley routine, which gets harder with age, as you struggle to decide what meal to prepare.  You decide on lunch, but then you have to know what you have got in ship’s stores and, if indeed you have the desired items, where on earth you have put them for boats have lots of lockers.  This is where Mrs Woodman’s fruit cake (revealed in the page of the same name as this blog) comes in, as I discovered on not finding the preferred lunch menu – it makes a reliable anytime filler.

There is often, mid English Channel, a querulous beam sea particularly if the wind isblowing from east or west for at some point it will do battle with tide.  This is why a cross Channel dash dash is a good workup for a longer trip, helping as it does the rediscovery of one’s sea legs.  Quite why it’s sea legs not sea stomach I have no idea, except I suppose, that both are to do with balance.

Though it was grey and cool, a beam sea kept me honest but didn’t stop Pippin surging forth with the occasional !urch in the light winds.  Pippin is well equipped with a selection of electronic gizmos, all if which consume Amps with relish, so I switched eveything off, bar the geriatric little Garmin GPS and the ship’s VHF, lest someone needed to tell me to get out out of their way.  Hercule of course consumes nothing, iron soldier that he is and fortunately seemed to know where England was.

With visibility now less than a mile, crossing the Worlds busiest shipping lanes is interesting at jogging pace amongst giants as fast as trucks.  Ray the Radar likes to show off in such conditions, though sometimes wharhe has to tell me is more terrifying than ignorance and the mark one eyeball – which spotted the pesky trawler half a mile off port bow.  By nightfall I sat transfixed at the myriad blogs on the screen, each a ship, and Marvelled that noone hit anyone.  User the radar guardians alarm against intruders in a vain attempt at rest, to no avail for the alarm clanged incessantly.

A bright dawn broke, Pippin still afloat, England in the form of Lizard Head where it should and Hercule still stolidly at his post, though sadly  the morning was lost to greyness and cold.  Typically a sailor’s wind piped up as the Rocna anchor headed for the sea bed off Penzance after 130 nautical miles.  Time for a fat boys – assuming that I had and could find the ingredients.


Penzance was as I last found it – eccentric and irresistible.  I felt like a native.  Even the pubs WiFi remembered me from last time.


Some of the boats in Penzance Dock are a little bigger than Pippin and like to get up CLOSE!!!


Well, the next sail depends on the weather in Spain, but we will go soon.

Cheeri from a special little place.




By ajay290

3 comments on “Pippin Heads South Until the Fruit Cake Runs Out

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