Cross Channel to Plymouth

I can see there will be altercations aboard Pippin, for my very smart phone decides on a whim not to recognise my thumb or face, reducing me to a noisy tantrum and much fumbling. To be fair to it, I suppose a salt encrusted thumb calloused with rope pulling might look different from the freshly scrubbed digit it was introduced to. As for my face, 24 hours aboard without sleep introduces enough extra bags and lines to utterly confuse its AI – but that’s not the point for it chooses its moment, like when I’m trying to grab a picture of a rapidly fading object and not my stubbly chin. Such highfalutin thoughts occupied the little grey cells as Pippin slipped gently to St. Martin’s Point and 2 hours later, we took leave of Les Hanois and probed out into the Channel. Meanwhile Hercule the imperturbable (the windvane) is above such pettiness and led Pippin on, indifferent, mute, solid – my rock.

St. Martin’s Point astern

Guernsey inshore fishing boat

Seagulls round the (Hanois) lighthouse ….

I was in more forgiving mood as I turned Pippin north to cross the shipping lanes and she charged for England under full sail into the dusk and on through the night, close hauled in 12-15 knots, a gift from the gods of the NW, ‘perfick’!

Saturdays and Sundays are better for crossing this dangerous Channel motorway as traffic is much leas dense; I never had more than 6 vessels on the radar screen, though there was still the occasional ‘biggie’. I knew from past experience that 3 of them were trawlers that are always there. On other occasions I have had 26 ships captured on the screen, which tends to sharpen the mind especially at 0200,

This MSC monster was 1,000 feet long, with containers stacked 9 high on deck and we almost kissed as we passed a half mile off and as it was only travelling at 7 knots, it took forever to clear off.

Unlike my bolshy phone, dolphins appear just when you need them and my friends appeared as evening turned to night. They are wonderful showoffs, beautiful creatures and lift the spirits just when needed for I sense they know, so they stay to put on an extra show. I never tire of watching though I remain as hopeless at catching them on film as ever.

There is no chance of sleep on this 18-20 hour trip, for having braved the shipping lanes you are greeted by the inshore fishing boats, dozens of them but technology does makes things easier, By setting the radar alarm, I was able to relax comfortably below, alerted whenever anything got too close and in this modern World you have to trust your instruments. It is at times like this that I swear by radar rather than AIS, for fisherman are understandably combative, fighting their rivals for dwindling stocks, so one tactic is to switch off their AIS to hide their position. Wishing to sail for as long as possible, Pippin was swept a little further east than I wanted, adding an extra hour or so to the trip but my reward was 12 hours under sail through the night into a glorious dawn.

Shortly after sunrise I dropped the Rocna into the calm waters of Cawsand Bay and slept for a couple of hours, although it felt more like it must feel to be in a coma, for I was wildly disorientated on waking. Nothing that a fat boy’s breakfast couldn’t sort and by lunchtime Pippin was snug in Mayflower Marina and I was below listening to the rain; my family say I travel with a weather front or 2 in my knapsack, which I suspect is partly why I sail solo!

Having settled Pippin, I was disturbed by the raucous sounds of scared raptors, hundreds of seagulls wheeling and crying high above. The cause was soon established for perched on a railing was a jaw droppingly magnificent Harris Hawk, quite undisturbed by all the fuss up in the sky above. Stretching his 4′ wings he flew to his handler – together they patrol the pontoons and it works as there are never any Seagulls paddling hopefully around your boat!

Magnificent raptor

Looking out through Plymouth Sound

Looking up the Tamar – notice that Willis frontal weather

Typical Plymouth architecture

Plymouth is the home of Princess motor yachts, a rare British commercial success. Now, I know my opinion on anything is of no consequence and certainly threatens not the World price of St. Emilion, so I’ll say nothing of the next two pictures. I’ll leave them with you, though perhaps you are reading the wrong blog if they excite you. Mind you that hot tub atop the Princess has appeal after a rough sail.

No comment …..

Perfect for a trip Guernsey to Herm perhaps

The deck of this 58′ Hansa is level with my chin ….. and I would hate to park it, or climb its mast.

That’s it folks – except to say VERY QUIETLY, that the sun is out!

By ajay290

6 comments on “Cross Channel to Plymouth

  1. John enjoying the tales if your voyage. I haven’t seen the sea for 18 months other than the top of the Brecon Beacons. Peter

  2. Greetings John Great to see you on your travels again and enjoying, as ever, your ramblings! Should you find yourself venturing eastwards to the Solent, or even to Poole where my son now resides, do please let me know and we can try and catch up With best wishes Martyn

    On Sun, 6 Jun 2021 at 12:00, The Solo Voyages of Pippin, a Frances 34 Pilothouse wrote:

    > ajay290 posted: ” I can see there will be altercations aboard Pippin, for > my very smart phone decides on a whim not to recognise my thumb or face, > reducing me to a noisy tantrum and much fumbling. To be fair to it, I > suppose a salt encrusted thumb calloused with rope pul” >

  3. Ahoy there! The call of the sea beckons Willis once more! Decidedly jealous naturally but so good to read your news and enjoy your trip with you. May your sea god go with you!!


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