Our September Sail

The Boss and the Skipper have been planning this sailing trip in between everything else for some time. On Thu 6 Sep, we collected various bits of food from the fridge and plenty of other stuff and headed to the boat at Cargreen to load up and set off down river with the tide towards Newton Ferrers for the night. We hoped for a sail but with just the genoa and not much wind, there was not much hope for that.

As is usual, we have the debate whether to go West or East, on Fri 7 Sep, we chose East towards Salcombe. In the prevaling westerlies, we managed a fair sail in rolling seas, however, the tide was only with us for the final couple of hours while we went past Bolt Tail and Bolt Head. We moored near the town, however, every motorboat going up or down the river came very close to us and our boat was always moving around. It only stopped at 11:00 at night when the water taxi stopped work until 08:00 the next morning. Salcombe is a much better place to stop than it was several years ago; the prices are reasonable, facilities are fine, it lacks an extensive shop in town, but it has a very good butcher and plenty of places to eat. It still isn’t a good sheltered harbour, we always had swell coming up the channel, especially on the ebb tide.

Our walk on Sat, found us going towards Bolt Head (with many others!). The day was fine if a little cold and windy, the temperature was a foretaste of what was to come!

Walk along the Cliffs above Stairhole Bay near Salcombe

On Sun 9 Sep, we set off bright and early (for us) towards Dartmouth (09:20), sailing downwind with both sails, however, not for long as the wind dropped again and the cast iron genoa had to help … Eventually, the wind sorted us out and we had a good sail under genoa alone until the entrance to the River Dart where we moored on inside of the Lower pontoon where we were very close to the quay.

Despite the traffic, there was little wash except the water taxi (again) cutting through the gap between the pontoon and the nearest fore-and-aft mooring buoy. One tender actually missed that buoy but hit us instead, they did say “sorry”! Unlike Salcombe, Dartmouth had no swell coming up or down the river, although the tide was running very fast mid-tide.

There was much to look at:

Sail Training Ship Royalist was in the harbour overnight

The Steam Paddle Passanger Ferry Kingswear Castle

The view of Kingswear from our Pontoon

On Mon, after a litte debate, we walked along the coast towards the castle (around the corner in the image above). Followed by an excellent, if expensive, cream tea in town. Later, we had an excellent meal in the Rockfish restaurant on the front. The Skipper had haddock & chips with curried mushy peas – they are very much better than it sounds! The Boss had hake & chips.

We decided to return a day or so early and missed out a visit to Brixham/Teignmouth; now we we going to have the tide with us but the prevaling wind against us. On Wed, we departed towards the River Yealm, as it turned out, too early! The forecast was for Northerly winds which, until we got to Start Point, we didn’t get, afterwards we were on a beam reach (fastest point of sailing) together with an extra high spring tidal current we were regularily managing 8 knots over the ground (6 knots through the water). The good stuff couldn’t last so it started to drizzle in very little wind, so we put the engine on again! The Boss was happy as she found her store of Mars bars!

We arrived early at the Yealm, despite, slowing down to a crawl. The Boss made the Skipper take the helm into the river so she could blame him when we ran aground! We didn’t, so we picked up one of the visitor’s moorings.

One of our favourite walks in the Yealm is the Duke’s Drive:

Looking West on the Duke’s Drive towards the Mewstone and Rame Head

That black cloud didn’t drop anything on us, but the wind was very cold as it had been over the previous 2 nights.

On Fri, we were waiting to set off back home to Cargreen when we were hailed by Solo – a very old friend ‘J’. We hope to meet up with his wife during the Devon Open Studios week.

We are very bad at waiting so we set off early (again) instead of waiting for the tide and motor-sailed past the Mewstone (above) in quite rough water (what a difference a day makes!) Instead of running aground on our way into the R. Yealm, we ran aground twice in our home water, managing to do some underwater landscaping judging by the quantity of mud that the propeller threw up while trying to drag ourselves out again!

It was a great week or so away sailing and walking. We had plenty of time to talk about our future travel plans for next and subsequent years.

We woke up on Sat at Cargreen almost unable to see the boats next to us. Eventually, the mist started to clear …

Mist rising at Cargreen looking South towards Plymouth

Mist almost gone from Cargreen; our boat is behind the mooring barge




Two Trips for the Price of One

Our other reader will be aware that we have acquired a grandson, courtesy of our daughter S. While the Boss was doing grandmother duties in Somerset, the Skipper took the opportunity to get some sailing in. Well, I tried on Fri 6 Jul when the Skipper departed CYC on the tide! Far too much of this trip was under engine, usually with one or both sails up and was not what the Skipper needed!

Day one, Fri 6 Jul: from Cargreen to R. Yealm was an excellent sail from Drake’s Is, out about 8 miles South and back into the Yealm for the night.

Late afternoon in the River Yealm with Newton Ferrers in the Background

Day 2: As I was solo, I got up lazily, left at reasonable time towards Fowey, there wasn’t much wind but lots of sun as with everywhere else so it was a bit of a drift there but I managed to sail 3/4 of the way. No sooner had I arrived, D arrived in his dinghy to say hello, so he and A were invited for afternoon tea a little later so I could at least get the boat “put to bed” (sails covered, lines tidied, cockpit ready for guests). We agreed to meet later for supper at Haveners on the town quay. They have two menus: outside and inside; we sat outside with a slightly limited choice menu. Food was generally good, although my moules were not as good as I had hoped, too much liquid, not enough cream. The others were happy with their choices.

I left early expecting a reasonable but slow sail back home, however, there was so little wind that I motored slowly back with the mainsail doing little more than providing the shade! There should have been sea breezes but they didn’t materialise; the clouds beyond Plymouth seemed to indicate that they were around somewhere.

Rame Head from the South West


Thu 19 Jul The Boss, daughter and grandson were settled and we were ordered to go off sailing by the daughter! The forecasts were the usual guesses by the Met Office and were mostly or partly wrong which, in light winds, means quite a bit! We decided to go West, to Fowey and then on to Helford & Falmouth while other friends went East.

We went to the boat the day before departing to sort ourselves and the boat out for the week away. We caught the tide down-river still trying to decide which way to go, in the end it was to Fowey for a couple of days and then further east. Day one was an uneventful sail most of the way, even getting up to 5.5knots boatspeed! In these hot conditions, the wind is up and down and it died for the last hour, so we motored in and, for a change, moored on one of the upper pontoons.

As we have done most of the walks around Fowey, we try to do a variation of a theme. The following day we tried to be in the shade as much as possible. We recommend the Garden House for their cream tea, especially if you can get a table in the garden!

Fowey looking across to Polruhan

Sat 21 Jul We planned to sail to Falmouth but the lack of wind and from a direction not forecast gave us another opportunity to motor. Just as well as we refuelled in Fowey at their 24hour facility. It’s just like the 24 hour pumps at supermarkets and worked very well. We stopped off at the town pontoon to top up the water tank as well.

We picked up one of the Falmouth Harbour moorings and later discovered that prices had gone up again! We won’t be back to the harbour very soon!

Mooring in Falmouth


Cruise Ship in for just the night?!

On Sun, we caught the ferry to Flushing and walked back to the yacht haven, something we hadn’t done before and saw plenty of live-aboards in the creeks, the number rather suprised us.

A distorted panorama looking NE across the Pool in Falmouth

We ate at the Harbour View looking out over the harbour. We will definitely be back! The food was excellent: proper moules and sardines.

Mon 23 Jul This was the day for an excellent sail –  a rarity in complex high pressure systems. It certainly made up for all the motoring. We finished sailing close-hauled going up the Helford river towards the moorings and motored the final mile or so, picking up a mooring at the eastern end. Some of the green visitors moorings have a white label on them which the skipper initially thought that they were booked – they actually show the charges!

The new moorings officer owns a Sadler 29 next to our mooring and is most helpful. He went out to late-comers to point where to moor and checked the anchorage which is restricted by the eelgrass.

The Boss planned our walk on the Durgan side of the river to include the Trebah Garden.

Trebah Gardens looking up the hill

Helford is a very good place to stay with the wind in the North, perhaps in the South, definitely not from the East, from the West it is funnelled down the valley and can get quite interesting! The moorings are very substantial!

Sunset on our last night in Helford

Wed 23 Jul We wanted to be back home by Thu night, so we set off in reasonable time with the hope for a reasonable wind. No chance! It was a motor all the way. We raised the main just to stabilise the boat against any wash, but it gave us very little thrust. The genoa went up for an hour or so as the 5-8 knot wind went around to the SE and that helped us a bit. The best wind of the day was going up the Hammoaze in Plymouth where we reached 19 knots but that died away soon after. Where did that come from, eh, Met Office?

We spent the evening and part of the morning sorting clothes out into washing / need on the trip to the Lakes / keep on the boat for next time. The Skipper did 2 trips with stuff and a final one with the Boss.

There was too much motoring for the Skipper and there has been for everyone else. Friends motored most of the way to the Scillies and back and had a super time. I’m not jealous or anything.







A Lazy Sail (or motor)

As retirees, we seem to be too busy to do much, however, in between everything else, we decided to go for a lazy sail, planning to anchor in Whitsand Bay under Rame Head. The forecast was a drifting wind from the East with sea breezes on top.

The Boss cooked one of her signature dishes – Quiche for our supper the day before and with mininal stuff, we got to the boat on Sat morning at half neap flood tide knowing we would have to motor against the current to get to the Sound. The Skipper raised the main on the mooring – sea breezes had come early, or rather we were late! We motor-sailed down the Tamar with the main helping most of the time. We unfurled the genoa and turned the motor off just by Drakes’s Island and sailed off towards the Eastern Entrance for a lazy sail to end up in Whitsand Bay.

By the time we were heading West towards our anchorage, the wind had veered from South and we were sailing on a fine reach making a good speed, to the South West where we were close-hauled, hard on the wind and not able to get around Penlee Point and Rame Head without several tacks. Technical Stuff Alert! The corolis effect causes sea breezes to veer (and plenty of other things as well!).  Consequently, our mainly southerly wind became SW. P.S. Corolis is the effect created by the earth spinning. Now, you really wanted to know that!

The upshot was we were not going to anchor in Whitsand which is open to the SW but in Cawsand Bay on the other side of the peninsular. We planned to meet G & B, but they were delayed helping out some other friends P & M who had engine problems and later problems with their genoa furling gear. We joined the 50 or so other boats in Cawsand for a late lunch, then tea and then a rowdy drinks do on our boat with G & B and P & M. There is a photo! But not here!

The evening ended with this:

The Sunset over Kingsand and Cawsand

As this was planned as a lazy weekend sail, we got up late, read the Saturday newspaper, had coffee, read some more. The Skipper rowed across to P & M’s boat becasue they were trying to sort out the furling gear; what they couldn’t see from the deck, I could see from our boat through binoculars was that the genoa halyard was twisting around the forestay as there was no guide to offset the feed of the halyard. That was the only exercise for the day!

After a lazy lunch, we set off after the other two boats had left; we tried the genoa but we were making more speed with the tide than with the wind! So we motored back to our mooring. We had a great time, unusually for us, doing very little in lovely weather with great friends. We hope to be away for a few more days later this week…..


A Favourite Port Re-visited

The Boss has proved that she is considerably better, on Fri 8 Jun, we loaded up for a short trip to Fowey. Our timing was such that we were sailing against the tide most of the time! It was neaps, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

The wind generator has paid off because the batteries were fully charged when we got on board, unlike last year when the batteries, which were on their last legs, would be almost flat! We sailed downwind most of the way to Fowey from Plymouth Sound until the wind started to drop in the late afternoon about an hour before we arrived. The Fowey mooring buoys normally have a large ring on the top to thread the mooring line through; some now have a small shackle on the top that is far too small for a standard mooring threader. In the end, the Skipper had to lie on the deck and thread a thin line through. We couldn’t do that on our last boat with 1.5m freeboard at the bow! The mooring officer apologised but it appears that the thicker gauge of chain doesn’t work with the old mooring hoops, so customers of Fowey will have to put up with this until the Fowey Harbour Authority rethinks their “money saving” policy.

Moored in Pont Pill

The debate for the evening meal lasted all of 30 seconds; we went to The Ship and, as usual, the food was excellent.

Fowey from the Town Quay; we are moored in the middle of the pic

R & M weren’t in Fowey this time, so we went for a walk instead of sailing back to Newton Ferrers. We discovered later that it wasn’t busy as we thought and T & M from Avocet were in Cellar Bay playing with their new toy – a paddleboard!

View from above Fowey, looking East

On Sunday, we were up and away by 9 to sail back home. We were close-hauled all the way and only had to tack twice to get around Rame Head and we sailed up the river as far as the Ferries when the wind started to die again. Saltash were obviously having fun with their town regatta and we had to manouvre through the dinghies, rowing boats and other craft.


A Very Short Update

For the other reader of our blog:

The Boss is now much better, however, torn muscle(s) take a long time to heal! We were on the boat on Sun 3 Jun to remove stuff that we are beginning to need. The Skipper will be off for sail very soon, either solo or with friend(s).


Dartmouth and Back

The Boss and the Skipper made several journeys from home to the Club and the boat loading stuff. Finally, we went on board, more or less ready on Wed 9 May and set off at 10:30 the following morning to catch the tide down the river towards Dartmouth; the timing was such that we also had favourable tides around Bolt Tail, Bolt Head and Start Point. The sea was quite an unpleasant “Moderate” which lessened as we got further East. It was a 7 hour trip and went into a berth at Darthaven Marina. The plan was to wait for favourable winds to St Peter Port in Guernsey.The crossing on Friday was not very pleasant, Saturday was Southerly and therefore head winds and Sunday became “The Plan”.

Dartmouth was holding its annual music festival, with music for every taste from classic to jazz to heavy metal rock! We could hear the main band from across the water very well! Our first night’s supper was at the Ship Inn in Kingswear (300m walk from the marina) for their weekly steak night. Excellent food!

We used both the Upper ferry and Lower ferry to do some last minute shopping before we set off, and had our annual dose of a visit to Simon Drew. He, of the cards, and those who have visited us: of the place mats! The music in his shop was very nostalgic: The Bonzo Dog DoDa Band!  the Skipper last saw at Southampton as a student! Simon has been mistaken for the singer, Viv Stanshall!

We got up very early (for us) on Sun and departed in virtually no wind, clearing the harbour entrance with the mainsail up by 05:45, towards St Peter Port. The Boss had just topped up the Skipper’s mug of tea in the cockpit when she slipped off the 1st or 2nd step and fell onto her back onto the saloon floor – quite some distance! This was VERY painful! We went through several scenarios, but ended up with the Boss in the day bunk dosed with painkillers. The Skipper took the boat back to Plymouth and up river to Cargreen during which our brand new autopilot really earned its keep.  We had “fun” manoeuvering the Boss around the backstay, down the boarding ladder and into the dinghy. The rest was relatively easy with two walking poles to help her along the Club causeway to the car. The worse part was going to A&E with the waiting, which neither of us do very well!

We’ll be back when everything is better.

PS Apologies for a lack of photos in this blog, but there are none!

On the Water

The boat is now on her mooring off Cargreen awaiting crew, food and weather for us to go off sailing!

On Sun 6 May, we took the boat down the river for a check sail to make sure everything was working and the lines were all correctly rigged. The sun was shining, the wind was gentle and the sea almost smooth!

When the skipper correctly set the autopilot, it worked very well! It held a course very easily with very little effort when compared with our old one. It motored towards a waypoint as well! The Boss was very pleased with the new fridge; it cooled down quickly and held it cool temperature very well.

We had lunch hove-to near the Mewstone South of the Breakwater and motored across to Cawsand to meet up with D & A, who spent the night there, despite a nasty bit of land breeze at silly o’clock that morning.

The Skipper went down to the boat on Mon to play with the autopilot again and he worked out to sort the wind vector side which worked well. The hot and cold taps in the galley are now correctly marked! The toerails and coachroof handrails are now rubbed down and have at least one coat of woodskin and they look much much better!

The next challenge is to be in Dartmouth for the right wind to get across the channel to Guernsey – almost anything except winds between South and East. Next Fri, appears to be the only “bad”day!

Pre-Launch Work

To save my other reader getting bored with minutae, I have decided to skip all the detail and just give the highlights.

Master Blaster was on-site in Feb, so I asked him, through Andy of Weir Quay Boatyard, to grit blast the keel, because the antifoul kept falling off! The next time I came to the boat, it was painted in grey epoxy.

Gritblasted Keel with Anti-rust Epoxy

I’ve filled and faired most of the holes in the keel, sanded off the rust stains that appeared, and put on 3 coats of epoxy paint, followed by a coat of Primacon and now two coats of antifoul are on. The standing water under the boat is a real mess and does not help working conditions!

The holes that I made in the glass-fibre part of the forward bulkhead in the saloon have been filled and faired and are nearing ready to have blanking plugs, but there’s still work to do, not least matching gelcoat colours!

Port Saloon Bulkhead

Stbd Saloon Bulkhead

As we are under the trees at Weir Quay, we kept betting covered with leaves; the worst were eculyptus which stained the deck. Pressure washing the deck helped, but a good hand scrub with a stiff brush and detergent has done the job of a clean deck. The toe rails have been washed and rubbed down and we’ve started brushing on Woodskin which appears to work well, but it does need 3 coats – another work-in-progress job!

The boat is now fully rigged, both sails up, canopy and cockpit enclosure on. The latter is to stop serious downpours the try to fill the engine bilge via the aft cockpit locker lid. The problem is we are tilted down by the stern that causes the rain water to flow back rather than forward over the locker lid (I think)!

I’ve de-winterised the engine, which started very easily and now runs very well; many thanks to Spencer of Weir Quay. I’ve also replaced both anodes, one on the prop shaft and the other is a peardrop shape for the engine and skeg; any ideas what I can do with the 3/4 used anodes?

The fresh water tank is almost full.

The Boss has cleaned the whole of the inside of the boat, except for my mess on the chart table! Many thanks!

We’ve got all our stuff to load in the next few days, retreive the gas bottles that the yard removed for some obscure health & safety reason.

The launch date is Thu 19 Apr…..

Winter Work (cont)

A progress report of sorts;

The fridge is all but complete, however, I broke the sensor tube for the thermostat. I placed it in a convenient place above the cool box, but the sensor wasn’t long enough, so I put it nearer the cool box, but the tube had to be moved from exiting the unit out the back to out the base and the very thin tube broke. So I ordered a new unit, just before Christmas but it’s now arrived at Mt Batten Boathouse. but I’ve got to get there to pick that up and some other stuff.

Tim of Tim Beck Engineering fitted the compressor onto my backet in the cockpit locker and carefully unwound the condenser tubing (it’s aluminium, much to my suprise) very carefully and threaded it through the back wall of the cool box, re-wound it up and fixed it to the bulkhead out of the way. He then connected it up, both tubes and the electrics, put a jumper on the missing thermostat pins and it worked. The plate got down to -16°C and was drawing 2½amps. This is much better than the old one, and we could hardly hear the compressor running. – V quiet. When I’ve fitted the thermostat, the last job is to fix the condenser plate to the side of the cool box, seal up the hole that carries the tube, probably with plasticine (don’t ask, it’s what Tim uses to seal the holes!)

The tap in the galley is very slightly loose so I’ve disconnected and removed everything: tap, filtered water pump and old and unused seawater pump, removed the perspex splash guard, not to mention the shelves and cleaned up the varnished wood. Today, I put the 1st coat of varnish onto the sink surround to be followed by at least 6 more, inc a few rubbed down. The I’ve got to put everything back, in the right place. One of the shelves was very difficult to remove!

I’ve never been happy with connecting a swivel directly onto the Bruce anchor, so I’ve copied what Vyv Cox has done and connected the anchor to the swivel via 3 links of chain. Yhis will prevent the swivel being pulled at right angles when the tide changes and drags the anchor around. (His website is full of excellent advice, especially on Sadlers.)

Remaining jobs are lots of little ones, some I’ve already done, for example, I’ve revarnished the outboard bracket, however, I’ve need to find a way/place to refit it with the wind generator and the stays that are now in the way!

Launch day is only 45 days away; delete all the wet days, a very rare holiday abroard and there’s not much time left!

Continuing Winter Work

Saul, from Weir Quay Boatyard looked at the skeg and rudder and measured the water content as very high; not unexpected! However, he has ground back the offending bulge and it is now being left open to allow any fluid to drain. It will be repaired in the spring before launch.

The fridge has progressed from a mucky hole to a clean and pretty fair cold box with 5 coats of epoxy undercoat and, as I write, 1 coat of topcoat, to be followed by 2 more. Tim, if you read this, do you want to try your hand at the installation of the fridge units?

The autopilot is fully installed and, good news, Raymarine have said that they will replace the lid of the EV-1 sensor. At some stage, I will start everything up, update the software in the various units and maybe do the dockside initialisation of the autopilot.

The Sadler wiring is a true rats nest! During manufacture, the wiring is preinstalled and stuck to the outer shell of the coachroof, it is now hidden inside the sandwich. Unfortunately, Sadler used only 1 sq mm twin core domestic wiring, which is fine for some lighting but useless for power. In various places, I have found cable ends and have had “fun” finding where the other end is! I’ve managed to connect the NMEA wires for the AIS and GPS data from the VHF radio to the Chartplotter using a multi-core cable. The cockpit instument panel loadspeaker cables are connected from the CD-radio at the Chart table using another multi-core cable. Power for the Chartplotter comes from the Chart table to the Chartplotter via two domestic cables to ensure that there is sufficient conductivity. This has removed several cables from crossing the aft cabin deckhead; it will look much neater when I put the remaining cables into a white plastic duct. They are for the Speed log, Depth gauge and Wind vector. I am still trying to find a cable to get a power feed from the switch panel to the chart table for the 12 volt socket.

I have installed an improved extractor fan and improved lighting into the heads. There is a switch for each, somehow I need to make it obvious which does which! The installation involved threading cables from one small hole to another and hoping they were long enough!

There has been lots of Northerly winds, consequently most of the boats at Weir Quay have a covering of leaves from the very high hedge belonging to next door. I think that we’ll do some gardening next time we go to the boat.