Author Archives: YottieNick

The Final Post

Over the past few years, we’ve had less and less time available to go sailing. Very sadly, we put the boat up for sale with Boatshed Plymouth (https://plymouth.boatshed.com/). Surprisingly quickly, the boat was sold and this is the last entry on this blog.

However, we are going to be downsizing back to a dinghy. The Skipper will be building a plywood lapstrake gaff rigged cutter around 15 to 16 ft long from the designer Francois Vivier (http://www.vivierboats.com/en/), the favoured boat is an Ebihen 16 (http://www.vivierboats.com/en/product/ebihen-16-clinker/)

I started a new blog (https://yottienick.wordpress.com/) that will describe the build.

Many thanks to the many people who have helped with the refurbishment of the Sadler, in particular, Vyv Cox (http://coxeng.co.uk/) who owns a Sadler 34 himself and is very knowledgable.

Fair winds and tides

Nick

Jersey Another Way

We were fed up with waiting for satisfactory sailing conditions that we left Brixham, went home and caught the Condor ferry from Poole to Jersey via Guernsey (in 4½ hours instead of 19 hours over 2 days).

Old Harry Rocks off Poole with an opportune break in the clouds
Our yacht never creates a rooster tail like this
La Corbiere Lighthouse at the SW corner of Jersey

We really enjoyed our time there visiting relatives M & V.

Back home, we set off for a local sail in the hope of better sailing. Once out in the Plymouth Sound, up went the sails, off went the engine and we sailed about half the way towards Fowey (again).

The next day, we had a superb sail to Falmouth, mostly on a beam reach, all the way into Carrick Roads in Falmouth Harbour. The last bit was close-hauled and involved several tacks. This was probably the best day’s sail that we’ve had for over 2 years! We planned to moor in the Visitors Haven Marina, but we were going to be rafted and the boats both in the Haven and the outside on the moorings were pitching and appeared very uncomfortable. We decided to visit the Penryn marina (after 20 years!) where it was very quiet and peaceful.

A couple of days later, we returned to Fowey to hide from the forecast strong easterlies. This was a good sail from Falmouth entrance to a few miles past Dodman Point when the wind died; the hoped for sea breezes materialised only as we arrived at the entrance to Fowey! We found our perfectly sheltered berth on the inside of the top pontoon. We didn’t feel any easterlies. The wind in the mornings and evenings blew up or down the river and the wind generator kept our batteries nicely topped up.

A very popular walk in Fowey is the Hall Walk; we joined plenty of others catching the upper ferry from Fowey to Boddinick along the walk and return via the Polruan ferry. We hoped for a cream tea in the Garden Room but they were closed following a burst pipe. Honour was very satisfied in the Well House!

Who can’t not like Fowey
The view from the Hall Walk over Pont Pill towards Dodman Point
Our Lunch Stop

The following day was wet, so we sheltered in our cockpit enclosure whilst others had to hide inside their boats with hatches closed.

We’ve had our good sail, so the return trip back home was another motor all the way! We needed to prepare for a birthday or two and a family get-together.

Still No Plan

We spent 5 days in Dartmouth waiting for the weather. It was either Force 6 or so in the Channel and when that abated it was foggy in the Channel Is. We got fed up waiting, so we went to Brixham.

Dartmouth to Brixham was a good sail, even if we did have Force 6 in Torbay, but with the 2nd reef in, it was fine. This was the first time we had the 2nd reef in for a reason. After a few hours, we moored alongside the MDL Events pontoon. The alternative was the town pontoon, but the shower block was about ½mile away as opposed to 100m.

We planned to stay 2 nights and leave 1st thing on the 3rd morning when it was forecast to be fair across the Channel and Guernsey no longer had 100+ French boats taking part in a race!

Years ago in our Westerly Centaur we stopped at Brixham and walked to Berry Head, it was a very pleasant walk away from the very busy tourist resort with loadsa children (and adults) crabbing from the sea wall. We didn’t remember all the fortifications that were on Berry Head.

A surprise on the way to Berry Head along the coast path

Brixham has a Rockfish! Friday supper was fish and chips in the restaurant above the fish market and a superb view over the harbour and beyond.

Brixham Breakwater is ½ mile long
Sunset over Brixham

By this time we had got really, really fed up with the weather as the C.I. were covered in fog. We don’t have radar on this boat and although we have AIS which tells us where the bigger boats and some of the smaller boats are, there are enough others who would be a hazard in fog. We decided to go back home and get to Jersey on the Condor ferry to see the Skipper’s brother and family!

We caught the tide from Berry Head all the way to the Mewstone outside Plymouth Sound.

Berry Head – Now you see it
Berry Head – and now you don’t (see it)

The wind was mostly S.E. and we managed to sail most of the way until 2 miles short of Warren Point East of Plymouth Sound. We got back to our mooring and packed up the stuff we needed for the next few weeks and went ashore the following morning whilst the tide was high enough. Friends D & A in Cargreen, fed us coffee and roast lamb! We definitely didn’t deserve that, but many thanks, it was lovely!

Next stop Jersey, via Home and Poole. We get back later in time for a sail along the Devon & Cornwall coast, return for a 1st birthday party, a family gathering, a tour around England seeing friends and a 80th birthday party. Hopefully, we get some more sailing later in July.

Plan A? No A Plan.

We hoped that after a couple of nights at Dartmouth Darthaven marina we would be ready to set off towards Guernsey. We were, but the weather wasn’t. The forecast was Force 6 in the Channel, fog patches both in the channel and around the Channel Is. We do not have radar on this boat and we have a couple of weeks in which to make the crossing, we have decided to wait until the weather improves.

We’ve been coming to Dartmouth for 20 years or so and we have never been on the Paignton to Dartmouth railway. Sun 26 May 19 was the day we did. Diesel powered to Paignton; a 4 mile walk to Churston and a steam engine back.

The diesel took us to Paignton and the steam engine brought us back

The steam engine appeared to be American.

The steam engine had USA on the coal and water wagon.

We’ll be staying in Dartmouth until the weather improves sufficiently for us to have a pleasant, if long, trip to St Peter Port in Guernsey.

We’re off towards Dartmouth via R. Yealm

There have been lots of family stuff, visits etc and by Mon 20 May, we’re now ready to set off for a month or so in the Channel Is and France. Loading day was Mon; Tue saw us back on the boat to set off on Wed.

Mon 20 May – Wed 22 May

Whenever we go away, we always seem to take loadsa stuff. The Skipper made two journeys to load up with clothes, walking gear and stuff. On Tue afternoon, we took mostly food and the few things that we had forgotten the previous day and then we packed it away in places that we would forget; the Skipper would the Boss doesn’t! On Wed morning, the tide was ebbing and it took us down river at a reasonable speed to Mayflower marina to fill up with some fuel, but mostly water which was empty. After a mug of tea we set out into Plymouth Sound, where we managed to sail for about 2 hours – a first this season. We finished the day on a visitor’s mooring in the R. Yealm.

Thu 23 May

After a few exchanges of texts with J & E, they came across from Cawsand and joined us for an hour or so before they went back home. It was great seeing them after quite some time.

We did a bit of tidying and cleaning, and went for a walk from the ferry steps on the Wembury side to Clitters Wood. The Yealm is always a pleasant spot.

R. Yealm looking South from Clitters Wood

Cuchulainn on a visitors mooring inthe R. Yealm

Fri 24 May

Time and tide wait for no sailors, we were therefore up in good time to catch the tide around Start Point towards Dartmouth with a forecast of W or NW 3-4 occasionally 5. My usual rant: what did we get 1 – 2 – 3 W or SW, later it became all over the place. We mostly motor-sailed with an hour or so of engine-less sailing.

We pre-booked a berth at Darthaven marina in a good place to escape on Sun when we head off towards Guernsey.

Apologies for the Lack of Posts

I’m about to put that right!

We had Cuchulainn lifted out at Weir Quay again as they are very convenient for us, no more than 20 mins away.

The view from Weir Quay in Nov 18.

The winter work of varnishing the interior was completed, thanks to the very mild and dry Feb. The foredeck was ground back to fair glass or filler and filled and faired with epoxy filler and finally painted with serveral coats of 2-pack polyeurethane white paint.We managed to polish the hull this year as well! Plus the usual cleaning and antifouling.

However, an unplanned job was to rework the skeg and hopefully, third time lucky, it is now fixed. Many thanks to Saul and Max (?) at Weir Quay for removing duff insides and refilling, fairing and painting.

The mess of a skeg in need of repair.

We were launched on 8 Apr 19 ready to sail except for a couple of jobs up the mast. The Skipper installed a new VHF aerial and windex, destroyed by the rooks, crows, jackdaws and Mr T Cobley. He also re-threaded the lazyjacks and the flag halyards.

Skipper up mast fixing flag halyards

On Fri 19 Apr, we set off towards our favourite port – Fowey for a pleasant shake-down sail. Well, we motored all the way from the breakwater to Fowey. We had motored down from our sailing club to give the engine a good run after 6 months silence. We did manage to sail from Drakes Is to Penlee Point.

The Boss and Skipper having lunch in Fowey

Fowey Harbour from the Fort

And then we motored all the way back without any sails ‘cos there was no wind! The joys of a yottie.

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

TRIP 2

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.