Category Archives: 2017

Ashore at Weir Quay

View from Cuchulainn, looking S (ish) down the R. Tamar

We were suposed to be lifted out during Hurricane Brian on Mon 16, but it was a bit too windy! The Weir Quay guys collected the boat for us and lifted us out on Tue 17 Nov.

The Skipper went to the boat on Wed and collected the sails and folded them at Cargreen Yacht Club, just prior to a meeting. The next day, I took the sails for a wash & service to Westaway who supplied them.

The Boss & Skipper went to the boat on Fri and filled the car up with food (we now have too much at home!), books, charts and other paper, towels and bedding and a load of other stuff.

On Mon 23, the Skipper completed removing the halyards and replacing them with messengers, all the lines were green in places because it has been so wet the summer, I’ve never know it as bad. Fresh water tank is empty – I use a impellor pump, connected to a “spur” with stop valve and fitting in the cold water feed to the hot water tank. That way I remove all water from the both tanks, normally the hot water feeds from the top of the tank.

The main hatch is now covered with a tarpaulin because we have removed the spray hood (it’s got gull poo on it!). We used pipe insulation on the canopy steel work to protect the tarpaulin. Works very well, as does bungees on every line holding the tarp down.

Tarpaulin over Main Hatch

Hopefully this Tarp will keep us dry!

We’ve discovered that the 20+year old dehumidifier has stopped working. The speed impellor is broken, almost certainly because the Skipper forgot to remove it before lift-out. One of the arms of the mast head Windex has been broken by rooks on the mooring – that’s a mast climb after launch next year.

The skeg repair last year appears not to have fully cured the problem, there is a small bulge nearby and I await the firm who did the original work to get back to me.

Weir Quay will service and winterise the engine, replace the stern gland and they may be doing the skeg repair as well.

I hope the weater is drier so that the Skipper can get on with installing mounting plates for the autopilot.


Final Few Trips of 2017

I think that everyone will agree that this has been a %$£* year for sailing, camping and any other outdoor activity. But we’ve managed several shorter trips this year but I haven’t posted the recent ones.

Here they are:

Mon 21 Aug

We braved the August holidays and went down to the boat to set off off sailing the following day because, for a change, the weather seemed half-decent, even fine!

Evening View from our Boat at Cargreen looking up-river towards Weir Quay

Tue 22 Aug

We had a lovely sail to Fowey, albeit upwind and made very good time, and spent a couple of days there, moored up-river at the Gridiron.

Wed 23 Aug

We tried out the Cafe at Mixtow, which proved to be very good, but unfortunately was not going to be open that evening for supper. From Mixtow, we walked around the area and having some difficulty finding the route of some of the tracks that we were trying to follow! But we managed to get back to the dinghy and the boat, if a bit muddy.

The showers at the Gallants Sailing Club ( were excellent and still only £1. Fowey was its usual August chaos:

View from Gallants SC with only some of the chaos when the racing fleet is out

Our meal at The Lugger  was also good.

Thu 24 Aug

Our trip back home was downwind, so we used the motor on a fast tickover to keep a reasonable boatspeed during the longish lulls. However, the Boss heard an odd knocking which the Skipper investigated and found that the new alternator had shredded its new belt. So we had to sail all the way back up river to our mooring. It was a bit slow going down-wind but once in the Sound we made good speed up the River Tamar. Too much so that when we came to pick up the mooring under sail alone, the tide swept us past the mooring and there was insufficient wind to stem the spring tide. The Boss was picking up the mooring for the 1st time for a long while and the Skipper put the engine on for about a minute to get back to the mooring without hitting any other boats.

This was a very pleasant short (for us) trip to probably our favourite port. It also proved that the fridge had definitely failed.


The Skipper talked to Gavin at Mount Batten Boathouse ( who suggested that the alignment of the 3 pulleys may be the problem. After measurements with straight edges and adjustment with various thicknesses of washer, it was sorted – see later for proof.

The Skipper bought a new fridge from Gavin and set about improving the cold box in the galley. The inboard wall was drilled in the hollow-sounding parts and more foam was injected into it, it seemed most of it came back out again! But, it sounded solid. The base was filled out with a cut-to-shape piece of Celotex foam, covered with a sheet of ply sealed with epoxy and sealed in with more epoxy. During the winter, we’ll finish this with more filling and fairing and a final covering with polyeurethane paint to waterproof the finish.

Tue 3 & Wed 4 Oct

This was our final short trip to Fowey (again). We sailed upwind there and expected to go dead downwind back (again).

Sailing “Full and Bye” towards Gribben Head

Dolphins, this year were like the old London bus joke, “you wait all year for nothing and then 3 sightings appear within an hour or so!”

The Boss got very excited, but she always does with dolphins! The Common Dolphins came twice and swam in the underwater pressure wave in front of the boat. There were also plenty of gannets diving into the water for food and about 300m off the boat as we got closer to Fowey, we could see a pod of dolphins fishing with the gannets.

The way back was a repeat of our last trip, as expected – downwind with the engine helping with the fairly lumpy seas which occasionally got the boat surfing for short period. The Skipper briefly saw 8.5 knots on the speed. We got back home before the weather broke.

The ice block to keep our cool bag was still frozen after 2 days with the improved in the fridge. Now that’s a bonus! The alternator belt was still fine after several hours of running.

That’s our final trip done, we will be lifted out at Weir Quay ( next week with plenty of jobs to do. We will save loads of driving time going to the boat there instead of the Yacht Haven Quay or Boating World.

This winter, we’re fitting a wind-generator, a very superior autopilot (too expensive really, but the Skipper hopes to prove it’s worth it next year) and the fridge will be finished off. Plus, there are all the usual maintenance and servicing.

Back from Dartmouth

Fri 24 to Sun 25 Jun

We treated ourselves to a 3rd night as Dartmouth was getting very busy and we did not think that we would get a convenient berth if we moved on Sunday.

So we enjoyed the facilities, shopped in Dartmouth, including the statutory visit to Simon Drew’s shop.

On another day, we walked to the Froward Point NCI lookout along the coast path, however, with a combination of a closed road from a rockfall and a lady misdirecting us, we walked further and climbed a bit more than necessary! But we did have our cream tea!

Sun 25 Jun Darthaven to Dittisham

Our last visit to Dittisham was about 4 years ago, so we motored against the tide to moor alongside a tatty yacht that had been left, paying visitor’s rates. The harbour master didn’t understand it either! We caught the ferry across to Greenaway quay, but the driver assumed that we were going to the pub and had to take us across to the other side! The house and gardens have had a lot of work done to it and is much improved, however, the Trust still have serious issues with the mature trees that have outgrown themselves.

By this time, we confirmed that the fridge was not working. The compressor was running continuously (5-6 amps for 24 hours = flat battery!).

Mon 26 Jun Dittisham to The Yealm

This was the penultimate fine day, as from Thursday, the forecast West wind would make getting back very unpleasant. We gave Torbay a miss this time and set off towards Salcombe. There was plenty of wind at Dittisham but none out to sea, so our forecast fine reach disappeared into another motor, at least it was with the tide. At Prawle, we decided that we would continue to the Yealm so that it was a shorter motor back to Cargreen.

Tue 27 Jun

We’ve visited the river many times but we have never done the walk, north up the river through the woods. It was relatively short, and beginning to get much cooler, nevertheless, an enjoyable walk.

Shortaflete Creek, Up the River Yealm near the Kitley Estate

We returned to the Newton Ferriers village along another path to do the shopping and a well earned cup of tea with recent copies of Country Life, followed by a shower on our return back to the jetty. The tide had gone out much further than the Skipper thought, so he had to extricate the dinghy from the mud. (Serves him right – The Boss)

Wed 28 Jun Back Home

The rain started at about 20:00, which we had anticipated that by taking down the cockpit enclosure. We decided to take the fridge to Gavin (along with the rest of the boat) at the Yacht Haven. The rain (forecast light but quickly became moderate) with little wind made the trip a bit slow, mostly it was because we were against the tide. Gavin recharged the gas in the fridge, which we all expect to leak out again. We made our way back up to our mooring, getting really wet in the process. We were back home by 17:00 for a proper cup of tea and a pub meal at the Mary Tavy Inn.

The 2nd trip

By Sun 18 Jun, the faulty alternator was replaced by a new beast from Gavin at Mount Batten Boathouse. In addition, the water pump was leaking quite badly so I removed it (eventually) and Merv at Mt Batten replaced the seals; the old ones were quite badly corroded. Access to a nut & bolt was very tight such that the Skipper could just get a flat hand to it! (See further on for another fault!)

Earlier this month, we discover considerable condensation under our mattress, so we’ve installed some matting to allow air circulation.

Anti-Condensation Matting

We installed a “spider” type birdscarer to keep gulls and other birds off the canvas work and prevent lovely white blobs; well it works very well but the bracket was an ill-fitting plank of scrap oak. Now it a light thin piece of glass covered ply.

The New Improved Bird Scarer

Mon 19 Jun

This time we were loaded for a 2 week trip instead of 2 months, so much less stuff with perhaps one clothes wash planned. With neaps tide, we had to wait until after lunch to motor down the river to the Yacht Haven to refuel and fill up with water, besides the batteries needed a good charge following very little from the faulty alternator. The new one does seems to be working well. The weather was seriously HOT and with Easterly winds, we anchored in Cellar Bay, a peaceful retreat just outside the River Yealm south of Plymouth Sound.

Tue 21 & Wed 22 Jun

The light winds from the East precluded a fast sail, so we dawdled for three hours until the wind went beserk and after reefing the main we motored through rough seas to Salcombe! We discovered that the Volvo stern gland that should be dry underway is in fact leaking quite badly. Not sure how to repair this one while still in the water.

The next day, after a bit of shopping, we set off in our dinghy for a walk on the East Portlemouth side, however, there is nowhere to land! So we went to the ferry in Salcombe back across to East Portlemouth, and set off towards the Gara Rock, however, it was so hot (again) that we turned back early, intending to have a cream tea. All the tables were taken, the queue was >5 long so we went back and, after a shower, had dinner at the FerryBoat Inn. (Very good it was too.) This was the last hot day.

The Last Hot Day in Salcombe

Thu 23 Jun

The tides past Start Point didn’t become favourable until 15:00. But we got bored with waiting until after lunch, so we set off early and planned to be well clear of the strongest tides about 4 miles South of the point. We sailed 24 miles instead of 15, but we had a cracking good sail in the westerly winds F3 to F5 in a wobbly sea, even managing 7.2 knots at one stage. We have treated ourselves to 2 nights in the Darthaven marina so that we can fully charge to batteries on mains, wash the boat and dinghy and get free Wi-Fi to upload this blog.


There and Back

To the other reader of this blog, my apologies for the delay; as you will read, things have changed.

Sat 21 May – Tue 23 May

Well, plans change; we now have to return for family reasons. We’ve spent a day working out our plans; walked to Falmouth beach via the shipyard where you can see the collapsed crane alongside the new fleet auxiliary that is being fitted out. On our last evening, we went to the Shell Bar for a superb fish dinner – mussels for the Skipper and mackerel for the Boss.

Wed 24 May

We’re making our way back and as the forecast has changed several times since we made our plans, we decided to sit out the heavy weather in Fowey. It was a very slow motor across to Dodman Point where we hoped to sail to Fowey but that didn’t happen. The Skipper has discovered two seawater leaks in the engine: one behind the seawater pump and the other? He can’t find yet! For some reason, the alternator decided that it was going to stop charging, along with the depth gauge and the rev meter both on zero. Change of heading towards Plymouth to get the alternator fixed and the Skipper increased the revs for 5+knots and everything started to work again! We’re now in Fowey for a few days for familiar walks, a visit to R & M and later decide where next.

Thu 26 May to Sun 28 May

We were moored “under the hill” in its lee so we should remain in calmer water in the easterlies (while it stayed from that direction). We met up with R who has a flat in Fowey for coffee in Brown Sugar – and very good it was too. We bought some pasties from one of the many pasty shops and walked to Gribben Head for lunch.

The walk from Polruan East towards Lantic Bay is a favourite walk of ours, on the way we saw a Freedom coming in at some speed and only partially reefed; friends J & J on Solo! We continued with our planned walk, but had to give up the cream tea at Crumpets! We joined J & J on their boat for tea instead and planned to meet up the following day.

Fowey Looking as it Should but Before the Weather Arrived

Another View of Gribben Head

On Friday evening, as people arrived for the weekend, a boat rafted on us just as we sat down for supper. Overnight, the wind changed to more southerly, meaning that the swell was coming in and our mooring was exposed. The boat went elsewhere as our masts were getting quite close, even though they had adjusted the springs (fore & Aft mooring lines). We decided to move to Wiseman’s pool where it was very sheltered and probably would not be rafted on. It was a long trek in the dinghy to get to town to meet up with J & J for yet more coffee in Brown Sugar. The wind was forecast to change again on Sun, so one of the J & J decided to sail back to Plymouth that afternoon. It turned out to be an excellent sail!

Sunday was forecast to be cloudy and rain by 2:00pm, we hoped for the best and walked to Golant for lunch, however, halfway through eating, it started to rain and we had a wet walk back. We had all our wet weather gear, so we stayed dry.

Mon 29 May

Our plans changed several times, going to Salcombe, Dartmouth, Cargreen, R.Yealm. The alternator was getting more and more unreliable, so we decided to sail to the R. Yealm and stay a couple of nights and back home. The fog had come in overnight and when we motored down to the town, it was heaving! There were 30+ boats racing in the harbour, a queue of boats waiting to get water (or breakfast & lunch) from the Town Quay. We temporarily picked up a mooring to wait for an improvement. A call over the radio from someone said that the visibility was at least a mile and a half, so we left. It appeared that all the boats sailing back to Plymouth were racing and we were soon overtaken by most of the other boats. With a quartering sea, it was rolly and the genoa was not able to pull us along without going well off course. We made it, but it was a very boring trip. The mug of tea after we had picked up the visitor’s mooring was most welcome!

Cloud pretending to be an Island off Wembury in the Murk

Tue 30 May

Our walk along the Duke’s ride was marred by haze, but it was a pleasant day. We had dinner in the Dolphin pub in Newton Ferrers, The Skipper had a burger and the Boss had an excellent veggie filo pastry. We’ll go there again!

Wed 31 May

Up early today, to catch the tide up to Cargreen. Initially it was a motor into a lumpy sea and no wind for any sail to steady us, which became a following and then a calm sea as we got to the Sound. The fog was quite thick first thing, but the R. Yealm told us it was 1.5 miles visibility. The Navy were hard at work today and it took much longer to get up the river avoiding grey ships; to add insult to injury we also had to wait for two Tamar ferries to pass!

Thank you A & D for keeping our car (not for 2 months but 2 weeks).

Now home, off to the pub for supper and back to the boat tomorrow to collect the rest of our stuff and to Plymouth to sort the alternator, possibly the water pump and new sail boots for the Boss to stop her slipping!

First Sail Away

Wed 18 May

The windlass that failed the check on our last trip is now with the scrap metal dealers as it’s proper bust! There’s no chance for getting it repaired, so the holes have now been filled with sealant.

We’ve loaded the boat with all our stuff for the trip (in 2 journeys from home) and today everything is now ready to go. Our friends D & A invited us along for lunch, only to find that we were gate-crashing E’s birthday with M & H as well. Many thanks for the lovely lunch and for keeping our car safe. I’m sure the swallows will be nice to us in the barn!

Back on board after lunch, we now think everything is in the right place, but time will tell to depart Cargreen around 10.

Thu 19 May

Clearly, we’ve got soft, ‘cos it was cold last night and we were wearing loadsa bedclothes! We managed to get everything done and ready to depart for 09:30 (perhaps 30 mins early!)

The forecast was W 3-4 occasionally 5 and showers; well the showers was correct but the wind never got above F3 and most of the way it was F2 or less! At least the sea was smooth to slight. Everything worked until we got to Fowey when we decided to moor alongside the upper pontoon. Once we were settled, the mooring officers advised us that a Salcombe group had booked the pontoon but the previous shift who watched us come alongside but did nothing. We moved up-river to the Gridiron pontoon, which is even quieter, especially when the forecast F5 – F6 arrive in the next day or so, which it didn’t!

Next to us was Valerie, a Rival 32. We invited N & S for tea and later joined them for some wine after dinner. We had most enjoyable conversations.

Fri 21 May

The wind was due to be SW veering SE Force 3-4 occasionally 5. We took the opportunity to sail to Falmouth, actually in company with Valerie, leaving around 09:30. The Boss nipped ashore for a quick bit of shopping (milk & bread) before an enjoyable sail full and bye (just off being closed-hauled). At times, our speed through the water exceeded 6 knots, not bad for a 34ft yacht. The new sails are brilliant! We decided to go close to Dodman Point as the sea was not as bad as we thought and got to the Falmouth Yacht Haven in just under 4½ hours. We’re tied up alongside next to some sail training yachts for sea cadets.

The Boss enjoying the sail but not the Skipper taking photos

Looking forward to fish and chips and the UK’s best fish and chip shop – Harbour Lights, a shower and a good walk, but not necessarily in that order!

Valerie under sail off Falmouth

Went Sailing and Broke a Bit!

Monday, a fine day, saw us on the boat, casting off and motoring down the river for a test sail.

It was decidely cold but a reasonable wind from W or SW. We hoisted the mainsail just after we crossed the Bridge by Drake’s Island; it’s lovely and new and set very well. Next up was the genoa, also brand new, and set very well. This new sail is cut much higher off the deck, so forward visibility is better, but the genoa cars need to be moved with every reef. Job for later is to mark on the deck where the block needs to be for the reefed sail. The main was checked with one and two reefs in, and set well.

We sailed into Cawsand bay to anchor for lunch, only to have the wind get up and colder!

At Anchor in Cawsand Bay The boat behind dragged onto us!

The windlass sounded a bit odd when I let the chain out, however, raising  the anchor jammed it up completely. Job No 1!

We sailed back up the river to just above the bridges and motored the rest of the way to our mooring. We packed up and loaded our new (to us) dinghy and the Skipper rowed the Boss back to shore; this dinghy rows very well ‘cos it has a keel.

The Skipper returned to the boat a few days later and removed the windlass and tested the installation of an emergency bilge pump. The pump is fixed to the step with 3 bolts and secured with wing nuts, and as the operator is standing the pump is easy to operate without tiring. V V useful with a saloon full of water!

Emergency Pump installation

This idea is courtesy of Viv Cox, a Sadler 34 owner and regular contributor to the Sadler Owners Forum. See

The Skipper took the windlass apart at home and discovered the ceramic magnets stuck to the side of the motor housing were broken and the bits had seized the motor completely. The windlass is a 25+year old Vetus unit, now well past its sell-by date. We may fit a new one next winter … I went back to the boat to put a permament seal on the holes into the forepeak from the removal of the windlass and discovered job No 2. The Starboard aft window leaked quite badly in the recent rain and managed to partially fill the chart table and cabin bilges with water. In addition, the saloon hatch also leaked. Instead of a quick hour on board ended up with several hours of bailing out and drying  everything. I fixed the window with larger screws and a dose of silicon sealant as a temporary measure. The permament solution will be to remove the window, clean all sealant off, fill all the screw holes with epoxy, drill new pilot holes and refix with fresh mastic. (An autumn job)

Another unscheduled visit to the boat today; I removed the saloon hatch, scraped and cleaned off the mastic, re-applied mastic and screwed down the hatch again. I hope this works; I think I may have been running out of mastic when we refurbished the deck in 2015 and was too stingy so it didn’t have a good all round seal. It had better B*&^%y seal this time!

Launched Mon 10 Apr 17

Much of this blog has been about revonation, repairs and not about sailing; at last, we can change that as we launched on Mon 10 Apr.

Launching Cuchulainn over the Wall

Almost on the Water

Over this winter ,we’ve installed lockers on the port upper bunk for books, maps and other stuff! Finished the drawer unit on the Stbd side of the saloon, installed a small step into the aft locker so we can both get into it without slipping of a struggle. The major purchase was new sails; we put up the main before launch and the genoa will go up later this week.

The trip up the River Tamar to our mooring was COLD; doing 6 to 7 knots with the tide into a 15 – 22 knot apparent wind. The view was good and the Skipper was very happy to have the boat on the water again.

South of the Tamar Bridges

Now we can start getting everything else ready to leave in mid-May. Our plan is to depart Plymouth and turn right and keep the mainland to Starboard and see how far we get.

On our Mooring ready for the start of the Season