Monthly Archives: September 2014

Weekend Sailing – 27/28 Sep

For some reason, our diary was empty this weekend AND the weather was fair AND the tide was favourable, so we went for a sail planning to stay overnight somewhere.

We set off downstream around 10:30, having loaded the minimum possible in the way of clothes and food. As the wind was almost non-existant at Cargreen we didn’t even hoist the sails until we got down to Plymouth Sound where the wind got up to SE 8 – 12 knots. This was enough to sail and we even thought of sailing to Fowey (again) but we thought we would just sail around locally and perhaps end up in the River Yealm. As expected later, the wind dropped and we would have had to motor for some time to get to Fowey. We haven’t done this sort of sailing for years; we’ve always gone somewhere!

We hoped to do some practice man-overboard (MOB) manoeuvres under sail but there wasn’t enough wind! The boat does heave-to quite well which is very useful part of MOB, for sorting out stuff or having a peaceful lunch en-route.

After about 4 hours sailing, well South of Plymouth, we headed towards the R. Yealm and watched at least 20 other boats head in that direction! We gave up sailing when the windspeed dropped under 7 knots and the boat-speed was around 2 knots (at the time = 3 hours to the entrance!) The lower pontoon was very full of, it turned out, a Weir Quay Rally; they’re just up river from us! However, J & J, some very old friends of ours, were on a private mooring, so we came alongside, however, we didn’t stay long ‘cos rafting on private moorings is not permitted. The Skipper messed up our departure by not pulling in the stern to pull the bow out into the tide ‘cos there weren’t any fenders aft, which I should have put there. My fault entirely.  Anyway J & J said they would row up-tide to us where the harbour master sent us on another empty private mooring towing our dinghy which was released as it got caught around the mooring buoy during our rapid departure when we were caught by the rapid tide. It was really lovely to see them to catch up on stuff, particularly from one J, as we had seen the other J recently! (Yes, do keep up!)

We had been up early for the last few days so we had a lie-in, just catching J & J as they departed. Eventually, we set off into even less wind but we did manage to sail about 4 miles to Cawsand bay in about 4 hours. We dropped the anchor for the first time in this boat, and, …. it worked quite well, however, the Bruce anchor is very unwieldy, to say the least! the Boss can be very sad sometimes and she counted 45 boats anchored on this Sunday afternoon. One of these was a familiar boat from our sailing club so we had a chat with C & K as they passed. We didn’t spill our tea despite the typical Cawsand roll. It seems to be there all the time. In the Rival when we planned to stay overnight there we gave up because of the roll and went to the marina instead! When we left a couple of hours later, there was enough tide to get to to Cargreen, in time for us to do “Boatwatch” at the Club. Every night for most of the year a Club member is on or very near the water keeping an eye of our moorings as a deterrent. Touch wood, it works even if we don’t sleep much.

On Monday morning, we lazed around until we thought about the tide (again), packed up the boat and got back ashore while there was plenty of water at the causeway.

We enjoyed the slow sail around Plymouth and we plan to do it again, however, not sure when! Next job is doing the new floor in the new dining room and the kitchen.


Sailing AT LAST!!

After several weeks of family stuff, extension completion (well nearly) and just general stuff, we managed to get away AT LAST. Between bringing the boat round from Dartmouth on Sun 20 Jul and Sun 31 Aug, we have not had time to go sailing. The skipper has been down a few time to make various repairs, changes, improvements etc.

We loaded the boat with clothes, food etc on Sat 30 Aug and motored down the R. Tamar to Plymouth Sound with the intention of sailing to Fowey. However, the forecast was West or Northwest F3 or 4. Instead of sailing hard on the wind for about 6 or 7 hours just to get to Fowey we decided to take the much more pleasant option of sailing well off the wind but against the tide to Salcombe. We motored the last 30 minutes or so and moored near the town on a private mooring (no rafting on us). The wind was forecast to swing to the East and we planned to sail to Fowey a couple of days later.

It rained the next day, so we took cover under our nice new cockpit enclosure and read, did puzzles, did a bit of cleaning, moved stuff around and general made a nuisance of ourselves. The berthing staff are now very good and South Hams Council have really improved the welcome to visiting yachts. They have really good showers (free) and reasonable prices, especially off-season.

The Really Useful Canopy

The Really Useful Canopy


Tuesday saw us sailing westward, however, Fowey was about 7 hours motoring away, the alternative was to join D & A in Eilean in Newton Ferriers by sailing slowly for about 5 hours. They had left Dartmouth at very silly o’clock and were waiting at anchor in Cellar bay. We picked up a visitor’s mooring near the lower pontoon on the River Yealm and Eilean rafted on us for the night. A cup of tea or two later and cake we walked to The Dolphin pub for dinner. It was a great evening. Both the Skipper and the Boss were beginning to relax and get used to this sailing lark after two years absence.

Wednesday (3 Sep). Twenty two miles to Fowey in East F3, so it was a bit of a flobble but we managed to sail most of the way there. We decided to stay for 3 nights and do some old favourite walks. Alan, one of the berthing staff recognised us from our old boat and old boat’s name. It was great to see him again and be back in Fowey. The visibility was very hazy so any photos taken turned out as a bit of mush. See below!

Fowey in Mist

Fowey in the Mist from the Hall Walk

The Pont at the end of Pont Pill

The Pont at the end of Pont Pill

Our first outing on Thu was the Hall walk. We left the dinghy at the Town Quay, walked to the Bodinnick Ferry, crossed the river and walked to Polruan via the Hall Walk for a (for us) a traditional cream tea at Crumpets. Finally, we caught the ferry back to Fowey and to the boat via our dinghy from Town Quay. It’s about 5 miles. The Boss created a superb meal on board. (About time I said things like that!)

Friday was a much better day for weather and we walked to the Gribbin – the red & white day mark about 3 miles South of the entrance to Fowey. From there we followed the SW Coast path to Polkerris in company with a couple of  yotties we first met on the town quay putting their boots on. They were going to Par and catching the bus back. We had a cup of tea in Polkerris and came back via the Saint’s Way which links Padstow with Fowey via several holy sites. We went back into town in the evening for another shower and dinner at the Safe Harbour up the hill and away from the tourists, good food – we both had locally caught fish.

By this time the wind was down to Variable less than F3, ie none! We didn’t even bother putting up any sails and motored to Falmouth and splashed out by going onto the Visitors Yacht Haven right next to the town. We were helped onto the pontoon by V & D from another Sadler 34 – Western Wind. We spent some time on their boat learning how and where things SHOULD be! They were both very helpful and as they are moored in the Tamar, we will see them again.

Sunday was a day of rest, so we did a short afternoon walk, up the hill to the main beaches of Falmouth and back along the coast path via Pendennis Point and an ice cream to the boat. We hoped to stay longer but sailing club and other stuff meant that we had to return home.

On Monday, we hoped to sail most of the way back to Fowey to meet up with R & M who have a flat there, however, we managed most of the way, sailing close hauled for 5hours tacking out and back against the tide. We gave up around 4:00pm as the east wind began die in the late afternoon as it usually does. Western Wind left later and managed to catch up with us as we approached Fowey. Clearly, they can sail these boats better than us. Need to try harder! It was great to see R at the Sailing Club and caught up with all their news after 2 years.

The next day, it was still East wind, forecast E or NE F3 or 4 occasionally 5; what did we get? Mostly E F2 or 3! So we motored with the main up but we managed to sail for about an hour coming across Whitsand bay. We had gone close inshore to avoid the worst of the foul tide against us. Need to remember that, especially as the Spring tides were particularly high at the time. We came up the river with the tide and arrived at our mooring with plenty of water at the Club causeway so that it was much easier to off-load our stuff.

Home to a bed with sheets and duvet instead of sleeping bags. The Boss is going to get the bedding sorted. The Skipper now has a long list of things that need repairing:

The Echopilot depth gauge needs a serious sorting out. The manufacturer has promised to look at it at the end of the season. Fingers crossed they can do something because it is not reliable enough at the moment to stay on the boat. The chainplates bolts need tightening and probably locking nuts as well. The reef lines definitely need sorting. The stern ladder which was worked quite hard needs re-fixing and backing plates where it is mounted to the transom. The FM radio aerial needs to be improved, but where can it go? Plus other little bit and pieces.

The Boss & I really enjoyed ourselves over this 10 day trip. We got to know the boat and gain lots of confidence in her, and, not to mention, our own confidence. It was great to get away sailing for the first time in over 4-5 months.