Torquay back to Hayling Island

Having left Hejira in Torquay Marina for a month while Paula and I took holidays in the Caribbean and Italy (what an indulgent summer!), I took the train back down to Devon on the Bank Holiday Monday to sail her back. I had long since harboured an interest in ‘single handing’ and had taken Karisma, my 31 ft Parker (which I kept in Port Solent for 5 years before the Jeanneau in the Med), out on my own before, but only in the Solent and only overnight.

The forecast was for fine weather with light and variable winds, mainly from the North so most of the available anchorages would be viable. My departure before dawn the next morning was very straightforward but although I carried the full main, there was insufficient wind to make the necessary tidal ‘gate’ at Portland Bill under sail alone so it was necessary to motor until safely past the Bill.

Dawn crossing Lyme Bay
Dawn crossing Lyme Bay
m_Steadying
Anchored in Worbarrow Bay with the inadequate steadying sail, soon to be improved ! Took a little swim for the picture……

Worbarrow Bay, just past Lulworth Cove was busy but there was plenty of space and all except two other yachts left before the evening. I was expecting little wind and intended to motor gently along to Studland Bay from late morning with the first of the tide. I was surprised to awake to a steady F4 from the North which was too good to waste so, despite the adverse tide (useful back eddie inshore) I got under way and had a cracking sail which sped us along at over 7 knots at times and the progress induced a change of plan. With a favourable tide and wind, we made straight for the Needles and the great sail continued into the Solent where the wind strength dropped and  it moved around to the NE. In that I was in no particular hurry and with no crew to appease, it was wonderful to have a languid beat up the Solent, weighing up the options to anchor for the night. Motoring the last hour or so, I decided to slip into Chichester harbour and tuck behind East Head. The anchorage was busy but by lifting the keel and slipping behind the other anchored yachts I was able to find plenty of room and with the neap tide, managed to stay afloat overnight. After a leisurely breakfast and very little wind, we motored (by we I mean me and Hejira which had almost taken on ‘personal friend’ qualities by this stage) at little more than ‘tick over’ and almost reluctantly edged up the Emsworth Channel back to our berth in Northney Marina.

My ‘single handed’ experience had been tremendously satisfying. It was so enjoyable, I will rise above the taunts of ‘Billy no mates’ and certainly do it again. As with sailing in general, the weather plays an enormous part in one’s enjoyment so I will also have to come to terms with entering a strange Marina and coming alongside but, you never know, this could pay back with even bigger doses of satisfaction!

As you will know from previous crew ‘missives’, I have experienced a series of weird co-incidences this summer. There was another to come on my holiday in Italy while Hejira was in Torquay. Before buying the S135, Paula and I had a tour of the Northshore factory (they thought they would sell me a new 42RST – not a patch on the 135!) and we saw a new 135 under construction as a special commission after the model had been superseded by the later generation of Southerlies. It had been ordered by a discerning Australian whose wife had tragically died while the new yacht, Number 30, was under construction. Later, I happened to sail into Queen Anne’s Battery Marina in Plymouth on a friend’s Vancouver and it was moored 3 berths away. The owner kindly showed me over her and this was the first time I had viewed a series III. You can imagine how surprised I was when going ashore  on the Italian Amalfi coast off Positano in the rib from another friend’s motor yacht, to see the same yacht, ‘Viking’ anchored just off the port. With more tropical sailing a future probability, I was keen to understand the heat issues in the saloon with the large windows. Having had the Jeanneau in the Med for 14 years I am very well aware of the oppressive heat, especially in marinas. His confirmation that it is a problem prompted me to arrange to meet Ivan from Arun Sails back in Northney and he measured up to make reflective screens for the outside of the saloon windows. Ivan is also making a replacement yankee jib, a new ¾ battened main sail and is supplying new jib sheets and a replacement spinnaker halyard.

Being concerned about the untreated keel and grounding plate and thinking longer term, I am keen to have them blasted back to bare metal, epoxied and treated with copper coat. This does, it seems, present a problem for the yard (and all other yards it seems) in that ordinarily with a fixed keel yacht, the weight is largely taken on the keel so the props/cradle are mostly to keep it upright. In that for the keel treatment, the keel needs to be fully down, the weight needs to be taken by the props/cradle as the keel is free to swing. This presents a problem for the yard, particularly as the 135 draws 3 metres. The only way the yard will support her that high with the keel down is if the mast is removed to reduce the windage so, on Monday, all the mast electrics are being disconnected, the mast is being craned off and Hejira is being taken to the ‘blasting area’ and propped up high for the 10 days required for the treatment. It is necessary to be done sooner rather than later as the temperature must be higher than 10 degrees and the weather is on the turn.

This will also present the opportunity to re copper coat the rest of the hull and do some of the other jobs I have identified before re-launching for some winter sailing.

I am considering the options for next year, mindful that Paula will want to go back to Canouan to see Becky and  her husband Mark and that some accessible school holiday destinations are necessary for Paula’s  (she is a school teacher) involvement. This is, of course, subject to change but I am currently thinking that another year of UK based sailing is required to fully shake out any issues before heading off for warmer climes. Easter in a London marina may help to head off Paula’s ambition to have a London pad and then take in the East coast rivers, my old haunts in North Norfolk then a leisurely cruise up to Inverness for the summer half term where Paula can fly up to join the cruise along the Caledonian Canal. I did this in the Parker (without Paula) and it is spectacular. The half term week should allow a quick stop in Tobermory then marina in Oban so Paula can return on the overnight sleeper. I should then be able to take in some of the Irish Lochs which eluded me this year. Just a germ of an idea at present but that is how it is shaping up for next year.

Malpas to Torquay

Big thanks to Bob and Dave who worked their fingers to the bone in our massive clean in preparation for the arrival of Paula.

Pontoon berth in Malpas

We had moved up  river from Falmouth to a mid river visitor pontoon at Malpas, just short of Truro which should have been an easy location for our rendezvous at the Heron Inn. We had provisioned in Truro the day before and the crew had even persuaded me to buy some flowers – well, I had been away 7 weeks !  In the event, Paula was earlier than expected, we were still cleaning and she drove up and down the tiny lane looking for a parking space with no success and no signal on the phone – best laid plans !

Malpas from the Heron Inn

While in Malpas, we were joined by John Morris (John had crewed on the Padstow to Milford leg) and his extended family on their Legend 41. We enjoyed some light sailing together to Fowey then on to Queen Anne’s Battery in Plymouth which was an ideal introduction for Paula.

Queen Anne’s Battery Plymouth. ‘Shnapsidee’ moored alongside

John headed East and we motored up the delightful river Lynher to a beautiful spot called ‘Dandy Hole’. Taking the dinghy further up river to St. Germans, we had an interesting walk under the viaduct and through woodland in bright sunshine to quench our thirst at the Eliot Arms in the village. Returning to Hejira we were entertained by a seal and her pup on the exposed mud bank. Dandy Hole was a memorable anchorage and with only a couple of other boats in sight, it was a really quiet and charismatic night.

Dandy Hole

This is where the wind threatened to pick up with strong winds forecast, unhelpfully from the East. It was time to make the 27 mile passage straight to Salcombe and not linger in the Rivers Yealm or Avon as originally planned.

So we have been here in Salcombe, rafted on a mooring buoy off the Town since Friday, with the F7 wind whistling through, kicking up quite a chop.

The ‘chop’ made our dinghy trip up river to Kingsbridge a damp affair but the sun has shone throughout keeping the spirits elevated.

With the outboard davit ‘unplugged’, it was replaced by the wind generator  for the first time. This has been happily whirring away producing enough ‘juice’ to power the fridge and freezer. Another winter addition which is proving it’s worth !

Salcombe is a hive of activity and seems rammed full of people, on and off the water now the family holiday season is under way. The water activity is providing lots of interest and entertainment. We had front row seats for a Dutch yacht trying to pick up a mooring buoy with the husband at the bow increasingly berating his wife on the helm each time they missed their approach – there but for the grace ………………………

The wind is due to diminish tomorrow (Monday) and become a gentle breeze from the SW. We intend to make passage to Dartmouth then on to Brixham and Torquay where I will leave Hejira on Thursday evening while I return home to an overgrown garden and holidays in Canouan (an island in the Caribbean) and Italy.

I can then look forward to a gentle 5 day cruise back to Hayling over the week of the August Bank Holiday to be back for Esher’s first rugby game to watch our son Ollie on the Saturday.

 

Kinsale to Malpas via the Scillies

It has been some time since my last ‘missive’ and so much has happened.

Having decided to hire a car to explore beyond what would have been possible by yacht, I thought I would try to ‘look up’ the family of friends of my parents who had moved to Ireland and I last saw when cruising in a previous yacht about 17 years previously. Having typed the name into Google and, knowing that the son, my contemporary, was a teacher, it came up with Bandon Grammar where he is a languages teacher. Although schools in Ireland break up for the summer on the 31st of May (!!!!), we made contact and met up in Clonakilty’ visiting his house for a huge catch up and reminiscence.

Alex Streuli after 45 years

He and his wife gave us advice on where to go and what to do and even booked us the most wonderful country house hotel in Kenmare. This was a really charismatic Town and we had a superb meal in the recommended (same family as the hotel owners) restaurant perversely called ‘Packies’!

Packies Restaurant – Guess its been renamed since….

The drive around the ring of Kerry would have been more spectacular if we had been able to see the sea but the weather was improving and this was promising. There was one more notable experience on the car drive, we were looking for somewhere to stay for the final night before returning the car to Cork airport and the last option was a town called Macroom. This turned out to be quite a pretty town unlike those that we had been driving through on our way back from Limerick. The town had a good hotel with wifi and, logging on to speak to my daughter Rebecca living in the Caribbean, I noticed a pop up on Skype saying it was the birthday of the Irish chap that purchased my previous yacht – we had ‘skyped’ when negotiating . Noting he was ‘on line’, I called him to wish him a happy birthday and it turned out he lived in Macroom and joined us 10 minutes later in the bar. This is all too spooky !

Back in Kinsale, we enjoyed the Lions win (controversial in Ireland for the dropping of Brian O’Driscoll) and after Dave Wright had joined us we left after watching the Murray Wimbledon victory, sailing overnight to the Scillies. Kinsale had been a wonderful ‘stop’ with fond memories for both Bob and me, Bob having last visited when competing in the Fireball World Championships in the ‘70’s. In fact everyone in Ireland had been most welcoming, friendly and helpful.

The improved settled weather had prompted the invasion of an armada of visiting yachts to the islands and we sought some privacy, drying out between tides on the sandy beach at Green Bay on Bryher. Enjoying beautiful Bryher and exploring Tresco by dinghy, it was with some reluctance, we moved to Hugh Town on St. Mary’s before our early morning departure to the mainland. The Scillies are a real paradise in good weather but I can imagine that the unforgiving seascape would be threatening in poor conditions.

Dried out on Bryher

Our anchoring experiences had worryingly demonstrated that, despite replacing what we considered was the whole windlass system, we were still suffering tripping of the circuit breaker. And this persisted after our overnight stay in Mullion Cove, a magical anchorage  to the west of the Lizard.

Mullion Cove anchorage
Mullion Cove anchorage. Hejira to the right of the picture.

We now think that the problem lies with the wireless remote as we have not suffered tripping when using the main switch at the binnacle. My theory is that the contact from the wireless remote is intermittent, causing the higher starting current to repeatedly surge resulting in the overload trip. We will find out in the next two weeks when it is only Paula and I on board ! In the mean time, it would seem that I have replaced the windlass unnecessarily………………

So now we are in Falmouth and having filled with diesel and water, we will make our way up the river Fal tomorrow to Malpas for our final crew change, Bob and Dave driving back in the car driven down by Paula on Sunday.

In the mean time we have some cleaning to do !

 

Milford Haven to Kinsale

The last mail was optimistic about catching up lost time and getting back on track. Although we have experienced some of that emotion, it has been balanced by disappointment as the days have slipped by and our targets have drawn in.

Bob and Stephen arrived in Milford Haven proudly bearing the replacement Windlass which we fitted, Dave and Terry staying on to kindly assist. As usual, the process was not as straightforward as one hopes but the point of trying it out arrived and……………..it tripped ! It has turned out that the fault was in the trip itself, not the windlass. So, having bought a £2K windlass, the fault turns out to be in a £50 trip ! In actual fact, I am not unhappy with the outcome as, the windlass is such an important part of the yachts equipment, I am pleased with the peace of mind that I have a new unit.

An early start from Milford Haven meant us passing through the compromised lock at 0530 and motoring into a headwind around the tip of Pembrokeshire. Having committed to  the shortcuts inside Skomer and Ramsey Island in order to carry a favourable tide, we had to endure the overfalls in Jack Sound and Ramsey Sound. This was quite a baptism of fire for the new crew who would have given anything to have taken the longer route ! I hope Stephen will forgive me for mentioning that he holds the record for the loudest, most violent and debilitated retcher in my experience !

Stephen suffering

Thankfully, he bounced back after making landfall in Aberystwyth which happened to be his home for much of his childhood. The passage did however expose a continuing problem with the VHF after an encounter with yet another firing range.

Stephen bounces back

Aberystwyth was a super stop and one we could not have contemplated with a fin keel yacht due to the limited harbour depths. We managed to catch the Lions game in the snooker club at the end of the pier and cast off for Ireland later that same day after fuelling.

Our passage over night was very quiet and with little wind, we motored most of the way. It was however notable for the large number of jelly fish and for spotting a sunfish which are not usually found in such northern waters but  which apparently feed on jelly fish which could be an explanation.  We moored up in Kilmore Quay which I had visited to shelter from a gale about 18 years before. Our arrival co-incided with the attempted departure of a 30ft.yacht which promptly went aground and stuck fast right in front of us in the narrow entrance. Full astern prevented a collision and they looked bewildered as our 45ft comparative giant breezed past them into the security of the harbour. We enjoyed some excellent Irish hospitality in Kilmore Quay and the visit was notable for the excellent meal in the unpromisingly named ‘Crazy Crab’. The small village was also welcome for the excellence of its Chandler where I purchased yet another aerial, having bought and subsequently returned one, thinking it was not required, in Milford Haven.

An early start saw us off on our 75 mile passage to Cork harbour. After a mixed passage with some sailing and some motoring, we moored at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven. The RCYC claims to be the oldest Club in the World having been founded in 1720 ! The Irish welcome was undiminished and we enjoyed a superb meal in the Clubhouse with Stephen giving an impromptu intimate consultation in the restaurant to the manager’s medical afflictions !

Another early start took us up the River Lee, past Cobh to Cork where we moored on the City centre pontoon just before one of the many bridges.

Cobh
Cork approach
Cork City centre, what a great spot!
Cork City centre, what a great spot!

We intended to take the opportunity to fit the new aerial and run the cable down the mast to the junction of the new cable we had already installed in Milford Haven. This proved to be something of an epic as, there being so many cables exiting the mast, the plastic coatings gripped each other and meant that, with pulling backwards and forwards, we were winning about an inch at a time. The situation was massively improved by running PTFE liquid down the cable from the top of the mast and, with great relief, having been up and down the mast 4 or 5 times, we connected up the new aerial and the impedance readings were as expected……………………….. Unfortunately, the intermittent reception continued so it was clear that the initial analysis of the specialists was correct and there was a problem with the radio itself. Experience suggests that problems that appear as one offs are easily sorted but they seem to inevitably occur as multiples and this is far more difficult to ‘fault find’.

Stephen dashed for the Station after the final whistle of the disappointing second Lions Test to join Mary near Dublin. I would like to mention that, after a horrendous introduction through a very lumpy ‘Jack Sound’ inside Skomer and producing the most colourful vomit I have ever seen, he ‘bounced back’ to be the most enthusiastic crew – great stuff!

The mission was now to find a replacement VHF radio in Cork but, as a contingency, ‘shore based’ efforts were mobilised, just in case and thanks to Tim Julnes and Dave Wright for stepping up and then stepping down as I located a replacement on the outskirts of Cork. Bob thankfully persuaded me to put the bicycle away and we took a taxi as the route involved some pretty unforgiving dual carriageways.

With the new VHF radio fitted and working perfectly, we made our way on the ebb towards Kinsale. Unfortunately, after a pleasant start, the passage was a lumpy affair directly into the wind and it was with some relief that we rafted up to a survey vessel on the Kinsale Yacht Club visitor pontoon. We managed later to ‘get alongside’ the pontoon and reviewed the weather forecast which promised more westerly winds of 30mph over the next few days. Checking again after a very necessary trip to the laundry, we decided that, with Hejira secure, we would hire a car and explore the west of Ireland from the shore.

Kinsale is supposed to be the Gourmet Capital of Ireland and, certainly tonight, we experienced one of my most memorable meals, a real delight. On the recommendation of a very helpful member of the KYC staff, we had earlier experienced a really earthy, authentic Irish pub. Not the ubiquitous, plastic, regurgitated, formula Irish pub experienced around the World, but one consisting of a single room and run by a little old lady with the most ebullient Irish welcome. The tiny pub had pictures of the local hurling teams through the ages and even on the 2nd of July, had a fire in the grate !

So, tomorrow morning we are off by car to explore the ‘hinterland’ and our sailing reports will have to be put on hold.

Padstow to Milford Haven

Since my last mail, we ‘sat out’ the ‘blow’ in Padstow which tied our hands somewhat, so, with a paucity of havens suited to the weather, we stayed put which took us to our next crew change. As this was not in Bristol as planned, this presented something of a problem for John Morris who was due to join us from Redditch. In the event, he was driven to Padstow by his wife Birgit and she stayed for a couple of days which meant we could provision using their car to and from the out of town Tesco. Hearing the Church bells for a wedding the Saturday, Hedley, made himself known and was invited to ring on the Sunday morning which I hope compensated, in part, for the enforced detention in Padstow.

Terry and David arrived by car on Monday and Mike and Hedley returned having suffered a compromised but (I hope) enjoyable week. Birgit left us on the Tuesday and we left at high water. The passage to Lundy was in light airs but with no real deadline, we sailed as much as we could and discovered that the Bristol Channel is well stocked with dolphins. Over the next three days, we saw so many dolphins, we actually became blasé about their presence as they shadowed the yacht.

Hejira reflection

They seemed to be all around us all of the time. Arriving off Lundy, we anchored with about 50m of chain to allow for the big tides and the strong currents.

Anchored off Lundy

Our trip ashore on Wednesday morning was interesting – at £5 per head landing fee! There is an active resident community, 27 rental properties and a camp site which was stuffed with tents.

Lundy Church

The Lundy Church has a renovated peel of 9 bells which apparently attracts visiting campanologists – Hedley take note.

Lundy landing with Hejira in the background
Lundy landing with Hejira in the background

 

Dave, John, Terry & me
Lundy Island ‘Marisco Tavern’ Dave Wright, John Morris, Terry Oakley (now sadly no longer with us – missed and not forgotten) and me

When we tried to lift the anchor to leave on Wednesday morning, we discovered that the anchor windlass repeatedly tripped the circuit breaker, even when not under load so we had a problem. This was overcome in the short term by running a strop from the chain to the electric cockpit winch and pulling the chain along the deck in 8m lengths. With the anchor up we had probably the best sail for some time, close hauled up to Tenby.

Tenby – pretty from a distance

We had already arranged to use the RNLI mooring buoy as we were not now able to anchor and arriving at about 9pm and leaving at 8am, we chose not to go ashore.

Tenby from the RNLI mooring

With the lock gates into Milford Haven Marina broken, we had a deadline to ensure entry on ‘free flow’ but on leaving Tenby, we discovered that the two firing ranges in our direct path were both active, necessitating a diversion offshore to keep out of range. We agreed with the range control over the VHF that we would steer south until they called us to say we were clear. Having not heard for longer than expected we called the control on the phone to discover that they had been unable to reach us on the VHF. We had been picking up some transmissions but, checking using the handheld, it became clear that we had only intermittent reception on the ships VHF. So, we were behind schedule with Windlass and VHF problems. Our time in Milford Haven was going to be busy !

By speaking to specialists and phoning around, I managed to locate a replacement windlass in Luton and Bob very kindly drove there to pay and pick it up – many thanks Bob !!! We spent the morning removing the faulty windlass and the rest of the day trying to fault find the problem with the VHF. This turned out to be (I think) a corroded wire and connections between the mast and the receiver unit. Replacing this cable was a chore but having completed the job, the VHF exchange with the Pierhead control reported a clear transmission so we will just have to monitor the situation. The AIS data is transmitted over the VHF aerial so this would explain our lack of visibility.

Sheltering from the rain in the Hejira ‘Conservatory’ in Milford Haven. From left to right: Terry Oakley (now sadly departed), Dave Wright seemingly chipper and John Morris who has clearly abdicated from the evenings proceedings.

With the crew change pushed back to Sunday to accommodate the 1st Lions Test, John took the train back to the Midlands being more of a soccer (well, Aston Villa!) fan and we were left to sample the Pembrokeshire Fish Week event after a short trip to the Milford Haven Museum. An excellent, much craved curry in the Marina has topped out an excellent day following the lucky Lions win so I am beginning to feel chipper.

Bob Haywood and Stephen Williams are due to arrive by car tomorrow morning, bearing a shiny new windlass and, fingers crossed we can leave early on Monday morning with everything working.

Newlyn to Padstow

Padstow approach at low tide
Padstow approach at low tide

Well, the weather has indeed interrupted again.

We are currently sheltering from gales in Padstow – and, on the bright side, there are worse places to be storm bound !

The whole plan was structured to avoid deadlines and the travelling to wherever we are by car for the in/out on the mainland was intended to accommodate the necessary flexibility.

Since my last ‘missive’ we crew changed, Hedley and Mike arriving and David driving back from Newlyn. We set sail late morning,  round Lands End to St. Ives in freshening but generally favourable winds and picked up a mooring buoy outside the harbour so we could carry the flood tide North East up the coast in the morning. We felt we should ‘see’ St. Ives and needed to pay the Harbour Master his £12 due for the mooring so, in very choppy conditions we made our way ashore in the dinghy. After a pint ashore, we made the return journey back to Hejira and, soaking wet, tried to dry out with the heating and dehumidifier going at full tilt. After a meal on board, it was straight to bed in preparation for the early start.

At 3.30 the next morning it was up and away but with the bay littered with lobster pot marker buoys and dawn not till after 5am, it was a case of someone on the bow with a powerful torch looking out until we were clear of St. Ives Bay. With the big wind gusting at 30 knots and directly behind us, a partially furled jib alone pushed us along at the required 6.5knots. With the sea building, we rounded Trevose Head and headed for Padstow in plenty of time for the inner harbour gate deadline of 10.15am. We rafted next to a yacht which had been towed in by the lifeboat the previous day and went ashore to explore the town. I think it may have been the relief at stepping on ‘terra firma’ but Hedley had more than his usual quota of cider and became loud and strident in the quay side pub. This was compounded when he went to the loo in the Ladies ! I subsequently checked and the cider he was drinking was 6% alcohol which is probably a lot for someone who doesn’t usually drink – quite a lot for someone who does !! Mike has taken to wearing an OAP hat which has been necessary after he forgot to apply any sun screen and has turned a bright red colour. This is particularly surprising as it is difficult to remember when we last saw the sun !

Alongside in Padstow
Alongside in Padstow

Padstow seems much more affluent and buoyant than St. Ives which had a tired feel about it. It is difficult in Padstow to escape the presence of Rick Stein who has at least 8 establishments bearing his name and tonight we had fish and chips from his ‘chippy’. It was good but at over £40 for 3 of us, you would expect it to be !

The decision to hire bikes and ‘do’ the Camel Trail was good but, for non cyclists, pressing on beyond Wadebridge to Bodmin may have been a mistake. Mike fell off, ripping his trousers and leg and we all suffered sore nether regions. It was a relief to hand them back.

The winds are still big here and, even when they diminish, it will be some time before the sea state moderates from the 4.5m swells given in the forecasts. With no really safe refuges between here and Bristol and the need to carry favourable tide for the remaining 120 miles, it is difficult to see how we can make up the time.

However, we remain optimistic and will study all the permutations in an attempt to make it work but we must remember that this is a holiday and no one should be uncomfortable with the prospects when properly explained.

So, we will stay here, in Padstow tonight and review tomorrow.

 

Catch up to Newlyn

At last some signal and a partially working lap top so a quick resume on the cruise so far.

Mevagissey
Fore and aft mooring buoys in Mevagissey
Paella in Mevagissey
Paella on board in Mevagissey
Clumsy Graham struggling with the pontoon/dinghy transition
Clumsy Graham struggling with the pontoon/dinghy transition
Malpas from the Heron Inn
Malpas moorings up the Fal viewed from the Heron Inn
Returning to Hejira dried out up the Avon
Chilly Chapmans Pool
A dip in chilly Chapmans Pool between Studland and Weymouth
Raph caught with can in hand while anchored on the sand at Bantham.
Ashley and Ollie larking about in the Avon at low tide
Secluded sandy anchorage up the Avon
River Yealm
River Yealm mid stream pontoon
Convenient for the pub in Totnes
Crew change at The Steam Packet Inn, Totnes. Be very careful with fender height at high water springs.

Slipped from Northney on Hayling Island on Friday 17th May with a crew of Ollie and his friends Ashley and Raph. We sailed west spending nights in Newtown River on the IOW, Studland Bay outside Poole Harbour, Weymouth, Lyme Regis (where we ‘dried out’ alongside the Cobb) & Torquay Marina. We then had a reconnoitre for the following week, entering the river Avon at Bantham and drying out, then on to Salcombe before mooring up the Dart at Totnes for our crew change, Ollie and his friends leaving and my wife, Paula and  friends Graham and Lucy Read joining.

The Steam Packet Inn mooring in Totnes for a crew change.
Dried out at the Steam Packet Inn at the top of the Dart in Totnes
Alongside the Cobb in Lyme Regis
Alongside the Cobb in Lyme Regis

Bad weather was forecast so we anchored in the Dart opposite Bow Creek to ‘sit it out’ going ashore at Tuckenhay in the dinghy in torrential rain and a gale to discover that the first pub was fully booked and the other pub, 10 minutes walk away had stopped serving for the evening. Back on board for a meal of sausages and beans and to dry our clothes !

On to Salcombe where we moored to a visitors buoy and spent two days, again while some weather blew through. The plan was to enter the Avon but, in the event, the left over swell from the blow made the entrance treacherous so we carried on to the Yealm river and a crew change by dinghy in Newton Ferrers. The week with Paula and the Reads was not uneventful but, on the basis of ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour’, you may need to ply me with beer for the details the picture of Graham above will give some clues.

Dinghy ashore in the Yealm for a crew change.

With the new crew of David Scott and Martin Robinson, we headed straight off to Queen Anne’s Battery in Plymouth to fill up with Diesel, Petrol, Gas and Water.

We took the decision that conditions did not favour taking in the Scillies so with time in hand, we moored in Mevagissey after spending a night in my favourite Fowey. Fresh seafood from a dock side fish stall went into a superb paella cooked on the BBQ on the aft deck – bliss ! On then to the river Fal and upstream to a delightful stop over on a mid stream pontoon at Malpas. A walk into Truro to the mega Tesco and a taxi back to Malpas and the Heron Inn topped out a fruitful day.

A mooring buoy in the Helford River for the following night was a beautiful spot but there was still no signal and the fresh Easterly wind brought in an uncomfortable swell. The easterly wind made for a good, if lumpy passage to Mounts Bay and a phone/internet signal. Concerned about the NE/E winds and the exposed nature of St. Ives harbour to winds from this direction, I spoke to the HM and this confirmed that it would be best to delay ‘going round’ until the wind settles into the South next week.

An escape from the throng in St. Michaels Mount harbour. One of the benefits of ‘taking the bottom’

So, here we are, moored back in Newlyn, the ‘intermediate’ crew change for St. Ives to Padstow is adjusted to take place here, Martin having taken the train home from Penzance. So in an effort to ‘make the most’ of our enforced spell in Mounts Bay, we are off to ‘dry out’ in the tiny harbour at St. Michael’s Mount.

Hejira moored in St. Michael's Mount Harbour
Hejira moored in St. Michael’s Mount Harbour what a great destination,

The delay should only result in fewer stops up the Bristol channel and we hope to be back on schedule thereafter – until the next weather interruption !

 

Chichester to Newtown River

This is the first substantial cruise in my ‘new to me’ yacht renamed ‘Hejira’. The account is prior to proper ‘blogging’ and does not reflect the later efforts which become (hopefully) a little more interesting.

For this first leg from Northney Marina in Chichester Harbour, the crew is my son Ollie and two of his school friends and current flat mates, Raph and Ashley.

The winches were serviced yesterday and the wind instruments were changed this morning so at least we now have a genuine wind speed reading.

Sunset on our mooring buoy in Newtown river on the Isle of Wight. A lovely spot which is very busy in ‘the season’.

Made passage today with the tide to Clamerkin Lake in Newtown River where we have picked up a visitor mooring buoy.

Weather and wind today very changeable with wind direction and strength all over the place. some sun to brighten the mood.

Early start tomorrow to take the tide through the Hurst narrows and past the Needles. Forecast for light and variable winds tomorrow so will probably take it easy, see if we can catch our dinner and anchor in Studland Bay.

Here are a couple of pictures of Hejira in Newport IOW which was a favourite destination when in the Solent.

Visitor pontoon in Newport IOW
Dried out at low tide in Newport IOW

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