Image above shows the Longships lighthouse off Lands End in Cornwall.
At 2000 on Monday 8th August we set off from Dale, Milford Haven bound for Newlyn, Cornwall. The 21 hour passage would not only see us cross the Bristol Channel and round Land's End but also see me celebrating my birthday.
The most beautiful 180 degree rainbow appeared over Milford Haven as we set off. From the outset we had a fair amount of swell which only got worse as the wind picked up. Having already completed one over night passage we knew that we could manage another one, however the swell made it very difficult to sleep. We also had to dodge a number of fishing vessels and cargo ships during the night. Stan didn't have a great night either meaning that by dawn we were all exhausted.
Sunrise in the Bristol Chanel
The overnight spillages included coffee all over the cushions, cereal all over the oven and baby sick all over the mat - delightful! Fortunately it was a glorious morning and by 0900 after birthday cards and breakfast both my chaps were managing to snooze, Carly the windvane was driving and I had a very chilled out hour on watch. At 1100 my birthday present to me arrived - a pod of about 10 Dolphins! They stayed to play for about half an hour - fantastic.
Birthday dolphins just before Lands End
Despite having the wind behind us there wasn't really enough of it to overcome the swell as we approached Land's End so we motored for a couple of hours to make sure we made the tidal gate going round the corner. We are often asked how Stan copes when it's bumpy. The video we have of him in his bouncer jumping up and down like loon with a huge grin on his face as the boat pitches and rolls around Land's End says it all really. As we rounded the corner the sea state improved immediately and we had a storming sail for the last few hours into Newlyn.
Newlyn was quickly re-named New Newlyn. We had been fairly unimpressed with the place on our first visit. In hindsight this had very much to do with the fact that we'd had a hideous passage from Salcombe. Then we had arrived in the middle of the night. It was grey and raining, it seemed very over priced given the lack of amenities, we were exhausted, tensions were running high and we were seriously wondering if we could actually do this sailing thing with Stan and all. Being back here again made us both realise how much has changed for us in the last weeks. I guess for me the biggest change is that I have regained the confidence I had lost. Whether we choose to continue to sail off into the blue yonder or not we have already achieved so much. This time we were equally as exhausted but in a happy "we know we can cope with it" sort of a way! The sun was shining too which always helps. After getting settled into our berth we stumbled into town for fantastic Fish and Chips. We were all in bed by 2130 - what a rock and roll birthday!
The following days tides meant that we had a quiet morning pottering about before setting off, Cornish Pasties in hand, at lunchtime. We had one of the most exhilarating fast sails around Lizard Point to The Helford River arriving late afternoon. Perhaps we had been rather naive in our expectations of a quiet anchorage - the place was like a giant car park for boats and absolutely heaving. We had wanted to anchor to save some mooring fees but there was very little space to do so and unfortunately the windlass decided to refuse to cooperate at the critical moment so we plumped for the less stressful option and picked up a mooring buoy. The next day Tom had a look at the windlass and anchor chain and discovered that the 80 metre chain was totally snarled up in the anchor locker having collapsed over on itself during previous passages. "Have you got a traffic cone on you?" Tom asks me. "Erm... nope all out of traffic cones! Why?" Tom's idea of how we can stop the anchor chain snarling. Of all the random fixes for stuff on board this has to be one of the weirdest suggestions.
Having sailed about 275 miles in the last week we were very much ready for a sailing free day so we took the water taxi ashore for lunch and a walk.
Stan in the Cockpit
OK this bit is for the Grandparents - Stan is coming on leaps and bounds. He is managing to sit up on his own for short periods and will soon be too big to lie down in his bath! He loves grinning at himself in the mirror and in fine weather he has also been enjoying a kick about in his new play area - i.e. the cockpit sole. He has also been perfecting the art of tummy time and actually seems to be enjoying it.
Stan almost enjoying his Tummy Time
Stan in the bath
From Helford River we made the long day sail (12 hours) to Salcombe where we are spending a few days abusing the hospitality of my Aunty Ann and Uncle Mike Mitchell. This involves doing lots of washing - us and clothes and eating - alot! Brilliant.
More on Salcombe next time.