25 May 2017 | Cornish coast
18 May 2017 | Poole harbour
17 May 2017 | Not the Solent
13 May 2017 | On my laptop
12 May 2017 | cabin/worshop
11 May 2017 | On the shore
09 May 2017 | Insise a locker
08 May 2017 | At the arse end of the boat
26 May 2017 | Cornwall
F 4/5 E, sunny
I ran into Jim in The Galleon last night, small world! We discussed weather and departure times for today. I thought 10 would make the best of the tide but he favoured 8 o'clock. By 8 he had gone. I left about 9:30 and initially only unfurled part of the headsail. The wind was fresh and the course uncomfortable with waves on the port quarter. But it was sunny, I didn't need my waterproof trousers and with the genoa fully unfurled we were making 5 or 6 knots. I tried fishing, but what I thought was a mackerel tuned out to be a length of rope.
I saw a lovely looking gaffer as we approached Falmouth. It didn't have a red duster but a blue and white flag. I wanted to know the name and country of this vessel. I looked her up on my app On Course that I use to track Marica and see other boats in the area. A bit disappointing she is called Agnes and is British registered. A St Andrews flag then.
Coming into Falmouth I called Simon and Jo. They had been scrubbing their boat. We met up for a beer or two and agreed to meet for dinner. Marica is rafted alongside a Sadler 26. It turns out Tim the skipper is also single handed and trying to make his way round the coast in 3 months. He is moving on tomorrow, but I'm stopping round here for a day or two.
25 May 2017 | Fowey
F5 E, Sunny
My iPad decided it was too hot and turned it self off at quarter to one. It is my main chart plotter. I decided water would cool it down but not brave enough to use the cool sea I put it in its waterproof condom and left it in the sink. Shortly after I was buzzed by two fighter jets. Great!
I was heading for Fowey but the wind was good so toyed with pressing on to Falmouth. Not too many creature comforts in Fowey - wifi, walk ashore, electrickery, handy showers. But advice from friends and common sense prevailed and I turned into Fowey. The wind seemed to pick up as I turned in and I struggled to furl the headsail and steer. I landed on the town pontoon, which is free for two hours. A pint in The Lugger Inn went down very nicely as I watched teenagers swimming in the cold water. The beer was St Austell's Cornish Best, 3.5% and £3.50 a shot. Marvellous. After getting supplies from the local shop I headed off for a visitor's mooring or pontoon.
On the visitors pontoon I opted for there was Jim's Seawolf, Reflection. He said the weather had been too much to continue to Falmouth.
I took the water taxi ashore after dinner and walked around before plumping for The Galleon Inn. I had a couple of Sharp's Cornish Coasters, 3.6% and £3.40. Lovely and the beer is getting cheaper as I head West.
No wifi or 3G so posting made Friday.
25 May 2017 | Cornish coast
F4/5E Sunny and warm
I woke this morning to find the wind vane pointing to the nose of the boat as it has been for most of the trip. But it was also pointing at the sun as I was moored pointing east. The forecast had been right and now Marica is heading west at 5 knots under just the headsail.
24 May 2017 | Plymouth
Hot and sunny.
I got up early to see if I could find Jim (James III) and Reflection before we set sail. I saw his boat on a non-visitors pontoon that I didn't have access to and the office didn't open until after 8. So I left it. On my way to the heads later (across a railway track) I saw Jim emerge from his boat and thought he had spotted me. He headed the other way but a workman was going through the gate so I barged in. I told Jim I needed to get fuel before leaving. Going back through the gate it needed a code for exit also. However the same workman also exited at the same time as me.
I departed at 8:30 and probably took half an hour to get up river to the fuel barge, refuel and get back to where I started. I called Reflection on the radio and we went to prearranged channel 8. Jim said he had left but was slow so I would catch him across Start Bay. I didn't which is not surprising. If he was doing 4 Knots for 2.5 hours and I did 5 for 2 hours that would be 10 miles before Marica caught up. I suspect our speed difference was less.
Not a lot of wind but I put the sails up heading for Start Point. I encountered the overalls close to the point but stayed in close and not anything worse than wet decks. I think even closer might be better. Very light winds so motoring all day. Approaching the Yelm I checked their facilities. I badly needed a shower, use WiFi, like walk ashore marinas. The location looked fantastic, and had been recommended to be by Charles Bacon from my work at Ampthill, amongst many other spots and pub details. Sorry Charles, opted for the easy option and carried on to Plymouth. Calling the marina up they asked for the beam of Marica. I've never had that before and arriving at my berth found I was next to a rather fat Moody. Next time I shall exaggerate my girth!
Coming into the Plymouth Yacht Haven I spotted a familiar boat, Reflexion in amongst the hundreds of boats. After docking I went round, but no answer when I hailed her. The couple next door thought the skipper might be asleep. Could be, a long day and he is over 80. I left a message that Andy on pontoon G had been looking for him.
I spent some time trying to stow all the junk I have brought on board. Too many t-shirts and not enough towels. And I don't think I need the duvet. Then Jim turned up. He's heading for Falmouth tomorrow and staying for a few days. I said either Fowey or Falmouth for me. Fowey has fewer comforts but Charles, my brother Ewan and Colin all recommend it so I shall try!
Today's beer was Otter, rather nice, £3.90.
There is a re-enactment of the arrival of Gypsy Moth IV here on Sunday. 50 years on, I cannot hang around, you cannot do everything. I was very lucky to have been given a day on the boat a couple of years ago with some friends. Thanks, Deb!
A bit of an essay today, despite few incidents. The coastline has been stunning, the fog gave way to very sunny weather. I put my shorts and sandals on but luckily for you all today's photo is of Start Point.
23 May 2017 | Lyme Bay
Wind against but sea slight
Today overshadowed by the bomb in Manchester last night which I head about before the shipping forecast.
I set off to get the first bridge opening at Weymouth 8 am. Relieved to hear the diesel was the other side of the bridge. I got there just after 8 but no one there and phone call just got Graham's answer service. The sign said winter service call to arrange. A couple turned up in a fishing boat and said they had booked a fill at 8:15 and so all was sorted.
I wanted to be at Portland Bill for 9 am so was running a bit late. The window for running the inside line of the Bill is 2 hours either side of Plymouth low tide. I got there about 9:15. The sea was a bit rough and confused coming down the the end of Portland and the tide was giving me an extra couple of knots.
I stayed close to the end of Portland, about 2 cables off and that was all smooth. I then set about connecting up the replacement autohelm Simon had lent me. From there it was about 40 miles across Lyme Bay towards Dartmouth. I motored most of the way as the wind was dead ahead, but put the sails up for a while in the last 15 miles and had to bear away to get the sails to pull.
Mostly fairly gentle sailing but had my harness ready when out of the cockpit. The engine worked fine from 07:45 to 8:15 when I docked and the furling gear was fine. Coming into Dartmouth for the first time is wonderful. I went past Shag Island and could see up the 180 meters to the top of Slappers Hill. Is this a Navy place?
Do around 60 miles today and feeling it.We are moored in Darthaven marina. I wanted to be on the other side of the Dart but no response from them. The pub that attracted me from the berth was the Steam Packet Inn. I climbed the slope after paying for my stay and was greeted by one customer and the bar maid. Well the other customer, Jim the third, and Nichola, made me very welcome. I was tempted into trying Skinner's Cornish Trawler and it was so good (£3.60) and the company, that increased a tad, that I had a couple more. Jim has a similar size boat 26' and is heading West. he is a bit concerned about the fog forecast for tomorrow as he has no plotter or AIS on Reflection. I offered to sail in company with him as we had both decided to leave at 8:30.
I also had some great conversations with Gordon and James(?) who knew Emsworth well and Gordon has a nephew who plays in Atomic Badger in the Lord Raglan and Old House at home.
Sent from my iPad
Back to Weymouth
22 May 2017 | At Anchor
Back to Weymouth this evening. Sorted some stuff on board, removed the melted ice from the cool box, put the Honka back on its bracket and checked the fuel. Diesel down to under half a tank at about 4.5 gallons. I will need to top up before the intended sail around Portland Bill and across Lyme Bay tomorrow. First bridge opening is 8 am which is good for taking the inner passage round the Bill.
I've come out for a quick beer and to get a takeaway. A shame not to have more time to enjoy the town.
I met up with a couple of sailing mates yesterday Mark and Richard. Mark is keen that I document the beers as I go round the country. So tonight is Shepherd Neame's Spitfire which I have always avoided in the past. Not too bad, a little thin and a bit overpriced at £4.20. Just found out that SN claim to be Britain's oldest brewery. I'm in the Anchor, near the bridge, I thought it might open at 10pm but last event was an hour earlier.
The picture is the state of play on Friday when HMS Duncan was doing live firing in a NE direction. She/he? Is the warship 5.7 miles SSW of my position.
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