26/08/2012, Tingholmen, Norway
Start / Finish Time: 10:34 / 18:00
Daily time / distance: 12.3 NM / 7:26
Crew: Nevil, Rachel, Robert & Luke.
We had originally hoped to go away for a night away on Saturday but the forecast was for zero wind, and this proved correct, so I consoled myself with a good sail on Sunday for which a good wind was predicted. I had arranged that we would meet up with a friend from Cubs and her family who have a boat based on Rennesøy. They had pressed on with their plan to overnight and had alerted us on Saturday evening that they were anchored at Adnøy and intended to lunch either at Tingholmen or Idse. This worked in well with our plan for a relatively short day. By 0945 we were in the car and we were quite quick at leaving harbour, so much so I forgot to start the GPS until we were out in the channel.
Getting the sails set was much easier since I had led the main halyard back to the cockpit the day before. Due to the lively wind I had already set it up with the first reef set and we were soon belting along to the east on a broad-ish reach. We wiggled our way between the islands until we arrived at Tingholmen and its sheltered southern side. We approached the jetty but observed the sign saying that the jetty should not be tied up to so we prepared to anchor. On the first attempt the anchor winch let the anchor down a few metres and then stopped with all the electronics out. It looked like the load had zapped the batteries. Despite my testing them in the summer it appears that one or more of the house batteries is not good - a retest is necessary. On the second attempt I kept the engine revs a bit higher in neutral and the winch wound out fine although the log still browned out. I gave the anchor a good tug with the engine to make sure it was set before throwing in the kedge and we got the dinghy into the water just as the Doves arrived.
After ferrying us ashore Robert did an excellent job of playing water taxi, taking Kate and their bow line ashore, then bringing Kate, William and Eleanor ashore for a BBQ. Somehow the boarding ladder from Rose Quartz got knocked into the water and sank so Martin stayed on board and attempted to drag for the ladder, unfortunately to no avail. We collected some wood and tried to get a decent fire going but the twigs just burnt to ash too quick and in the end we cooked on a combination of the fire and the disposable BBQ we had brought with us. After a good chat with Kate, a reasonable fill of singed sausages (from cooking on flame rather than embers) and a warming hot chocolate it was soon time to head home.
Conditions were lively, the wind having strengthened to a Force 6 but with two reefs on the main and the headsail half furled the helm remained finger light and we were still cracking on at 5-6kts. Rachel definitely did not enjoy it and the boys were quiet but I was having a great time! Neptune claimed a sailing glove as we dropped sail - a Christmas present idea?
12/08/2012, Stavanger, Norway
Start / Finish Time: 12:50 / 17:09
Daily time / distance: 8.2 NM / 4:19
Crew: Nevil, Robert, Luke, Mum & Dad.
Before setting off today we inflated the new dingy with the intent of going ashore at Langøy. I actually unrolled it, put the floor boards in and left Dad and the boys to pump it up. What I hadn't realised was that the painter supplied was only looped through the D-ring not actually tied on so I didn't realise that Dad had tied the knot....
As we came out of the yacht harbour there were several very large cruise liners in the main basin in Stavanger so we took a little motor to have a look. As we went on our way a pair of the old steamers came out and rushed past us indecently close and fast. Shortly thereafter Luke noticed that the dinghy had come loose so we about turned to retrieve it. We got hold of it with the boat hook and I went down into the dinghy to secure the line. Unfortunately the line was too short and whilst I was waiting for Dad to untie it from the rail to give me slack the two steamers, having gone round some other islands, came shooting past only a few meters away. Their wash tossed us about and ended up with the dinghy going underneath the bathing platform and being sliced open by the kedge anchor roller; to say I was furious was an understatement, the language was blue! We retrieved the dinghy onto the foredeck and motored on up to Langøy, where we picked up the crab pot with five large edible crabs in it. Unable to get ashore (the quay was already rafted two deep) we anchored again for lunch and some fishing before making our way back home once more.
Not the most successful of trips (although I have subsequently repaired the gash) but what did I learn? Ultimately everything is my responsibility as skipper; I should have checked the knot, whether I thought it had been factory tied or not. On going back for the recovery I should not have been in such a hurry to get it sorted. I should have made sure the line was prepared ready to retie to the dingy before approaching it and I probably shouldn't have gone into the dinghy myself since although I was harnessed on, if I had gone in it would have been a much greater problem.
11/08/2012, Stavanger, Norway
Start / Finish Time: 14:59 / 19:39
Daily time / distance: 12.7 NM / 4:40
Crew: Nevil, Robert, Luke, Mum & Dad.
I did some jobs on Marita in the morning including buying a new inflatable dinghy, had lunch at home and then brought everybody down for an afternoon sail. Left the harbour and then the boys demonstrated their Competent Crew skills by getting the mainsail up on their own.; Grandpa was very impressed. Motor-sailed until we were through the Lindøy gap then sailed for a while. Mum was very nervous to start with but soon settled down when she realised that Marita is a lot more stable than Morwenna was.
As we approached Langøy we did a circuit through the small islands in the hope of catching fish but we were not successful. Once we anchored up to have a brew and relax in the sunshine Robert & I caught a mixed bag of mackerel, a tiny cod (which we threw back) and a saithe. We used the heads to bait the crab pot which we left behind with the intent on coming back tomorrow.
Since it was quite late we simply motored home.
27/07/2012, Helford to Falmouth, UK
Start / Finish Time: 09:36 / 13:25
Daily time / distance: 13.6 NM / 3hrs 41 mins
Crew: Nevil, Rachel, Robert & Luke. Larry
We had decided that we wanted to be back at Falmouth Marina in the early afternoon, say 3pm, in order to be cleared up and able to pick up our hire car before the Hertz office shut at 1730. Larry also wanted to take advantage of the best wind we had had for the week and do some MOB / handling under sail as we left Helford and made our way across the bay to Falmouth. I had several practices at the manoeuvre and was getting the hang of it but still need to do some more practice before I can think about Yachtmaster Coastal. Larry's recommendation would be to do a prep week and then the exam and I should be more than ready.
We sailed in past Black Rock and eventually stowed sails just outside Trefussis Point before motoring in to pick up a mooring buoy temporarily for lunch. Just as we were finishing and contemplating a cup of tea / coffee Larry got a telephone call from Nick asking us to make it back to the pontoon in time to get over the sill since he was short of berths and we would have to go in the inner area. We rushed to get there and it was a horrible downwind approach to the pontoon in a very narrow alleyway which was not helped by multiple shouted directions from Larry on board and Nick on shore. We made it but it wasn't the prettiest manoeuvre we had done. Thinking about it after we should have had a bow spring ready and used a little forward thrust with so starboard rudder to keep the stern to the pontoon - we'll know next time!
We cleared the boat, handed in a defects list and were ready to go in less than an hour and by just gone 1430 Larry had dropped me at Hertz, Truro. This time we had hired an estate car so we had plenty of space for the trip back home. All in all, everybody agreed that they had learned a lot, enjoyed the stay in the Scillies and some had enjoyed the sailing more than others.
168.5 NM logged in the week.
26/07/2012, St.Mary's to Helford, UK
Start / Finish Time: 06:19 / 17:55
Daily time / distance: 61.0 NM / 11hr 36 mins
Weather: Forecast issued 0405 for 0800; Plymouth NE3-4, N4-5 later. Slight/mod. Fog. Lundy N-NW 4-5. Fog patches at first, good. Inshore N 3-4 increasing 5 later. Smooth/slight. Outlook Friday N 4-5 increasing 6 in west.
Crew: Nevil, Rachel, Robert & Luke. Larry
The adults were all awake early and Rachel was particularly happy that she had not had to get up in the middle of the night. The fog had cleared so we decided to get going to make our way to Helford in reasonable time that evening. We didn't feel too guilty that the Harbour Master hadn't collected his dues before we left, since we had paid for but not used the night in St Mary's Harbour earlier in the week. We slipped the mooring and got out clear of Penninis Head before getting some sail up although with the weak wind this was pretty much a token effort at first. After an hour or so, when we were well clear of the Scillies we found ourselves in another fog bank, with visibility down to a few hundred metres again although the wind had increased a little to make the sails do some work. The radar was useful to show up a few contacts, some of which we saw, others passed us by without ever being identified. This was the first time I had ever used radar so it was a useful learning experience. Rachel was definitely not happy at this point, being spooked by the fog and the odd gust healing the boat more than a few degrees. Larry and she had a frank discussion and decided that although she had improved her knowledge and skill levels tremendously and is/was a fantastic first mate, she is not currently ready to be happy in charge of a yacht and therefore not ready to be a Day Skipper. Although this was a bit of a blow to her she actually relaxed somewhat after this point.
We burst out of the fog bank a little past Wolf Rock and continued on our way due east to Lizard, sometimes purely under sail, sometimes motor-sailing. As we passed Lizard we saw dolphins in the distance, more sunfish and a basking shark. As we crossed Cadgwith Bay we came across a pair of puffins and then an even bigger basking shark was feeding on the surface and allowed us to keep up with him for some time. A RIB noticed us watching something and came over for a look and the yelps they let out at seeing such a creature were fantastic!
At the end of the day we made our way into Helford and after finding and making fast to the Cornish Cruising buoy we went ashore for a little walk and a well earned beer. The boys had a great time poking round in the mud in front of the pub and Robert even found a 2p piece! Back on board a fine fish pie was consumed with gusto.
25/07/2012, Porth Cressa, Isles of Scilly, UK
Start / Finish Time: 13:37 / 15:49
Daily time / distance: 5.7 NM / 2hr 11 mins
Weather Forecast @ 1800; variable mainly N to NE 3-4 declining 2 at times. Smooth/slight. Vis mod/good occ. poor at times.
Crew: Nevil, Rachel, Robert & Luke. Larry.
In the morning the weather was still fantastic and the sea turquoise blue and flat calm; Scilly at its best. I wanted to go ashore on Nornour to show the boys the Iron Age Village and the boys wanted to swim with the seals again. After a bit of a problem finding the right fuel to refuel the outboard (eventually located in a forward locker none of us had recognised as existing) we put this plan into action. We then had a leisurely lunch whilst we settled the detailed plan for the remainder of the day. We decided that we would use the afternoon to do some more handling under sail practice and make our way round to Porth Cressa for a final run ashore on St Mary's. We would then have dinner and aim to set off on our sail back to the mainland at around 9pm with me taking the first watch until about 2am and then Rachel doing her required night hours from 2am onwards, aiming to arrive at Helford at about 7am.
The first part of the plan went fine; we did our practice, moored to one of the buoys in Porth Cressa and went ashore to shop for both food and deck shoes along with some caps and tee-shirts for the boys. We returned to Wheal-Go and chilled out for a while then started on our evening meal. At around 8pm we noticed the tops of the hill on St Agnes disappear in the cloud, which rapidly became thick fog first eclipsing the Spanish Ledges cardinal buoy about 500m away then dimming the shore around 150m away and ultimately even the large yacht next to us was a ghostly shadow; we weren't going to be going anywhere until this cleared. We decided that if it hadn't cleared by midnight we would wait until the morning and Rachel then went off to bed to prepare for her night shift.
Larry and I checked every half hour or so but by 11pm it was still thick so we had a glass of wine before turning in. In the morning I reported that I had checked at about 1am and Larry had checked at about 2am and although the odd star was visible it was not really clear and by this stage we were just too comfortable for the night!
24/07/2012, Menawethan, Isles of Scilly, UK
Start / Finish Time: 09:28 / 13:45
Daily time / distance: 8.3 NM / 4hrs 16 mins
Crew: Nevil, Rachel, Robert & Luke. Larry.
We awoke to a slight mist that gradually burned off to reveal another glorious day of blue skies and sunshine. Our simple aim today was to move round to an anchorage close to Great Arthur and to go snorkelling with the seals at Menawethan. Although the wind was very light Larry used the opportunity to do some sail and power handling with Rachel as we came out through Crow Sound. Robert asked if he could take the dinghy for a spin and since we were mobile I thought we could go to him if he had a problem so granted his wish. Larry was a little sceptical at allowing a not-quite-12-year-old alone in a small RIB but Robert loved it and was very well behaved and showed his ability to be sensible and handle the boat well. When it came to Luke, I got in the dinghy with him but allowed him full control as we went to have a look at the seals up close.
We returned to Wheal-Go and carefully brought her in close to Great Arthur and anchored. A seal was so kind as to be sleeping on the rock awash just to the west of Menawethan so that was easy to spot at least. After some lunch we left Larry on board and went off to snorkel with the seals. Getting into the water was bracing; our wetsuits are a little too big and the water was about 15degC but once in the seals were as inquisitive as ever and we had a great time watching them watching us. After as long as we could stand in the water, the boys wanted more time in the dinghy so I made each of them demonstrate to me that they could row it all the way round Wheal-Go before they were allowed to whizz around within strict boundaries of about 100m from the boat. The squeals of laughter could be easily heard above the noise of the engine until they ran out of petrol and rowed themselves back to Wheal-Go. What a great afternoon!
23/07/2012, Newlyn to Scilly, UK
Start / Finish Time: 08:14 / 19:57
Daily time / distance: 41.5 NM / 11hr 42 mins
Weather:.web forecast SSW 2 sunny. Forecast issued 0400 for 0600 Mon to 0600 Tue: variable but mainly S 2-3 occ 4 at times. Mainly 4 in west near Scilly. Slight sea, moderate west of Lizard. Fog patches. Outlook - similar.
Crew: Nevil, Rachel, Robert & Luke. Larry.
After a good breakfast we got underway to catch the outgoing tide. I was helming to get us out and eased us backwards out of the berth. Going into forward I went to spin the wheel but it didn't go anywhere. I pulled it round but boy it was heavy. Making a bit of a hash of the exit, I couldn't understand why the steering was so dead, although the previous charterers had mentioned knocking in the steering in the logbook. As I changed to the port steering wheel I found it even more stiff, then realised that although I had released the brake on one wheel it was still on on the other! Lesson no. 1 for that day!
I determined that I would not use electronic navigation that day so used three point fixes to see where we were and forecast estimated positions every hour to do the navigation. I generally found our actual position to be within 1NM of the forecast position at the end of each hour which I was reasonably happy with, especially since the wind was quite flukey and we were alternately sailing then motor-sailing to keep us going. Passing Tater-Du then the Runnel Stone we were soon out into the Lands End TSS although we only saw one ship in the hour and a half it took to cross. We saw more sunfish and some dolphins or porpoise in the distance and the occasional diving gannet.
As we approached Scilly there was a discussion as to where to head. Although I wanted to go north about to St Helen's Pool, Larry and Rachel wanted to go to St Mary's so I acquiesced and we entered via St Mary's Sound. We picked up a buoy, despite some dingy rowers making it very difficult, paid the harbour master and then went ashore in our own dingy for a stretch-legs and some shopping. After buying supplies in the Coop and finding an ex-rental DVD for the boys we returned to Wheal-Go to find her rolling like a pig in a swell coming in from the Western Rocks. After maybe half an hour we decided that this was not going to be conducive to a good night's sleep so planned and executed a quick motor round to St Helen's Pool via Crow Sound now that the tide was sufficiently high. We followed the leading line in past various rocks visible in the clear water, although the plotter was showing us up to 30m or so off course and much closer to the rocks than we actually were. We anchored up and had a very quiet, still night in our beds, not something that would have happened in St Mary's Harbour.
22/07/2012, Falmouth - Newlyn, UK
Start / Finish Time: 10:39 / 17:54
Daily time / distance: 38.4 NM / 7hr 12 mins
Crew: Nevil, Rachel, Robert & Luke. Larry.
As part of the plan for all of us to up our skill levels, we had booked an instructor to come with us for the week. Larry arrived around 9am and we started off with a discussion on what our aims were for the week, in terms of learning and destinations, and then a thorough end-to-end search of the boat to discover the features and facilities. We agreed that we would aim for the Scillies and would start off by getting as far as Newlyn whilst we familiarised ourselves with the boat and each other.
I manoeuvred Wheal-Go out of the pontoon berth and into the river channel, then supervised Luke helming her down the channel, reminiscent of three years ago in I-Go. Once out in the Carrick Roads we got the sails out (Wheal-Go having roller reefing on main as well as headsail) and slowly tacked out to sea. Once clear of Black Rock, Larry threw the customary man-overboard drill. After a moment contemplating trying to instruct Luke to helm it I took over, fluffed the first attempt but picked it up second time around with a few coaching words in my ear. Larry was obviously reasonably happy with the attempt and had formed his first impressions of our skills. Due to the light westerly wind we started the engine and motor-sailed past the Manacles and round Lizard, just after which we saw our first sunfish, a sight that was to prove quite common during this trip. In Mount's Bay we found the wind had strengthened slightly and was more favourable so we managed to sail most of the rest of the way to Newlyn.
Entering harbour was easy enough but we got no response from the harbour master on the radio until we had tied up, at which point we were told we were in the wrong place and would have to move. Never mind, more manoeuvring under power practice and we were soon snugged up for the evening. After some quick planning we determined we were in no hurry to leave next morning (target 10:30 or so) and we then walked through the centre of Newlyn, such as it is, to the Newlyn Meadery for a delicious evening meal.
21/07/2012, Falmouth; UK
After flying back to the UK and taking the train down to Cornwall on Friday, I rejoined the family and we set off on the next part of our adventurous summer holiday on Saturday morning. We were all booked on the Sea Survival course, so weighed down with all the kit for our charter too, we set off for Falmouth Marina bright and early. The car was full to brimming with food and the children almost invisible under mounds of pillows and sleeping bags. Good job it was a short and clear trip before the tourist traffic got going later in the day!
We were surprised to find ourselves the only purely leisure participants on the course; all the others were fishermen or from the commercial end of the leisure market. The theory bit got off to a poor start with the instructor's computer not working and the back-up not talking to the projector until I sorted it out but eventually we got going and the content was quite interesting. The most important and fun part was in the Truro School pool where we practiced the huddle, group swimming techniques, getting into a liferaft from the poolside and from the water and turning over a capsized raft. We did all of these exercises as a family of four for the best realism and even Luke managed to right the raft on his own. Overall the course was instructive and has prompted some thinking on what hardware we need to invest in for our own sailing.
After the course concluded we took possession of Wheal-Go, a 46' Bavaria, which was an upgrade from our booked 36' vessel. There was so much room the boys could each have their own cabin which they thought was wonderful! After getting our kit on board we headed for the marina restaurant for a tasty meal and tipped into bed relatively early, tired after swimming lengths in foul weather gear and lifejackets.