Portland to The Sun

Vessel Name: Paradox of Plym
Vessel Make/Model: Freedom 39 Pilothouse Schooner converted to junk
Hailing Port: Brighton
Crew: Brian and Maddy Kerslake
About: We are ex teachers and semi-retired owners of an educational software company, Topologika Software Ltd. We have been sailing for over 35 years, starting with a Mirror Dinghy in 1972 and progressing to our current yacht, a Freedom 39ft which we have converted to a junk rig.
Extra: Members of the Junk Rig Association
16 August 2015 | Pornichet/La Baule marina
29 September 2011 | East Cowes, Isle of Wight
29 September 2011 | Isle of Wight
29 September 2011 | Weymouth
16 August 2011 | Portland Marina
13 August 2011 | Portland Marina
13 July 2011 | Portland Marina
Recent Blog Posts
16 August 2015 | Pornichet/La Baule marina

Pornichet

Been in Pornichet for about two weeks now. We originally intended to stay a night or two but weather meant it became 5 days and then with weather not favourable again we decided to ask my sister to send on our post which had not been seen for over two months. She paid thirty pounds to send it which we didn't mind as it contained a power pack for my laptop amongst other quite important stuff. However after four days only one of the two parcels had arrived! Not good but patience is a virtue.

29 September 2011 | East Cowes, Isle of Wight

East Cowes Marina

We would have stayed for another night so that we could enter the Medina river on Monday when there would be less traffic, but the forecast wasn't good for anchoring, so we left around 0900, motoring on a favourable tide until we reached a point just west of Cowes where three large tankers were laid [...]

29 September 2011 | Isle of Wight

Needles Channel

Next day we set off from Studland Bay for the Fairway Buoy at the entrance to the Needles Channel, homing in on it as a GPS waypoint, but regularly monitoring progress the old fashioned way, by compass. It was a lovely sail, and a treat to tackle this famous passage into the Western Solent, with the [...]

29 September 2011 | Weymouth

In retreat!

After a lot of setbacks - mainly to do with the new rig, poor weather and my back - we gave up the idea of crossing the Channel to France, Spain or Portugal this year, and decided to retreat to the Isle of Wight, East Cowes seeming to be a good place for a 6 month winter berth. Several sailors we met [...]

16 August 2011 | Portland Marina

Boom crutches

Local stainless steel fabricators built us two boom crutches, the main sail one being shown here. Brian designed it so that we can use it for stowing the mainsail when in harbour, but it also stops the sheet decapitating the helmsman and provides a structure for a bimini and cockpit tent.

13 August 2011 | Portland Marina

Not plain sailing!

Bent boom

Pornichet

16 August 2015 | Pornichet/La Baule marina
Maddy Kerslake
Been in Pornichet for about two weeks now. We originally intended to stay a night or two but weather meant it became 5 days and then with weather not favourable again we decided to ask my sister to send on our post which had not been seen for over two months. She paid thirty pounds to send it which we didn't mind as it contained a power pack for my laptop amongst other quite important stuff. However after four days only one of the two parcels had arrived! Not good but patience is a virtue.

East Cowes Marina

29 September 2011 | East Cowes, Isle of Wight
Maddy and Brian
We would have stayed for another night so that we could enter the Medina river on Monday when there would be less traffic, but the forecast wasn't good for anchoring, so we left around 0900, motoring on a favourable tide until we reached a point just west of Cowes where three large tankers were laid up at anchor. Paradox's speed went down and down, and we had to use more of the engine's power than Brian really wanted to. She's a heavy boat - 16.3 tonnes - so it takes a lot to shift her.

When we looked at the tide map more carefully later, we saw that we had chosen the wrong side of the West Solent to approach Cowes - the
favourable tide had been in mid-Channel! (We had wondered why a lovely gaff-rigged boat went off towards Southampton at that point!) As
soon as we turned south into the Medina, the tide became slack and all was well, except that being Sunday morning we were arrving just as everyone else left. The Medina isn't very wide and it took a lot of manouvering by Maddy to get us to the vicinity of East Cowes Marina.

Brian had to turn the boat through 360 degrees twice to get her into position to enter her designated berth and, just as he approached it, so did a fast powerboat which, we learned later, had been allocated the same berth. Luckily her skipper was alert, stopped his boat and reversed out of our way - well he did have twin engines and a bow thruster! We were helped into a hammerhead berth by the skipper of a boat from Langstone Harbour, moored on the other side of the pontoon.

So here we are now in an excellent berth in the Visitors part of this Dean and Reddyhoff marina, who also built Portland's new marina where we stayed last winter. East Cowes is busy as lots of people are taking advantage of the Indian Summer. It's very interesting watching all the different yachts and power boats, while sailing schools practise berthing near us and Ellen Macarthur's Cancer Trust yachts slip in and out (the Trust is based here). Brian's enjoyed watching Girls for Sail boats and meeting a couple of liveboards, and is looking forward to seeing who owns the three-masted junk behind us. Maddy is happy there's a Waitrose just ten minutes walk away, and a free chain ferry to West Cowes.

Needles Channel

29 September 2011 | Isle of Wight
Maddy and Brian
Next day we set off from Studland Bay for the Fairway Buoy at the entrance to the Needles Channel, homing in on it as a GPS waypoint, but regularly monitoring progress the old fashioned way, by compass. It was a lovely sail, and a treat to tackle this famous passage into the Western Solent, with the tide and in company with hundreds of other boats.

The Channel narrows at Hurst Point, after which we figured out that we probably wouldn't get into Cowes at high tide, the preferred time as the water level stays put for an hour or so, making mooring easier. The anchorage off Newtown Creek looked good, so we once again dropped the hook for the night. This anchorage was perfect, totally peaceful, just a few other boats, and no swell at all. The only problem with it was that the spot Brian chose to anchor was right in line with the Creek's leading lights - he decided to ignore this.

In retreat!

29 September 2011 | Weymouth
Maddy and Brian
After a lot of setbacks - mainly to do with the new rig, poor weather and my back - we gave up the idea of crossing the Channel to France, Spain or Portugal this year, and decided to retreat to the Isle of Wight, East Cowes seeming to be a good place for a 6 month winter berth. Several sailors we met had given favourable reports, and research showed that it was a lot cheaper than the West Country. We would be sheltered from the wind and waves (ideal for Brian's endless boat DIY), and close enough to Brighton for when he needed a good cappuccino.

Almost immediately after we had made that a plan, the weather changed and a beautiful Indian Summer arrived. Quite a few sailors in Weymouth where we were tied up on the Town Quay for a week, told us in conversation that they were off to Portugal. We were pretty disappointed not to be doing this also, but we weren't totally confident about starting off on a long voyage with a still-unproved rig and loads of DIY-clutter on board, so we did the next best thing and left Weymouth on Friday 23rd for East Cowes via the Needles Channel.

We had only ever sailed around the south of the Isle of Wight before, so this was all new to us, and a real challnge to be heading for strong tidal waters again after the tiddler tides of Weymouth and Portland. There was very little wind, so we had a nice sail across Weymouth Bay and anchored for the night in Studland Bay north of Old Harry Rocks. It proved to be a good anchorage, with little swell.

Boom crutches

16 August 2011 | Portland Marina
Maddy
Local stainless steel fabricators built us two boom crutches, the main sail one being shown here. Brian designed it so that we can use it for stowing the mainsail when in harbour, but it also stops the sheet decapitating the helmsman and provides a structure for a bimini and cockpit tent.

Not plain sailing!

13 August 2011 | Portland Marina
Maddy and Brian
Bent boom

By August 13th - today - we should have been sailing down the French or even Spanish coast or at least setting off across the Channel after getting some practice in with our new and very powerful cambered panel junk rig, but things have not been plain sailing.

On our trial sail there was a fresh wind F4-5 and we had full sail set as we went up and down the fairway in the outer harbour. We should haved reefed before trying a gybe, which was bad and good. Bad in that the mainsail yard which carries the weight of the sail, battens and boom bent dramatically, an eye pulled out in the aft end of the batten below it, and the boom also bent (as you can see in one of the photographs), but good in that this happened during trials rather than out on the waves a long way from a harbour.

Anyway, the sail top panel (they slide out one by one) has been repaired and strengthened by it's maker Chris Scanes (www.sailsand canvas.co.uk), and the yard and boom are due to be replaced by next weekend now that the factory is back in action after its summer holidays. So it doesn't look as if we'll be making a passage until the end of August, and that we are now more than ever needing a good spell of weather.

Meanwhile, the marina has been very busy with many Olympic volunteers in brightly coloured 'London Prepares' t-shirts, helping competitive sailors from many countries in pre-Olympic regattas designed to test systems and security. The press have been here in force and are being ferried around in three brand new Jenneau 'Swift 44 Trawlers' which are made in France - a strange choice given that Sunseeker have a factory here. At least the and smart black Ribcrafts are made in Yeovil Somerset.

The delay has meant that we have been able to cross off some of the jobs off the never-ending list, including re-covering the settee seats, designing and having built two stainless steel boom crutches, sorted out the foresail so we can raise it by hand should the electric halyard winch ever fail, done some more teak deck repairs, had sail covers made, half-finished repairing the dinghy, overhauled its Tohatsu 3.5 hp outboard motor, serviced 'Paradox's' 50 hp Perkins diesel engine, got our 24 year old Airogen wind turbine going so we are 'off--grid' most of the time, and installed three new batteries.

So that's how we spend our time - working on the boat, shopping in Weymouth or Portland, waiting for buses and ignoring things that need doing to www.topologika.co.uk. At least we have bus passes.

Gallery Error: Unknown Album [1:]:16481
Paradox of Plym's Photos -

About & Links

SailBlogs Groups