Our first week away has not seen many miles pass under Taransay's keel. Last week strong south westerly winds held us and many other boats on the English side of The Channel. Colin and I joined up with friends on Echo, Eaupal and Champers to enjoy Lymington and Yarmouth while we were waiting.
Friday an ease in the winds allowed us all to set sail for Cherbourg, by 06.30 at The Needles there was a small flotilla of yachts following us out, we had not been the only boats looking to cross The Channel. A cracking sail from The Needles in to the inner harbour at Cherbourg took just 12 hours, the log showed 68 miles.
Saturday was spent buying baguettes, prawns and one of those enormous frilly lettuces from le marche and we fixed a fuel leak on the outboard with the help of Chris and Steve. Moving on tomorrow, our friends are heading east to St Vaast we may follow to enjoy their company a little longer before heading west early next week.
Photo from the channel crossing, perfect wind and weather.
Taransay and I took a week away recently with our friends from the Ashdown Sailing Club, Ian and Jean S (above) and Ian G. Having two Ian's onboard got interesting when it came to who was doing what.
Ian S was our 'yacht club guru' and we found ourselves accepting the lunchtime hospitality of the Royal Southampton Yacht Club at Gins Farm on the Beaulieu River. In Weymouth it was the turn of the Royal Dorset Yacht Club, newly refurbished 'in the style of an ocean liner' and lastly at Lymington Sailing Club where we were invited to join the celebrations with twin club Honfleur Cercle Nautique. A thoroughly enjoyable evening and a real contrast to the quiet night at anchor in Poole Harbour.
The sea was flat calm behind Brownsea Island which turned out to be a good thing as I found diesel swilling about the bilge, eventually traced to a leak on the injectors, it was easily fixed. Shame the same could not be said about clean up.
Regardless of this adventure nothing could spoil a great week sailing to windward, both ways! The company was exceptional and the sun shone. What more could you ask for, perhaps more of the same. With that in mind Colin and I are off on our summer travels next week, we will be posting regular updates here.
Look out South Brittany!
09/05/2011, Poole Harbour, Dorset, UK
Over Easter we took advantage of the 11 day holiday, when two bank holidays slid seamlessly together with just 3 days leave taken, the weather was also unseasonably warm. Was this compensation for all the hard work we put in last year, you bet it was.
A days sail from Portsmouth brought us to Studland Bay just outside Poole Harbour. Our plan to walk out to Old Harry rocks hit a hiccup with the outboard refusing to start, Which of us was supposed to remember the fresh petrol!
Instead we moved to Pottery Pier and took an evening walk on Brownsea Island. Red Squirrels, Deer and Peacocks crossed our tracks some more shy than others as you can see in the Gallery under Easter 2011.
When the wind went more North making Pottery Pier exposed we moved to South Deep. Moored in the shelter of Green Island there was time to sunbath, read and watch the sunset. On the last night we were joined by friends from the Ashdown Sailing Club. Over a nightcap they encouraged us to abandon the tranquillity of our hook and head to the more lively Poole for a night out. The following afternoon we found Town Quay full but somehow Colin managed to squeeze us in to the last berth in the marina. In car terms it was like trying to park a Volvo in a space better suited to a Mini.
Next morning a gusty sail blew away the cobwebs taking Taransay past St Albans head to Lulworth Cove with the Ashdown boats where we made an emergency trip ashore to find ice-cream for 10 hot sailors.
Colin and I saw the wind falling light and decided to BBQ on the beach in Worbarrow Bay instead of motoring back to Poole, Raggamuffin joined us for a fun evening and yet another sunset. Intriguingly we anchored next to a motor boat named Taransay.
In the morning the start to our sail home was delayed by listening to the Royal Wedding over the radio, and then on the way by fishing for mackerel, however we reached Lymington by 6pm joining up with friends on Echo. Unknown to us Steve knew his way round an outboard engine and offered to help get ours going, but we still needed fresh petrol from the floating fuel berth. I volunteered to row downriver to get it, Colin came along to save calling out the coastguard, my rowing skills are improving... we returned with the petrol and fixed the outboard in no time.
All too soon it was time to sail back to Portsmouth the wind strong and gusting from the east it was a bit of a slog, still pain has no memory and when we reached home all we could remember were the sunny days at anchor, good friends and sunsets.
21/04/2011, Itchenor, UK
Drying out on the piles sounds uncomfortable to the uninitiated but for a boatowner it can be a most satisfying and pocket pleasing experience. We first tried it with our friends at the Ashdown Sailing Club ten years ago. Truly converted, we were back with the Ashdown SC last weekend to dry out Taransay and check out her hull. How had our DIY approach to osmosis treatment turned out?
At high water Taransay was secured alongside two stout piles, after that we just had to wait for the sea to drain away. There is a feeling of trepidation as the keel approaches the seabed, yachting is not usually a contact sport and we do our best to avoid grounding, most of the time we succeed. Soon though the keel settled and we strapped our boat to the piles like enthusiastic knitters.
Our new Avon Rover dinghy and been won off eBay during the rainy week we spent in Paimpol last autumn. Collected from deepest Norfolk it had leaky valves (which we knew about) and no unnecessary luxuries like a seat, a pump or oars. All things fixed easily. Colin rowed the dinghy off on her maiden voyage to collect our friend Jane, who had come to help us, from the foreshore.
As the water level fell there was time for lunch and to admire the view, afterwards Colin climbed down in to the dinghy and started to wipe the slime off our copper coated hull, it looked good 8 months afloat and not a barnacle in sight. Jane and I serviced the winches and when the water had receded enough cleaned and greased the propeller.
A successful day the dinghy floats, rows and stays inflated, the hull was sound and we even managed to fit in a meal at The Ship Inn before the tide came in. Before midnight it was high water and time to motor off to find a quiet buoy for the rest of the night.
This month has been an exciting time for us. Last night we were delighted to accept The Lacey Trophy presented by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. The Lacey Trophy is awarded by the Cruising Association for the best 'on-line' entry to the log competition.
Our 'hobbies' of writing and photography are expanding I spent the best part of this month locked away in the office writing a feature for Practical Boat Owner. Every night when Colin returned from a hard days commute, he was accosted by a re-write which he not only had to read but give a much valued opinion on. The feature will be published in the September issue, remember to look out for it.
Cruising World, an American magazine, have accepted a shorter piece for their 'Makeovers and Refits' section which will also be published in September. The stars must be in alignment for us that month.
We did try to take a break from sailing and boatwork but failed miserably, managing just three weeks absence at any one time. New Years Eve found us moored in Newtown Creek. The night was so clear and calm that we rafted next to our friends Steve and Julie in their yacht Echo. At midnight we could see the fireworks across the Solent along Southampton Water. Last Saturday found us on a rally with the Ashdown Sailing Club negotiating the River Medina, heading for the Folly Inn just after one of the lowest tides of the year. Low water Sunday morning was around 05.00 by 06.44 we still could not pump water into the heads (0.5 metres below the water line) and I was getting desperate!
Taransay dries happily in soft mud and will take 0.5 of a meter on harder ground. Don't ask how we know so much about going aground in her ;-) The approaches to Port Solent taught us a little more about this later on in the day, we only know two people who live near Port Solent and they both saw us. Tea and cake anyone?
The next time we go aground it will be deliberate, Taransay is booked on to the drying piles for her annual health check.
A good question, we both work yet manage to juggle a couple of months each year to go sailing, but money is tight. Two months was enough to extend our cruising ground to South Brittany in 2011.
In the 2010 cruise, during September and October, I kept detailed accounts of where the money disappeared to. Wow did it go fast and easy, spending only cash made the outflow look more like a torrent than a lazy river. The pie chart above shows where it went.
For Groceries read food, wine, cleaning stuff and even loo rolls, buy one get one free in the Dartmouth Co-Op 32 rolls to dinghy back and find dry storage for! We were still using them at home 9 months later.
Fuel covers 3 bottles of 907 size Camping Gaz (average £17.40 each) 208 litres of Diesel (90 hours) 6 litres of Petrol and 8 Litres of engine Oil.
Don't expect to eat or drink out on this budget we didn't. The poor exchange rate also means that today the cost of a meal out in France is the same as in the UK.
Rocking gently at anchor in a warm breeze is our preferred way to spend a couple of days, but we are sociable types and we don't seem to meet many people at anchor either in the UK or France. Everyone is probably doing the same thing, chilling out and avoiding thinking about work on Monday morning.
Meeting others apart we had failed to consider how secure we felt. Moored in the free anchorage on the Helford River in Cornwall, was ideal until a F6 funnelled through in the night and continued unabated for 3 days. I was constantly aware of the chain stretched out fully under load and the wind whistling aloft. Only 50 yards away I could see the visitor buoys bobbing in relative tranquillity under the lee of the trees, cost £16 a night (landing fee £2.50 extra) eventually we moved for the sake of our sanity.
When we did go ashore we found our Avon Rover 2.5 dinghy did not keep us dry, even small waves splashed over the sides and the slatted floor was not stable enough, we needed to upgrade.
We would like to share some of our favourite photos from Taransay's 2010 Summer Cruise. Just in case you thought it was all rain, squalls and tidal races here are some blue sky and sunshine moments. Find them in the gallery album titled, Autumn 2010.
We are already looking forward to making more memories in 2011.
Above; October Morning, Newtown Creek, Isle of Wight.
15/11/2010, Port Solent
We are now safely tucked away for the winter, and are seriously considering installing heating on Taransay.
Our photo shows the last squall the weather decided to throw at us on our sail from Lymington to Port Solent. Taransay was happily sailing along with a fine and sunny day ahead of her. Colin went below to put the kettle on, glancing behind us as he did. There he saw the ominously black skyline of a squall obviously heralding a spot of wind and rain.
Sail was shortened, delaying our cuppa tea and the squall hit soon after delivering strong gusts and hard rain. Taransay took it all in her stride. We did hear a mayday on the radio when a yacht lost two crew overboard and witnessed another yacht struggling after thier lines danced a tango with the furling gear on the foredeck.
When it was time to sail home across The Channel the wind was still blowing against us. However before reaching The Channel the Alderney Race, that lies in the narrow gap between Alderney and France, has to be negotiated. The race is well known for its rough seas, especially when the wind is blowing against the tidal flow. The sea state varies considerably according to conditions at the time. A slack tide at the race with little wind can see calm and mysteriously swirling water. But when a strong wind meets an opposing strong tidal stream a dangerous jumble of steep waves and deep 'holes' that can swallow a boat whole, are created. We know someone this happened to and are justifiably cautious.
For several days a strong North East wind had made The Race an unpleasant prospect. Not wanting to disappear in to any 'holes' we choose to leave late afternoon during a brief spell of lighter winds.
Out of the handful of boats planning the same route there were as many passage plans as there were boats. We were the only ones to leave.
Our voyage was timed well, at The Race there was some slightly choppy water, which eased as we sailed north. I had a thick cold and was looking forward to a gentle trip cross channel. Apart from one ship going the wrong way down the shipping lanes confusing us all, we had a quiet voyage on a clear moonlit night. So quiet I slept for most of the way. It was still dark when we tied up at Town Quay, Lymington early Monday morning.
In a weeks time Taransay checks-in to Port Solent for the winter.