A sail round England, Wales and
a bit of Scotland, including the Scillies and Eire!
Fiddler's Green's big adventure.
The second leg
painting by Phil.
Click on image above to enlarge.
Click the map of the UK above to read the preparation diary. An epic in itself!
I am adding to this page, as I ready the boat for part II!
(you have to scroll to the bottom of the page of course, for the 2014 and onwards bit!)
You can read part one of the log by clicking here.
Alternatively you can view the short video films of the first leg that I made here.
Ship's Sailing Log 2018.
As we set off I will be trying to update this page on a daily basis again, but it does rely on a good mobile phone signal so I can connect the laptop to the web. There may well be days we cannot connect.
The phone number to call me, please only for urgent queries or maybe to arrange to meet us.
:- 07850 286607.
I also will have an e-mail address, for urgent mails re the trip etc. 'fiddlers.green at eventides.org.uk'
You know the score, remove the spaces and the word 'at' and replace with @.
We will only be looking at mail at the end of the day when we are writing up this page...
The on-line Log of Fiddler's Green's travels, 2018
The latest entry will be at the bottom of the page here, so you will have to scroll down to read the last entry.
(Grab the slider and whiz it to the bottom with the mouse!)
Sorry those of you with iPads will have to make that swiping finger work hard, good exercise though!
magic logo provided by my friend the late Mel of Names4Boats.com!
one for each side of the cabin.
I will update these pictures, (done!) as the logo on the
boat has been updated!
The date has been dropped and the rest of Scotland added! On our trip 5 years ago I got so many comments about the missing bit of Scotland, I had to pen it in....
Since then we have repainted the cabin sides, first time they were painted in 27 or 28 years.... so it had to be replaced anyway.
Phil, crew 1st leg.
Brandon, crew on 2nd leg.
Harvey seen far left, joint crew on 2nd leg.
Keith, crew 3rd leg
John S. on right of pic, crew on 4th leg
Saturday 19th May.
The boat is afloat and being made ready.
The crew and their approx dates for joining and leaving the trip..
June 17th, until approx 9th July. From Bradwell. Crew Phil. Long time friend and work colleague and regular crew. Great in the galley and always cleaning and tidying the ship.
July 9th, until approx 19th July. Harvey (nephew, just finishing A levels!) New crew though has sailed on a couple of day sails. Keen cyclist and fit as a Butchers dog! Going to be an engineer, could be handy aboard!
Two crew on this leg!
Brandon, grandson, successfully been accepted for the Navy and awaiting enlisting this autumn. Has sailed many times with me on local jaunts. Ex dinghy sailor. Trainee chef!
19th July until August 2nd. Keith, brother in law and close friend, regular crew for past 40 years! Retired farmer and expert 'Fettler' always a good hand to have aboard! Also great in the galley.
August 2nd until finish late August. John, the Database Manager of the EOG, friend of 15 years. Sailed with me before on several occasions, has sailed in the Netherlands and UK in his own boat. Competent hand to have aboard but no idea what he is like in the galley, as yet!
Though I jest about the galley it is always good to have a competent cook aboard as I can, and have, burnt poached eggs! Aim is to try and test local eating establishments as we sail along, testing the fish and chips and other local produce! We will have enough tinned and dry food to survive a week up a creek, but the lure of the local chippy too much most days.
The aim is to sail when the wind is fair. No heroics. So if anything more than an occasional 5 and we do not move. also the wind has to be in the right direction, going to windward for a day is hard work, thus we have a larger fuel tank for the second leg and at 72 litres we could motor into a moderate head wind for 24 hours at full throttle! Not that I would do that, but you get the idea of the range. ( plus another 30 litres of fuel carried in cans!)...
The log will start in earnest shortly, June 17th.
Thursday 14th June 2018
The first test of the laptop editing and updating system, using my mobile to connect! If you are reading this, it works! Really clever tech!
Sunday 17th June 2018.
We are off on our adventure, and its also Father's Day!
We set off this morning at 0715 and of course my Darian came down to see us off. I knew she would, bet my cat woke her!.. As we were readying ourselves I looked out the cabin window to see her sitting quietly on the marina bar veranda! After wishing us more good luck, she waved us off and was last seen tidying my mooring lines!
We had dinner in the bar last night and after she left I found more cards secreted in my bag, opening one, sat in my bunk I filled the sleeping bag with tiny shiny green metal shamrocks!
I will write this page up properly tomorrow. Suffice to say we are in Ramsgate after a rather boisterous 11 hour, 55mile trip through the sandbanks of the Thames estuary. Now tired and sat aboard the boat in Ramsgate as it is buffeted by gusts of wind and heels about, I am only fit for bed. No let up in the weather tomorrow either, so we will be here to write this page up tomorrow.
Thanks to all for the good wishes and cards, nice to have you thinking of us old buffers out here!
John and Phil
leaving the Blackwater, its raining!
Approaching the Spitway
The MV Melissa
Red Sands Fort
Monday 18th June 2018.
We were rocked not only by the pilot boats tooing an froing all night by by gusts of F7 too! Today F4/5 SW so as that is right on the nose for the 3 hour run to Dover staying put.
Great call from grandson Brandon, he has passed the interview to get into the navy, he wants to serve as a chef, he is good at it! Now all he has to do is to get fit and lose those pounds and he will be made! Good luck with the fitness and diet Brandon! Make you run round the decks every morning!
Yesterday we left the marina at 0715 as planned, motored out of the creek and into the Blackwater before stowing fenders, set main and unroll genoa.
By 0730 we were on our way, doing 5knots over the ground with the tide. I was aiming at a 5knot average to do the 55miles in 11hours!
Yesterday was one of the longest legs and one of the challenging ones as we have not only to time leaving and arriving for catching the tide and crossing sandbanks but we also have to thread our way through the sand banks of the Thames and cross a busy shipping channel.
We make the Benchhead buoy, noting that it had changed position on the latest chart updates.
We are now steering for the Spitway, that ancient gap in the sand banks that features in so many of Maurice's stories. The rain starts! As the tide is Springs there will not be much water and we speak to the yacht Victoria who is slowly approaching the Spitway, enquiring of our draft. We tell him we have wheels! He is a deep drafted fin keeler so opts to anchor for a few hours..
At 0900 we scrape through with half a metre under us! The tide is still ebbing so going north slowing us but we have a beam wind and are sailing well.
Sadly the wind is not W but SW so as we start to go south then SW the wind comes head on, drop main, roll genoa and motor at 2k revs and 4kts , the tide has turned and lifts our speed to 5.6 over the ground. One other boat ahead.
Seas lumpy enough to nearly throw me off the loo!
We creep down the edge of the Maplins. Feels like we are creeping as they go on for miles...
Wait till we have cleared the SW Barrow mark to start to head across the Tideway. The Genoa is unrolled and we leap forward!
Watching ships in the Princes Channel as we will be crossing there. Anchored ships about too. Joy of the AIS, we can interrogate them on the plotter and see what they are doing.
Tried to used the on board camera today, but it ran out of battery too early, as I type this it is recharging.
The MV Melissa powers through at 15.5kts. We cross safely astern of her.
Despite having all the latest charts and updates buoys shown are not there?? Who pinched the Spile??
Visibility is great, unusual for the estuary, we can see the London Array and in the far distance the Thanet Array. We cross west of the Redsand towers and it's associated Array. Remember seeing them go up years ago the bases were in as we went up to St. Kats, on the way back several were finished! 5 days!
We soon were in Kentish waters and off Whitstable started zigzagging to avoid lobster pots! Marked with grey 5 gallon containers in a grey sea, clever!
We are now motor sailing with the motor at 1.5k revs and the full genoa. We are corkscrewing with a heavy rolling swell. At times we have 7.5 or 8 knots over the ground and 6.5kts on the log! Sykie the autopilot cannot cope so we hand steer, exiting at times!
The wind is now a good F5 and SW.
We race towards the North Foreland, negotiating the old Gore Channel and the Copperas Channels. The landmarks of Kent race by. Reculver Towers, Herne Bay and the venue for the 'Joly Boys Outing' in that favourite comedy, Margate. Soon the Genoa is rolled and we are rounding the North Foreland, trying to keep close inshore in 8m or less to avoid the last of the north going ebb. Our speed slowly drops to 3.8kts and we creep towards Ramsgate in heavy swells.
Call the harbour and the marina. We gill about outside in very uncomfortable seas as they set the lights against us. Another boat ignores them so I call again. They forgot to reset the entry lights for us! Huh!
Berth in the marina and those following me on my iPhone have already seen we are in! Clever. Thanks to sister Sue for showing me that last week! (See the boss is in Chelmsford having coffee!). Call the Coast Guard to book off to them. Dover CG have taken over the role of Thames CG, though I called Thames this morning Dover answer for them.. shame all these lookout points have been lost. Many taken on by the coast watch volunteers, thankfully. A job I would love when I swallow the anchor. wonder if any are attached to old folks homes??!
We avail ourselves of the excellent showers then trawl the streets of Ramsgate for a decent meal. end up in a noisy 'Sports Pub' but the food was good..
So Today, Monday, still bouncing about in the wind, we set about fixing a few things and tidying up. Charts sorted and all the Thames estuary charts, tidal atlases and pilot books packed away in the new sturdy zip up poly folders. Stored out of the way.
Charts are on the cabin table to be updated, the ones that I got Friday.
The new rubber stopper fashioned to fit round the chain in the hawse pipe is fitted, the heads (toilet) light fixed, it kept coming on in the night!
Crew off for a walk to find milk, whilst I write this up. He has filled the water tanks, washed the salt off and cleaned ship generally, done the washing up and sorted lanyards for the hawse pipe bung. Real useful hand!
Now to see if I can add photos?
Sun is out but the flags are flying stiffly, pleased to be in here for today and if the forecasts are to be believed, maybe tomorrow too!
John and Phil
The plotter view of the inshore route. only 2m of water in here!
Looking back towards Ramsgate, whilst the see was still smooth.
We are just off the eastern entrance when we spot this ferry heading to enter, we follow it in.
The famous painting found on the end of a terrace of buildings when we walked into Dover. Very cleverly painted!
Tuesday 19th June
The forecasts are varied and and confusing, but 2 out of 3 say light winds, so we are aiming to set off when the west going stream is favourable, so 1100 start. Plenty of time to sort ourselves and the boat and Phil had time to walk to a rather spectacular tower to the east of town that turned out to be an extension on a hotel!
I sort the kit and get all ready and plot a few courses on the chart. I am intending to take the inshore passage close to Pegwell bay and pass Deal pier.
I note with interest that the magnetic variation here is zero. All those years of applying 6 or so degrees! CADET, Compass to True Add East!!
At 1100 we set off, getting permission to leave the marina and exit into a flat sea! What a difference to yesterday!
We are head into the wind and so motor at 1200 to 1500 revs gently to windward. The fridge batteries are soaking up 20 Amps and the main battery 4. The tide is assisting at 2kts.
Deal pier on the horizon. Speed over the ground 4.5kts.
By 1130 we have coats off! The sun is out.. However as we get closer to Deal the wind pipes up and the coats go back on. The seas increase.
By 1230 the seas are very lumpy and it makes putting the kettle on a chore. I clamp the fore hatch closed as water starts to come on deck. The pair of new raised bulwarks work, deflecting seas that may otherwise have rolled onboard and down the side decks.
It is only 15 miles and the tide has given us 7 miles so it should have been easy, but by the time we are off the Dover Patrol monument of the South Foreland we are on 2k revs plus just to make 2.5 knots! The tide does the rest! But very uncomfortable. We pass one boat racing the other way, no one going our way, a couple of lobster pot boats out, spreading joy in our path!
Call Dover harbour when we are 2 miles off, a very friendly chap tells us to approach the eastern entrance and call again a cable off, (200 yards) We wait while a large P & O ferry powers past into the entrance, we are told to follow, I quip that I don't think we can keep up, the radio operator comes back quick as a flash, 'Do your best'!
Once in we hug the inside of the southern breakwater and creep westwards... then ask again to get permission to cross the western entrance. You cannot see if a ship might be coming in, but the AIS on the plotter, Lowrance, is constantly pinging and warning me of ships as they are all round us! All Clear and we get the go ahead.
We look for the marina entrance. cannot see it.... major works in here at the moment, they are building a new marina in the outer harbour and are going to lose the Granville and tidal harbours, a new lock will allow access to the old Wellington dock. work well advanced.
Eventually a moving sail boat mast gives me the clue I need and I head to pass close by a workboat working on the new wall and yes there is the entrance. I call the marina and we are allocated B50, alongside a large commercial fishing charter boat, snug berth. 1430, half an hour longer than I thought it would take, because of the rough seas!
We stop for lunch, it is baking hot, sat in the cockpit cannot believe how uncomfortable it was an hour ago.
Up to the marina office, pay the dues, same as Ramsgate £24 a night. surprised to find no fuel! But there is a BP petrol station in sight, so will fill cans there.
Walked into Dover town. Traffic was all heavies with imported or maybe exported goods, nose to tail! What a sad place, more betting shops, mobile phone shops, nail bars and boarded up places than is good for a shopping area. The Banksie pic was the best Dover could do! We do find a new shopping area with a cinema a M&S, Next, etc. but not many customers. Heading for the front we look for a coffee shop, spy the Yacht Club that we are told we can use, it is shut and an officious lady says so firmly!
Wander back towards the marina and chance upon a small bar with beer garden overlooking the Wellington dock, Cullings Yard. A pint of 'Pig's Ear was enjoyed in the sunshine, but the wind got cold...
Wandered back to the boat via the building site temporary walkways and hastened aboard to warm up, cold now, good breeze, SW5 I think.
Phil tries to get his head round the camera, it is so complicated and instructions in pigeon English!!
Forecast for tomorrow is for the same, or at least the weather forecast that predicted the F5's today has the same for tomorrow, the others still talk about gentle F3's, not here they are not!!
We will look again later but really for the next leg to Eastbourne round Dungeness, we need favourable winds...
All for now then
John and Phil
Ian and Linda aboard Silver Rose in Dover
She is a Buchanan design, one that can feature on our Buchanan pages!
The climb up to Dover Castle we found, hundreds of steps, knackered when we got to the top!
Looking back down the slope from the place the photo above was taken, does not look steep, but it was!
This was as close as we got to the Castle, baulked at paying to see one of our own castles!
Thursday 21st June 2018. The longest day....
We have stayed put in Dover for another day. The winds were still gusting 5/6 this morning so, as I have nothing to prove, thought we would wait till the sea had calmed down and the winds were favourable. Today they have swung through north from the SW and now they are easterly. That has calmed the sea nicely so we plan to leave tomorrow morning at 1000. It will take at least half an hour to get out of the harbour so plan for a 0900 departure.
So today we made use of the excellent warm shower facilities again, great to have decent showers in heated rooms, Bradwell take note! Then I phone our old workmates Linda and Ian, who keep their boat 'Silver Rose' here. We tell them we are still here and arrange to meet. Later they call to say they are aboard and to come round for coffee. Phil at this stage has gone off for a walk.... I shut up the boat and race off to find him, he is found sat in the sun, sketching, halfway along the harbour prom on his way to Deal! We get to 'Silver Rose' about 30 minutes later...
We spend a good couple of hours 'swinging the lamp' talking about our days on the Tideway, trying to remember all the names. Loads of stories recounted. Some say it should be written down, but it may get people into trouble, some of the tricks that we pulled! Eventually I have to drag myself off to the loo, so party over, great to catch up....
Phil and I try to get a sandwich at the swish eating place on the front, but it is far too posh for that, full blown meals only, so we wander along the front towards the castle. Seeing the viewing platform high on the cliff Phil wants to get up to it. We find the way up to the castle, hundreds of steps later and severely puffed we are confronted with a sign demanding £20 a head to go further! We opt out of that one. The girl cashier in the kiosk refuses to even take the empty plastic bottle we have picked up on our climb and we suggest they invest some of those pennies they are charging in a waste bin! We walk down hill via a road and dispose of the plastic litter later.
Seeing a Costa coffee sign we make a detour only to find it opens in July, but by chance we spot another some way off so the day is saved.
A slow wander back via the sea front and collapse on board!
I will have to rework all the tidal streams for tomorrow, but hoping I am just going to be one hour approx. later. The forecast is good, F3 all day and either a beam reach or a run, perfect!
So we have ticked off 70 nautical miles in 4 days so far, the target is 100 in 7 days, think we will beat that this week as the leg tomorrow is approx 45 miles and then the next day to Brighton, a shorter hop, but roughly 20, taking us well over the target. Total distance approx 750 miles. Does not seem that far, but at our slow sailing speed, relatively slow, 5 knots maybe 6 if we get a decent breeze and by working the tides to get a favourable set, we hope to achieve it, but it does all take time. At least we have made better progress in the first week this time, than we did 5 years ago! It was cold and dire then, sun out today!
Phil and I are hoping to make Devon before he jumps ship, but on the way explore a couple of places I have never been, Newtown Creek on the Isle of Wight and have a sail around Poole Harbour, want to see the red squirrels on Brownsea Island!
But today still in Dover. At least the fog has gone!
John and Phil
Leaving the entrance to the marina channel, Dover
This pier is soon to become the rear wall of the new marina and this are is to be mainly filled in!
Dover is left astern.
The Plotter in the cockpit has today route on it so we can see if my navigation below it OK!
The Stowe log is so accurate we use it to check our speed and the other log.
A well marked pot buoy. A rarity!
A Golden Hind in Eastbourne!
And us on the next pontoon!
Friday 22nd June 2018.
Woken by 20 diggers, cranes and workboats starting up at 0700! Noisy here!
We get washed and breakfasted and by 0915 I have cleared out exit from the marina with Port Control, unlike the Frenchman ahead of us who got the sharp end of the operators tongue! With all the work going on it is organised chaos here. Workboats everywhere.
We exit in flat seas and F3's I try to start the onboard video but at the critical moment drop the tiny controller into the cabin, lost! Another time....
Soon we are in shirtsleeves and lifejackets, clipped on, sails up but not really pulling, motoring, 1500 revs.
Within an hour the promised easterly wind had evaporated and we are motoring in a flat calm, but with a swell from the SW.
2k revs and we are doing 5kts, roll up genoa. Try the camera again now I have retrieved the dibber, but see the waterproof box round the camera has fogged up. I give up.
We are fighting a bit of tide here , but it soon turns in our favour and the speed steadily climbs to 5.6 and then 6 knots.
By 1000 we are 10 miles from Dungeness and dodging pot buoys.. A bleaker place would be hard to imagine! Then out of no where the wind pipes up, from the south, not north or east as promised and with genoa out again we are creaming along at over 7 knots with the motor slowed down, However it does not take long for the Southerly to become a SW F4 and later 5 and we are punching into swells with spray on deck, and us! Hard on the wind....
We play with the Lowrance plotter as we plunge into the seas, and find many interesting things in the menu. The tides! A smart measuring tool and more.. Lunch is porkpies with Branston pickle and crisps...
By now we have oilies on again of course and are hard on the wind port tack. By 1430 the genoa has been rolled away and the main over sheeted hard in much to stop the motion as much as anything. Speed drops of course, 5.5 knots over the ground. Shame we have 45 miles to go and can only carry a favourable tide for 5 hours, so we know we are going to end up punching it....
The Fairlight light is abeam, 'Fairlee' in the song Spanish Ladies. It is now getting rough, water on deck and along the side decks to the stern... I nearly fell off the loo at this stage!
I had allowed an extra hour when I called Dover Coastguard today and said my ETA would be 1800, looks as if I had been right.
We spot the odd looking 'Royal Sovereign' light out to seaward. Amazing it stands up still! Looks top heavy!
The Sovereign marina is now just 2 miles away and we are beginning to get a lee from Beachy Head, I call and arrange to come in. Several charter fishing boats race ahead to the lock. Talking to one skipper he said he had been out in the centre of the channel separation zone fishing in flat calm all day, only when he got to the coast was it rough, odd.
The system here is that a lock is kept open and when you arrive you just moor in it, they then operate the lock on the hour and half hour. There is another lock for those leaving...
1730 and we are in, so hot and calm after being bounced about a bit... and cold
Last time I was here, 18 years ago, it was a building site and the entrance was being dredged, nothing finished... we had to pass the dredger very closely and got caught in his prop wash! This time all is smooth and easy, and the place is full of luxurious flats, eating places and shops, gone the desolate expanse of endless shingle, dotted with diggers and concrete mixers!
We are berthed about as far away from the entrance as they can put us.. H54. The whole place is a goldfish bowl, with people on balconies all round looking down and boat crews gazing up! Some real posers here!
After a well earned coffee we set off to find the Asda we recalled from last time. A few provisions bought and transported back to the boat to put in the fridge them off for a meal. We started off in the Harvester, but it was so noisy in there I opted out, paid for my beer and we found a nice quiet grill a few yards away and had a great meal.
Planning to jump to Brighton tomorrow, amid stories of money grabbing marina masters. Hope not to stop these long, but press on to the Isle of Wight ASAP.
Mileage today, 45, total to date 115, in 6 days. If we can tick off another 25 tomorrow that will put us well ahead of target. 100 miles a week.
We will see what tomorrow brings, so far the forecasts have been rubbish, 180 degrees and two wind strengths out!
Tell you what though, even with the cold winds, we have gone brown. At least our hands and faces have! Rusty!!
John and Phil.
The Trinity House ship 'Galatea' anchored off Beach Head. Spotted here yesterday and thought it may have been something 'official', odd shape.
Beachy Head, note the lighthouse is at sea level, not on top!
The Seven Sisters.
Took this of a rainbow in the sky, but it has not come out, reds, greens and blues visible to the naked eye in swirls and patches in the clouds.
Passed close by this trawler, he was stopped! Wondered if he had snagged something as he was turning on the power but going nowhere.
Brighton ahead, through the spray!
Brighton Marina wall.
Saturday 23rd June 2018.
We are in Brighton. Yet again the promised easterlies failed to materialise and instead we bashed into a SW F5! Not good!
Another uncomfortable day.
Some boats that left with us tried to sail, ending up sailing well offshore, they were mostly 45ft plus, a couple turned back. Off Beachy Head I nearly did! But the motor purred on and we gritted the teeth and plugged into it. Tried unrolling a little genoa a couple of times, but we were so hard on the wind it was no good, so we watched the spray and water flowing down the side decks for 4 hours!
The coast swept past at a sedate 5 knots, as we could only make 3 and a bit the tide assisting for the rest. The views were good though, Beachy Head, Belle Tout, the Severn Sisters and then as Brighton came into view Roedean School on the top of the cliffs. We could see the new i360 viewing pod going up and down it's slender tower, just down the coast at Worthing, rather them than me, it has got stuck a few times!
Tried to call the C.G. today but did not get through, must check the radio plug on deck..... The hand held worked fine for calling the marina.
In Brighton we moor alongside a large German boat, turns out they are heading the same way as us, so will be leaving the same time, about 0800. Another boat recognises us from Eastbourne, they too are heading west.
We check out the facilities. The charge is the same as Dover and Eastbourne, the latter being the same company, £24.00.
Wander round the marina complex, shops etc. a large number of retail outlets and a larger number of eating houses, and at 1700 many full! It is Saturday and loads of families out. Work our way back to the boat after a good coffee at 'Bella Italia'.
Phil opts to go for another ramble whilst I work out tides and figure out what we might do tomorrow. I come to the conclusion that Bembridge may be an option, although when we arrive there will be no water. We could anchor and wait, or gently press on to Cowes. Mondays weather forecast is not good on any forecast, so it will be a two day stop..
Eating on board tonight.
Early night as 0800 start tomorrow.
140 miles ticked off in 7 days.
John and Phil.
Taloora from Walton
Motorsailing with sails setting well. note cone.
Note Cormorant o the buoy. This is boulder marking the way into the Solent!
Pot buoys! How on earth they expect us to avoid these I am not sure. Give us a chance lads, bright buoys and flags please!
Four ships doing a dance! Odd tides here!
No Pamela Anderson at the Baywatch Cafe, but good food and cracking view!
F.G. alongside the new Duver marina pontoon at Bembridge.
Sunday 24th June 2018.
We are in Bembridge, Isle of Wight. Was here 18 years ago and it has improved immensely. I was in two minds but as I was feeling tired, after a reasonably early start, 0800 leaving time, and it had been a hot and tiring day, opted to stop here. We were moved at 0730 as the boat inside us needed to leave, we just pulled the boat along the pontoon. Breakfasted etc. then by 0800 we were off, leaving the very bright lights of Brighton behind. The marina area has become what so many have evolved into, a great meeting and eating place. Bradwell take note! More different eating places that I could count and all busy.
The forecast was for gentle northerly or easterlies. Which to our surprise is just what we got! We left the marina and set all sail, hoping for at least a little sail. Flat calm too, magic!
Soon we were overhauled by Taloora from Walton, a Southerly 32 heading west like us. They crept ahead as the wind died. Motoring at 2k revs and doing 5 knots in flat calm water, made a change.
An hour later a sea breeze sets in from the south and stays with us all day, the sails fill and pull a little and the speed increases to 6 knots.
This is good as it is over 40 miles today and maybe 8 hours, so with the little extra speed and the lift from the tide we are winning.
Passing Worthing I call my daughter Jenny and Oly, they lived here when first married and the wedding pics taken on the beach at Goring....
It is a long haul from Brighton just steering for the Mixon and the Looe Channel to pass Selsey Bill. Takes us 4 hours to get there. This is the gateway to the Solent. Passing Littlehampton and Bognor I call Darian's sister Alison, she lived here for many years.. Memories for her and David.
Into the Solent. We have just 2 hours motoring to make St. Helens Fort off Bembridge, where I plan to anchor as it will be L.W. and the creek is not navigable till later. As it happens we creep in with the wheels down only an hour or so after L.W. 0.2m under the keel! We stop at anchor for a late lunch, Pilchards on bread, yummy.
The wind has been a F2 or 3 southerly all day and the sky is clear blue so sunscreen and sun hats, but still get hot and sunburnt. Relax till the tide makes a metre.
Then up anchor and away, you can see the bottom clearly! We draw a metre and there is only 1.2 metres in places, see the crabs scuttling for cover. Slowly make it up to the new 'Duver marina' as it is called, a berth free right on the end, perfect. Round up and drop into it as the harbourmaster comes to greet us. All very laid back and pleasant.
We make for the beach and overlooking the creek entrance is the Baywatch Cafe. We have a very pleasant meal watching the ships, the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary go past!
Staying here tomorrow, will take the water taxi over to Bembridge and do some shopping.. I have to spend some time tomorrow getting my head round these odd tides. Was totally fooled at one stage till I looked more closely at the Tidal atlas, 4 ships appeared to be doing a square dance, but in effect the tide had them 'stripping the willow' as it took them in circles, all at anchor! Watched the tide setting into the Solent as it also rose in the creek.
Lovely evening. lots of activity on the water to watch, Phil is off walking and watching! He does not have a camera with him but is busy sketching! Hope to see the results later..
Another 42 miles covered today making total to date, in 8 days, 182! Well ahead so far! Just over 550 to go!
John and Phil.
Cameron the young water taxi driver, happy in his work as are all the staff here!
A fleet of 'Redwings', The Bembridge one designs so popular her. Red sails of course!
The creek entrance at near L.W.
F.G. looks better for a wash and brush up!
Alongside at Bembridge.
Salty Ships cat, normally asleep on my bunk!
Monday 25th June 2018
We have stayed in Bembridge for a day. This place is now lovely... great improvement from 18 years back.
We have washed the salt off and fixed a weak floorboard in the cabin, I managed to scrounge a bit of old teak from Mr Whittall in the boat yard, he cut up a bit of scrap for me and then said, 'do you want a spare' and cut another! Solid Teak. Lovely chap! Screwed and glued it to the underside of the sole board in front of the cooker. Cured the problem.
Lots of interest in the boat, especially when they see our 'Fiddling Around' map and realise we are on an adventure!. Meet the ex owners of a G.H. Velurania? (Roman name for St. Albans!). He used her as a sail training boat for a School in Harpenden, I remember her... They sail a Vindo now, very pretty boat.
I went up for a shower in the morning and forgot the shower gel, so off for another tonight! Found by chance that Victoria the Harbourmaster had bread, milk and butter, so we could have breakfast as normal, also spotted ice creams!
We washed all the salt off of the boat and all the gear, scrubbed up and cleaned generally.
After lunch on board we nipped up for an ice cream and organised the water taxi to Bembridge, Cameron expertly took us to the beach where the ramp was dropped and we stepped off onto a nice clean sand. Walked into Bembridge, several pubs and good shops, a Boots the chemist and a Coop as well as several good shops. We had coffee out the back of the Bakery and bought sausages and pasties at the butchers!
We made our way back to the beach and could have sat there an hour, nice fine sand, warm and sunny, I then thought 'wonder if we have to call them to get the taxi back'?? We had to and as well I did as they were about to pack up and go home!
Phil is off for an amble again, back in time for dinner he says....
I sat down and went through the tidal stream atlas for the Solent and worked out the best time to get the advantage of the west flowing tide. I sets at over 3 knots going past Cowes. I remember this from my Yachtmaster test 30 years or so back, they were trying to get you to fail by putting the boat on the Bramble bank, or navigating to do so...
So hot in the cabin I break out the little 12v fan and set it up, that's better! trying to work out the tides was making my brain overheat as it was! It all seemed so easy years ago!
We eat in the cockpit, it is perfectly still and the tide almost full, the moon, also nearly full, hangs in the sky.
Tomorrow we leave at 1100 for Newtown Creek. Will spend the night there, if it is not full, and then make for Poole the day after.
Only draw back to mooring here is the lack of fuel. But with the tank now twice as large at 72 litres, (16 Gallons), we have more than enough, so will empty the two 5 litre cans kept in the locker into the main tank tomorrow and that will have it pretty much approaching full again, then we will fill the cans in Poole.
Also hope to do some laundry in Poole, but if that fails I am not too worried as at the rate we are making progress, we could well be in Brixham in a week and I can get it to Jenny's!
It is 2200 now and the air is getting chilly but it is so calm out there have not closed the boat up yet. Crew of another boat walk past, with black cat, taking him for a walk on a harness! Salty is jealous!
A relaxing day, for a change.
John and Phil
Victoria the very helpful face in the office at Bembridge.
The well protected special mark off Ryde?
Ferry Alert, he missed!
Very large ship turning close to us.
In Newtown Creek.
The Skipper caught napping... it was hot!
Curlew close to boat.
The back end of F.G. with all the whizzy kit!
Resident mullet, this one stayed alongside for 10 minutes.
Tuesday 26th June 2018.
We leave Bembridge and the Duver marina, highly recommended. Victoria the Harbourmaster sells us milk and bacon, with a cheery smile, they are all so friendly here! 1030 and we slip the mooring ropes and head off, in the creek we avoid a large crane barge, maybe the dredger for the expansion of the moorings?
Hope to sail today, taking advantage of the tidal stream and only having to go 15 miles, but the wind is very light so after a trial we eventually drop the sails altogether and motor on. At least the batteries will get a charge. When the wind pipes up slightly off Wootton Creek we have the motor in neutral at 1000 revs putting over 25 amps into batteries!
Car ferries and hover craft, fleets of sail boats and oil tankers, all to avoid! See a Yellow special mark surrounded with yellow buoys? Seems they do not want anyone to bump into it!
The AIS is going crazy! Avoiding the obvious shallows, we are just about at the top of the tide so no real hazards under us, just all round us!
We are sailing at just 1.5kts and Speed over the Ground 5 plus!
We sail and motor on till Newtown Creek entrance hoves into view, or the buoy marking it does. We have heard so much about this place we have high expectations. Contrary to the reports we note that even at half ebb boats are managing to motor in OK. We line up the strange but effective leading marks and go in, the tide is emptying at 2 knots. A boat sweeps past telling us its full! Not a good start. What he meant was the visitor buoys were full, like so many he did not use the anchor hanging at his bow. We putter in. Feels like any creek in Essex. Eventually we find a spot to drop the hook, just short of the oyster layings.
Do not see what the fuss is all about. Then I realise, we are spoilt on the east coast, we have kept all those magic creeks that feature in MG's writings, on the south coast they are all but gone, built up or dredged out for monster marinas. Newtown Creek is special, it is the last survivor here.
We lunch and relax, the temperature soars. Cool inside the boat though. We touch bottom an hour before L.W. and as we begin to float an hour after low water we are blown up the bank so stay static. The large boat upstream of us is well aground, worried that we may swing and bumping into him I break out the kedge, lay it out down stream simply by swinging it off the stern. Then lead its rope to the bow.
This works, when we do float we are hanging to the kedge and well away from the next boat. He eventually shifts to the deeper side of the creek and I can recover the kedge later and just hang to the bower anchor.
Dinner is sausages from Woodfords in Bembridge, great.
Rig the riding light and we retreat below. A quite anchorage, away from the hustle and bustle of marinas, with Buzzards and Egret, Curlew and Mullet to keep us company. An owl hoots in the trees nearby!
Another 15 miles ticked off, total so far 197.
John and Phil.
As we leave the Isle of Wight, Phil spots his boat in the distance.
One of the Forts, Fort Albert, looks as if it has been converted to a hotel!
Hurst Castle on the coast near Lymington, marks the western approach to the Solent.
Does not look like it but this one was trying to get aboard, big waves!
Spot the nice little blue tender!
Brownsea Island, cannot see Tufty the squirrel, but he lives there!
Parkstone Yacht Club, who own their own marina!!!!
And very posh it is too! Have to say most were OK and seemed to tolerate us, but cannot say we had a warm reception, unlike Bembridge!
Wednesday 27th June 2018.
We are up and about at 0800, no walks to showers here, a cats lick wash!
Breakfast and prepare boat. Radio test reveals the speaker is not working? Even the extension speaker does not work?? The telephone handset ear piece still works and I speak to Solent Coast Guard to report our passage to Poole OK. Have a hand held in the cockpit and use the speaker from that to listen. Shame is that I have a complete spare, identical VHF set at home, but opted not to bring it!
Will investigate further.
At 1000 we up anchor and putter out. There is a RYS motor vessel near the entrance, I tip my hat and get a very friendly wave. (RYS, Royal Yacht Squadron, members are invited to join, they cannot apply! Only club allowed to fly the White Ensign, the official flag of our navy).
The tide is flooding in well at the entrance. Motor hard to get out....
Sails up but we soon find the wind is too light and put the motor back on. an easterly wind and we try to goose wing, but give up as we are rolling. motor sail with main.
At Hurst Castle the tide will turn and be with us and maybe we can sail from there.
I keep hearing a strange humming sound and we put it down to a hovercraft. However I subsequently realise it is the auto bilge pump. Wondering if the float was jammed I lift a board, we are awash! Heck, this was the last thing I expected. A quick taste confirms it is salt so a quick check of all seacocks for a leak, nothing, but I do found the auto bilge pump outlet is turned off, lot of good that is... turn it on and a jet of water shoots out!
I figure it can only be engine cooling water or the sterngland, turn off engine seacock. A quick check round the cooling system on the motor and all is dry, attention turns to the sterngland... Shifting the life raft and opening the hatch it is apparent it is wet in there. OK, not leaking with motor off. Sponge out a couple of gallons from the bilge, no more comes in... Turn of seacock and start motor, looking down the hatch though we can see the water spewing out of the sterntube seal... . motor off.
We have the best sail yet. Tea and biscuits as well. I even deploy the fish finder, have to swing down the s/s bar it is mounted on. It shows up the jagged rock off Hengistbury head... Little wildlife, no fish on the fish finder, but they must be there as gannet are diving in not for away!
We sail all afternoon, 4 hours to Poole, making 4 knots plus the tide, but as we approach the Easterly 2/3 slowly becomes a southerly and increases to 4, the tide flushing out of Poole is kicking up a big sea, 2m waves with breaking crests, several times I thought they were going to come over the transom, but F.G. just lifts to allow them to roll past... We wallow in the troughs. Speed down to 1 knot so the motor has to go on and hard, 3k revs, I go below to mop up the water!
After what seems an eternity we creep astern of the Sandbanks chain ferry and enter the narrows. The tide is flushing out at 2.5kts. We edge close to the eastern side and slip into the small channel between the moorings, the tide slackens and we ease off the revs. Coming past the Sandbanks houses we see the ultimate tender moored on the front, a helicopter! Bet the neighbours just love it when he drop in!
We make for Parkstone Yacht Club, they have their own marina and a really posh new clubhouse, the place looks far to posh for us and we find it very difficult to get in, the security on the doors works too well, a member eventually takes pity on us and shows us in.
The sterngland is adjusted, the jubilee clips holding the rotating part on the shaft seem to have worked loose and the pressure relaxed on the seal. I adjust it up and the leak stops...
Will have to keep an eye on it....
Whilst in work mode I refill the greaser on the stern tube and empty the last 5 litre can of diesel into the tank, for some reason this can has a smaller diameter neck opening and my natty fuel transfer pump will not fit.. has to be carefully poured.. We always filter the fuel in with a filter funnel, amazing the rubbish it collects from supposedly clean cans of fuel..
Then up the club to wash up! The showers are good but very communal!
We get a decent pint at club prices £3.50 and a good dinner £8.50 each, coffee just a £1.00!
There is a small chandlery here and I ask if they have any VHF sets, am offered a handheld, but spot a 'main set' lurking on the back counter, lady says she did not know she had it... I have a look but it is pricey and not sure I can easily fit it, so decide to either come back or look at Force Four tomorrow. They as it turn out sell the same one £30 cheaper, but work out it may cost that in taxi fees so after measuring and deciding it will fit, opt to go back.
After sorting the radio tomorrow I hope to set off and explore the harbour. There is only a 1m tide range and many places are very shallow, so although a large area, navigation seems to be limited to narrow channels, hope to find a spot to anchor near Brownsea Island tomorrow, though do not expect to actually see any Red Squirrels!
Mileage today 25, total 212. This means we have now covered over 1,000miles of the 1,600 I expect to do to complete the circle!
John and Phil.
We thread our way through moored craft in the Wych channel.
'Tiger Lily' belonging to one of our members!
And another members boat!
Sunset on our anchorage, only us here! All the day boats have gone.
Pottery Pier, Brownsea.
Thursday 28th June 2018
We are still in Poole harbour, the forecast included some F6 and 7's so not for us. We tidied ship and yes I bought and installed that new radio, far better signal, no longer weak and distorted, but loud and clear! Even got a small discount! It is a Lowrance, same make as the plotter and fish finder and same group of companies as Sykie the auto pilot!
Also managed to get fuel, 36 litres in cans, as they had a delivery, and do my laundry, for just £2.50. All washed and dried.
We were on board, just back from a sandwich in the club when the owner of the berth came back, was not pleased to see us, not a friendly club this...
Without delay we set to to leave, but in a bit of a rush as I forgot to turn the new radio on, 50 yards down the exit channel I also realised my washing was still in the tumble drier, so about face and dropped back alongside the short stay pontoon for me to get the washing! Opps.
Second try. We motor out and thread our way through various markers and confusing buoyage and eventually putter right round the back of Brownsea Island, just past 'Pottery Pier' and find a sheltered spot to anchor. Brownsea was owned by a chap who believed the clay here was better than most for pots, he had a big business here, but eventually it folded as the clay was not that special! Island in the hands of the National Trust now and of course a Red squirrel haven, but though we are only 100 yards from the trees, not seen one.
The sun blazes, but the wind also howls, we made the right choice. At least we do not bounce around... not till 2330 when suddenly a swell gets up...
Sadly on the way here we find the fix I had done on the stuffing gland on the stern tube had not worked, bilge full of water again. I have a think about it. I have had 4 deep sea seals on the boat, but this is the first one that has had water injection, previous ones had relied on the water leaking up the shaft and a little grease from the greaser to lubricate them. So when it got cooler I disconnected the water injection. Running the motor afterwards, no leak! Think we may have cracked it. Will see tomorrow.
After all the boat is put back where it should be, it took a major upheaval to sort out all the bits I might need for the job, stowed away under the cushions in the quarter berth. In the end I made a simple fix and need not have sweated for 30 minutes emptying it all, and another 30 putting it back!
I had to cool off for a bit before I made a pasta meal, a success it was too.
I have worked out the tides for tomorrow, so if the wind has abated we hope to leave the harbour at noon to catch the tide west for Weymouth. First we pass Old Harry Rock and Studland Bay, before heading several miles out to sea to avoid the St. Albans Head race... nasty seas there, but not as nasty as the ones in a day or two's time off Portland. Nice to look forward to!
As I type this, a very full moon swings into view through the open companionway, the water around us silver.. The wind has got up again....
Not really any mileage today as we have remained inside Poole harbour.. but we motored about 4 miles.
John and Phil.
Brownsea Island main house. Now National Trust.
Old Harry rock and the remains of his poor wife!
Passing Handfast point and Old Harry..
The impressive mass of St Albans Head. What you cannot see is the mass of rock underwater that causes the waves. We only saw slight disturbances, but we were over 3 miles off.
Good to know we do have a 'Border Force' and they are armed!
Our first proper 'Fish and chips'!
Looking across Weymouth harbour. Fiddler's Green is by far the smallest boat here.
Friday 29th June 2018.
I am awakened by the phone, a text message from friend Richard, it is 0800. I was up late last night typing then just gazing at the moon and the water.... deserved a bit of a lie in..
Breakfasted and a cats lick wash... No one about outside we have the anchorage to ourselves. The wind has died down, overnight it was brisk at times.. We rigged our light sensitive LED anchor light again (used it in Newtown Creek), very effective.
Weather checked and contrary to earlier forecasts, looks good, so plan the departure time to make the most of the tide, leave Poole entrance at 1200, main up and motorsail down the small boat channel to stbd of the deep channel. The sun is blazing, lots of sun cream and silly hat of course!
Speak to Coast guard, great to be loud and clear! Realise the fist mike has a speaker in it so you can put it to the ear if it were noisy! Also hanging the mike out the rear cabin window the speaker on it is very loud and clear... Will try and reconnect the external speaker, but will wire in a 3.5mm phono socket to fit the plug on the speaker, rather than cut the plug off and connect the wires permanently. That can wait.
The overfalls off Old Harry rocks not to bad and we unroll genoa to sail. Leave the motor in neutral to charge batteries, can hardly hear it... We are sailing at 4.5 knots, no tide as yet, but there will be, later is is over 3 knots boosting our speed to 7kts over the ground..
We have to aim to pass offshore of St. Albans Head by 3 miles to avoid the heavy seas created by that 3 knot tide and the rocks below... And also to get outside the gunnery range, off Lulworth Cove. We pass it later but no ominous bangs!
The wind dies, puttering along at 1.5k revs and with the tide that gives 6kts. Not in any real hurry. Have hours of fair tide.
Lunch. Sausage rolls and tomatoes! Coffee and tea.
At 1600 we are sailing goosewinged and the motor is off, batteries all topped up, solar panel can top them up from now. Cannot quite see the entrance, but assume the tower we can see must be the one they refer to in the almanac, a 55m viewing platform. We sail a steady compass course towards Weymouth.
Ships manoeuvre ahead of us, eventually dropping anchor to wait for the tide to enter Portland Harbour...
Call Weymouth Harbour to request a berth and a very cheery harbourmaster allocates us a space, rafted out 3 from the wall. This radio is so much clearer than the old one! We end up alongside 'Nomad' and 'Isis', boats we have been hearing on the radio all the way from Dover and Ramsgate. chatting to the owners they say they have been keeping track of us. 'Isis' is from Horn in the Netherlands and bound for Dartmouth. 'Nomad' is going where the wind blows and is making for Brixham like us, so for the first time this trip will will be aware of other boats on the horizon going the same direction. Both over well 30ft though so they will be ahead of us.!
We drop sails and motor the last mile in, following the Border Force vessel 'Vigilant'. Pleased to see it is armed! Sad there are so few of them though..
By 1745 we are berthed, 15 minutes ahead of my estimate. I book off to the Solent Coastguard, again the radio call gets an instant response.
I walk round the harbour, over the bridge, to see the HM and pay dues. I have to wait, office closed, as he is raising the bridge for boats to get in and out of the marina. Paid just over £22. Cheaper than Poole!
OK the showers are a trek away, but they are new and clean and warm! Appreciated.
Only drawback to this place it the number of young people getting blotto and creating a racket. Never seen so much general drinking in the street, all the riverside bars spill onto the street. Not going to be a quiet night I suspect.
Walk up to Bennett's fish bar to get our dinner, a chap walks out the door with an open tray, in seconds 20 gulls have taken it from him and flown off with it. See a girl attacked by gulls too, and she did not have food! They are a real pest here. I insist on having ours in sealed boxes....
Back on board I retreat below to eat mine, Phil braves it in the cockpit, with gulls looking down at him from the quay.. Very good dinner.
'Face time' Darian, she is manically trying to water our trees, it is bone dry and some are looking a little limp! I had not rigged the watering systems up before I left, never expected a heat wave, does not normally happen when I am on the boat, ice on deck more common!
Checked the tidal atlas and the weather. Have to leave here at 1130 prompt to make the tip of Portland Bill by 1300, or risk being swept into the race! The wind looks as if it may be a F5, bit more than I would have wished for, but it is easterly, so after the Bill, it will be behind us, can live with that.
Tomorrow hope to be in Brixham by evening....
Today we added another 29 miles to the tally, bringing it up to 241.
John and Phil
Phil preparing to remove lines and fenders in the calm of the harbour.
Looking back into the 'Cove' where boats are rafted, often 5 deep.
One of our neighbours heading for the 'Bill'.
Portland Bill light and monument.
The Dutch boat 'ISIS' they were heading for Dartmouth then France, but later in the day we see them heading south.
Phil in the sunshine, Portland Bill just visible astern, we are off across Lyme Bay...
Still going across Lyme Bay, its big, the sun gets too much for Phil's nose!
The wind drops completely, the sea takes on a glassy calm look, we can see giant jelly fish far below...
Dusk and Brixham appears out of the haze, journeys end for today.
Two pics by daughter Jenny of us entering Brixham!
Great shots Eccles!
Saturday 30th June 2018
We made it to Brixham!
Overnight in Weymouth we rocked and the rigging on nearby boats rattled, it was probably F6 so I was surprised to hear the forecast was still F4/5. We were asked to move at 0800 and in my jim jams obliged, the dive boat could not get out. Others were similarly attired! Having shifted the dive boat did not move for at least an hour....
Showered and redid the calculations for my Cape Horn, Portland Bill. You do not want to get this one wrong!
At 1125 we moved off and jilled about in the harbour taking in lines and fenders so we did not have to bounce about on deck with our harnesses attached to the webbing 'jackstay' that is rigged to clip onto. Though safe, it is a pain to drag the line about with you on deck.
Call the coast guard and get an instant response, this radio is good and powerful, give them our safety information for the day and promise to book off later. ETA Brixham 2100.
We set off out of the harbour into a fresh easterly. I decided not to hoist main till we had rounded Cape Horn, sorry the Bill, and were sailing free from the race....
About 6 boats set of with us, we were of course far the smallest and they all over took bar one. I was mindful that I had calculated the time to arrive at the tip of the Bill was 1300, and kept to that. The tide was in our favour here and we puttered close by the cliffs, no more than 50 to 60 yards off most the time.
At the Bill I was amazed to see a stretch of flat calm water where the race should have been, later it would boil here. This is where the RNLI tests crews and lifeboats! Roughest race in the UK. But not today, today there were loads of divers, free diving with no tanks but with associated dive boats and 'A' flags. ( I have A diver down'.). In an hour or so's time the tide would be racing through here at 7 knots literally boiling the sea.
ISIS the Dutch boat, (unfortunate name they said, but I know it as the goddess of water, they apparently decided to head south to France from there rather than cross Lyme Bay and head from Dartmouth. The promised F4/5 turned out to be a F2 Variable....
Setting a course to get to Brixham 40 miles distant we settle down to the purring of the little diesel. It was to be on all day!
Lunch of cheese and lettuce sandwiches, mini pork pies and tomatoes and the free cucumber the lady who sold me the radio gave me!
We have main staysail and genoa set, but roll up genoa after a bit as it just hangs limp, the wind dies.
I check the bilges, worried that our fix for the sterngland had not worked, but it has and they remain that way. Dry!
Lyme Bay is 40 miles across from the Bill to Brixham. At 1615, when 25 miles from Brixham and 15 from the Bill we are surrounded by dolphins! First spot them going past about 200 yard away on the port side, but they alter course and come to check us out, swimming alongside and underneath us, one stays alongside for what seems like an age and this time I know I have them on the video camera as we could almost touch them. So intelligent. There were babies too they leapt from the water, surfed down waves and there was a 2 metre swell coming in from the south east all day, you could see the dolphins in the waves! Then as soon as they had arrived they left, swimming towards Dorset!
At 1700 just as I go to enter the position in the log, we pass a 'Sunfish' with side fin waving in the air! Not seen one of these except in the Scillies, this one was only 18 inches round, the Scilly one was 4 ft! They get caught in the Gulf stream and come across from the 'West Indies!'. Real oddities..
A breeze springs up from the north, the main and staysail fill and so the genoa is unrolled. A gentle breeze, so the motor stays on, we are trying to make 5 knots so as to get to Brixham by 2100. A long day this.
When we are 4 miles away I call Brixham and arrange a berth, my Jenny has already been on to them and back to me, she will be there to see us in. We arrive at 2130. The sun is setting, and it is dark enough to turn on our lights. The steaming light flickers I wriggle the wire at the deck socket and it comes on... Will investigate that tomorrow.
As we enter the harbour Phil gets his jacket caught on my motor sailing cone, a simple device made of 2 triangular bits of ply, one breaks, another little job for tomorrow, as it happens Jenny has a bit of ply she thinks...
Jenny has met us on the end of the pontoon finger and sees us into the berth...
So great to be in here with the boat again, especially now she lives here. We arrange to meet up with her and Oly tomorrow, they will bring Rafferty down to see his Grampy's boat. Last time he was aboard he was only 6 weeks old, for his first sail! Bet he cannot remember that.
Jenny leaves and Phil rustles up a bacon butty whilst I get on with the log, nearly finish it when the harbourmaster comes by and suggests we put a white plastic bag on our bowsprit. We do so but opt to move the boat back... as well. Phil wonders what the flashing light is, it takes us a few moments to realise it is Fl 2 15s and it's the lighthouse!
The harbour at Brixham is lit up as if it were Christmas, lights all round plus the commercial boys with the trawlers.
Mileage today 47. Added to the earlier 241 give me 288, not bad for 2 weeks!
Staying put tomorrow, relaxing, few jobs to sort, waiting to see if the threatened thunder storms arrive.
John and Phil
Welcome to sunny Devon, where it rains six days out of seven!
And boy can it rain!
Grandson Rafferty comes aboard, in his new lifejacket! It wobbles he says!
Sunday 1st July 2018
The rain woke me at 0500. Just a pitter patter on the cabin top.
Then the rumbles of thunder. We had to put waterproofs on to go for showers! It fell! At least the decks got washed!
Daughter Jenny with hubby Oly and little Rafferty came to see us and inspect the boat, then up to Breakwater cafe for lunch. Then on to their house for a pleasant afternoon, got more washing done and repaired the motor sailing cone that came to grief, we will move the halyard for it further inboard so we do not catch it on our clothing as we squeeze past.
We are staying here today and tomorrow, F6 in the forecast. Then moving on to Dartmouth and Salcombe, or maybe be straight to Salcombe as we have already visited Dartmouth.
Arrange to meet the family again tomorrow and take them out for a meal! Have a couple of small jobs to do aboard, the steaming light plug needs rewiring, as the lamp only came on when the cable wriggled...
Have a little shopping to do as well, provisions.
But great to be back in Brixham, lovely town, especially as my family are here!
John and Phil.
Local sculptress and friend of my daughter Jenny, made this lovely bronze, depicting 'man and boy', Trawler men. I am told he is sculpted on her boyfriend, but I think it's Oly!
F.G. in Brixham sporting her new £3.00 sun brolly.. Colour is perfect!
The view from the restaurant balcony, waiting for the family.
The moment Rafferty spots us above on the balcony!
Jenny tickling Rafferty!
Monday 2nd July 2018.
0430, heavy rain shower, Phil never heard or felt a thing, odd because he had the hatch wide open!
The threatened F6 never materialised, and it was variable 2 most of the day, so we could have moved on, but I'm in Brixham with Oly and Jenny and little Raffi, so difficult to drag myself away!
We do repairs in the morning, set up the motor sailing cone again, moved a little inboard so we do not snag it again, and I strip and repair the 'Dri Plug' connection, the wires had broken. Cut back and refitted, only problem was it was so sunny had no idea if the light was working. Problem cured when my Eccles turned up at lunch time, she was on the harbour wall so I phoned her and told her to check the light as I flashed it on and off, all working. Rigged the battery charger as the fridge battery was low. The charger I have is a bulky old type car battery charger, I meant to swap it for the sealed more powerful digital one I had at home, must ask Darian to give it to Brandon to bring down for me..
At the same time we will remove the old bulky one and the duff VHF radio from the boat when Phil leaves!
Off to little cafe for lunch. After lunch we walked back to boat, Jenny and little Raffi were meeting her mum. Shopped on the way back for fresh provisions. Tried in vain to buy a couple of Parker biro refills.. All the shops could offer were packs of 12 or 15 no name biros... Jenny said later she would sort some out, she has plenty. I also asked her if she had any double sided foam sticky pads, she came back with Velcro instead, perfect, I can re-secure one of the little speakers at the back of the chart table, I can connect them to the laptop to play CD's! (speakers on the old laptop naff!)
Did find a green sun brolly in the shops! Set up in cockpit! Right colour too!!
I sit and sort out the tides for tomorrow, just to Dartmouth. Phil goes off for a walk. We can leave 1300 to 1400 tomorrow and it is just 10 miles! Jenny itching to come with us, she is going to ask her mum to look after Raffi....
I fill up the two 10 litre cans with diesel, after I fill the main tank, we are fully topped up. Phil topped up the water tanks earlier...
1830, we meet Jenny and Oly with Raffi at the Market House for a great meal. (Jenny brings those pens and the Velcro.).
Gentle walk back to boat. Beautiful sunset, again! Take the 'Queen' in... Amazed how many do not follow flag etiquette. The red ensign (The Queen), should be raised at 0800 in summer and 0900 in winter, (BST and GMT), always lowered at sunset, normally taking your cue from the most 'senior' boat in the anchorage, harbour or moorings. Never flown at night.
Often not flown when out of sight of land or other vessels either.
Some boats seem to have the Queen nailed to the backs of their boats! Bleached by the sun. A faded Red ensign is just not on!
Another little quirk, we are in Devon, so out of courtesy, we fly the green white and black Devonian flag above our house flag, soon we will replace it with the flag of St. Piran, then the Irish tricolour, the Northern Irish flag and then the Saltire.
Nice traditions to keep.
Back aboard Jenny phones, she has arranged to come with us tomorrow! Knew she would try. Her mum will meet us in Dartmouth at the Dart Haven Marina in Kingswear. It is just a 10 mile hop, but great for her to be part of the trip!
No mileage today, so it still stands at 288, virtually half the mileage left to complete the circle!
John and Phil
Tuesday 3rd July 2018
Woke at 0300 to heavy rocking and wind in the rigging, did not bode well. F6. We cancelled all thoughts of moving today. My daughter is going to miss out.
As it got dusk the wind died, so hopeful for tomorrow, but a large swell is now entering the harbour and all the boats are on the move, we will see.
Planning on three hops to Plymouth, got to get the tidal streams and the heights right to get into Salcombe though! A shallow bar to negotiate.
It rained several times today, short sharp showers. Phil went off for a walk, took the bus to Paignton and walked back.
My Jenny brought Rafferty to see me this afternoon and he spent a happy hour exploring the boat.
See what tomorrow brings.
John and Phil.
Leaving Brixham marina, the floating wave break is just to starboard.
A Baltic Trading Ketch with square sail set drifts out ahead of us.
Berry Head with drizzle attached. A few guillemot here, not hundreds as last time 18 years back.
The unmistakable shape of a fellow MG design. A Tidewater I believe.
Phil on the helm as I grapple with the navigation and the cameras the trading ketch motors offshore bound west for Plymouth I suspect. Phil was hand steering to avoid pot buoys!
The Mew Stone off the Dart.
Entering the Dart.
And the Kingswear Castle Paddle steamer!
Wednesday 4th July 2018
Awake to the sound of rain, gentle rain, on the cabin top, check but Phil has the hatch closed today! Awake and make the crew tea!
Slow morning, then up to Brixham for 1100 to meet my Jenny and Raffi for a coffee and a goodbye hug! Also need provisions so into the Coop!
Raffi insists on trying to carry my shopping basket..... Three next month!. He does, with a lot of help from mum. Stock up on a few essentials and buy a couple of hot pasties for later.
Wave goodbye to the family and make my way back.
Call Darian, she has left me a message.. Apparently our little spinney is full of beautiful blue butterflies, 'Holly Blues', she promises to send me a pic..
Aim to leave at 1300, call the coastguard and log on, Solent answer and I ask when Falmouth takes over.... Today, I'm told, as we get to Dartmouth, but as it happens when I call to log off later, expecting to get Falmouth, Solent reply....
As we leave, a Baltic Trading Ketch is slowly sailing out under square sail. We later see her offshore, motoring past us, bound west.... There is next to no wind and what there is, is SW. It has been raining but stopped now, but still need the jumpers on.
We motor slowly at 2000 revs and 4 knots round Berry head, a large swell rocks us badly... no point in hoisting any sail, it is right on the nose, but only a F3 maybe. so we putter on.
At 1330 we are just passing one of my Jenny's favourite beaches, St. Mary's bay, with 200 steps to get down to it, (or it feels like it!) when we spy dolphins, about half a dozen, but they are not in the mood for playing and ignore us.
A familiar shape passes to seaward of us, going east, under full sail and motor, a Tidewater! A 30ft big sister...
The Mewstone and Blackstone islands off the Dart appear from the drizzle ahead...
At 1430 we are motor sailing into the Dart, but as we close the entrance the wind dies and we roll up the genoa.
Always a joy to enter Dartmouth, the high steep sides, the deep channel with its leading light, on even in the day.... And the castles marking the entrance. The temperature rises several degrees and jumpers are shed!
We putter up against the last of the ebb and decide to explore. We ease back to allow the lower Ferry to cross and watch them expertly place the ferry raft onto the ramp. Done with a single tug boat strapped alongside! All named 'Hauley'.
A steam train puffs away from Kingswear Station with a loud toot on the steam whistle. We again wait whilst the upper chain ferry trundles across. Actually a wire rope ferry!
The Naval College looks magnificent high on the hill and there are small naval training boats everywhere, from whalers types to trot boats and patrol boats. A paddle steamer whacks its way past us, what a great sound! She too has a steam whistle! We pass the boat yard where the Atlantic Clipper was made, now looking very down in the mouth.
We lunch on Brixham Pasties!
We carry on till the narrows at the Anchor Stone beacon above 'Noss on Dart', then gently head back down on the last of the ebb. I spotted some Dart Harbour moorings as we came in, a basic pontoon in the river, and a Dart harbour patrol boat passes, so I reach for the handheld and call it on 11. A friendly voice directs me to his colleague further down river and when I call him later he is primed and puts us on a large pontoon just off the gardens on the Dartmouth side. Perfect. £13.00. If we wanted to go ashore the water taxi or trot boat fee was £0.50p! Each way!
Moor and put the kettle on, sit back to admire the view... so much movement. Loads of youngsters, in rowing gigs and fours, a sailing race underway down river, in the river!
Dinner is eggs on toast with cheese and ham! Yummie.
Listen as the bell ringers sound out their bells, for an hour or so, great sound, it carries well over the water.
Phil doubles mooring lines, just in case, but hope to have a quiet night.
Mileage to date, adding the 10 today, but ignoring the trip up the Dart and back, 298..
Tomorrow, if the forecast is still good, we will make the long hop to Plymouth. Sadly getting into Salcombe would either entail a 0500 start or arriving after dark to get the tide over the bar. Neither are attractive especially as then when leaving Salcombe we would be then be arriving at Plymouth well after dark, so we are planning to leave this mooring at 1115 and be down at the entrance by 1145 to take the tide west. To arrive Plymouth 2100.
Amazed at out good fortune and progress..
John and Phil
P.S. just about to publish this when there is a huge explosion! Followed by several more. Huge Fireworks.... Americans, its Independence Day!
Early morning alarm whistle!
Passing Start Point.
Great Mewstone off Plymouth.
I wonder just how many islands there are called 'Mewstone'!
Thursday 5th July 2018.
We had a quiet night on the pontoon, but woken early as the ferry boats started up at 0730.
By 0830 they are on the move. No facilities at all here so just a cats lick this morning.
I check and refill the stern tube auto greaser. It is a brass can with a spring loaded plunger, you have to pull the plunger back before you unscrew it, then refill from the can of grease and then refit. only then can you rotate the Tee handle to allow the spring to apply pressure, if you get it right , great, if not grease everywhere!
No water leaks from this now, cured it.
Breakfast on oven warmed brioche!
I sort out the charts and plot the courses, add a couple of waypoints to the GPS. put the route on the plotter in the cockpit, for easy reference and we are about ready.
Going to fight the tide for a couple of hours as it slacks off, just to give us a head start....
1115 we let go and then have to wait for a procession of boats to pass before we can pull away.! Including the paddle steamer, that comes in really close...
Before we get fully out of the river we have the main up and all fenders and lines secured. A light breeze. We clear the entrance buoyage and set course for Start point. we are just able to get the main to set, but have to motor. Maybe later the genoa can be unrolled as we alter course.... Mmm.
I call the Coastguard, Falmouth this time and book our passage with them.
The wind is a light F2-3 and becomes variable, sails hang limp.
At least the sun is shining and the sea reasonably calm.... The forecast from Falmouth C.G. talks of variable F2 and Fog later....
Rounding Start point we try to get the genoa to fill, it does for a while and we ease off the motor, doing 4 knots only as the tide is against us still. not till 1500 does it go slack and the speed over the ground on the GPS match the speed on our log.
Dolphins again, but not interested in us, only in what the Gannets are diving in for! Dinner!
We pass Salcombe and note the boats anchored outside, waiting for water over the bar.
We tuck into pasties and tomatoes, tea and coffee.
Crossing Bigbury Bay the wind dies completely, so genoa rolled away. Main left up to try and lessen the rolling motion as a southerly swell starts in earnest. tops of swells close together so we cork screw along!
Ahead the shape of the Great Mewstone off the eastern side of Plymouth begins to loom out of the haze.
We are getting a good lift from the tide now and our speed over the ground increases to 5.5 to 6 knots, making up for the slow start. The coast of Devon still goes past at snails pace!
By 1845 we can see into Plymouth sound and can alter course, I was hoping the wind would have allowed us to sail in, but instead a fresh breeze springs up from the north, just where we are heading, but with the tide with us we soon are in past the breakwater, it is a huge harbour, takes over and hour to enter and get to our destination, Queen Anne's Battery marina. They fool me when I call up for a berth by answering 'QAB' When I query it he uses the full name.
Come in and tuck your self the other side of the big cat he says. Well we did, but only because the wind was able to make us drift sideways between the huge cat and a larger gin palace! We look very small! smallest mast in the whole marina by the looks of it. The catamaran looks as if it is off round the world by the badges on it, 60ft by 40ft, if an inch! And three stories tall!
No sooner the lines are on and the coffee and tea brewed than the friendly harbourmaster is with us, giving us the codes for the gates etc. A couple from the boat 'Oishi', from Faversham, that we have kept seeing as we came west, come to find us. We were planning to walk to 'Rockfish' for a meal, but they tell us the footbridge is out of action, the one that leads there, but 'Chandlers' bar serves good food, so we hasten there, to arrive just in time for last orders. Fish and chips is consumed!
We check out the showers etc. Even posher than the ones at Brixham!
Phil has gone up whilst I type the log up, my turn next!
We will be here for a few days now, awaiting the arrival of Harvey and Brandon, Monday evening...
Time for a clean up and to do a few little jobs and to explore.
Mileage today 37, add to the total so far 298 = 335.
Thanks Phil, together we have done very well! Phil has definitely done his bit to help me achieve this! So very grateful.
John and Phil
Part of the wall display in 'Chandler's Bar' display, Plymouth.
The silver prop is not a Seagull's, the others are with the lowest one being a rather special 'trolling prop' made as one offs by Seagull and I now have the jig to do that!
More of the wall display, I will take a pic of the Seagulls, my only criticism of the display is the choice of transfers and stickers, one even has 'Francis Barnett' on it!
The view from the park, can you spot us? Look for the green!
The G.H. 28.5ft Countess.
Built by Harwells, where Terry Erskine worked before taking the design on himself.
Work in progress, but they are getting there!
Get to be able to spot one of our designs at a distance, no mistaking them
Pleased to see them go out for a putter and sail today.
Friday 6th July 2018.
Happy Birthday Sister Sue!
Put the sail covers on to protect the sails from the harsh sun...
We are relaxing, if one can, in the extreme heat the country is subjected to. Hearing from home Darian is fretting about watering the trees in our new Spinney. She is doing a grand job.
Three berths away is a Golden Hind, Nigel and Sandy are working on her in the berth, removing flaky varnish and applying stain. They have only had 'Countess' for a short while and getting to grips with it and it gear. They are fortunate to have a brand new inboard, but sounds as if they have the wrong prop as it only makes 4.5 knots not the 6.5, I suspect it should do. The engine is powerful and reaching top revs so re-pitching or replacing the prop looks in order. They also have heavy weather helm so I suggest they pop along and look at our bowsprit... Cures it! I drop off one of the flyers that we publish on the site... Suitably amended to read 800 owners and over 700 friends!
It is difficult to escape the heat here, but we visit the marina bar lunch time for a cool pint and sandwich. We walk off lunch by walking out the main gates and down the road towards the Barbican, peel off to the aquarium and seek out the foot bridge that is closed, that prevents us walking to the Barbican and the Mayflower steps. It is not closed, they have removed it and fenced it off! Does not look as if there is any intention to replace it, shame. However e found the Rockfish fish and chip shop and restaurant, next to the aquarium.. Mmmm not sure if that is politically correct in these strange times, can imagine a protest group starting!....
We find a row of mature olive trees with some fancy seats, shady and cool breeze. We linger for a while. We can look into the marina from here and just make out F.G.
Later we gravitate back to the bar for a meal, I had a salad for a change, very good.
The marina bar has an area he called the 'Outboard Deck' a gimmick, but her has an array of Seagull and other motor's props on the wall and a rack with an array of Seagulls, SeaBee and a couple of oddities, a tiny American Elto and a Chrysler outboard. I get chatting to the bar owner about them and he shows me another he has just bought, an old Model 102.
As dusk fell the temperature plummets! Clear skies. At least we get a cool nights sleep with washboards in but both hatches wide open....
Saturday 7th July 2018
Writing this at 1430 we have not had lunch as yet, we have done lots of small jobs aboard though. Checked the motor, oil and water, sea water filter and belt tension. All good. When it is cooler I will check the greaser and transfer some fuel to the tank from the cans. we carry 4 cans of spare fuel, as well as the now double in size tank full. (16 gallons). The cans hold another 6. Hope to have all topped up before we leave..
Though we are a sailing boat, the wind never seems to be either in the 'right' direction or strong enough to allow us to sail without the assistance of the motor.
The motor is now 24 years old but in excellent condition. A three cylinder Kubota industrial motor marinised by Beta Marine. Called a Beta 17 it allegedly leaks out about 13bhp at the prop, just enough for us.. It has 1396 hours on it, barely run in! It is the same unit that is fitted to those mini diggers that work for hours and hours every day on small building sites or road works.
It is actually slightly lighter than the old Stuart Turner it replaced. Fitted in easily.
Many years ago, when I was wanting to replace the tiny Stuart Turner 10hp inboard, I was passing workmen working in Wapping High Street every day on my way to work. I got chatting to them, they were very proud of their little digger and gladly showed it to me, same motor and it has 20,000 hours on it with no problem!
Decision made and I am pleased I did.
200 miles away in Essex preparations are afoot to bring the next crew down to me, but one of them is away this week at the British Grand Prix. I will see them Monday evening....
All for now, off to make lunch and this afternoon off to buy provisions... Phil has found a real good shady spot with a view and a breeze... on a balcony near the harbour masters office..
Tomorrow will be much the same I suspect.. looking for shade!
Reminder that the mileage stands at 355. About half the mileage to get back to Troon....
John and Phil.
Monday 9th July 2018
Spent the morning searching locally for anyone who had the connectors and or cables I needed to connect the other Solar panels Brandon was collecting from home, failed. Ended up buying a length of twin core cable and hope to make up my own connections.
Found Marine Bazaar, often heard about them but never visited, till now. Large warehouse full of boat bits new and old.
Also bought a few provisions. Sorted milk with the marina office, to pick up later, rather that carry it in the heat from the corner shop.
Visited corner shop and bought a few essentials, bread, butter etc..
Got a call on the phone at 1700.. It was Brandon, 'turn round Grampy, we are here!' 5 hours Essex to Plymouth. Welcomed them aboard as I was carrying cans to fuel barge, Phil had the kettle on! I filled cans 15 litres, and with the help of the lads stowed it, sat for a while chatting....
Then we went to the car with a load of gear and swapped it for the lads kit.
Stowed all aboard.
I had booked a table at the Chandlers Bar and bistro and we all met up there for a good meal. It was hot though, the sun beating down on us even at 1900...
After dinner Phil and Steve motored off to Cornwall, to be there before us, Steve had got a B&B in Saltash.
Back on board we sorted gear out and I unpacked the solar panels. Sadly a vital bit of the wiring was missing, the splitter, so I will have to make up something from the connectors and wiring I have. Then tried the battery charger, a fairly new, compact, digital 5 amp output device. Made by CTek. Nothing! Lights flickered but it failed to respond to the 'mode' button and did not charge, rats!
See the chandlery here have a good range of chargers on their website so I will be knocking on their door in the morning!
With the warm weather the fridge battery is taking a thrashing....
Took no pics today, but Harvey has taken loads so will get him to mail some to me, for inclusion here!
Tomorrow I have promised the a tour of the harbour, a sail and a night moored somewhere, maybe Cawsand Bay, then off to Fowey the next day.
John, Harvey and Brandon
Plymouth Ho and the Smeaton light
Harvey on the helm up the Tamar.
Brandon before he lost them!!
You have to look very closely to see what the two tugs are shepherding, all done very, very gently!
Looking very smart!
Passing the 'Citadel' on our way back to Queen Anne's Battery marina.
QAB by night by Brandon.
Tuesday 10th July 2018
All slept well and we organised ourselves to leave before midday and have an explore of the River Tamar, Brandon especially wanted to see the Devonport Dockyard. We had seen what I thought was a Frigate in the harbour last night and hoped that would be alongside somewhere.
I was cross about the charger not working, so had a quick look on the web last night and the chandlers here were having a sale on them, so 0930 I was in there and bought a new CTek charger capable of putting 7 amps in..
Brought it back to try, plugged it into the Solar panel input to the splitter, and it too did not work.???? A little research and it appears the clever splitter I have attached to the charging circuits the problem, it accepts conventional old fashioned chargers or the solar, but not whizzy digital ones.... Re think.
At 1130 we leave Queen Anne's Battery Marina and putter off up stream, very little breeze and it is southerly. the lads take turns on the helm and study the laminated chart I bought for the day, much larger scale than the pare version and more detail than the pilot book.
Brandon identifies several naval places he may get to serve if he gets in, time will tell.
The Frigate we saw was HMS Kent and she is alongside. A huge landing craft ship 'A140' is also alongside, but on closer inspection see it has the Brazilian Flag. Could this be ex HMS Bulwark? Name was something like 'Libertadio'.
A couple of MODPlod boats pass us and wave... (Ministry of Defence Police)..
We hear from Steve that they made good time, left at 0900 and just after midday are in Reading, in Sainsbury's for lunch I bet!
We putter up through the Tamar Bridge and a train passes over, very slowly....
Now all batteries are fully charged, does not take long with the 'intelligent' charger on the alternator! Fridge charging at 15 amps!
We bring up to anchor off the entrance of the River Tavy, Kingsmill Lake, and if you would like a nice pair of flash sunglasses, dive there, because that's where Brandon's went!
Very peaceful here. We have coffee and biscuits then eventually Brandon raids the fridge and we have a sort of mini pasty, with tomatoes and bread and butter.
After lunch and about 1500, an hour or so before high water we set off back, slowly motoring against the last of the flood, a neap tide...
As we get to Devonport navy dockyard there is much activity, the two MODPlod boats and two tugs are close by the wharf frontage, we thought the Brazilian ship may be coming away as it's motors are firing up, trails of smoke from the funnels, but no, another look and hidden behind the tugs is a sub!
Do not see many of them!
Carry on gently going downstream, the tide is slack now and I narrowly miss the third Torpoint Ferry coming away! I saw the two and thought the third was laid up, but no, a few revs to avoid getting in her way..
At this point the wind starts to pipe up and before too long there is a F4/5 SSE blowing, no good for Cawsand bay! Instead I opt to return to Queen Anne's Battery and call them, we can have the same berth back. Organise the fenders as we get in the lee of Drakes Island, less waves.... Brandon is on the helm. Get the forward lines lines ready too. Harvey finding and passing lines and fenders for me.
We slip back into QAB with Brandon on the foredeck and Harvey with the step ashore line amidships.
I have already worked out a departure time for tomorrow, 0900.
I have been thinking all day about the fridge battery. I need to be able to give it a charge.. the other batteries are OK but the Solar panel cannot keep up with the demand on the fridge batteries. I come up with a solution.
I wire in a 2 pin plug direct to the fridge batteries. I can now plug the digital charger directly into them! Tested and it works! So anytime I can get shore power I can plug the charger into the fridge and keep it going. Perhaps I worry too much as the fridge has stayed working in all this heat so far... but the battery monitor has shown it to be low....
I have also bought more special wiring for the solar panels on our EBay page, so I can add the two other panels Brandon brought down, that way I can have more amps going into all the batteries if needs be. Especially useful if anchored away from a plug socket! Steve will bring these down for me when he comes back to pick up the lads.
We end the day in the local curry house, walking back the sea is flat calm, wind gone. Tomorrow we go westwards.
John Brandon and Harvey.
Crossing Plymouth Harbour.
Leaving Plymouth by Brandon, glassy calm.
Passing the end of the breakwater at Plymouth in glassy calm seas.
Haze, the horizon disappears. Though it looks bad we could see the Eddistone light many miles away...
Lines on paper!
Entering Fowey, pronounced FOY!
Alongside 'Gemma' in Mixtow.
The view from ashore.
Ship enters the river behind us and swings before backing up river to berth, only just room!
And from higher up!
On road part of the hike to Bodinnick and the Ferry Inn.
The view and the beer was worth it!
Crossing the field on a slope on the way back.
Wednesday 11th July 2018.
The phone alarm woke me at 0700 and we sorted ourselves out with breakfast and showers...
By 0900 we were leaving the marina, with the fridge battery fully charged overnight with the new plug and socket connection! Success.
Call Falmouth C.G. to give them our passage information, Harvey on the helm, all ropes and fenders stowed and all crew harnessed on. Not a breath of wind, sea like glass.
I go on deck and hoist the Cornish flag.
We left the harbour quickly on the ebb and by 0945 we were off Rame Head's eastern side by the red can buoy 'Drayton', I had laid in courses and the lads set the compass and followed them.
Shortly after at 1000 we safely rounded the headland and set a course of due west for a point off Fowey. A light SE breeze sets up, so genoa is unrolled, it pulls, just. I waited till the tea and coffee I had made was drunk to climb on deck, harnessed to the jackstay of course, and set the main, it sort of filled. We were able to cut the engine revs back to 1200 and still keep up a good 5 knots. However stopping the motor and letting the sails do the propulsion only gave 3 knots.... not enough...
Apart from a few Gannets and Guillemots and of course gulls, there was no other wildlife today.
We dip out ensign to a Frigate but were ignored, it was German... HMS Northumberland was broadcasting they were conducting live gun testing just south of us, hopefully firing the other way, as we saw no splashes. Today there were at least a dozen craft on the horizon all day.
A smart motor cruiser passed going the other way, the 'Jack Petchy' A Sea Cadet training boat. We got a very enthusiastic wave from the bridge... Was this the training boat that belonged to friend Dave Lee's colleague we wondered, had word got out, it was a very enthusiastic reception!
It was hazy so I fired up the radar but as there were few targets (boats) near us all it did was 'paint' the coast 3 miles away and obliterate any info on the chart plotter. After a bit I turned it off, we could see miles without it!
Eventually the red and white stripy day mark on the top of Gribbin Head came out of the haze, marking the other side of the Fowey entrance.
At 1300 we are just a couple of miles off and heading in, by 1400 we are moored. The place was full, there was a Classic boat rally. We got lots of friendly waves.. All the pontoons and moorings were filled opposite town.. However I have already picked my spot on the pontoon at Mixtow, and when we get there there is a place, but with a reserved sign on it. I contact the Harbour Master on VHF Ch 12 and he directs us to moor alongside the next boat, he comes to assist us move.
There is a little cafe at the top of the pontoon walkway and we lunch there. Another customer comes over with a copy of Practical Boat Owner, from 2 years ago, is this your boat he says. It was. There was by chance a 1/4 page article about F.G. in the copy he had picked up locally. What's the chances.
I visit the harbourmaster and pay the dues, just £20.00 here with toilets and showers, though you need a £1.00 coin to make the shower work. Water and electricity on the pontoon, it is just a way away from the town. You can take a water taxi if you wanted to though.
The China clay industry is still strong here and a very large ship comes in, turns and berths. Two train loads of trucks arrive and discharge into the conveyor system into the ship. There is room alongside for 4 ships!
I check the motor, greaser still full, and fill the tank, it only takes 5 litres! The water filter is clear too.
We walk across the fields to above the Bodinnick ferry, to the Ferry Inn for a light meal later. Sat on the terrace, as inside was full, we had a great view of the river entrance.
The walk back seemed easier, though not sure why, it was a mile or more and seemed all uphill. One field dropped dramatically from the path, maybe 100 feet straight to the river, through trees.... heavily wooded here, owls tonight?
Tomorrow we are off at 0900 again, so an early night.
The trip today was just 23miles and with the 355, that takes the total so far to 378miles.
John, Brandon and Harvey..
Leaving Fowey, Harvey on watch!
And Brandon, ready for another day at sea!
Crew ever alert. Had to keep prodding Brandon!
Entering Falmouth, St. Anthony Head light, and a fast tri-maran!
Found a G.H. in Mylor, could not see the name.
Harvey's pic of upper Mylor creek taken on our walk.
And this Medusa up Mylor Creek!
Another of Harvey's, the view from the church yard. Found the HMS Ganges memorial here..
Thursday 12th July 2018
Awake a minute before the alarm, looking at my phone all bleary eyed, and it's alarm goes off! 0700!.
We trundle up to the little wooden shed with the showers, pop in our £1.00 coins and get a good 6 minute shower each.
Breakfast and ready ourselves. 0900 we motor off, a lovely morning. hardly a breath of wind and bright sunshine.
Fenders and lines sorted before we get out, get waves from the Classic Boats moored in the harbour.
The wind is a light NNW F3 so mainsail up as soon as we leave the shelter of the harbour, Brandon brings us head to wind, I hoist and Harvey looks after the sail ties etc. Harnesses are on!
The sail fills and the motor is cut, we sail, full main and genoa knots plus the tide.
It is not to last, sadly by 1015 the wind has died and we are motoring. No wildlife except the odd gannet and cormorant.
First lobster pots seen, was expecting more. Further back there were hundreds...
By 1430 we are 2.5 mile off Mevagissy, remember Barry and all the holidays he and my sister had there...
By 1115 we are passing the Dodman, shortly after we realise we are halfway so a slice of Clare's Cake all round!
The wind pipes up from the NNW a decent 3 so genoa unfurled and we reach 5.5 knots. a good sail, wind gets brisker as we approach St. Anthony's Head and Brandon has a broad grin as he helms her.
As we round the lighthouse the wind is on the nose so sails are rolled and lowered. we motor into a stiff breeze, but with the tide.
Call Mylor for a berth and am offered one, when we get there is is taken so jill about whilst they move an inflatable... The berth however is broad side on to a stiff F4 and we and our neighbours and bounced about, all fenders on the moored side!
We find the nearest provisions are at the Mylor stores, a 1.5 mile walk away, it is hot and all paths in Cornwall are uphill, but we arrive in time to buy all needed and get an ice cream to eat on the way back.
Stores unloaded into fridge then up to the club for a cooling pint!
Eating aboard tonight , the lads had noticed I had sausages so our chef Brandon concocts a Sausage Pasta!
I am typing this as he is performing his magic in the galley!
Another 22 miles today to add to the 378, so 400 miles, over half way easily!
Another good day.
Crew getting slicker and working well together!
John, Harvey and Brandon.
G.H. spotted on mooring in mylor
Approaching the Lizard, the most southerly point on the UK mainland.
Sailing yacht Pilgrim off the Lizard, just after the Killer Whales were spotted.
Two masted Barque?
Crew alert and watching for lobster pots!
St. Michaels Mount, Mount Bay.
Brixham Trawler under sail in mounts Bay.
Newlyn Harbour ahead!
The Scillonian, think we own a rivet in the funnel, we have shares in her!
Brandon our chef in the making, in the galley cooking up a curry!
Friday 13th July 2018
We are in Penzance! Well Newlyn really, full write up tomorrow, catching up on needed sleep now!
John Brandon and Harvey.
Saturday 14th July 2018
Happy Anniversary Darian 29 years today!
Friday we left Falmouth and Mylor. Up at 0700 for showers and breakfast, check the motor over and put some lines on the chart.
0900 we ready to leave, the wind is still holding us on the pontoon but thankfully the boats ahead and astern have left and we have room to get out, especially as Brandon can 'bear away' with our long boat hook, we slip out without touching the stern on the pontoon.
We exit the marina channel into the Fal and round up, Brandon on the helm as Harvey and I get the main up. We bear away and unroll the genoa, sailing well so motor goes off.
It is not to last though and by the time we reach the 'Manacles' a row of jagged teeth emerging from the sea we are motor sailing. Glassy calm.
There are a dozen or more boat visible, including a two masted Barque or maybe its a Barquentine??? No so hot on square riggers. She is motoring up astern.
I check the bilges and sponge out another cup full of water. the 'Deep Sea Seal' on the prop shaft will have to be changed, hopefully when I return or at the end of the season.
We are approaching the Lizard, have to pass nearly 3 miles off to avoid the 'overfalls' as the tide is pushing us at 2 knots and when it meets the rocks off the Lizard it kicks up a really rough sea. The Lizard is the most southerly headland on the UK mainland.
I sight a pair of Killer whales slowly surfacing and swimming towards us off the port bow. A parent and a Calf. Heard later from my daughter Jenny that they had been seen off the south west several times. They dive under a boat about 100 yards off our port side, the guy is standing looking over the side, I think, lucky chap. When we speak to him half an our later he had no idea they were there. After diving they came towards us, the parents floppy dorsal fin emerging from the sea, though they were holding their breath and never resurfaced, swimming under us and away. What a treat for the Lads! (and me), never seen one in the wild before!
Called a chap passing from the other direction, 'Java Blue' told him to watch out for them, he had just come from the Scillies and passed 60 dolphins nearby. We looked but never saw them.
What we got next was a long rolling Atlantic swell, after rounding the Lizard we had nothing between us and America 3000 miles away, (Except the Scillies that is, and we could see where they were by the little clump of fluffy white clouds 28 miles west of Lands end.
Brandon was bounced off the loo at this stage.
As we made our way northwards into Mounts Bay the wind that had been a benevolent SE now turned 180 degrees to a F4 NW. Rolled up genoa, and tightened in the main, we were a few degrees of our course to keep the main full but it was worth doing as our speed, with the tide setting into the Bay, (it is a huge bay), was giving us 6 knots, then we crossed a line of breakers, the sea turned a shade darker and we were in a tidal eddy, speed drops to 4 knots! 38 metres deep!
Spray hood up and hatch closed. Spray thrown sideways but little got to us.
I takes 2 hours of hard motoring, with the mainsail to get into calmer water inshore.
I have another look at the water in the bilge, just an egg cup full, that's OK.
2 miles from the harbour at Newlyn and when I look at Brandon see he has succumbed to the motion and the throb of the motor.
A Brixham Trawler, the sailing sort, comes past fast under full sail..
St. Michael's Mount and the Penzance area, all familiar to me after all our holidays in the Scillies, are in plain sight. Call the harbour at Newlyn and ask for a berth, a young lady asks if we have any animals, I say I have the grandson on board, does that count! I can hear them laughing in the harbour masters office!
We enter Newlyn, a tiny commercial fishing harbour, but with space for maybe a dozen visiting boats. We raft up next to a small German sail cruiser, all locked up. (no one seen on board till Saturday afternoon).
I book off to the CG, they are ready for me and we sign off quickly.
Break out the pasty's we bought in Mylor, Brandon's first real Cornish Pasty! Harvey had sampled them years ago on family holidays...
At this stage, it was 1630, the late duty harbour master turned up as the office was closed. Mr Happy as other boats crews dubbed him; he was dour! Arranged to stay till Monday, he was not happy as he wanted to collect cash, and I had not enough. No showers, broke, and no loos, use public ones 1/2 mile away, right so that is going to happen! Fortunately we have a holding tank so will not be polluting the harbour.
We have covered another 37 miles, round another tricky headland and nearly headed out into the Atlantic! That will come another day, Tuesday probably.. so total mileage to date 437.!
I took the lads for a mile walk into Penzance, (the sun was very hot) and to a pub some may know, 'The Admiral Benbow'! If you ever get to Penzance look it up, it is easy to spot, it is the one with a life size pirate laying on the roof levelling his pistol as passing gulls! Think they liked it, they enjoyed the celebration pint!
After a little wander down to the dock and the pier, I managed to get a table in the 'Dolphin Tavern' a place we have used for B&B before and after trips to the Scillies, right opposite the quay.
The three waiters were ones I knew from before and the youngest lass chatted, with me not the boys and told us her boyfriend was coming down to work, from Burnham on Crouch.! She knew lots of places around Essex.
People on the table next to us heard and leaned over to say they were on holiday here from Colchester!
We enjoyed a good meal and as I expected Penzance's rush hour happened whilst we were on the Cornish ice cream stage. The Scillonian docked! Only saw three carrier bags full of Agapanthus!
After dinner I walked the lads down the quay to see 'our' Scillonian. over 25 years ago, having found the islands on our first anniversary holiday, we bought shares in the ship, got us half price fares, paid for itself many times over, some years we visited 3 times in a year!
We got back and fell into our bunks, thus the short line last night and promise to write up the log today!
Saturday 14th July 2018.
Our anniversary and young Harrison's 2nd birthday!
To save the boat smelling like a gymnasium after a hot fitness session, I got Harvey to Google for a local Gym that I heard had showers we could use, arrange to find and use them, at £2.50 a shower! A 5 minute walk to a run down gym with dribbly showers, but better than the alternative!
Back aboard our German neighbour is back, a young chap on his own. he is not moving so we can stay alongside him or move to another berth when one becomes vacant alongside a pontoon.
The Welsh couple in their powerboat have left, I did not see them go but bet she was in her bikini again to the delight of the trawler men, and I bet he bounced off several boats on the way out, to the cheers from the trawler men as yesterday!
A French boat comes in at near low water and runs aground behind us, eventually they berth nearby, with Harvey and myself assisting.
Several small fishing boats putter in and out and there is lots of banter.
We are going to eat aboard today so Brandon starts to check what is in our food locker, soon he has the lot out and has a menu drawn up. Finds the 'all day Breakfast' in a can, so what with 2 cans of that and some eggs, tomorrows breakfast sorted. Will have to walk him to Penzance and back again.
Quiet here now, lunch soon, then I will walk into Newlyn to see if I can find a hardware shop. When 'Mr Happy' comes back today will get some electric on so the batteries can be charged, but need a two way plug so I can use both battery chargers. ('That's extra you know, £1.50 a day!!').
At the moment Harvey is sat reading in the cockpit under the green brolly and Brandon checking all his lady contacts out!
All for now, John Harvey and Brandon
Today we have moved berths to an alongside the pontoon berth, to make it easier to trans-ship luggage.
The leaving crew and the new crew with Steve and Keith the drivers! Lunch in the Tolcarne...
View down from the Red Lion above the harbour.
And looking out over Mount Bay.
And the view from our table at the Red Lion, over the harbour.
Sunday 15th July 2018.
As promised Brandon made a big breakfast, beans bacon and bangers, with fried slice as well.
We cleared up, or the lads did, and then by about midday we had showers at the local gym!
Heard that Steve and Keith were well on the way and at 1300 we walked up to find them just pulling into the car park, good timing, and a good run down!
New Crew, John Stevens.
John's bag was transported to the boat and the lad's bags place in the car.
Having visited the boat and tried to see where the webcam was and failed, we all posed on the pontoon so Sue my sister could get a group photo... But the webcam was busy so pics taken with our cameras and phones.
We then walked to the Tolcarne for a lunch, before waving them off. They left just after 1500. Heard at 2030 that they were at the M25 and by 2130 they had dropped Brandon in Chelmsford where he had arranged a pick up with his other grandparents.
We had just got back to the boat after a pleasant meal in the Red Lion where we sat over looking the harbour and the boat.
Found the webcam, it was on a guest house nearby.
John has settled into the forward cabin and is sorting all his kit out.. He will be tired after an early start so will be in bed shortly I suspect.
I shall not be long behind him.
Aiming to spend a day sorting the boat and doing chores, found a laundrette nearby, 1/2 a mile walk. Will be visiting harbour office and the local Coop too. Bedtime reading will be my shopping and job list.
The Two Johns.
Border Force Vigilant, our grey shadow....
Mandy and Keith on board Fiddler's..
Mandy, Keith and skipper John.
Keith and Mandy Pic by John S.
John Mandy and Keith.
John S. Pic of F.G.
The two Johns!!
Monday 16th July 2018.
Another lay in, or I had planned one, but at 0700 the heavens opened and it poured, drumming on the cabin top. Tried to hide under the covers as it slowed to a trickle, but at 0800 it fell again, so gave up.
Breakfasted and then off to showers, as it had stopped raining. A day for chores, a tidy up, fill fuel tank, then off to pay the harbourmaster and later fill cans with diesel. So we have a full 72 litre tank and at least 30 more litres in cans.
I gather up my laundry after lunch and set off towards Penzance. I had heard there was a laundry behind the amusement arcade, in fact it was in the same building. Sort the machines with the help of a cheery young lady who worked there and go for an amble for 45 minutes whilst it washes. Now roasting hot! I find the Indian restaurant we went to years ago with my mother, on one of our trips to the Scillies... it is tucked away down a side street.
During the afternoon I began to develop a complex. Ever since Ramsgate we have had a shadow, The Vigilant. The UK Border Patrol ship. She was in Dover, off Eastbourne, followed us off Weymouth and was waiting for us as we came in, and today snuck she into Newlyn and sat alongside the harbour wall....
Back on board a minor problem, the holding tank overflowed. Opps poo stink! Washed the deck off and gently pumped out the tank as the tide ebbed out of the harbour. I had to take the charcoal air filter to bits and clean it out, expecting it to be horrible, but it was OK, easy to wash out and all sorted. Seems the idiot light on the tank indicating it was full, did not work, not sure why, but now we know not to use it for too long.. now... 3 days max! I will have to look at the float switch and the wiring over winter, do not want to risk not being able to reseal the top of the poo tank!
Having cleaned up and also checked the greaser, we then organised ourselves up to the Red Lion for a meal early as he had also arranged to meet up with his late brother's wife Mandy and her husband Keith. It had been a while since they had seen one another and John had not met her husband.
We had a great meal and were just finishing when they arrived. What a nice couple. We instantly all got on, swapping family stories from years gone by. Mandy is also a real biker, with a Fireblade! Though sadly she has decided to sell it now... Difficult to get her golf clubs on the back! We chatted for hours and then they then came down to see F.G. and say cheerio..
They are so well suited, Wish them well!
Back on board time to make shopping lists for tomorrow!
One last job to do onboard tomorrow, connect all the three solar panels together to get a total of 70w output. Going to need the panels to help charge the fridge battery when we are off grid in the Scillies.
Wednesday picked for the run to Scilly, Tuesday for last minute provisioning.
The Two Johns
John S as we are leaving Newlyn.
tucking into the pasty!
The 'Gry Meritha' passes us.
Dolphins come to play..
The 'Scillonian' passes us on our way back to Penzance.
Rounding Hats buoy as we enter St. Mary's Sound.
Not a breath of wind and dappled sunlight. lovely evening..
The sea sparkles.
Green Bay, lots of boats, all able to take the ground, we find a suitable spot to anchor and relax.
John W. booking off to Falmouth Coastguard. Time to put the kettle on and sit back and take in the beauty of this place!!
John S. on the foredeck, taking in the scenery!
Wednesday 18th July 2018.
Writing this anchored in paradise. Green Bay, Bryher, Isles of Scilly!
It has taken me 28 years to get here! Ever since Darian and I discovered this place back in the 1980's, the year after we married, I have been wanting to sail here. We have been back almost every year, on year three times! All times of the year, it captured our hearts and it will always be a special part of our lives.
So how did we get here?
The day started as normal with breakfast and a shower up the local gym. sorting boat, filling water tank and making all ready.
1200 noon, we slipped the mooring lines and went to leave Newlyn, instantly stopped in our tracked by a huge trawler emerging from behind a pier! We went round in a circle to get out of his way and give time to get fenders in!
There was no wind.
Even so the main sail went up, as it can damp any rolling motion we may get.
We motored along the familiar Cornish coast, familiar because I have passed it so many times on the Scillonian on our way to and from the Islands. I was giving John the running commentary, and he a honorary Cornish man!
Soon we are clearing Lands End and the Longships light, time to break out the Pasties! John managed to get a couple of Cornish pasties this morning from Warrens, 'The oldest Cornish Pasty maker in the world', Bit like the Seagull quote, 'Best outboard in the world'!!
I nipped below a couple of times to check the bilges, all dry... good news.
We are motoring at 2.5k revs and getting 4.5 to 5 knots and the tide is going to assist later. Trying to reduce the passage time to less than 7 hours.
Tried the genoa a couple of times but the wind went straight on the nose and though the main stayed up, it did not really fill. The motor did all the work.
At 1450 we were passed by the 'Gry Maritha' one of the Steamship company's supply ships.
10 minutes later we saw dolphins, they saw us too, and for the next 20 minutes they played around us, leaping and diving under us, swimming alongside and generally having fun.
We also saw two more sunfish.
We are now approaching the Lands End Traffic Separation scheme and have to ease up to allow a ship to pass, another two are watched, we take bearings on them to see if they are a danger, one is so we again ease off to allow it to pass ahead.
The Wolf lighthouse is passed we are over halfway and with a grin I say gently to John, who had not noticed, 'I can see the Scillies'!! They have crept up over the horizon! A wonderful feeling to see them again.
By 1615 we are just 10 miles from the entrance to Crow sound.
At 1645 I see the other sight I had been waiting for, the Scillonian, as she appeared from between St' Agnes and St. Mary's. She passes half a mile south of us.
At 1745 I ease the revs off as we enter the sound. I was allowing the auto pilot to steer us and all was going well till we got a very strong north set that would have driven us into the Eastern Isles, so had to take Sykie the auto pilot off and hand steer out of it, gently entered the islands.
The tide was strong against us past Hats and Crow Rock, but eased as we made out way along the oh so familiar shore of St. Mary's. We had passed over the Crow Bar with 1.3 metre to spare so I pressed on for the shallow bar between the Sound and Bryher, the Hulman. We had 0.9 metres under the keel as we tiptoed in, you could see every strand of weed and every sea shell on the bottom through 1.9 metres of crystal clear water.
We skirted round the rocks Merrick and Plumb, I could name most after the years here, I eased into Green Bay and John dropped the hook in 3 metres, we watched the anchor descend to the bottom..
It is 1915hrs
We will dry out here, but will stay afloat for most of the tide, easier to flush the loo! But we do no discharge it here, it goes into the holding tank!
I text all the friends and family announcing our arrival! Then call the coastguard to book off!
We sit and marvel at the views, the water, the boats, we made it!!
I hoist the Scilly flag that my Jenny presented me with before I left... The Cornish one is put away... I also hoist the older unofficial Scilly flag, bet no one knows what it is!
A dinghy approaches. It is Bob Smith, he has a Steel 'Spray' well up the beach, he knew we were a Maurice Griffiths design and came to admire us!
His Spray was built by Terry Erskine the Golden Hind builder and he said Terry joined him on his trip back to the UK from Gozo. That rang a bell, I have just typed up Doug's log of his trip to the Med and back when he met them! We chatted for a while and John put on of our flyers in Bob's hand. He was to speak to Terry and hopefully Terry would be in touch.
Later as we looked at the other boats, as they swung I could read the name on the side of one in the distance..... It was 'Fidelio' the Tidewater 30 that I had spoken to the owner of 2 years back! I put his pics on the site!
As it gets dark we set a second anchor, to limit out swing... Anchor light comes on, time to go below.
We opt for a cold meal, sat in the cockpit, followed by Clare's chocolate cake and custard.
Mileage, 437 plus today's 37, equals a total of 474
Two grinning John's!
Thursday 19th July 2018.
Today spent on Bryher, walking round showing John the sights. We have morning coffee in Fraggle rock and meet Anna who knew we were here from my Jenny..
See Sue Pender ton chat and will pick up a new succulent from her, my last one died in the cold this year.... will carry it carefully home...
A visit to Zoe in the shop and a few bits. I arrange to come back for milk later. Zoe tells me she has found a buyer, pleased about that Bryher needs her shop, she will concentrate on her baking!
John buys two of Zoe's hot pasties and we walk to Rushey Bay to eat them. The sun is blazing down. Later drop into the Hell Bay Hotel for afternoon coffee, before returning via the shop, to the boat. Boat is aground but not dry, 2ft of water round us. paddle the dinghy back to the boat. John gets on board and uses the water container that was stored in he aft locker to fill the water tanks, I go back to the beach and refill it from the tap.
On my return I take the opportunity to wash the dirty oily marks off the hull. Then motor checked and diesel tank filled, ready for tomorrow.
We are due up at Fraggle Rock at 1940 so a bit of a rush to type these pages up and clean up before we leave....
I will add pics for today later.
Tomorrow, if the weather is right we will leave here at 1000 and head north.
Two suntanned John's!
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