Couldn't resist this little piece of video.!
Friday, 6 June 2008
We sailed long days
Long dark nights
Bathed in star light
Careering through the midnight sea
Lit by the phosphorescent glow
Of ocean life
In sunlight, blue sea dreams
Sung by a lone whale
Echo through the hull
Heavy water surges apart
Split by the cutting edge
Three thousand miles run
Across the planet
We five ride each contour
Lurching in unison
Each wave rise
Each sudden drop
Imprinted on the brain.
Ahead lie volcanoes
Dead, dying or alive
Around each a coral ring
Flocked with rainbow shoals
Blue, yellow, red parrot fish
Grinding out white sands
Rasta boatmen stream to greet us
Bearing bread, fruit and lobsters
Red green yellow Ethiopian head rugs
Cajoling with slow eloquent tongues
Parting with complex handshakesWe touch Knuckled fists for Respect
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
Rather like a horoscope it covers every eventuality, but does stick its neck out to say that the summer will be warm and fairly good;
Sunday, 1 June 2008
An early taxi picked us up on the quayside,and dropped us at Truro station. We had a lovely relaxed train ride, upgraded for a tenner to First Class seats, albeit with a quick flurry of excitement at W where we were due to catch a train to Fratton. However having lugged everything onto the platform we found that this was delayed so we hopped back on with all our bags, and went on to Reading, and then cross country to Guildford.
Unfortunately the last bit of the journey from Guildford was marred by screaming children with a single mother failing to cope, followed by a gang of young bully boys who were behaving abominably. To my shame I didn't stand up to stop them- I was pathetically mindful of the apparent propensity of aggressive yobs to knife anyone who gets in their way. They got off at Godalming to go and terrorise people there instead.
Finally home by taxi, where everything felt Alice-in-Wonderland huge and a little strange - I always feel so much more careful about running taps, after days being careful about water.
To recuperate I spent the next three hours giving the grass a much needed cut in the sunshine, and felt much more grounded as a result. Back to work tomorrow!
Saturday, 31 May 2008
On Saturday morning we were up at 0515, and sailing at a brisk pace by 0550. We first raised the Dodman through the mist, and then the Nare and Gull Rock in early sunshine. Finally familiar beaches at Towan and Porthbeor (our Polar Bear Beach) were followed by St Anthony’s Head and Carrick Roads, and we sailed crisply into St Mawes, raising appreciative comments from the crew of a fine traditional looking 60 foot yacht. By this time I had already phoned Mylor and spoken to the engineer who we arranged to meet before noon.
Caught a mooring and went ashore to meet the St. Mawes harbour master, and explain our plans. Having fought hard to keep our sheltered position in the mouth if the Percuil, I was not happy to find that we were still allocated a place off the rocks of
Later in Mylor we had a really helpful welcome, with a pontoon reserved, and two uniformed lads to help moor up. The engineer turned up promptly, and we arranged everything to my satisfaction. It’s going to be expensive!
Back in St. Mawes the sunny afternoon was perfect, and we enjoyed compete relaxation for a while, swinging to our own mooring in St.Mawes, before dealing with shore jobs, inflating another dinghy, testing the outboard motor, and generally getting everything ship shape.
Then as the evening turned grey and cold we headed back to Mylor to find our berth still free, protected by the talismans of blue traffic cones laid out by the cheerful dock hands. Here we packed up and then enjoyed a wonderful fresh fish meal of crab cakes, scallops, and whiting washed down with a crisp Argentinian Sauvignon Blanc at the buzzing quayside restaurant, Castaways, which is set in the old converted sail loft and chandlery.
Friday, 30 May 2008
We made a relaxed start in sunshine to investigate
Without yesterday’s brisk northeasterly breeze we motored slowly down the coast to Fowey, and set out fishing lines with the new lures that I'd bought in Dartmouth, with which we quickly caught two mackerel of very different sizes for supper.
As we came through the narrow headlands, we met the Pilot cutter leading a large commercial cargo vessel out. Fowey competes strongly to ship out much of the China Clay mined nearby in St Austell.
Fuel is to be had at a dock to starboard inside the harbour, alongside a towering fishing vessel hauled out and freshly painted blue and red, dwarfing the houses of the village. In contrast the dock was dirty, rusty and rather decrepit. We almost forgot to hang out the ready-prepared fenders, but fortunately a bystander shouted to us as we came alongside, and they were kicked off the deck in time, saving our shiny blue paint. The bystander turned out to be an experience yacht finisher, who was very impressed with our new AwlGrip finish applied last year in St. Martin. We took 125 litres of diesel , which cost 77p a litre and I had to head round the little harbour to the post office shop and queue to get some cash out.
From there we headed across to the very clean new Town Quay pontoon which allowed us a couple of hours alongside to fill with water and get provisions.
Once ashore we augmented our David and Goliath mackerel with a visit to Fowey Fish to get some crevettes grises and fresh crab for a feast of a meal. I was amazed at their wine range, which included Cornish regional wine (2005) at 12 quid a bottle. I was tempted to try, but didn't feeling like lashing out that much on an experiment!
However that night we had to make a serious decision about whether to go on or turn back. The rudder gland was again seeping water at about 15 litres a day, and the generator now refused to function, claiming “oil pressure low”. Since the latter had been removed, serviced and replaced and rewired in
We resolved to be in St. Mawes by 0900 and to contact Mylor to get their engineer to look at the problem. I set the alarm for 05:15.
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Set sail for Start Point in a grey damp dawn, pushing past the first of the flood tide at 5 knots on a close reach. We enjoyed the sight of isolated grand houses along the coast, set in rolling green fields that came down to shallow rocky cliffs and backed with steep slopes and deep wooded valleys. Passing savage reefs that stretch offshore, reaching for the keels of passing yachts, we came to the great stone arched chess knight at Prawle Point, and hardening the sheets creamed across the flat water at 7.5 knots to Salcombe, leaving astern the grim rusting wreck on the cliff that reminds one always of the savage sea’s power.
Entering Salcombe with more than a metre of water clear over the Bar all was peace, few boats out, and a friendly welcome from the Harbour master who took our mooring line to Buoy No 23 opposite the Ferry Inn, and charged us nothing for our lunch-long stay. The water taxi took us to the Town Quay, and we ambled through the streets, enjoying Salcombe’s holiday air, and bursts of warm sunshine, until we could sit on the terrace at the Ferry Inn and sip a pint of local ale enjoying the view of Laros sitting nicely to the tide. With its sheltered river, enlivened by rich golden beaches, Salcombe offers all sorts of summer delights to families. The shops have adapted to the flood of moneyed visitors and offer everything one could wish for from fine wines to the latest beach fashion.
Back on board we raised sail on the mooring, and then caught the ebb out of Salcombe and round the coast to Newton Ferrers. En route I was able to disappear below leaving the helm to my mate, and enjoyed a quiet read and snooze. Arriving off the River Yealm, I misjudged the extent of eth submerged rocks off the point, and was shocked to have the depth drop suddenly to 3.5 metres. Mental note to hold out further towards the jagged shark’s fin of the Mewstone in future. The entrance to the Yealm is always surprisingly narrow and, as one feels for a way in between the red port-hand buoys and the jagged rocks, the depth drops until there is just a metre or so under the keel. Following the leading marks, and then turning hard to port for the next red and white mark on the hillside leads one to Misery Point, where the river turns a hidden corner at a shallow patch to reveal the secret reaches and moorings winding up to the pontoon off the ferry steps. Here we rafted to another blue hulled ketch, Wishstream, with lovely lines and fine overhanging counter. The sun came out and flooded the valley with golden light, and after a happy chat with our new neighbours, and a quiet drink we rowed ashore and strolled along the wooded lane to the Ship Inn in Noss Mayo for supper.
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
The weather turned foul again, promising gales and rain, so we took the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam railway from Kingswear and chuffed and puffed up the hill and over the top to Paignton, stopping at a couple of halts, and enjoying the elegance of the old second class carriage. Steam, smoke and rain obscured the view, and condensation misted the inside of the windows, but by opening the sliding windows wider than the two recommended draught prevention lines one could see glimpses of coats and rows of beach huts in pastel shades along the grey curve of small bays.
In Paignton we said farewell to our nephew, before shouldering a pack and catching a bus to Brixham. Here we furnished ourselves with a hot pasty and a map of the coast path and then set off in steady rain to Berry Head, looking down on the busy fishing port below. Struggling along in full red foul weather gear, I was soon drenched in sweat and finding it difficult to live with my energetic partner, who was fully committed to the 12 miles back to
At Berry Head we headed out through the rain to the world’s shortest (2 metres) and highest (60 metres of cliff) lighthouse, and then sloshed back to the café in the old fortified guardhouse, where baked potatoes restored the blood sugar. My new waterproof jacket appeared useless – either because I was sweating too much, or because water came straight through, so I tried the alternative of discarding my shirt and wearing the fleece next to the skin. This seemed to be a much better alternative, and I enjoyed the rest of the trek, although lugging our ludicrously heavy rucksack up one hill had me weaving like a drunk at the top.
Finally we found our way downhill along an ancient track between steep walls, with a stream running over the stone slabs, and this eventually came out into the cliff edge above the grand houses along the entrance to
That evening we ate on board, and fell asleep early.
In Poole Marina we were delighted to spot Marta amongst the other Sigma 38s. The boys went round for a nostalgic look at her, and her skipper then came back to chat.
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
With only a single nephew left as crew my mate and I set off westwards at 8 am to catch the tide at Portland Bill, and managed to sail past on a dead run with a reasonable light breeze before the tide turned.
We were suddenly joined by an exhausted racing pigeon coming home from
We caught the ferry to
He immediately went over to ask to pose for a photo with the chef who was tidying up the remains of a crab and a delicious looking mayonnaise.
I took photos only to discover that the chef, was actually captain of the English rugby team, and much, much revered. Autographs kindly provided to queues of little boys and girls too. He is doing a series on cooking round the coast with local chefs.
To top off my nephew’s surprise we later bumped into one of his
Monday, 26 May 2008
Monday dawned blowing a gale again and raining hard, so my grand daughter’s first sail was confined to moving berths to make way for the Challenger yacht fleet.
We then commandeered the Brownsea island ferry (the only passengers) and set off in our bright red foul weather gear to explore the island. The sheltered woodlands soon had us stripping off and enjoying the muggy warmth finding peacocks, and perky bantam cockerels but no red squirrels.
There is a large stone commemorating the first scout camp on the island, and there is still an actively used site where Scouts and Guides come to enjoy the magic of the island. It all reminded me of the many good times I had as a boy scout, and all the fun we had camping, learning to cook on open fires, and constructing complex tables and frames with logs and sisal baling twine. Baden Powell's bust stands proudly near the entrance to the Castle. He did very well - but it is sad that this is much less widely enjoyed by young people.
Sunday, 25 May 2008
I arrived back from
On Sunday morning we woke reluctantly in the cosy snug of the aft cabin after a night of torrential rain and wind singing eerily in the rigging. It’s amazing how scary that noise can be - like a horde of banshees singing their different laments for the souls of drowned sailors.
However the morning was almost windless when my two nephews joined us, and we set off West towards
Across the bay the wind freshened from the East and we arrived at
Sunday, 11 May 2008
Thursday, 8 May 2008
As the team arrived the radio announced STRONG WIND WARNING FORCE 6 - so we popped in a reef before heading out. Despite having never sailed before I was impressed at the speed at which everyone picked up the principles. Hannah handled the boat superbly, holding her head to wind whilst the others got the mainsail up. Later when the jib needed to be winched flat, Gary immediately grasped the business of luffing up but not going through the wind to tack.
Having started late, and with a 5pm train to catch I cancelled a trip to the Witterings, and headed to Bembridge instead. By 1300 there was 1.5 metres under the keel over the bar, and we were able to raft up and get ashore. This was much welcomed by some crew who were feeling a little queasy. However we all perked up with some excellent Crab sandwiches.
Then a brisk sail home, followed by an evening cooking a gigantic paella and soaking in the hot tub. I think that everyone enjoyed it - I did!