2021 Cruise Reports
Guernsey or bust
Voyage of Jemelia. Jeanneau 379. 17th July to 27th July 2021
Skipper. Dave Evans
First mate. Anne Evans
After lockdowns, and with very little chance of going anywhere over the last 18 months an easing of restrictions seemed to present the opportunity for a more extended summer cruise, and a chance to escape.
France seemed to be out of the question as there were still quarantine restrictions in place for those returning to the UK, and Jersey was insisting on a PCR test on arrival. Guernsey however appeared to offer relatively straightforward entry procedures. Get a Covid passport to prove you were doubly vaccinated, sign up to Guernsey’s tracker app, upload all the relevant information, tell them you’re coming and take a lateral flow test before leaving the UK and the rest should be simple.
Tested, vaccinated and appd we set sail, or should it be motored in no wind to Hope Cove in the early evening of Saturday 17th July, having spent the afternoon watching the Sail GP yachts foiling their way speedily around the Sound. The plan was to anchor in what I thought would be a quiet anchorage overnight and then head off with the forecast NE in the morning. The quiet anchorage turned out to be full of others seeking the same solitude but with absolute calm there was plenty of space.
The plan was to set off at dawn, but an overly optimistic early alarm meant it was still pitch black when I was woken. With plenty of daylight hours ahead it seemed only reasonable to go back under the duvet for a while longer.
We left the anchorage at 05.03 still with no wind. This gradually filled in from the ENE but at only 7 knots it was too light and too on the nose to do anything but motor sail. The wind gradually veered and increased but was still not strong enough to kill the engine until 10.00. we were however joined by a small group of dolphins who accompanied us for a while.
From then onwards we had enough wind to average between 6 and 7 knots and with good visibility crossing the busy shipping channels was trauma free. We sighted land mid afternoon and entered the Little Russel channel between Herm and Guernsey at 17.02. With a dying breeze it was time to drop the sails and motor the last couple of miles to St Peter Port.
On previous visits, many years ago (over 30), visiting boats were always met by the harbour patrol, but in the absence of any obvious interest when we arrived, I radioed for instructions. I was told to tie up on the waiting pontoon outside the marina and go ashore to clear Covid formalities at the marquee at the top of the gangway. I was advised that this closed at 6pm but they would stay open for us. The brief formalities consisted of confirming that we had our completed tracker app and opening it and clicking to say we had arrived. We were then given yellow wrist bands to wear when going ashore until such time as we went into the marina, and a blue tick sticker for the boat.
Once ashore there were no restrictions and as mask wearing was still required in the UK at the time it seemed strange to walk into an almost normal environment.
After a day to explore and relax we decide to head off for Sark. The weather was hot, sunny and windless so we motored the seven miles to Havre Gosselin on the west coast of the island. With only light easterlies forecast this was the perfect anchorage made even better by using one of the free visitors’ moorings. We christened the new inflatable tender, rowed ashore and climbed the 199 steps to the top of the hill. With only dusty lanes, and almost no directional signage it took us a while to find our way to the nearest pub.
On arrival our hopes were dashed as were told we couldn’t come in because we had been in the Channel Islands for less than 7 days, this restriction even extended to us not even being allowed to sit in the garden. With our thirst unquenched we headed off in search of somewhere more accommodating. We were advised there was a bar above the school, interesting idea, and sure enough as the children were leaving for the day we entered, ordered drinks at the bar, and sat in a shady spot on the balcony, no questions, no restrictions.
We spent a peaceful and uneventful night moored in the bay and motored round in the tender to the neighbouring bay in the morning for a swim from the beach. Our return trip to St Peter Port again involved motoring in flat calm. On arrival I took the opportunity to fill up with diesel at a very reasonable 64 p per litre. We were beaten to the fuel berth by a large, pushy powerboat who raced in front of us. Expecting to have to wait for some time while he filled his tank there was a certain satisfaction to see him turned away as he hadn’t yet cleared the Covid formalities.
The next few days were spent walking to neighbouring bays, taking a bus ride round the island, and swimming in Havelet bay. We had previously sailed to St Peter Port over 30 years ago with 2 adults and 3 small children crammed into a 26ft lifting keel Super Seal. Space was at a premium and the only available storage space for the cool box was in the heads. I also remember the harbour being packed with boats 3 abreast in the marina. This summer there were very few sailing boats, with the majority of visitors being 50+ feet powerboats. Perhaps the uncertainty over possible restrictions and the difficulty of going any further put many off. It did mean we generally had the marina facilities to ourselves.
The plan had been to come back via Alderney but the forecast for the next few days was for strong north westerlies. This would have meant a cracking sail to Alderney but strong headwinds all the way back across the channel. Reluctantly we decide to give Alderney a miss and head straight back for Salcombe.
We left St Peter Port at 07.00 on the morning of the 26th in light North westerlies, good visibility, and calm seas. We motor sailed to start with, killed the engine at 07.40 only to have to re start it after 15 minutes as our boat speed dropped to 4kn. Forty minutes later the wind had picked up enough to sail at a reasonable speed. Later in the morning the wind dropped again so back on went the engine.
Our course took us within touching distance of the Channel light vessel, and before the age of the chart plotter this would have been a perfect opportunity to get a fix to plot on the chart.
Just after passing the LV we had the most bizarre experience. Before setting off I had fitted Ocean Signal Man Overboard beacons to both lifejackets. These are really fiddly to fit and involve opening the lifejacket cover and attaching the beacon to the uninflated lifejacket, then wrapping a thin tape around and attaching it to the beacon so that when the lifejacket is inflated the tape releases the safety catch and sets off the alarm. It was so time consuming that I hadn’t fitted them for the outward journey but only did so when we had time in Guernsey.
We had just had lunch, we were between the two shipping lanes and Anne was keeping watch while I lay down in the cockpit for a power nap. Suddenly the man overboard warning sounded on the chart plotter. Neither of us realised what it was at first, particularly as we were both still on board. By the time I looked at the screen and turned it off it seemed to indicate a MOB less than 80 metres away. My first thought was that in lying down I had somehow displaced the safety catch and that every ship within a five mile radius would now be looking for one of us adrift mid channel.
Having turned the alarm off I went below and opened each of the lifejackets in turn, only to find that neither had gone off. By this time, we were some distance away and were somewhat concerned that we might have sailed straight past a casualty in the water. However with the alarm now off and no sign of any vessels or VHF distress signal we continued, albeit a little guilty with our journey. We were mid channel in a slight sea with good visibility and there had been no sign of either a boat, debris, or any indication that anyone was in the water. We did check the news for the next few days but thankfully there was nothing about anyone lost in the vicinity. aving turned the alarm off
Throughout the afternoon the wind increased steadily, eventually up to F5 and with the boat being increasingly headed we took the decision to reef and bear away for Dartmouth, arriving at 19.40. Darthaven marina was full, but we found the perfect space on the mid-stream pontoon just upstream from the town jetty. Being only 50 metres from the shore the water taxi only charges 50p to go ashore.
The forecast for the rest of the week wasn’t wonderful so rather than be stuck for several days we decided to head back to Plymouth the next day. With a westerly 4-5 gusting 6 we motor sailed most of the way, and with hindsight it would probably have been better to have pressed on to Salcombe the day before. Whilst our channel crossing would have taken longer, our subsequent trip back to Plymouth would have been easier.
I’m glad we went; we were lucky to have 2 weeks of mainly warm dry weather. Anne hadn’t been keen to go to Sark, complaining of being pestered by flies on her last visit. This time, we didn’t see a single fly on the island. The early start to both crossings meant an early evening arrival both sides of the channel with plenty of daylight to spare. As with most voyages the wind was either too strong, or not strong enough and always from the wrong direction. It must have been a success, as on our last visit to Guernsey, Anne jumped ship with the children and took the easier option of flying home.
So next summer, a club cruise to the Channel Islands?
Days out. 12
Distance covered (rhumb line). 210 Nautical miles.
Engine hours. 22
Max wind. Force 6
Alcohol consumed. Occasionally.
Single handed to Fowey
As I sit here on Tamarisk, gently rocking in the wash from all the River activities in Fowey, I have the biggest of grins on my face, as I reflect on what must seem a pretty normal sail to most, but to me it has been a momentous occasion.
This is my 5th season with Tamarisk in which time I’ve been lucky enough to have an assortment of crew, but sometimes I’ve sat and watched as CCC boats depart, while I’ve stayed tied to the pontoon, frustrated with myself for lacking the confidence to go it alone.
That all changed this August bank hol weekend. With a settled forecast of light Easterlies and sunshine promised, I made the decision “it’s now or never”
Alan, Margaret and Ian (Sundance) helped me by casting off my lines in the marina, that’s it I thought, it’s me, Saffie and Tamarisk Oh help!!! What have I let myself in for!!!!!!
Plymouth Sound was pretty uneventful, I had, with ‘Arry’ autohelm’s help, got the fenders in and sails up, and then settled into a gentle motor sail, having a cuppa and enjoying the sense of freedom, even if the iron sail was chugging away.
Just before Looe Island, ‘Arry’ had a hissy fit and stopped working, I talked nicely to him, I tickled his switches, played with his buttons. He could not be persuaded to work again.
So nothing for it but to helm.
I manage to rig up a few bungies to hold the course loosely, good job really as I regretted drinking the tea, And eventually had to do the quickest loo visit on record, but succeed I did, what a relief!!
Next hurdle was going to be, getting the main sail down, Genoa is no probs as roller reefing. I turned to wind with my breath held, let the main halyard go and down it came, flaking beautifully as it did, phew!!!!
It can be such a pain sometimes, but not today.
I put all the lines and fenders to Starboard side while drifting outside Fowey entrance, Heading into Harbour I met a cruise ship coming out, so held position while it passed by, even managing a few pics of it. Then headed in.
The harbour launch was about, so felt they might help me, so after a quick chat with them proceeded to pontoon 3. I ferry glided into the suggested place to moor, lassoed the cleat with my mid ships line, jumped off and tied the boat up, all in a matter of minutes. While the harbour launch lads stood on the launch and watched, I didn’t need them anyway, more satisfaction to myself I thought.
Beaming like a Cheshire Cat I took Sundance lines, had a cuppa to steady my nerves, then broke open the champagne to celebrate,
Alan wanted to know why I’d only put the fenders and lines on starboard side? Sun in the cockpit, for sundowners came my reply, with that big grin on my face. I’d done it, my first ever single handed sail.
2020 Sailing season reports
Cruise 2, Fowey (29th to 31st May)
Pontoon party on Sunday
2019 Sailing season reports
A shorted Cruise No.9 went ahead over the weekend of 7th & 8th September. With 5 boats; Rose of Truro, Bright Maid. Papillon, Harlog & Sundance enjoying a glorious September sail along the South Devon coast.
Ten members met at The Kings Arms Saturday evening for a lively get together and meal, followed by a short stroll and then drinks at The Vitoria.
Sunday was very warm and sunny, but little wind meant a motor sail back to Plymouth.
Salcombe lifeboat passing Harlog
Well, after a few days relaxing in Plymouth and enjoying the sights it had to offer, not to mention the excellent pubs and restaurants, it was time to get Cabernet ship-shape for taking us safely on The Eastern Cruise with The Cattewater Sailing Club.
On approaching the entrance into Salcombe at roughly 11:45, crossing over the sand bar we were welcomed by the stunningly beautiful bay opening up in front of us, truly a sight to behold with fantastic sunshine adding to its glory!
We were approached by the very helpful harbour patrol and escorted to our prearranged berth in the bag along the visitors’ pontoon. We quickly settled in with a little help from our fellow sailors, assisting with ropes and springs etc and soon had the kettle on and sandwiches prepared.
The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent reading, chatting to fellow cruisers and simply soaking up the sunshine with a drink or two in hand!
We finally went ashore by a water taxi to explore more. I found a super vantage point to take in the site overlooking the bay but where was Mr B’ this time? – sniffing out the bakers for a Cornish pasty. I had one too, well it would be rude not to, followed by a homemade Salcombe ice cream! Oh! did I mention we were booked for an evening meal at The Kings Arms? More of that later. Anyway after our “lunch” we did take in a lovely stroll and also managed to fit in a pub or two and spent time talking to some fellow Bristolians.
By the time we were due to meet for dinner we were already a little lubricated and ready to eat once more. (The diet will start tomorrow).
The menu, although quite small at The Kings Arms, was more than adequate and as you might expect so close to the sea had lots of fish options. I had king prawns with chips and a side salad, which was delicious and Mr B’ had crab linguine which he equally enjoyed. The evening was rounded off with a nightcap at the Salcombe yacht club.
Once again we hopped onto the water taxi for our ride home and were soon purring soundly in our beds for the night, what a fab day and evening we had all enjoyed.
Alas one boat driven by a French couple came in a little haphazard to say the least and bumped Carbernet causing a nasty bump on the guardrail and a bent stantion. With not even a word of apology we felt pretty miffed. However all was not lost as after an hour or two the harbour patrol once again came to our defence to say they had indeed seen the accident and asked us to fill in the necessary paperwork and they would deal with the rest. Watch this space! Anyway early night for us now as the skipper informs me we set sail once more in the morning at 7am! Eek!
After a much-needed hairwash and shower us Cattewater sailors enjoyed a fish ‘n’chip supper with a couple of sundowners listening to the brass band raising money for the RNLI. After such an early start it’s now 22:30 and time to turn in after having really enjoyed another day at sea.
Maybe this sailing lark isn’t so bad after all.
Day 6: Dartmouth Bound
Whether to sail as planned to Dartmouth ( if they could accommodate our 4 boats) whether to sail in Torbay then back to Brixham once again or make tracks for Salcombe.
The general consensus was moving onto Dartmouth after a few hours sailing around Brixham seeing as how the winds and sea conditions were pretty favourable.
We had a smashing few hours, made so much more magical as we were accompanied by a large pod of dolphins visiting each of our boats in turn.
On arriving in Dartmouth it was looking touch and go whether we could be accommodated after all or indeed whether we’d even make the pontoon to be rafted up to our next door neighbour! After a few choice words exchanged between Captain and galley slave and help on the ropes from our fellow companions we made it!
A cup of tea, a beer and a ham wrap put everything into perspective and we could sit back and take in our stunning surroundings and appreciate all that sailing has to offer.
I came very close earlier to putting down a deposit on a camper van. You don’t realise how much Colin and Val saved the day there Mr B! I’ve withdrawn my deposit on the camper van for now.
Margaret has recommended a restaurant for dinner this evening so that’s where we shall meet, eat and discuss the days events. We’ve all enjoyed a fantastic meal in The Seven Stars, the oldest pub in Dartmouth. I had the best fish pie ever!
Had an email from the Salcombe harbour master informing us the French guy who crashed our boat has filled his insurance paper work out in French. So awaiting translation.
Mr B and I spent a very pleasant time ashore for a couple of hours enjoying the little town of Dartmouth before coming back to Cabernet by water taxi where we spent time reading, chilling and taking in the scenery. Mr B saw fit to take down our small sail ready to hoist our large one tomorrow. Mid-afternoon we were pleasantly surprised to be joined by Tamarisk, thankfully, Jean, Sandra’s friend recovered enough after her fall to commence sailing.
We were all invited to meet for drinks on “Kalimero“ this evening, this is becoming a very nice and welcoming tradition.
About 20:30 when we realised we hadn’t eaten and we didn’t want to out stay our welcome we all went back to our own boats to cook dinner. In the meantime we were joined by Gillian, who knows may become a new Cattwater sailing club member after showing her true colours of being, it appears, a very competent sailor.
Looking back on yet another fabulous day its night my from me and night from Mr B. ( 21:00 Captain is out for the count in my Princess suite!).
We’re eating onboard this evening: tapas, quiche and salad. Accompanied by a nice chilled Sauvignon Blanc. But this will have to wait for now as we’ve just been invited onto Tamarisk for drinks and nibbles. We’re very easily led astray. Off to bed at 22:00.
Well, today the latter was the case.
Mr B handled Cabernet with such cool and calm expertise and swiftly got us out of “trouble “ to take us on our way once more.
It was wonderful to see our “bed” waiting for us, parking up always makes me anxious so it was with a sigh of relief that Mr B parked us so beautifully.
To conclude: The camper van is on hold for the time being.
Cruise 3 to Fowey for the Bank holiday was looking in doubt on deadline day, but after the study of numerous weather APPs the decision was taken to go ahead.
We motored out to the Draystone buoy on time and immediately encountered Jonathon Dakers in Osea Mist making the internationally renowned hand signal for “I have a problem”. Having just had his boat in the yard for a while he thought it could be a problem with the exhaust and was reluctant to push the engine. Trying to lighten the moment I said to him, “you will probably still arrive in Fowey before us”, but secretly we were in with a chance of not being last for once.
On arrival at the RV it was obvious that with the Apparent wind speed right on the nose we were in for a long day. After several tacks, long spells of motor sailing and Terry’s pasties we eventually arrived in the Fowey River and were welcomed by the rest of the club at the Gridiron Pontoon. Not last.
After our long day out on the water it was great for us all to sit down for an evening meal in the The Lugger Hotel.
As the evening drew on and the drink flowed the conversation was lively and not a mention of Brexit. A high point of the evening was the arrival and the consumption of Kevin Whitmill’s waffle and ice cream desert. One to remember for future visits. A stroll through the town and a night cap in The Gallants Sailing Club was much needed before the race for the last Taxi back to the Gridiron. Terry and I had taken the dinghy (preparation and planning etc.) so it seemed APPropriate to try another of the numerous gins on sale from behind the bar.
Apparently the water taxi fare and ferrying methods had ruffled a few feathers the previous night; consequently the following morning was greeted by the sound of air being forced into inflatable chambers up and down the pontoon. Jonathon, with the assistance of Will managed to put things right with his engine and showed us the evidence. A cocktail of detritus extracted from his filter.
There was a buzz on the pontoon about the following day’s weather forecast. Out came all the APPs and it looked likely to be APPalling. The decision to go home a day early was split (Just like the country) and half the fleet, wearing the APPropriate wet weather gear, decided to return so as to avoid the imminent storm App..tly named on our vessel as Brexit.
The remainers set about planning their respective days with the intention of meeting up at the Gallants for a Sunday roast. Terry and I motored off in search of useless gadgets or things you just can’t live without and we were quite successful.
The roast devoured and the town becoming busy it was time to escape for a siesta and a relaxing evening. No sooner had my head hit the cushion when there was a commotion on the pontoon. David Evans on Jemelia had decided to provide some entertainment by scaling his mast to replace the wind thingy at the top.
So with Kev and Anne on the winches, up he went. On his decent he was greeted with a round of APPlause from the remainers. Such was the euphoria that David and Anne invited us all for an APP..eritif or two later that evening which was very enjoyable and greatly APPreciated.
We retired to our respective boats with the thoughts of the next day’s forecast… As it ‘APPend, it was quite a nice sail back to Plymouth with just the cruising chute up all the way to Mountbatten breakwater. Thanks to all for another great weekend.
Sun-drenched cruise to Fowey over the Easter Weekend
As the time drew close for the first cruise of the season it was difficult to believe we would be in line for good weather. Over the years, the first Cattewater Cruise of the season had normally been cancelled and so it was with a slight spring in our steps that we looked forward to good weather this year, although as in most cases, the wind direction would not be on our side.
The cruise was due to start on Saturday 20th of April with a return date of the 22nd. However, as excitement overtook some crews, Saraband, Forever in Blue Jeans and Cabernet set off on Good Friday but unfortunately Phoenix, Bright Maid and Elsie D had to abandon their trip due to mechanical problems.
Saturday Morning arrived and at the Muster Point off Penlee point, Sundance and Kalimero rendezvoused as planned and set off under motor towards Fowey. The journey was uneventful, other than sightings of a large number of giant-sized Jellyfish interspersed along the trip. On entering the mouth of the river, the sun followed us onto our berth. We were soon joined by Whiskey Lullaby, Jemelia and Schuss B making a total of eight CCC boats.
Saturday evening 17 of our members enjoyed a great night at The Ship and then a final drink at the Gallants Sailing Club. On the way back through the dimly lit town we were greeted by a very jolly trio of sailors, one of whom was Alan Casey. They began to enthusiastically recount their sail from Plymouth and told us how they had sailed out and found wind, saw a basking shark and a pod of Dolphins and managed to sail all the way to Fowey! It made our journey seem a bit ordinary. Bev on Saraband, who is legendary for meeting up with dolphins when no one else seems to spot them, had also reported seeing these gorgeous creatures on their trip from Plymouth the day before.
After a bit of a lie in, Sunday dawned warm and dry and got hotter throughout the day. Saraband left for Plymouth that morning; the rest of us were left to do our own thing. The inevitable water taxi ride into Fowey for a stroll around the town, and for us a cream tea at the Harbour Hotel, seemed to be the perfect quintessential Summer Sunday. David and Paul Evans, however, felt the need to exercise their muscles and hoisted each other up their masts to do some essential maintenance work, while at the same time trying to prevent a hefty bill from riggers. Unfortunately, I did not get any photos, which was a shame. The thought of dangling up a 40 ft plus mast gives me the shivers.
Kalimero decided to leave at around 7:00 the next morning to catch the tide and so too did the rest of our members with the exception of Jemelia, who was going into the boatyard at Polruan for to be scrubbed and antifouled. And this is where our trip really became eventful!
When leaving Fowey, it was really cold so we dressed up well. The motor was puffing out a lot of smoke but we put this down to the coldness of the morning. Off we went; tried to sail, the main already up. We hoisted the genoa; the wind a south westerly at 12/14mph. Great we thought, but no. It was only a coastal breeze, so after about 10 minutes, on again with the motor and down with the genoa.
Passing Looe Island, we felt something was wrong. A lot of smoke at the back from the engine. A red light !!!!!!!! and very little water coming out of the exhaust. Time to put our thinking caps on. We stopped the engine and decided to sail into Whitsand Bay and head for Polhawn Cove on a light wind coming from the east. We had to tack a few times to enable us to do that while the skipper stripped the water inlet pipes and filter, looking for a blockage. Not ideal with the sea picking up and the wind rising to 22mph. After dropping anchor in Polhawn the boat was sheltered and steady enough to remove the water pump and the 8 little screws holding the cover plate. The impellor, which was new, was ok, so we put things back together, tried priming the pump but still had no water flow. After investigating the engine further and trying the engine once more, we had no choice but to ask for assistance. I’m sure the rest of the boats thought we had gone off on a jolly and probably thought we turned into Whitsand Bay to sail!!!!! We rang Elite Marine and Lewis, a very nice young man, who operates a marine breakdown service came to our rescue in a fast rib.
To be honest it was not initially identifiable what the problem was. The impellor was fine, nothing in the filter or water pump, no problem with the thermostat and after three goes from Lewis our engine was still not pumping water. Finally, as a last resort he fitted an oversized impellor from a Johnson pump instead of a Yanmar (which ours is) and yes, we had water, however not enough to run the engine at high revs.
Lewis kindly followed us out of the cove to just before Rame Head and told us not to put the revs higher than 1500 and he felt we should be able to get back to PYH. That was ok but the sun had gone in; it became grey and overcast and we were in a rolling sea with the wind on the nose and it took ages to get around the headland, all the time hoping the engine would not pack up around Rame. Of course, the boats who passed us probably couldn’t understand why we were going so slowly and rolling about.
We finally arrived back in PYH and to our fellow Cattewater members recalled the events of the previous three or four hours. It must be said that although this is something you never want to happen while sailing, it was probably inevitable that it would sometime. We had done all the checks; had regular servicing and carried all the spares but she is an old boat. As we later found out, quite a few boats had problems over that weekend; we were just one of them. Plymouth and the Breakwater never looked so inviting as on that cold damp windy Easter Monday. Kalimero is now awaiting the attention of Merv from MBBH.
2018 Sailing season reports
Cruise to Fowey: Sandra Lerpiniere
OK so I signed up to Cruise no 2, my first with Cattewater CC, now I’m committed, especially as I have keen as mustard Paul Mac along to help me. We all met at muster point at 10.30 as arranged, not much wind so a gentle motor sail set in, with mother duck and all her ducklings following. After a few miles myself and Paul decided to head out a few degrees in the search of wind, which amazingly we found, out came the Genoa, off went the engine, and albeit slowly we sailed the rest of the journey with the excitement of 6/8 dolphins, dancing about the bows and lifting us on our way towards Fowey. We arrived at Fowey, a pontoon had been booked, and the boats already berthed, were standing ready to catch our lines, always a welcome sight, extra hands. A meal ashore was eagerly anticipated, and we were not disappointed. The Lugger had been booked, so we ate, drank, and made merry, going for a night cap, or two in some people’s cases 😊at the Gallant Sailing Club.
Sunday dawned and my helping hand namely Paul who doesn’t like to sit still for too long, suggested a trip to Mevagissey, those that wanted to jumped on Tamarisk and off we headed, leaving others to play with dinghies and new outboards, or take a stroll up hill and down dale. We motored across St Austell bay, went into Mevagissey, it’s small in there, did a quick U turn, and headed out again. Maybe one day with more experience I will return and stay a night. We drifted and lunched, freshly cut sandwiches, homemade cakes, a nice bottle of red, then headed back along the coast in the general direction of Fowey avoiding what we decided was a fish farm, up to a mile off shore and probably about half a mile wide, marked with yellow buoys at each corner. Once past this obstacle, we headed into a beautiful little bay called Polkerris. Paul suggested anchoring, and after a discussion, down went the anchor, on went the kettle, tea and cake anyone ???? We tried desperately hard to sail back, but with the eta at Fowey getting later and later, on went the engine, with lovely people waiting on the pontoon to catch our lines again. A free evening saw myself and Paul eating on board and relaxing as the sun set, while others headed ashore for showers and a meal. Monday saw us all up and leaving by 9.30 A gentle motor again, but if there’s no wind what else can we do!!
I would like to say a big thank you to Alan Eves for organising the cruise, a big thank you to the rest of the cruise boats for making me feel welcome and helping with berthing etc. And an extra special thank you to my sailing buddy, whose energy abounds and at the tender age he is let’s nothing stand in his way. Amazing !!!!
Fowey: The gin cruise by Pip Shell
Moody and Drascombe Weekend
Friday 13th July 2018 depart Plymouth to Fowey
Beautiful day, calm sea and what little wind available was straight on the bow. Never the less Sundance and Paloma headed west for Fowey in good spirits. Despite the fact that, Paloma’s auto helm was in the repair shop and not a bit of the white stuff in sight Roger and myself happily took turns at the helm and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful British weather.
Alan had previously reserved space on Pontoon No.3. Once secured, Sundance kids came aboard for afternoon tea. During the interim and prior to getting comfortable and unknown by Roger and myself we were minus all the shortbread biscuits but one, which were put out for our visitors, even Roger could not have managed to eat those in that period time! It would appear our first visitors were Fowey Gulls!!
Margaret saved the day and arrived with homemade sausage rolls.
Ian having trailed his Drascombe Chnusper-Hasli to Mixtow, moored with us on the Pontoon, using Sundance as a base for Bed and Breakfast.
Ian arrives on Chunusper-Hasli
Saturday morning Ian and Alan jumped ship and took part in the Drascombe rally
A flying start to the Rally
This left Margaret and myself going ashore. Heading for the Royal Fowey Yacht Club followed by what girls do best “Cruising the Shops”.
During this period we received a phone call from the elusive Graham on Rose of Truro! searching for us (we were hidden on the inside of pontoon 3).He made alternative arrangements and moored on a buoy. He had been fortunate enough to obtain enough wind to carry out a little sailing and to sight a large pod of dolphins, which he also managed to do on the return journey, no luck with us lesser mortals!
Sunday the Moody fleet, Sundance, Rose of Truro and Paloma returned to Plymouth and lot emptier in the Diesel department. The weather overall was lovely and a great weekend had by all.
Sundance leading the way home
2017 Sailing season cruise reports
Cruise 6 report
Having sent off the email to Rear Commodore Sail confirming my participation in cruise 6 I thought I would give Terry a call, seeing as he had enjoyed himself so much with us last year. He said he would be keen, only if I were to stop calling him 10 degrees Terry. So “5 degrees Terry” (5DT) and I (he has improved to be fair) was signed up.
Our departure from the slip at Oreston was delayed somewhat due to me forgetting to put the cool box with all the fresh victuals in the car. A quick phone call to Lynne and they were duly delivered with her usual understanding wit. We motored out to the RV and checked in with the RCS. It was a beautiful day but as is often the case with the wind it is either all or nothing and today was the latter.
For this cruise the CCC fleet were out in numbers, probably due to the fine weather forecast. Ten vessels in all which would have made a fine sight if only I could have caught up with them. Sundance, Kalimero, Paloma, Temptation, Sally Ann, Seagle, Rose of Truro, D’accord, Rouhine and Wave Dancer. Most of these had ventured out to sea in search of the illusive breeze.
5DT and I put in our ear defenders and motored all the way. It was probably the hottest day of the year so far, we certainly could have done with some wind if only to cool us down. Entering Salcombe was like travelling up Grand Canal in Venice. There were boats everywhere churning up the water, including the Salcombe Lifeboat which, in its haste to leave on duty scattered them in all directions and left us spilling our tea.
We picked our way through the numerous racing dinghies and moored yachts until we reached “The Bag”. We rafted up alongside “Temptation” where Rob and Chris Turner kindly took our lines.
5DT’s reputation as a gin aficionado is becoming common knowledge in the CCC and on this cruise he had brought along a very palatable “Bulldog” variety and not long after tying up it was being sampled by the crew of Wave Dancer.
In due course RCS summoned the taxi and we were all off to the SYC for the evening meal. Before dining a group photo was called for, however the call was not heard in the club showers or I may well have made an appearance. Sorry.
The last taxi back to “The Bag” saw us all on board our respective boats with a night cap, watching the clear night sky for the odd shooting star and the various constellations.
Day two (Sunday) was a beautiful dawn… apparently… and the hub-hub of the pontoon was evident with the smell of bacon wafting over the air, the occasional audible yawn/cough and the crash of bottles hitting the bottom of the rubbish skip. During the course of the morning a few of the club members had had enough of the frantic social life that was on offer and decided to return to home waters. For those who are made of sterner stuff we regrouped on the pontoon and the general consensus was to stay another day.
5DT (new club member No.368) and I came to the conclusion that having brought the inflatable all this way just for it to sit on the foredeck seemed a bit of a waste, so we decided it was going to take us into Salcombe and save us a few bob in taxi fares. And so, 5DT with the aid of the crank handle and spinnaker halyard, hoisted the dinghy up the mast until it unravelled.
Then I, with the aid of my speedy electric pump inflated the dinghy. Over the side, outboard attached, all necessary safety gear installed and away we went. The town quay/pontoon had plenty of room for us and we were far enough away from the busy taxis and ferries. The RNLI lockers were a bit of a challenge to find and then open but all in all, quite a successful ship to shore event. Our time ashore was well spent with the retrieval of 5DT’s hat from the night before at the SYC…..Beer…Lunch and beer….The purchase of more gin…..Ice cream….and a visit to the Salcombe Over Sixties Club (closed).
Our return to Wave Dancer however was not so uneventful. “Let’s go exploring”, someone suggested. Our “exploring” took us up a shallow creek behind Salcombe where all the small motor craft are moored, hundreds of them. A warning of came from the bow “it’s getting a bit shallow ‘ere” and so we turned around and headed back. Not before picking up a nest of fishing line on the prop…. It was all going so well. We rowed our way across to a nearby pontoon and set about any passer-by for the loan of some pliers, knives or anything that would help. 5DT disappeared into the distance and onto the mainland to buy some tools I think, but in his absence I managed to unravel the mess cursing the careless fisherman and cutting my fingers in the process. On his return he was pleased beyond words to see the job I had done and that his long walk had been in vain. Our exploration at an end for one day we returned to “The Bag” and enjoyed another relaxing evening in the summer sun….with some more gin.
Day three (Monday). 5DT was insistent that he should see the sun rise over the river, so alarms were set for 05.05 hrs. Stunning sunrise over and porridge eaten it was back to sleep for a couple of hours at least. Thanks Terry. Our departure from this South Devon jewel was scheduled for 09.30 hrs and one by one we peeled ourselves away from the pontoon and out into the river. The wind was up at last and we prepared ourselves for a proper sail back to Plymouth. However. by the time Wave Dancer had reached the “bar” the rest of the fleet were almost out of sight. A super long zoom lens would have been needed if I was to get any pictures for the photo competition.
Anyway,with 5DT at the helm it gave me a chance to add some colour to the scene and fly the cruising chute. All was going well until we were adjacent to Bigbury Bay when sadly the wind departed and our sailing became motoring, again. We arrived back on the mooring quite exhausted from all the sun and in time for 5DT’s weekly swimming lesson. Another successful and enjoyable weekend cruise.
A small boat requires a small crew
2016 Sailing season cruise reports
Cruise 4: Fowey
With regular updates being issued by the Rear Commodore Sail, regarding the number of boats signing up for the three day cruise to Fowey, the build up was quite absorbing. By the evening prior to the departure, eleven club boats were enrolled and there was the possibility that we would be joined by a few more from Hooe Point Sailing Club, who have an open invitation to join on our Cruises.
The weather leading up to the cruise had been reasonable and the forecast for the weekend was good. However, Saturday morning (day one of the cruise) when it arrived, did not look good. Fog had come in over night and visibility was pretty poor. Never having sailed in fog, Val and I were uncertain about how or when things would proceed, but that’s the advantage of sailing with the Cruising Club and people who know.
Chris Reilley, who was standing in as cruise co-ordinator, conferred with the Commodore and decided that the cruise would go ahead. At nine thirty the departure of boats from Yacht Haven began: Isotope, Paloma, Sheba, Kalimero, Saraband, D’accord, Forever in Blue Jeans, Port Star and Sound Venture headed for the muster point at the Draystone buoy. There was no wind and the fog was not lifting but as we motored across the Sound we could see our new members: Graham and Wendy, in their boat Ruahine, also heading out towards the Draystone from Mayflower Marina. At ten thirty the Cruise coordinator was at the Draystone with his binoculars raised, counting boats in the fog; he radioed that he could see all the members’ boats and we set off.
Port Star gliding past Kalimero off Rame Head
On Kalimero we were glad that we were able to keep visual contact with other boats throughout the journey and remarked that if we had been on our own we wouldn’t have set out. Visibility improved at Looe Island and we were just able to make out the coast.
The bigger boats moved ahead but were still just visible to us as they entered Fowey. A few times it looked like the fog might lift and the sun might break through but it stayed hidden for the whole trip. The sea was flat which made motoring a bit more pleasant. As we entered the river the fog did lift and the sun had appeared before we reached the pontoon which had been reserved for us, opposite the lifeboat berth.
Rafted-Up At Fowey
Rick Thorne & Mike Sims seeing who could go fastest
We rafted up three deep on the outside of the pontoon and two deep on the inside to form the biggest gathering of CCC boats seen for several years. Added to our boats were three from Hooe Point Sailing Club.
A booking had been made for a table for the evening meal at Fowey Yacht Club – it actually took three tables to seat all twenty nine of us. Prior to the meal we met on the balcony where Nigel presented a Club burgee to our new members: Graham and Wendy.
Assembled for the burgee presentation
After enjoying the good food and company some of us made our way back to our boats with the help of the friendly, cigar smoking, water taxi man who always seems intent on teasing Roger and Celia about something or another. I wonder if that was why, a couple of hours later, he made all of the late night “returnees” clamber over the deck of Paloma?
On Sunday morning the three boats from Hooe Point, together with Sound Venture and Sheba set of for Falmouth. Isotope, Paloma, D’accord and Kalimero returned to Plymouth. Ruahine, Saraband, Port Star and Forever in Blue Jeans returned the following day. On Kalimero we motored as far as Polpero where the wind came up and gave us a good sail all the way home. We had left Fowey in company with Paloma and Isotope; somewhere around Looe we parted; Palomo going sightseeing closer inland and Nigel flying his “big blue” further offshore, but we met up again at Penlee Point.
Kalimero Heads East
As does Paloma
The cruise could most certainly be classed as a success – the only sad note being that Alan, who had arranged things from the comfort of his invalid arm chair, was unable to join us due to his badly injured foot; he was, however, well represented by Margaret, his most able crew, nurse and cook, who sailed to Fowey on Sound Venture and returned with us on Kalimero.
Not a hump back whale after all!!!
Cruise 7 (a bit of it)
Cruise 7 was planned as a west-about nine day cruise to the delightful cruising area of Falmouth Bay and environs commencing on Saturday, 2 July 2016. Cruise 5 had been planned as an east-about nine day cruise, but ended as a wet two day flog and motor sail for some to Fowey and back. Cruises 4 & 6 were planned as weekend cruises to Fowey and went ahead, again as misty, damp or wet motor sails. Thus, it should not have been a surprise that the weather for the week of Cruise 7 was still changeable with above average rain predicted. This resulted in the stalwarts, who had participated in Cruises 4, 5 & 6, deciding that they did not fancy another motor sail to Fowey in the rain and that they would wait and see if the weather improved later in the week.
True to form, Saturday was very gusty and showery, but the forecast for Sunday through Thursday held a glimmer of hope. Fortified by a stiff gin on Saturday evening, Saraband and Isotope resolved to set off for Fowey at 0830 hrs on the Sunday morning to take full
advantage of the westbound tidal flow. At reveille, the wind was F3-4 from the east, it was drizzling quite heavily and the visibility was murky at the best. The temptation to return to one’s bunk was extremely strong, but XCWeather said the rain would stop about 08:00. Much to our amazement it did and off we set. The forecast was for the wind to be NE F4-5 becoming S or SW F3-4. Isotope set off across the Sound with one reef in the mainsail at a lovely and comfortable 5 kts. The wind started to die and at the Western Entrance the slop began. Full mainsail was raised, but in the vicious choppy seas on a very broad reach the only progress was thanks to the strong spring tide. Saraband had left twenty minutes after
Isotope and decided they would motor-sail until they found some decent wind. They steamed past just short of Penlee Point and were not sighted again until Fowey!! Off Penlee Point, the seas were even more confused and Isotope’s sails were crashing to and fro as we were tossed around. In fear for the rigging, not to mention the discomfort, it was roll up the jib and on with the engine to motor into the deeper water on the west side of Rame Head and the hope that the seas would reduce to acceptable. This they did, aided by then being on the port quarter rather than the port bow. Off with the engine, unfurl the jib and so started two hours of slow, rolly sailing. The good news was that the clouds started to roll back and by 11:30 there were sunny patches. The wind began to swing about and then all but disappeared, before filling in to a lovely SSW F3. The sunny spells quickly merged and a glorious sail was had all the way to Fowey entrance. The nasty SE sloppy seas continued, but now that we had sailing speed, they were endurable. Due to the favourable tide, a good passage time was achieved and Isotope arrived in Fowey mid-afternoon to find an abundance of empty buoys. Saraband was well tucked in and Bev was reclining in the sun. As there were plenty of buoys, I elected to give Ted space and picked up a buoy further out. Probably a wise move as Ted gave the Harbour staff such a reception that they did not go near Saraband on Monday night
and Kev had to hail then from Isotope to pay their harbour dues for the second night!! It was also noticeable that Isotope accumulated several close neighbours as the late afternoon progressed, but there were still vacant buoys around Saraband!!
Saraband surrounded by vacant buoys
Ted gets a run ashore
That Sunday evening had to rank as one of the best. It was an idyllic summer’s evening allowing the whole evening to be enjoyed in the cockpit. However, it was a short summer and, after a rolly night with the slop still piling in, it was awake to drizzle and fog
The night before
The morning after
The fog actually became worse as the morning progressed and did not start to clear until shortly before mid-day when it rained!! The passage to St Mawes was put on hold, supported by the Inshore Waters forecast of S F4-5!! So it was ashore for a visit to the RFYC and breakfast in the Lifebuoy. A change of venue for me as our friendly cigar smoking water taxi driver told me that Brown Sugar had gone down hill. It was well packed when I went past both
ways to and fro the empty Lifebuoy!! That said, I still had a most enjoyable breakfast. There was a true super yacht with twin bow anchors deployed and attached to the large mooring buoy, which caused me a wry smile as Dilly & Tony Lambert were told that they could not keep their new 45 ft Alice in Fowey as she was too large. Little did I know then that Alice was on Pontoon 5 on her way to PYH and that I would meet them both on Wednesday!!
Considering Monday was not a day I personally would have put to sea (even with the Scurvy Crew), by the time Bev & Kev joined me for a farewell gin, Fowey was heaving and even Saraband had close neighbours!! It was another rolly night after the strong southerly.
However, Tuesday started overcast but quickly brightened and the wind was in the promised SW. I waved goodbye to Saraband as they set off to take full advantage of the westerly tidal flow on their way to seek the New World (hopefully the Isles of Scilly!!) during their planned month onboard
The original CCC burgee on display in the RFYC
Nix to the Lamberts!
Home to the Polruan Cockerels?
The last sighting of Saraband?
I cast off at 10:00 with the prospect of a longish sail home against a strong foul tide. Wrong again!! When I left the wind was only F2-3 and I was under full sail. It quite quickly filled to NW F4-5 and Isotope was flying!! Approaching Rame Head she was recoding a
steady 7 kts plus boat speed. It was only 1300 hrs and much to soon to arrive as the sun had come out; so, it was turn onto the wind and in with two reefs. We then close reached outbound for an hour before heading back inbound. I had decided to return to PYH on the
Tuesday to find out what the remainder of Cruise 7 were planning. When I arrived, I was surrounded by empty berths!! I later iscovered that they had all gone to Fowey and had stood well out to sea to ensure that I did not see them pass by!!
Another reason for choosing to return on the Tuesday was that the forecast was for winds SW F2-3 and I did not fancy a very long drift home from St Mawes. They were wrong again, as it was actually SW F4 and I would have had a great run back!! One day we will have settled conditions and, perhaps, reliable weather forecasts!!
2015 Sailing season cruise reports
Cruising programme synopsis
The extreme ends of the 2015 cruising season both provided some excellent sailing weather. Unfortunately, the bulk of the season was marred by poor weather with an abnormal number of summer storms and gales. This antisocial weather resulted in six of the planned twelve Club cruises having to be cancelled. Indeed, only three cruises went ahead as planned; two of these were bank holiday weekend cruises, which can usually be guaranteed to suffer at the hands of the weather gods!! The remaining three cruises were long cruises, which went ahead to a modified programme. Of these, only Cruise 6 provided a reasonable cruise with the other two ending up being very reduced in days at sea and ports visited. Despite all these set backs, members still showed a stoic enthusiasm to participate with eighteen Club boats signing up for one or more of the cruises, with thirteen actually managing to cruise in company on one or more occasions. The level of enthusiasm and result of each planned 2015 Club cruise were:
Cruise 1 to the River Yealm was cancelled at the very last moment due to Plymouth Sound being fog bound and some potential wet and windy weather being forecast for later in the day.
Cruise 2 to Salcombe for the early May Bank Holiday weekend also had to be cancelled because of the very wet and windy weather forecast for the whole weekend.
Cruise 3 to Salcombe, Dartmouth, Dittisham, Brixham, Hallsands and return via Salcombe was similarly cancelled due to the very changeable wet and windy weather conditions forecast for the week. It was hoped that a short modified cruise to Salcombe and return might have been possible, but this too had to be cancelled.
Cruise 4 to Fowey for the Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend actually went ahead as planned!! Paloma, Kalimero, Sundance & Isotope had signed up for the cruise, but Sundance cancelled and Saraband & Sound Venture joined up at the last moment. Thus 5 boats set off for Fowey with a forecast N/NE F3/4 which turned out to be light and variable WNW!! After a long and overcast motor to Fowey, it turned into a glorious late afternoon and a most enjoyable evening was spent in the RFYC. Sunday was not the most pleasant of days, weather wise, but Monday was a lot brighter with a pleasant NW/W F3/4 providing for a great sail back to Plymouth.
Cruise 5 was planned as a 2 day cruise to Calstock or Dandy Hole. Due to a distinct lack of interest in these destinations, the cruise was changed to a split cruise to the River Avon or Salcombe. However, the weather decided not be accommodating and the cruise was cancelled.
Cruise 6 to Fowey, Helford, Falmouth, Truro River, St Mawes and return via Fowey ended up starting a day late and finishing a day early due to weather. It also followed a modified itinerary: Fowey, St Mawes, Falmouth, Mylor, St Mawes & Fowey, all ably led by the coordinator, Kev Whitmill. Saraband, Kalimero, Rose of Truro, Sir Jasper, Sundance & D’Accord had signed up for the cruise, with the last three all declared as late starters due to other commitments. In the end, just Saraband & Kalimero set off on the Sunday for Fowey. They made St Mawes Monday afternoon and rendezvoused with Isotope for a beach BBQ. Sundance made a direct dash for St Mawes and arrived just in time to eat (and drink!!). Isotope continued on her cruise whilst the other 3 boats enjoyed a walk on St Anthony’s Head before being joined by Formidable and moving to buoys off Falmouth Marina. Formidable elected to return direct to Plymouth, whilst Saraband, Kalimero & Sundance decided to explore the delights of Mylor Marina. They then returned to St Mawes on the Thursday night, before returning via Fowey to Plymouth arriving on the Saturday. In between whiles, Isotope arrived in Fowey on the Thursday and met up with Paloma & Rose of Truro, who had also met up with D’Accord.
Cruise 7 was planned as a split cruise to Looe or Fowey. Only Pearl Fisher & El Velero signed up for Looe and Chubby 2 & Sundance for Fowey. In the end, the cruise was cancelled due to the wet and gusty weather forecast for the Sunday.
Cruise 8 to Fowey, Helford River, Mylor, Truro River, St Mawes, Fowey and return was cancelled due to the adverse weather forecast for the start and most of the week. Paloma, Kalimero, Saraband, Shakura, Sundance, Rose of Truro & Isotope had signed up for the full cruise, with Sunmist, Sound Venture & Sea Walker electing to join the first leg to Fowey. The weather did improve later in the week, permitting Paloma, Kalimero, Saraband, Sundance, Shakura, Sound Venture & Isotope to make an Extremely Modified Cruise 8 to Fowey on the Thursday and back on the Saturday.
Cruise 9 was planned as a split cruise to the River Avon or Salcombe. Unfortunately, the River Avon pilot became unavailable and the cruise became a 3 day cruise to Salcombe.
Cruise 10 to Fowey for the late August Bank Holiday weekend went ahead as planned and was ably led by Alan Eves. Sundance, Sound Venture, Chubby 2, Wave Dancer & Rose of Truro had signed up for the cruise. Rose of Truro had to drop out at the last moment, but Forever In Blue Jeans became a late entrant. This was Chubby 2’s first Club cruise and it was a first for Chubby 2 & Wave Dancer to cruise in company to Fowey.
Cruise 11 eastabout to Salcombe, Dartmouth, Dittisham, Brixham, Hallsands and return via Salcombe started a day late due to the Plymouth to Salcombe passage race. Paloma, Saraband, Kalimero, Sundance, Sir Jasper and Isotope signed up for the cruise and completed the first leg to Salcombe. Sir Jasper returned direct to Plymouth on Day 2, whilst the others enjoyed a good sail round to Dartmouth. Isotope returned direct to Plymouth on Day 3; Paloma, Saraband & Sundance returned direct on Day 5; whilst Kalimero returned direct on Day 6.
Cruise 12 was planned as a one-day local cruise with a lunchtime beach BBQ but went ahead in glorious sunshine and ideal sailing conditions as a sail in company followed by a late afternoon BBQ on Mount Batten Beach. The conditions provided an ideal opportunity for members to build up their portfolios ready for the Photographic Competition! El Velero, Sundance, Sound Venture, Wave Dancer & Isotope had signed up for the cruise, but were joined at the start by late entrants Kalimero, Shakura & D’Accord.
The weather also played havoc with individual members’ intentions for long distance solo cruises, with several sensibly cancelling their plans due to the weather risks involved.
Pre cruise: Nigel had planned that Cruise 6 would visit Fowey, the Helford River, Falmouth, the Truro River, St Mawes and then return to Fowey and back to Plymouth. He had informed the club members that he would not be available to act as Cruise Coordinator; however, he had appointed Kevin Whitmill as a willing volunteer to stand in on his behalf. Kevin had been informed by Nigel that six boats were signed up for the Cruise which was due to start on Saturday 13th June. Unfortunately by Friday 12th the numbers had reduced to just Saraband and ourselves for the first leg but we were likely to be joined by Sundance, Isotope and Formidable as the cruise progressed. As always we had been watching the weather carefully and I was quite relieved when Kev decided to delay the start by one day due to the forecast.
Saturday: We arrived at Yacht Haven mid day and later met up with Saraband who had motored down from their mooring at Saltash.
Sunday: Overcast and cool Both boats set off at 09:30. We motor sailed to Rame Head and then managed to sail for an hour before resorting to motor sailing for the rest of the journey. The sea was flat and the wind for most of the journey was very light, although on approaching Fowey it came up and Kev headed out for a good sail into Fowey but we just pressed on with the motor.
We arrived and moored on Prime Cellars pontoon at 14:45 where we were helped to berth by a very kind lady who was sailing in lovely Nicholson 32 with her partner, who later told us that he had sailed around the world in one similar – so no pressure when we come to leave the pontoon. Saraband and their trusty sea dog Ted had moored up to a buoy nearby. That night on the recommendation of Pippa and Nigel (owners of Sir Jasper) we ate at Sams where we all had a great meal.
Monday: Sunny and warm This leg of the cruise had originally been planned as a sail from Fowey to the Helford River but because there was a forecast for winds from the East it was agreed to go directly to St Mawes – a new destination for us, although Saraband had visited there last year. We departed Fowey at 09:05 and sailed on about 11 knots of wind on a port tack to our waypoint some two miles clear of Dodman Point, reaching a maximum speed over the ground of 7.7 knots which is pretty fast for us. The sea state as far as Dodman was pretty comfortable and we managed to keep up with Saraband.
After Dodman we turned for Falmouth; the wind dropped and the sea state became quite uncomfortable with waves rolling in from behind. We found it difficult to sail and started the motor but after no more than 10 minutes we were sailing again and then sailed all the way to St Mawes. It was at Dodman, however, that the acting Cruise Coordinator raised his cruising chute and slowly sailed off into the distance. Here we are again only the two boats and we were trailing already!! We reached St Mawes at 13:00 where Saraband was waiting for us and coached us in as we managed to pick up a mooring buoy. It was noticeable on this leg of the journey that several other yachts had left Fowey at the same time as us and gone closer in towards the land but with the exception of Saraband and their cruising chute, we all arrived at the entrance to Falmouth at about the same time. Nigel, who was sailing Isotope on a “Gourmet Sailing Holiday” in the Falmouth area, with Rodders his “scurvy crew”, arrived at St Mawes during the afternoon and took a mooring ready to meet up with us for a prearranged BBQ on the beach in the evening.
Isotope in St Mawes (left) St Mawes BBQ with Margaret holding on to the wine!! (right)
Kevin had told us at the start of the Cruise that Sundance with the “kids” on board intended to leave Plymouth early on Monday and sail straight to Falmouth that day. They arrived late in the afternoon just in time for the BBQ . Also that afternoon at 14:00 Tony McLeod had left Plymouth in Formidable on route to Fowey with the intention of joining up with the Cruise at Falmouth so the numbers were now building up. That night we had a BBQ on the beach and what a wonderful evening it was. The weather was perfect, the food not too burnt and the company was entertaining (will Ian ever run out of jokes?)
Tuesday: Sunny and warm After a very comfortable night on a mooring, followed by a cooked breakfast, we walked to the lighthouse at St Anthony’s Head. The sky was clear and the temperature was building; the view from the coastal path was magnificent. We met up with Alan and Margaret on our return to the beach and agreed a departure time for when we would set off for Falmouth Marina.
Walking back from St Anthony’s Head (left) St Mawes (right)
Before reaching the beach where we had left our dingy we spotted Tony McLeod entering the Fal in Formidable – a quick phone call confirmed our mooring location to him and he rafted Formidable up to Kalimero. Nigel had left us earlier in the day but we were back to four boats again. We planned to leave St Mawes for Falmouth at 14:00 but having heard that it might be difficult to get berths in the marina, Kev went on ahead to investigate and left the rest of us to await his phone call; he told us that the marina was full but that there were visitors’ buoys available so we slipped our moorings and motored off. The mooring buoy which we chose had only a shackle on top and it was laying down flat and therefore my Happy Hooker did not help, looking back Colin might have had more success then me with the “Hooker”! but as it was, after two attempts at trying to pick the buoy up and a sharp exchange of words I conceded defeat. I could not get the boat hook under the shackle and in the end Kevin motored over in his dingy and hooked us on. Thanks again Kev; the relationship on board was getting a bit strained but you saved the day.
(The next morning we sat and watched as another couple had the same problem but they didn’t give up and on the fifth attempt they got their boat hooked up to the buoy – we only had two goes and that was bad enough.) After a calming cup of tea and reaching agreement over not apportioning blame for our mooring problem and taking on board the lesson we had learned we took a water taxi ashore and spent some time looking at the shops and had a meal with Tony from Formidable who told us that he intended to sail back to Plymouth in the morning. We went back on board quite early and had a wonderful evening’s entertainment watching what seemed a huge fleet of boats of all different shapes and sizes racing past us up the river towards Falmouth Yacht Club.
Wednesday: Overcast but warm. Tony left for Plymouth early in the morning and we heard from him later in the day that he motor sailed with just his genoa back to Plymouth. As a group we decided that we would all like to go to Mylor and after phoning the Marina were told the best time to approach would be two hours either side of low water. Kev made the necessary booking arrangements and all three boats set off at 14.00. It was a short trip of about 3 miles, quite windy and a new route so we all motored. We followed our Cruise Coordinator and found the visitor’s pontoon which had an easy access in idyllic surroundings. The marina staff were very helpful and friendly and with our PYH discount cards in our hands we were pleased with the cost of our overnight stay.
Sundance heading for Mylor
Soon after we arrived, having had a shower and spruced ourselves up, all of us from Saraband, Sundance and Kalimero had a super meal in Castaways, a waterfront restaurant. The fact that we had reached Mylor so easily came as a very pleasant surprise and everyone agreed that they intended to visit again.
Moored on the visitor’s pontoon, Mylor (left), Castaways Restaurant, Mylor (right)
Thursday: Overcast am. Sunny pm. On waking it was obvious that there had been a change in the weather overnight – there was a bit of a chop and the wind had come up. We had decided the night before that the Cruise would head back to St Mawes the following morning; stay overnight and head back to Fowey on Friday and to Plymouth on Saturday so as to get home before the bad weather, which was being forecast for Sunday, arrived. Saraband left the pontoon first followed by ourselves. Colin had put the route into the GPS so we had a track to go by to exit from Mylor. The Sundance “kids” helped us off and said that they would follow us. We left the comfort of Mylor marina and after a shaky reverse away from the pontoon, caused by the strong wind on the nose of the boat and a slight unplanned detour!, we got onto our track to follow the marked channel across the river towards St Just and then on to St Mawes. We kept looking back for Sundance who we had seen leaving the pontoon but there was no sign of them and we were nearly at St Just before they appeared. They had lost sight of us; could not find the marina entrance channel because of the mass of moored boats and had needed to zig zag through the moorings before coming to open water where they took a more direct line towards St Mawes and as usual although we weren’t the last to leave we were last to arrive. In fact, I don’t know if he was just being mischievous but before we reached the entrance to St Mawes we received a radio message from Sundance telling us to catch up. We were motoring at top speed at the time Ian!
Both Saraband and Sundance decided to go for a sail out past Black Rock rather than going straight to the moorings but we headed on in to St Mawes and hooked up – they joined us a short time later. In the afternoon we went ashore and found the village to be very pleasant and unspoiled and after returning to Kalimero we spent the evening on board watching more racing which included a bit more excitement when a brand new looking black Rustler 24, which was being helmed by a fairly elderly looking gentleman, hit the transom of a moored yacht with a glancing blow. The crew immediately scampered forward as if he was on a spring to see if the Rustler’s paint work had been scratched; he licked his fingers and ran them along the deck line to inspect for damage but they didn’t look back at the poor old Moody with which they had collided.
Friday: Sunny and warm Now, due to the forecast which we had seen for Friday I did not sleep well during Thursday night. The rigging on the boat moored next to us was rattling a lot and I could hear the wind whistling and I laid awake worried by the thought of sailing back to Fowey. Not sure if it was the image of Robert Redford trying to mend the hull of his boat or his bare chest in the film “All is lost” but I was very restless. Colin was fed up with the “what ifs?” and “could we’s” and having woken him up to make him two extra drinking chocolates by 4am and realising that there would be more liquid intake at breakfast, I then began to worry that if it was really windy, there was no way that I would take the tiller and he would have to go six hours without going down below, if you know what I mean!. However, when I awoke from my troubled sleep at 5am it was calm; it was less windy and a really lovely morning. We had decided on Thursday that we would leave at 07:30 for Fowey, which would be earlier than Saraband and Sundance and we motored out past Black Rock to a bright sunny day. We managed to sail towards Dodman for about half an hour but as the wind dropped off we resorted to motor sailing – the sea state was smooth and the going was pleasant. After reaching our waypoint and turning for Fowey the wind came up to between 12 and 15 mph and again with full genoa and main we had a brilliant sale back to Fowey. Yes that’s right – full genoa and full main Nigel. I must be getting better. We berthed on Pont Pil at 12:20. Both of the other boats came in later That evening we all enjoyed another very pleasant meal at Fowey Yacht Club and ended the night by all expressing our gratitude to Kev, our stand in Cruise Coordinator who had made our week so enjoyable.
Saturday: Overcast Once again we were the first to set off and left Fowey at 07:00. We motored all the way to Plymouth before finding enough wind to sail. Somewhere around Looe Island when we were watching a pod of dolphins we were overtaken by Saraband for the last time. (On this cruise that is!)
Saraband in the lead again
We were met in the Cattewater by our son and three of our grandsons who had all piled into a topper dingy and sailed out to meet us.
A lovely homecoming to round off a quite exceptional cruise. We reached our berth at Yacht Haven at noon once again having broadened our horizons through sailing with the Cattewater Cruisers.
Pearl Fisher’s cruise report
With Pearl Fisher’s berth just along from “Isotope” one quickly becomes immune to the berating received in passing from Nigel Vaughan-Smith, a.k.a. Rear Commodore Sail – RCS.
Having been pestered for a cruise report since one of our early trips up the Tamar (not considered a proper cruise by RCS) maybe it is time to put the poor old soul out of his misery and condemn the rest of you to a dose of it, by providing a compilation of cruise reports of our year. These were started when requested by RCS and then set aside to finish later. Well now it is later and they are not really finished!
Our first river trip of the season was to Calstock and Morwellham during which Glenda managed to dive head first down the companionway when a submerged branch caught us unaware and then suffered for the next few weeks with what we believe was just a broken rib, without a word of complaint (so she says)! The return was notable for seeing a dolphin (when referring to Dolphins they are probably porpoises) just off Mayflower Marina, the same one seen later in the year in the Plym, recognisable by a missing section of its dorsal fin.
Our second trip to Calstock came as we were hanging around Yachthaven fortunate to be foot loose for a few days, when reminded that we had a standing invitation to do a trip with Colin and Val and Kalimero. With an hour or so to spare before the tide was right Colin and Val consumed vast quantities of courgette cake whilst the passage plan was hatched. Val produced an excellent report of this little outing, so not too much detail here, but one or two of Val’s facts need correcting. Our journey up river was indeed hampered by a fishermen netting salmon, however Val’s description of Alec Friendship, a well known Calstock resident – the fisherman concerned as “A Very Old Fisherman” needs correcting, Alec, an acquaintance from Glenda’s youth in Calstock is in fact far younger than alluded too but not however known for his vanity or fashion sense, which may have led Val to her ageist conclusion. As Val described the return trip held its own interesting little episode, when from Pearl Fisher Paddy spotted what at first glance looked like it was a body and then noticed another much closer inshore. Closer examination revealed that the objects were in fact disposable white boiler suits. Thinking to rid other boats of the potential menace, a boat hook was brought to play and efforts made to bring the one in mid stream on board for later disposal. It was too heavy to lift, so the contents – a large quantity of “Laurel leaves” as described by Val, were released by releasing the main zip and so floated harmlessly away. On return to Plymouth Glenda disposed of the boiler suit and remaining debris in the Marina skip. Later to be retrieved by her after she jokingly referring to the contents as a drugs stash, causing Paddy to trawl the Internet and identify the leaves which it transpired were those of the cannabis variety, starting a string of events involving the Police, permits to transport controlled drugs and tales of illegal cannabis farms in the Tamar Valley!
Val calls this a Laurel Leaf
Pearl Fisher’s next effort to placate our highly respected Rear Commodore Sail and do some proper cruising – by going to sea, came about when Isotope was taken out of the water to have her cosmetic surgery. One quiet summer’s day she was hijacked by said RCS and contrary to whatever he might say the photo says it all – He enjoyed himself on a bilge keeler!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
RCS on the helm of Pearl Fisher – not having fun
Pearl Fisher’s furthest Cruise this year was a cross channel trip. With two other CCC boats from Plymouth we were to join a Westerly jaunt to Alderney and Cherbourg, the plan was to join the fleet at Dartmouth and then cross to Alderney from there. Well, the wind blew and continued to increase and blow even more. Our three boats remained firmly attached to their moorings. E-mails were exchanged, alternative plans were discussed and acted on by the more sensible skippers who waited and headed West!
Pearl Fisher waited as well, that is until the Tuesday night when she set sail for Alderney, never getting to meet up in Dartmouth. The wind was down to F2/3 gusting F4 and the swell offshore down to 1.5m, well that was according to the weather experts.
Pearl Fisher duly left Plymouth at 23.55 and headed out through the Eastern Entrance. Hoisting sails in the dark once we were certain we had passed the Shag Stone, always worthy of careful avoidance. Wind was 16knts from the West. We decided to both stay on watch until we were clear of Salcombe and well into the Channel. The bit between Bolt Tail and Bolt Head had both crew members thinking maybe this was not such a good idea, regretfully neither bothered to mention it to the other and so we carried on. It is fair to say that the weather experts were wrong; our S.O.G. will contest to that. Navionics on iPad recording 11.5knots at one point. Some say incorrectly as it happens and that the speed was achieved by dropping the iPad!
Not turning back however brought its own reward – a cracking good sail. Dawn found us mid channel and heading for the bottom corner of the Traffic Separation Zone, winds were consistent in speed and direction and visibility was very good
We also enjoyed our first visitors of the day – a pod of five or six Dolphins; they stayed with us for over half an hour. Spending our time eating, sipping tea and enjoying an occasional nap, the passage was well under way and thoughts of arriving started to cross our minds. Time for an early Lunch arrived and with it another set of visitors – or maybe the same visitors with one or two more friends and they stayed. We kept checking our watches and half an hour went by, then an hour and when an hour and three quarters had passed and they were still with us we could hardly contain our selves, in fact Paddy couldn’t and had to go below to make use of the facilities – obviously not appreciated by our visitors because they were gone when he emerged on deck again. After turning further to east and clearing the Traffic Separation Zone we made contact by radio with the other Westerly’s and arrived at Braye at 18.05 having sailed 97.3nm in 18.10 hrs averaging 5.35 knots mainly under sail alone.
Hiring bikes over the next 3 days and exploring Alderney, mixed with Beach Barbeques and historical research passed the time until the fleet moved on to Cherbourg.
Fleet heads for Cherbourg
Leaving early on Saturday Moring and covering the 27.2nm with only one boat getting some fishing net wrapped around its prop, with Pearl Fisher’s crew jumping ship to assist before the crippled boat was towed into Cherbourg and divers employed to resolve the issue. Time spent in Cherbourg visiting the maritime museum, dining in style and enjoying all things French before the weather forecast had us thinking of making a run for home. Winds were North Easterly forecast ideal for the trip straight back to Plymouth but scheduled to change to strong South Westerlies. So the scene was set, 10.30 the next morning the tide would be turning to take Pearl Fisher speedily at up to 10.1 knots past Alderney and then the Casquets. Our trip back again brought us into contact with another pod of Dolphins, this time about 14 were counted and they played with us for over an hour, Chris abandoned sailing to make the most of it and spent ages laid out over the bow with camera in hand, Paddy meanwhile put the auto helm to work and worked out how to use the camera on his new phone, on return to UK finding over 450 photos of this particular pod.
Chris getting up close and friendly
We carried on sailing into the night and returned to Yacht Haven at 05.00hrs having sailed 118.7nm in 18.5 hours. Our shortened channel cruise was spread over 7 days and covered over 216nm.
On return to the UK Pearl Fisher followed the other Westerlies west, trying to sail in company with our Commodore and her husband down to Fowey for Fowey week, we arrived stayed for two days and did not see hide nor hair of Paloma or Rose of Truro – Message received we set of for Falmouth having met a really lovely young family in the next boat (don’t let dreadlocked parents deceive you they had two of the nicest and best behaved young boys you could ask for), who were heading for the Fireworks at Plymouth, we had made arrangements to swap Moorings for a few days, theirs being at Mylor. The weather was fair to lovely for a few days but with a prospect of high winds from the East forecast, Pearl Fisher broke for home. A 06.00 start saw Glenda on the helm crossing Falmouth Bay with next to no wind and reasonable visibility, passing Doman Point that all changed – there was no wind and definitely no visibility, What to do, divert to Fowey or head for Plymouth navigating blind on instruments alone. The later was selected and a course laid for just North of Rame Head. A very dull and boring trip for the next few hours not made any better for Glenda by her visibility restricted even further to the bottom of a bucket. On arrival at our waypoint, we could hear but not see Rame Head and sneaked inshore until we could visibly make out the breakers on the rocks. Our blind navigation continued to The Draystone, where we found that we were one of 4 boats in close proximity. Draystone to Knap, Knap to the Western Entrance to New Ground, Melampus, South Mallard, Mount Batten Breakwater and then nudging our way up the Cattewater arriving at Yachthaven 6hrs 41m after leaving Falmouth, without putting a sail up. Glenda’s only consolation being a greater faith in electronics!
The summer continued with trips North, East and West to some of our regular haunts, one however sampling the delights of Totnes by boat for the first time as well as enjoying the great sailing area we have so close to home.
October brought on a fresh bout of sailing fever. How to make the best of an Indian summer. Feeling the need for a challenge Pearl Fisher set of at 00.13 for the Helford, with just Paddy on board for a decent night sail! Leaving the light behind with full sail it seemed to get darker and darker, being so late in the year there was no sight of other mad yachtsmen and the low cloud cover seemed to get lower as the night went on and the darkness greater.
Poor photo of view from cockpit at 02.30hrs
Entry into the Helford was delayed to enable an entry in daylight, where the anchor was dropped and then retrieved after about 20 minutes as the swell was severely uncomfortable and refuge sought on a buoy off the Helford River Sailing Club.
Dawn off the Helford River
After a couple of hours sleep it was time to set sail again and go for a jaunt, ending up at Malpas for afternoon tea and a snooze before heading back to Falmouth and another night sail back to Plymouth getting to Yachthaven at 00.55hrs having covered 102.6nm in 24hrs42m.
More sailing locally followed and continues into November!
2014 Sailing season cruise reports
Cattewater Cruising Club 2014 cruising programme outcome
As always, the weather has been both kind and unkind and had the following impact on the 2014 cruising programme:
Cruise 1 to the River Yealm or Polhawn Cove was cancelled due the inclement weather forecast for Easter Monday morning. Five Club boats had signed up for the cruise.
Cruise 2 to Fowey for the early May Bank Holiday weekend set off as planned with a spanking E/ESE F3-4 under overcast skies. Nine Club boats participated in the cruise. Unfortunately, the incoming Atlantic weather system decided to speed up and all agreed to return to Plymouth on the Sunday, rather than Monday as planned. This was an excellent decision in that not only did it avoid the adverse weather on Monday, but it provided a super sail back under clear skies with a steady SE F3-4.
Cruise 3 proceeded to a modified schedule due to the bad weather forecast over the planned start. Only two Club boats participated in a modified three day cruise to Salcombe, Dittisham and return.
Cruise 4 to Fowey for the Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend was cancelled due the poor weather forecast for the Saturday & Sunday. Six Club boats had signed up for the cruise. Bank Holiday Monday turned into a glorious sailing day and, after a great day sail, several members met and BBQ’d on Mount Batten Beach.
Cruise 5 to Calstock went ahead as planned despite the heavy rain overnight and on the return leg. Two Club boats and one guest participated.
Cruise 6 to Fowey, Helford, Falmouth, Truro River, St Mawes and return via Fowey set off as planned in glorious weather with a benign weather forecast for the whole period. Eight Club boats participated in the cruise. Two further Club boats were met enroute.
Cruise 7 went ahead to a very modified plan with a destination of Saltash pontoon rather than the River Avon. Two Club boats participated.
Cruise 8 to Salcombe, Dartmouth, Brixham, Dittisham, Hallsands and return via Salcombe was cancelled due to the adverse weather forecast for the start and most of the week. Six Club boats had signed up for the cruise.
Cruise 9 to Dandy Hole was cancelled on the back of a severe weather warning from the Met Office for thunderstorms for that weekend. One Club boat had signed up for the cruise at the time of cancellation.
Cruise 10 was split into two separate cruises in an attempt to allow as many members as possible to participate. Cruise 10A saw six Club boats have an excellent weekend in Salcombe, while Cruise 10B saw two further Club boats have as much fun in Calstock.
Cruise 10 September 6th 2014
Cruise 10 was to be a voyage along the Cornish shore, under the sweeping granite arm of The Dodman to Troy Town. The approach from the East, beating westward, Rame Head no longer visible
hidden behind the shower which passed on the horizon half an hour earlier, with nothing more than a damp drizzle across the cockpit, with the westerly breeze building increasing the swell each mile to
On this Saturday a change to the programme found the three Sundance Kids at Yacht Haven preparing for a cruise to Salcombe, the weather had been quiet leading on from a beautiful summer which had continued since Cruise 8 in June. Casting off at 09:30 we motored out of the entrance of the Marina into the Plym , with the
fenders away we raised the main, passed Mountbatten Pier into the Sound, sea condition, slight with a haze.
The Eastern End of the Breakwater: 10:10 to our rendezvous, with boats joining the Cruise 0.5 nautical miles south of the Shag Stone, weather continued to deteriorate from the sunny haze inshore to poor visibility no wind and smooth sea. We raised the radar reflector for the start at 10:30 and motored towards Salcombe at 10:45 with our position at 50.17.86N-004.06.46W we settled in to motor sail to Salcombe.
The fleet spread out travelling in a wide arc astern of Isotope, Bigbury Bay, each boat silhouetted in the haze, main sails mirror reflected across water. Bolt Tail, then the dramatic form of Bolt head rising on lofty pinnacles, beware Chapple rocks half mile off shore. One more danger point the Ellstone on the western shore before turning with glasses raised searching for the Poundstone
beacons and 000deg.T.
With Sound Venture leading, we followed Bill and Angela, T ianjis Pearl riding gently in the swell and over the Bar the remains of Fort Charles on the western side, turning for Scoble Point down the
Fairway.Salcombe Town in sunshine, pass Batson Creek giving shallow Snape Point a wide berth for the turn into The Bag.
Three abreast on the inside Pontoon El Velero ,Tianjis Pearl and Sundance next to arrive Isotope rafted forward of us next Val and Colin with Kalimaro time14:30.
The greetings ran through the moorings. The arrangements made, tables and water taxi booked we travelled down to Whitestrand Quay and Salcombe Sailing Club, after not a few drinks, and our meal
returning to our pontoon , to spend a peaceful night with the nocturnal sounds of the sunken Ria in late summer.
September 7th: The morning broke to hazy warm sunshine, a Heron stalked the receding tide line, circles interlocking surrounded us, a chattering duck family passed by, then in the shadow of the bow astern a flash of iridescence, a kingfisher ,how lucky. Breakfast of bacon filled baps and tea. Looking to the shore the fishing Heron was getting closer, boats on the shore side settled into the mud, time to leave 09:30.
Slipping our lines with departing waves and good wishes, we followed the flood around Snape, past boats on swinging bobbing buoys meeting the flood , pass the orange and blue craft at the
Normandy Pontoon, , sun light filling Salcombe windows, passed sandy beaches with echoes of holidays, reflected now, lost in thought at computer screens and class room windows. Ahead, Overbecks Sub Tropical Garden lay spread on the cliff in the September haze, we motored down with transits over the stern ,out into The Range where we found, the ocean moving as if asleep. We had shared our pontoon and departure with boats and crews of R.N.S.A, waiting for the starting gun of return leg, the breeze carried the banter of sailor’s challenges. The day was promising, a soft
southley with hazy sunshine, we raised our sails. Over the stern a line of multicoloured spinnakers appeared closing down on our more sedate pace. When a safe distance was reckoned we made
passage into Bigbury Bay, raised our cruising Shute and made for Plymouth, EL Valero and Tianjis Pearl inside heading for a lunch time in the mouth of the Erme (location noted for next year). Once
inshore of the Great Mew Stone the afternoon breeze faded, at the Shag Stone with we lowered our union coloured sail and motored with just a hint sadness to our berth, Time 16:30. Distance
covered 44m. A very enjoyable cruise and two great days.
Cruise 11 was formally cancelled due to the adverse mid-week weather forecast. However, three Club boats undertook separate modified cruises to Falmouth during the course of the week.
Cruise 12 the final cruise of the season, attracted 4 Club boats for a day sail and a late lunch in Jennycliff Bay.
Pearl Fisher goes to France in June
Having been spurred on by our Rear Commodore Sail’s heroic report of this two men in a boat report, I started to set pen to paper to relate Pearl Fisher channel crossing experience, not being one of the “Every Day is a Sunday Club” it never saw the light of day. (Maybe just as well –“Three Men in a Boat, No Lobster, No Sea Bass, But a Whale, a Sun Fish and Some Dolphins” was a parody on RC Sail’s report of his trip with Rodders and of doubtful benefit to society).
But your Rear Commodore would not be the man he is, if he let me avoid the task and chased me for a report by the end of October. On the penultimate day, I received the report of Calcaria’s Summer Cruise and was blown away by the apparent ease, such seasoned sailors seemed to approach the Channel Challenge. For better or for worse it spurred me on to comply with Nigel’s request, however I decided that maybe I could share some of the less glamorous detail of planning and execution rather than the obvious delights of visiting Channel Ports in great weather.
It was not my first Channel Crossing, but it was my first as Skipper in my own boat. This I found made a significant difference. As a crew member on someone else’s boat, I am used to just turning up with my kit, in a fit state at the allotted hour and doing as asked.
Whilst I appreciated that some planning was necessary I did not realise how much. A Cruise starts weeks before! We were due to depart Dartmouth in company on 11th June. At the beginning of May I started to think about the “readiness for sea” of Peal Fisher and thought I should also check out the administrative side of things.
A check around the boat revealed a couple of minor issues easily dealt with. Then came an evening of passage planning, checking tides etc. and planning the logistics of getting Boat and Crew in Dartmouth so we were “on the start line” and ready for the onward trip to Guernsey.
A casual conversation with one of the other Skippers on the trip (a Westerly jaunt) started a bit of a roller coaster ride on the Admin side of things – we were discussing what paperwork was needed, this led to me getting together 25 separate documents – some were absolute requirements, some met best practice and in fairness some were overkill and later deleted, but here is THE LIST!
Pearl Fisher Document List
1. Current Insurance Certificate (Third party £3,000,000 UK & Brest to Elbe)
2. Liferaft Certificate of Service (Jan 2014)
3. UK Distress Beacon Registration Document/s
4. CG66 Registration Information Submission
5. Maritime Radio Operator Certificate of Competence
6. Ships Radio Licence ( VHF Fixed / VHF Portable / Radar / EPIRB / PLB)
7. RYA Yachtmaster Offshore (Shorebased) Certificate
8. RYA Day Skipper and Power Craft Certificate
9. RYA Approved First Aid Certificate
10. RYA Keelboat Instructors Certificate
11. RYA National Powerboat Certificate
12. Border Force C1331 Part 1 (Completed for posting prior to departure)
13. Border Force C1331 Part 2 (for Completion if required)
14. Plymouth Yachthaven Recent Fuel Receipts (60/40%)
15. Bill of Sale (previous owner to PJOC)
16. Bill of sale (First Owner to previous owner)
17. Bill of Sale (Builders to First Owner)
18. Invoice of First sale (Builder to First Owner) Showing VAT Paid
19. Builders Certificate
20. Certificate of Hull Construction
21. Certificate of British Ships Registration
22. Fire Extinguishers Invoice (in date)
23. OUT of Date Flares Removed – under consideration 24. Passports 25. EHIC (NHS E111 replacement)
I won’t send you to sleep (if you aren’t already) by going through the list one by one, but you will see that for the avoidance of problems you actually should carry a raft of paperwork and worryingly to meet regulations a lot have to be originals. The upshot was a depletion of the Boat Budget and the collation of documents:
Fire Extinguishers were replaced (£25 each with a 5 year service programme). If carried they must be in date and be serviced.
A new Flare pack (£200) not a necessity but mine were just out of date and on balance an investment I went with. I was later advised that you can carry Out of Date Flares if they are clearly marked as such. I also looked at the new generation LED electronic flare, but decided as they were not yet approved I would stick with pyrotechnics for the time being.
My EPIRB was also just out of date but I deferred a £150 battery change on the grounds that I also carry a Personal Locator Beacon which was in date.
Fortunately the Liferaft was in date and the grab bag stocked and ready to go.
Pearl Fisher in Guernsey
Because we were intending to go outside the EU, by visiting the Channel Islands, Border Force Documents were needed. Our first landfall was due to be Guernsey so the requirement is that you complete and post prior to departure a C1331 (it no longer has to be received prior to departure) and we need to have one on board for completion if required on return to UK. In our case we went onto France so completed French registration when we arrived and then as we travelled from one EU country (France) to another (England) it was not necessary to complete one on return to UK.
Fuel was another issue to get around, it is acceptable to have Red Diesel in your main tank with proof of Duty having been paid, additional diesel in containers should be white and proof of purchase available for inspection.
Once the list was drawn up and actioned, the fear of getting a visit by the Gendarmes was reduced to a gentle concern of dealing with bureaucracy in a foreign language.
Insurance, radio licences, registration and competency documents need consideration, however the proof of VAT status on the boat is an essential to avoid problems and one not always easily provided. The boat can be seized in some circumstances.
So we were ready to go and arranged to sail to Dartmouth on the Sunday before and leave Pearl Fisher there for an early morning departure on the Wednesday, (note to self- Don’t go on the inside of the Town Pontoon again without a full wallet – £32 a night and electric was extra).
Crew at their best waiting for lunch
So well prepared and eager our three man crew (Paddy, Dick and Derek – combined age of 199) set of at 03.45 heading for St Peter Port arriving late in the afternoon having motored most of the way.
We then followed the trail around the Channel Islands reading numerous ”Blue Plaques” recording the landing of Nigel and Rodders on Isotope, we did not however see one when we got to France in Dielette our final destination, maybe Nigel was put off by the massive nuclear Power Station and the yellow glow in the water.
We returned to Plymouth in 17 hours following a really good cruise without mishap and more importantly without any inspection or visit from any authorities at all.
We had negotiated the various tidal issues, visited new ports and anchorages, met up with other CCC members, seen Dolphins, Sun Fish and according to one crew member a Minke Whale (skipper was down below), but most importantly for a first time skipper – broken the mystique and dispelled some myths and certainly many concerns of taking the boat across the Channel and now I have a documents file as well a grab bag ready to go again.
2011 Sailing season cruise reports
To Fowey and back with a couple of hiccups!!
So, the Fowey trip was upon us. The weather looked good and Nigel had emailed us all with the good news that yes! it was on! Neil, our son was coming with us which meant, I thought, that this would give me a rest and I could enjoy the scenery. We set off from PYH at 09:00hrs. Nigel and his crew on Sir Jasper who is moored alongside us on the marina were also making preparations but for a change and to my amazement Colin had done the checks and we were ready early. We headed out through the Cattewater, me on the tiller and after nearly “cutting up” a yacht to my port side we put up the main sail with a reef in it (apologies if anyone reading this was on the yacht involved). After a stern telling off regarding sailing etiquette from my son we continued on and put the genoa up and off we went to the Draystone Buoy. The wind was blowing from over by the Mewstone; the sea was a bit roly-poly but we reached our rendezvous off Rame Head in good time – in fact we sailed around a bit and then at 10:20 radioed Nigel to ask permission to make our way to Fowey. Permission granted we set off…………………………………
After a period of messing around with the sails the men decided to drop the main sail and sail on the genoa. To be honest other than Elvelero who was in front of us we couldn’t make out any CCC yachts except Rose of Truro who soon slipped in behind us. We sailed on and although the radio was on Dual Watch it remained remarkably silent as far as CCC communications were concerned, other than when we heard Graham on Rose of Truro reporting our position and progress to Nigel on Isotope. Neil, although a sailor in his spare time felt slightly under the weather. He couldn’t make out whether it was the whiskey the night before or sea sickness. I suspect it was the former! Just off Looe Island Colin noticed a pod of porpoises; there must have been about 8 to 10 of them surfing the waves beside us, disappearing under the front of the boat and then coming up alongside the cockpit. They must have been with us for about 5 minutes and it really was a wonderful sight.
As we approached Fowey we turned the engine on to enable us to drop the sails. Just as we lowered the genoa I was asked to check to see if water was coming out at the back of the boat and OMG no water! !After an exchange of words and suggestions we headed into the wind to put the genoa up again and Colin attempted to prime the cooling water thing. The engine was started again but no luck no water. At this point it was decided to sail into Fowey with a reduced sail, try and find a mooring buoy and discuss repair options. It was then decided to try for a third time but this time we were in luck and water gurgled out of the back of the boat. We motored up the river, contacted the Harbour Master who told us where the CCC berths were and with Nigel’s guidance, after one failed attempt we rafted up for the very first time. We found ourselves alongside a very expensive 45ft Oyster yacht!! It wasn’t until we reached Fowey that Nigel informed us that he couldn’t contact us on the radio!!!!!!!!!!!! We soon realised that our radio was only picking up intermittent signals!
After a much needed cup of tea we began to look forward to our meal at the Yacht Club. Again, Nigel, organised as ever, booked the water taxi and we duly arrived for our meal at about 19:15. Thereafter a very pleasant evening and good meal was enjoyed by about 15 people, and the Yacht Club it appeared had undergone a facelift since last year. What a truly gorgeous spot to enjoy a meal. The evening finished at about 10:30 and it was back on the water taxi and to bed. We had planned to leave Fowey at about 07:30 on the Sunday – this was earlier than Nigel (the 3 day initial trip was cut short due to a change in weather) as we were concerned about the engine and wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to sail. As it was the engine behaved and we slipped our mooring on time passing the” Hamburg” the Cruise ship that had woken us up when she docked in Fowey earlier in the morning. As we headed out to sea the sails were put up with a reef in the mainsail and a full genoa and with a SSE blowing we had our best sail ever and at one point reached 7 knots on the Garmin.
We sailed to Rame Head before we put a tack in and then sailed past the breakwater making our berth in Plymouth in just under 6 hours. We finished off the evening with a meal at The Bridge with our son, daughter in law and grandson and believe me we slept exceptionally well that night relieved that we had overcome our unease about rafting up and that the motor in the end did not let us down.
Cruise 10b Version 22d
For Paddy it all started with a chance comment from the skipper of El Velero “You’ve been up the Avon”!!! Never quite willing to admit to anything for fear of being in even more trouble than normal I hesitated and then replied along the lines of “I was only a passenger” and further explained that my dear lady wife had been at the helm ably navigated through the entrance by a knowledgeable friend whilst I was indeed looking the other way at all relevant times – to avoid being blamed or even being a witness for or to anything at all!!!
It then transpired Alan wanted to visit the Avon at some stage and thought we should organise a cruise. Meanwhile the story thickened when the Wicked Step Mother (aka RCS Nigel) heard what was afoot and decided to muscle in on the plan to make his Cruise Schedule appear even more impressive than it already was and innocently asked Pearl Fisher to be the co-ordinating vessel for a Shallow Draft Cruise to run on the same weekend as his manly and challenging cruise to Salcombe. (Obviously all designed to make him look good).
The announcement was made of a local Cruise for Shallow Draft Vessels (or in RCS’s thoughts lesser vessels than his because their keels are not as Big!!!). A number of Boats were lined up to join the Cruise and various options were muted – Up the Tamar – Up the Lyner – over to Cawsand – around to the Yealm – Along to Looe and even Over to the Avon. All destinations where the Ugly Sisters (Shallow Draft Boats) could get away from the Wicked Step Mother.
The day grew close and the Wicked Step Mother was hard at work casting spells – The weather turned in favour of her Cruise to Salcombe. Not for her a beat into the tide with the wind behind her around Bolt Head, rather a gentle little motor to a select selection of Boutique Shops – a scheme the lovely Gentle Ladies of the CCC would be unable to resist.
And so it came to pass that Pearl Fisher was left at Home with Cinderella in the guise of Myott to proceed in an orderly fashion towards Calstock. Fortunately for Myott she came with her own on board Prince Charming aka Pip! Who caressed her gently through the rolling Devonshire and Cornish Hills and into the alluring and romantic shadows of Calstock Viaduct.
So on a calm and sunny Saturday Morning Pearl Fisher and Myott rendezvoused in Barn Pool, all arranged with a single phone call, before anyone stepped on a boat. No Radios, DSC, Hand Held Main frames, Flares, Semaphore or any other convoluted communication system. Pip came on board, he was introduced to the new leader of the Expedition – Grandson Charlie, coffee and a chat were enjoyed whilst waiting for the tide to build.
New Skipper inspecting his vessel
Then we were away! Main sails were hoisted just in case the wind came along to assist and Myott led us to the first challenge of getting past the Tamar ferries, all out in force to prevent simple navigation.
Myott taking on the ferry monsters
Then along past the entrance to the Lyner, resisting the temptation to stop for a cup of tea. Under the Bridges at Saltash and lining up for the Cargreen Gap. All this achieved without once touching the bottom and Myott managing inflight refuelling.
On approaching the moored boats at Cargreen, Pearl fisher took the lead and Myott slid into her slip stream to navigate through the treacherous waters leading to and through Weir Quay negotiating the narrow channels around to Pentilly
And so onward to Halton Quay, where only a couple of fishermen were aiming weights and spinners at the passing sailors.
And so on again past Cothele Quay and into the welcoming embrace of Calstock to be greeted by the proprietor of Calstock Boat Yard and allocated safe and spacious swing moorings.
Crews sorted themselves out before a run ashore to use the ablutions and for some a stroll to the play park and around Calstock.
A group outing to the Tamar Inn in the evening was invaded by Charlie’s parents and brother bringing the assembled cast to the grand number of seven.
The expedition was not for slackers as the early morning marine like reveille was scheduled for 06.30 with cast off a 07.00hrs to catch the back end of the ebbing tide back to Plymouth.
Myott taking the early morning salute
An uneventful trip other than Pearl Fisher making a dash (SOG 7.5knts) for the Cargreen Gap from upstream of Weir Quay as the encroaching mud banks were uncovered by a fast ebbing tide.
Through the Gap and the anchor was dropped for breakfast and another cup of tea whilst Myott gently glided across the top of the ever shallower water through to Saltash and onward for home.
Myott heads for home
All went without any mishap or incident apart from one minor mutiny against an overzealous skipper who was lashed to an adjacent winch.
Overzealous skipper gets his comeuppance
The pleasant weather made for a very enjoyable weekend and we still have the charms of the Avon to look forward to and another weekend without the Wicked Step Mother and her deep keeled chariot.