Thursday, June 29, 2023

2023 June 28th, Day 76 Portland back to the Hamble & the stats.

Leaving at 04:40 I had the engine off as I left the harbour for a good sail towards St Albans under the Cruising Chute in a reasonable WSW wind of around 11 knots, it dropped for a while so the engine went on for a couple of hours to get past St Albans to Anvil Point, the wind then came back and I sailed on to North Head where the tide changes favourable a little earlier than in the Needles Channel, as it happened I could have used either as I was a bit slower than hoped for - another boat went the other route and we took about the same time.

Powering along the North Channel towards Hurst. I had taken the main down before reaching N. Head buoy in case the wind increased (it did) and to avoid gybing it around Hurst Point, the next video will show why. As the wind increased I was motor sailing for safety with a reefed jib and going very quickly with the tide under me.

Rounding Hurst Point (it comes into focus after a few seconds).
As soon as I was clear of Hurst Narrows the wind dropped and I shook out the reef and turned off the engine for a pleasant run up the Solent in lovely weather only to be hit by a F6 wind off Calshot, I certainly couldn't get onto the mooring in that but it moderated as I passed Hamble Point Buoy.

I had to slow down for the Yarmouth to Lymington Ferry.
There is not a lot of room between the "protected" shipping lane
in the Thorn Channel and shallow water.
For the third time if four trips I arrived back to find someone was on my mooring! That boat's mooring was occupied by another so it looks as if it was a chain reaction. I managed to get onto a spare mooring but it was tight and difficult. I would have had significant problems getting out again single handed in anything other than still conditions and no tide so I called the manager and left it for him to sort out. 

It was particularly annoying as I had given warning I was coming back and asked that the mooring was checked - people have a habit of driving over these trot moorings and chewing them up if they are left empty for any period of time. The manager / owner who was overseas had been told the mooring was clear but they checked the wrong one, as a result they had to move at least three boats rather than one or two.

55 miles in twelve and a quarter hours.

Apart from getting rained on whilst escaping the boat, the trip home on Thursday the 29th was very lucky. The bus to Southampton was a little late due to road works but I made the train to Oxford with 3 minutes to spare without rushing on the walk to the station, that train was a little early into Oxford so I was able to walk straight onto a train to Bicester rather than, as has happened on every previous occasion, watching it disappear into the distance and waiting 30 or 40 minutes for the next. If the mainline train had not been as crowded (people standing much of the way) it would even have been quite a pleasant journey. 

The first trip to unload and clean up was delayed until the following week as it would be manic over the weekend due to the Round the Island race.

Some stats for this trip: 

  • 76 Days.
  • 421 hours at sea.
  • 1,885 nautical miles (2,173 Statute Miles) over the ground. 
  • 54 stops (some at the same place outbound and inbound).
  • 22 places visited for the first time
  • 11 days weather bound (much better than the last few years).
  • 41 nights at anchor.

Summary 2017 - July 2023:

Includes some estimates of day sailing in 2017 & 2018 but the total GPS miles is the same as that recorded by the instruments. Excludes days on board when at the "home" marina or mooring.



Hrs at Sea

 GPS N Miles

GPS S Miles

 Days Sailing

 Places Visited


























































Initially I saw very little but things changed big time once I was west of Mull and there was plenty to see most of the the way home:


Multiple sightings of Minke whales in:

The Sea of the Hebrides. 
The Sound of Harris.
The Little Minch.


one in The Firth of Lorn and two north of Islay.

Minke whale in the Cope Passage Sound of Harris
Orca pod in the Sea of the Hebrides.

Beluga off Newlyn 

Dolphins, a huge pod off Hawes bank in The Sea of The Hebrides, 2 large groups in the Celtic sea and good numbers elsewhere until east of Portland. 

Harbour Porpoise, at least a couple of sightings, one off SW Wales and one in the Firth of Lorn.

Seals, Common and Grey: The Sound of Mull, Loch Aline, around St Kilda, Vatersay Sound, Skye and a few elsewhere.

Sea Otters: Not as many as some years but 2 or 3 including one in the Sound of Harris.

Basking Shark: Off Vatersay and South Uist.


I always hear a lot of calls for help being answered, this year things were fairly quite until I was on my way back then there seemed to be at least one every day, the Irish boats seemed particularly busy, including a couple of boat fires - always a potential disaster. 

On occasion I saw at least some of the action, including:
  • The Skerries IRB on a shout to a vehicle off a harbour wall.
  • The Dublin IRB iirc to a paddle boarder.
  • The Angle relief AWB to a disabled yacht.
  • The Angle relief AWB to the PS Waverly for a med-evac.
  • The Penlee AWB to a diver with the bends.
  • The Lizard AWB saving a fisherman from the water assisted by the Angle AWB.

2023 June 27th, Day 75 Brixham to Portland

I left at 04:45 for a good trip across Lyme Bay and was kept busy by a wind varying from WSW to SSW and from F2 to F4 and F5 passing the Shambles. 

Like the previous day I ran the engine to make the tide gate around the Bill and Shambles but for less than two hours in total on the 12 hour trip. 

Several boats not that far from me on the run in risked the inshore route in relatively benign conditions and a day before neaps but with a variable wind and potentially a lot coming, which it did shortly after they got round, I decided on the longer route outside of the Shambles but was still at anchor at 17:05.

Facebook Post:

Almost home, another fairly quick trip with quite a few sail changes with the cruising Chute and Spinnaker going up and down several times as the wind changed. Then 20 knots to finish , probably appreciated by some of the wind surfers etc in the harbour. The tides are not that helpful for the rest of the way so I’ll be fighting them at least past St Albans.

Reaching with the 60 square metre spinnaker.
Another member of the RAFYC passing me in Minkie 
2 miles off Portland
Track around Portland.

54 miles in twelve and a quarter hours.

Click here for the final leg of this cruise.

2023 June 26th, Day 74 Fowey to Brixham

Broad reaching with the Cruising
Chute from the pole as the wind was
very marginal, and sometimes well over
for the spinnaker.
After motoring for an hour and a half to Udder Rock the wind filled in and I sailed until lunchtime in variable winds up to F5 before putting the engine on for an hour to guarantee carrying the tide around Start Point. 

Considering all of the crud on the bottom of the boat it was a surprisingly quick trip, I had planned to stop at Hallsands behind Start Point but the various models all suggested a south westerly wind the next day which would have put me on a dead run to Portland, so with time in hand I went on across Start Bay to the anchorage just outside Brixham.

I have been disappointed with the antifouling, the SeaJet "Shogon" is their 2nd most expensive and won a recent PBO "best in test" award, and it claims to be effective for "Up to two years" with 3 coats. I put three coats on in March 2022 and another in July but it was clearly very depleted when I power washed her in mid March and weed was already re-established a month later, by the time I reached Tobermory the bottom was very rough to the touch and I cleaned what was reachable numerous times on this cruise but still lost a lot of speed, a good knot under engine. It would seem that two years life assumes light usage of the boat.

The top grade and hideously expensive "Emperor" used for the boot line (the Shogun is not available in white) has fared better, still at least somewhat active in March when I recoated that, so I am going to have to bight the bullet and lift the boat out to re do the antifouling - I can at best do one coat drying on the piles and need to do at least three on the hull and three on the boot line and, needing to power wash if the boat has gone back in the water that would take four or five seasons over at least three weeks - the tide being insufficient at neaps to get into the dock.

Rounding Start Point in almost slack water.
Although potentially a bit exposed and fairly deep the anchorage off Churston Cove / Fishcombe Point has very good holding in firm mud, both times I anchored there the anchor bit instantly and very firmly, getting it up was not that difficult with the windlass but the anchor does need the mud scraping off.

56 miles in  twelve and a half hours.

2023 Fowey to Brixham

Click here for Crossing Lyme Bay

Sunday, June 25, 2023

2023 June 25th, Day 73 St Mawes to Fowey

With a strong south westerly wind forecast it seemed sensible to get out of St Mawes early for a night in Fowey by which time the F6 (possibly F7) should have blown through, so I was away at 05:15 which also gave a fair tide past The Dodman almost to Fowey by which time the tide in the estuary would be ebbing which is good for coming alongside at the short term pontoon and the fuel berth. 

After motoring for an hour and a half in light winds the engine went off as the very light south-easterly  veered to the SW and increased to a nice F3 although it became significantly stronger as I approached Fowey and the sea became bumpy from multiple directions, not uncommon in the area; it was bad enough that I took the main down on a broad reach rather than heading into wind, somewhat tedious but safer given the boats likely motion if I turned.

Fowey AWB coming out on exercise as I went in.
It was quite "lumpy" in the entrance.
There was no room on the short term pontoon, (It's short term but there is plenty of time to get a shower and to do some shopping) so I went up to the fuel berth, for me that is easiest to get onto port side too during the ebb, it also puts the fuel filler, nearest to the pump. With the tank full and another 30 litres in cans I now had plenty to motor all of the was back to the Hamble if I had to, fortunately I didn't.

As I already had the fenders out and mooring lines in place I went to a Pontoon berth rather than a buoy, my first time on those in Pont Pill where there was a spot available on the lee side so I had a quite night, if only windward berths had been available I would have gone to a buoy rather than face being bashed against the pontoon all night.

Pontoon #1 in Pont Pill from Pontoon 2.
Fowey from Pontoon #2
For a quick visit I did not bother getting the dinghy and outboard out - with the tide it is not advisable to row across in any wind and it was blowing 15 or 20 knots - and instead took the water Taxi to town where I had an expensive shower and did some shopping including a good pasty for a late lunch from a baker I have been going to since the 1970s if not before.

2023 June 24th, Day 72 Day trip to Turnaware.

I arranged to meet up with Ron, a long time and current Achilles 24 owner but who also has a Hustler 25, "Carrie Anne" which he keeps on a tidal pontoon at Penryn. I weighed anchor at 07:10 and motored over to the Penryn river to meet him as he came down.

The Brig "Phoenix" of Portsmouth.
Falmouth, the Penryn river goes round the town to the north, Ron
was hugging the north shore and I did not see him between the
moored boats until we were almost abeam.
Meeting up off Falmouth, Pics of Sancerre by Ron Dustow.
Heading NE from Trefusis Point
Ron is still recovering from major injury to an ankle
 so I went ahead to moor first so as to take his lines
Sancerre with "Carrie Ann" right just above Turnaware Point.
A long chat with other owners followed by lunch.
In the afternoon I headed back to St Mawes just in time for a display by the Red Arrows.
Boats gathering at Little Molunan bay to watch the display.

2023 Red Arrows from St Mawes

Pilgrim of Brixham, last seen coming north from The Lizard.

2023 Turnaware and back

10 miles in 3 hours.

Click here for Fowey.

2023 June 22nd, Day 71 Newlyn to St Mawes

A pleasant sail although a little uncomfortable in over-falls off the lizard and with plenty of action. I left at 05:15 for optimal tides, and had the engine off 25 minutes later sailing in a nice 11 knots from the SSW.

Things livened up big time just after I passed the Lizard when Falmouth Coastguard put out a general "pan pan" request after multiple reports of red flares seen c 3 miles south of the Lizard and asking for information from boats in the area. They also contacted several vessels directly asking two fishing boats to go to the area. Several boats including the Sailing Brixham Trawler "Pilgrim of Brixham" headed for the area. 

I was down wind so it would have taken a long time to get there so I started a scan with binoculars. Then another yacht reported flares astern that placed the incident somewhat closer in. The Lizard Lifeboat was then east of the Lizard and was on the scene quickly and recovered a fisherman who had been clinging to his bow of his capsized and swamped fishing boat for an hour. After getting the casualty to shore the lifeboat recovered the fishing boat that was a danger to shipping to Cadgwith Cove.

The Coastguard's excellent report on the incident can be found here.

The Angle (Milford Haven) Lifeboat was on passage and diverted
to assist but the Lizard boat got there first.
The trawler "Pilgrim of Brixham".
Running north east to the east of the Lizard.
Reaching north having gybed at the Manacles and flying the
Cruising Chute from the spinnaker pole.
For some reason when I am around, the wind always seems to freshen off the Helford even when it is not blowing down the valley, this time I saw it coming and got the Cruising Chute down before I was overpowered.
Pendennis to the west of the entrance to the Fal.
St Antony Head to the east.

2023 Newlyn to St Mawes

2023 St Mawes, Falmouth Working Boats

Lots of pics (69) of lots of Falmouth working boats racing.

34 miles in eight and a quarter hours

Click here for a day up the Fal.

2023 June 21st, Days 69 & 70 Carbis Bay to Newlyn & Gwavas Lake

Leaving Carbis Bay required care as I counted at least 30 Lobster pot markers within sight, again no wind:

No wind as I motored towards Pendeen
Pendeen, abandoned tin mines ashore and lots of dolphins offshore.
The ripples on the water are largely down to tide not wind.
Here are just 2 of several videos of Dolphins of of Pendeen, they are hosted on Flikr as it is too big for Blogger The first is almost 2 minutes long, the second 59 seconds, both will play full screen on a large screen:



"The Longships"
I had thought to go inside "The Longships" but the water was rather turbulent so I changed my mind and went outside, that was probably a mistake as I went east from "The Lonships" the sea looked calmer inshore. Not dangerous but uncomfortable:

Over-falls south of The Longships, with less than 5 knots of
wind, one day from a spring tide but not at it's peak.

The Scilionian on route to Hugh Town, St Mary's in calm water,
you can see the edge of the overfalls just this side of her. 
I went into the harbour and was lucky to find the inner berths full but several spaces on the outer fingers so there was no pressure to go and double park there which is tricky with limited space and water. Soon all of the outer berths were full and most had 3 boats in each bay but the third in "mine" being a big boat had tied up to the other boat rather than to Sancerre.

I was surprised to see another boat flying the RAFYC burgee, actually one designating one of the club officers (know as in most sailing clubs as a "Rear Admiral), chatting with them I found another boat was due in and later we all sat down for a drink. One boat was, like me, heading back to the Hamble the other heading for the Isles of Scilly. During the cruise I spoke to club members on three other boats and saw another, remarkable considering there are only a couple of hundred boats flying the club burgee.

After a shower, shopping and a visit the the laundrette in Penzance I moved out next afternoon to anchor in Gwavas Lake for another night before heading off, saving a nights berthing which is rather expensive for what you get.
Newlyn harbour from the Gwavas Lake anchorage.
That evening there was another RNLI "shout" to witness as the All Weather Lifeboat (they also have an "Atlantic" class inshore boat) went out of harbour at high speed to return fairly quickly in company with a dive boat. A diver had suffered "the bends", trained crewmen assessed him and the casualty was taken to Penzance Heliport and flow by a Coastguard helicopter to Plymouth where they have a decompression chamber.

The Penlee Severn Class Lifeboat returning from the shout, the original
lifeboat house and slipway is visible by her bow from which the
"Solomon Browne" launched to the aid of the "Union Star" in December
1981 - that resulted in the loss of the boat with it's entire crew and that
of the ship and all on board, some of whom had made it to the lifeboat.

32 miles in 6 hours

Click here for St Mawes