The Winter's Tasks

With the boat afloat there were a number of jobs that were done over winter.

A declutter

Having had the boat for some time it was time to start going through her to see what was actually needed, what was nice to have and what needed to go. I was surprised at the stuff that was onboard and I had never used so slowly they were removed from the boat and either used, binned or set aside for the boat jumble.

The Windlass

I knew the windlass had seized, power was getting to it as I could hear the motor attempt to turn but it was not turning the gypsy. One bitterly cold Sunday afternoon saw me spend the best part of two hours unbolting the casing that holds the windlass in order that I can take it somewhere warm to work on stripping down and freeing up the mechanism.

Polishing and waxing the deck

Not all the deck, just the smooth bits and the cockpit. The deck had been neglected for some time and was in desperate need of some tender loving care. Several hours spent cleaning each section with a barrage of cleaning chemicals followed by a good rince saw me applying two coats of polish and about five of wax. The aim is to give the deck some ultraviolet protection and is a job that will need to be done repeatedly over the summer.

Varnishing the Saloon

I was quite sure that the internal woodwork had not been touched so set about the task of giving the saloon a freshen up with some varnish and am quite pleased with the results.

A few jobs yet to do

Replace the through deck glands at the base of the mast, slight ingress of rain and this needs to be fixed.

Repair the danbuoy.


Southampton Boat Show 2018

I've not been to the Southampton Boat Show so this was going to be a first. Caught the train up from Devon and arrived at Southampton Central in plenty time and walked down to the showground.

First impressions were it was a tiny trade show and why was everybody raving about it, oh hold on, they are not letting anybody over that bridge, I wonder what is over there? At 1000 we were allowed over the bridge and pandora's box was opened. Note to self catch a later train next time.

Just like the Ko-Ko in the Mikado I've got a little list... of companies and people I wanted to speak to and after locating the main tent. Actually, it really is a very small trade show and I was struggling to find stand numbers!

Boat Insurance

Talked to my current insurance people about my plans for the next few years and learnt that a coastal policy only allows for sailing 12 miles offshore unless you are on passage. Oops, I've been a very naughty boy and have often been playing further out than that and not known I was not insured! Arranging to get that limit extended. Current company happy for plans in the Atlantic, but not into the Pacific. They were good enough to direct me to a company who insures world wide, but only high value boats, well much higher value than Aphrodite.


Had a long talk with Will Curry about the technical details of the Hydrovane, just need to save up some quite a lot of beer tokens and get one.

Copper Coat

A very informative discussion with Ewan Clark from Copper Coat about preparation and application of the product and he kindly pointed me in the direction of a company in Plymouth who can do the job from start to finish. More what I want as I hand scraped the previous boat and vowed never ever to do that again. They have the space, the kit and the contacts to do a far better job that I could do.


I needed to replace one of my life jackets and spent about 30 minutes chatting to a chap from Crewsaver on the Force 4 stand. Extremely informative and I was more than happy to pull out my credit card and take the jacket home.

Brunton Propellers

As we hit 4.8 knots SOG the prop starts turning, while it is good to know that we are going about 5 knots I can't see me keeping my sanity listening to that for hour after hour. Several people had said, "Sandy you need a folding prop".

I was able to get the "folding prop 101" from Brunton Propellers and came away with a much better understanding of the subject.

After a morning of talking to the companies I wanted to talk to I set off round the pontoons for a quick look at the modern, plastic, IKEA furnished boats when a voice piped up, "Hello Sandy" and I met up with a few friends who I had not expected to see.

Ambled up to the railway station and squeezed on a late running train, note to self book seats on an earlier train next time as it is a very small show!

All in all an good day out.


Parking Masterclass

It had been some time since I had taken Aphrodite out, mainly due to not having the confidence to single hand her out and back into the marina. A few times with my old pal Craig and others, but I did need to master this skill and over come my now lacking in confidence. The other thing that was holding me back was the deliver of the Genoa, but that was now on the boat and there was no excuse.

Through work about a year ago I bumped into a Yachtmaster Instructor who was happy to give me some tuition for some sailing, not having his own boat, and we arranged to meet up at the marina and sort my skills out.

About 0900 UTC I had a wave from the quayside as Stuart arrived and I popped up to meet him and sort parking out. Having shown him the facilities we headed back to the boat for breakfast and plan the day.

Over breakfast it was decided to spend a few hours on basic engine control, something that is not really needed on a swing mooring, and some maneuvers in the outer part of Millbay then come into the marina and do the same thing with lots of boats about.

Breakfast consumed got all the lines onto the boat and headed out for a couple of hours of tuition on maneuvering Aphrodite slowly and controlling the speed and turns on the engine. It felt just like driving a care for the first time. Which was quite odd considering the amount of time and distance that I had sailed on all the boats that I have but this was very different and quite difficult, I found the levels of concentration extremely high.

While reversing into an imaginary berth we were approached by a high speed RIB with a couple of chaps dressed in black advising us that one of the submarines was heading out to sea. We came away from the wall and watched the long dark submarine surrounded by guard ships pass us by and continued with our exercises.

Having got to grips in the outer harbour we moved back into King Point and Stuart would demonstrate a movement then I would repeat the move until I was comfortable with it. I don't think I've ever motored so close between boats, stopped that close to transoms and moved that slowly in a circle. The good news was it was beginning to make sense.

Starboard 10 degrees

Not only was it beginning to make sense it was beginning to attract an audience of other boat owners keen to see me master the skills, and make sure I was not going to take a chunk of their gelcoat. In she goes Our stomachs were telling it was lunchtime and I needed some thinking time to process the new skills in my head. We tied up alongside and I put the kettle on. Off out into Plymouth Sound where things got interesting. The main halyard got wrapped round the radar reflector and we could not free it. So found a buoy and Stuart went up the mast to sort things out, we hoisted the main and let go the buoy unfurled the genoa and sailed away. A fun few hours trying out the sails and feeling how differently she handled with both new sails on was interesting. The ultimate test was to bring Aphrodite onto her berth without mishap and I passed with flying colours.


The Lads Trip 2018 - Malpas to Plymouth

It was quite hard dragging ourselves away from such an idyllic spot, but our destination had to be Plymouth and Aphrodite's new home.

We cast off and gently motored down Carrick Roads where we hoisted both sails and waited for the wind off St Anthony Lighthouse and as promised the wind filled and we started our eastward journey back to Plymouth via the Eddystone Lighthouse.

A relaxed passage followed with the wind building slowly from a F1 to a F4 and we were finally able to see the shape of that new main, all the theory about sail shape finally made sense!

By the time the strange shape of Eddystone crept above the horizon we were doing a good six knots and looking forward to rounding the waypoint and turning north towards Plymouth. About a mile off the Eddystone we were about to cross a fishing boat on a trawl and just as I was about to gybe to the rear of him he stopped and let us pass, a huge wave of thanks and we rounded the light.

As evening was approaching the weather was changing and it was time to put some warmer clothing on.

Heading towards Plymouth Breakwater all of a sudden it got busy, fishing boats going in several directions, HMS Dragon coming out and a tanker racing us for the line at the breakwater. We were more than happy to follow him in.

Ironically, as we headed in towards King Point a Plymouth Sailing School boat was heading out. I did my RYA Day Skipper with them years ago and I thought it good to meet them as I brought Aphrodite into her new home port.

We furled away the genoa and dropped the main in the sound, sorted out the fenders, set the mooring lines up and prepared to enter the marina. Motoring past Pont Aven I realised how small the boats we sail in are!

At the entrance to King Point several small boys woke up to the fact we were coming in and they had fishing lines out, we did a 360 degree turn and let them pull in their lines gave them a wave of thanks and entered the marina.

No pressure, we were in and were looking for our berth. Hoping nobody was watching us enter the marina, thankfully we came alongside with little fuss, but I need a not more practice!

Aphrodite had been delivered to her new berth and there were more adventures to come.

Crew: Sandy Garrity, Alex Bowling

Distance figures Distance: 51 nm Moving Average: 5 kts Max: 7 kts

Weather Issued at: 04:05 on Thu 10 May 2018 UTC For the period 06:00 on Thu 10 May 2018 UTC to 06:00 on Fri 11 May 2018 UTC


Wind Northwest, backing south or southeast, 5 or 6. Sea state Rough or very rough, becoming moderate or rough later. Weather Showers. Visibility Good.

GPS Track


The Lads Trip 2018 - Falmouth to Malpas

After two days in the marina and with a gale forecast to pass over us over night we took the decision to leave the comfort of the marina and head up the Fal towards Malpas where there are a couple of pontoons that are in the middle of the river.

After a lazy morning we cast off about 1500 UTC and headed down towards Black Rock and then turned to go up the Fal in a good F5 a big catamaran popped out of the Pendennis marina and very kindly led the way up the river, these boats can put a turn of speed on when they want to.

A short motor up the river found the pontoon that had been mentioned in the pilot book and we tied up, battened down the hatches and set about cooking supper.

After a windy night we woke to a beautiful morning and had another lazy day reading and relaxing.

Aphrodite at Malpas

Crew: Sandy Garrity, Alex Bowling

Distance stats Distance: 8 nm Avg Speed: 5 kts Max Speed: 7 kts

Weather: Issued 1 May 2018 04:05 UTC

Sea area: Plymouth Wind: West 4 or 5, backing southwest 5 to 7, perhaps gale 8 later Sea State: Slight or moderate, becoming rough Weather: Occasional rain Visibility: Good, occasionally moderate


The Lads Trip 2018 - Yealm to Falmouth

A leisurely start to the day with the kettle on and lashings of hot tea was followed by a full breakfast before we slipped the mooring, with the tide pushing us off the pontoon and we were off under motor out of the Yealm.

We motored out to the Mew Stone and unfurled the genoa, it was going to be a downwind sailing day and the new main was going to stay in the stackpack.

Much to our delige Aphrodite lifted her skirts and we hit seven knots was this going to be a fast transit west. After an hour we had Rame Head was abeam the wind settled down and we were making way at a steady five knots.

We had decided to go into a marina and had rung ahead advising them that we normally lived on a swing mooring and it would be safer if we had a pontoon with a lot of space!

At about 1700 we turned into Carrick Roads and headed up to the marina, by this time the wind had piped up, running down the valley and the heat was going out of the sun. By 1830 we had safely arrived at the pontoon without to many incidents. Alex jumped ship to spend the night with relatives.

I headed for the showers and attempted to sort out the shore power that I had been using all winter. To my horror I spotted that the insulating cover had been stripped off part of the lead and clearly was unsafe to use, being dog tired that job was going to wait until the morning.

Crew: Sandy Garrity, Alex Bowling

Distance figures: Distance: 43 nm Moving Average: 5 kts Max: 7 kts

Weather: Issued 29 April 2018 04:05 UTC

Sea area: Plymouth Wind: Northeasterly backing northerly later, 5 or 6, occasionally 7 later Sea State: state Slight or moderate Weather: Fair Visibility: Good


The Lads Trip 2018 - Exe to the Yealm

We woke to a dull, overcast day and set about getting ready for going to sea. The winds were a lot lighter than forecast, a F1, and the sea state was smooth. At 0730 turned on the engine, hoisted the sail and slipped the visitors mooring. We were off on the combined Lads Trip and delivery of Aphrodite to her new home in Plymouth.

Delphi had a half hour start on us and at the Exe Safe Water Mark we could see that she was already at Dawlish, turned the wheel over to follow her. Sails fluttering in our own wind. Under engine we quickly caught her up as she was attempting to sail in extremely light airs. We pressed on under engine knowing that there was the tidal gate at Start Point that we had to catch and while disappointed to hear that Delphi had taken the decision to go into the Dart understood their decision.

After all the work in the engine I was interested to see how she went and was delighted with her performance. It sounded better than I have ever heard it. One slight heart in mouth moment as we rounded Start Point we felt a slight breeze and slowed down in order to unfurl the genoa we were convinced that the engine had stopped, but she was very quietly purring away in tick over.

I had been into the Yealm before, but only as crew so the pilotage was going to be interesting. Alex pulled out his Imray "The West Country Pilot" and entering the river was a doddle. Very impressed with that book and can see it on a birthday present list. We spotted the first visitors pontoon and decided to go and have a look at the second. Gulp, a real test of the engine at slow speeds. She performed admirably and we were able to control the boat through the plethora of very expensive boats. Having looked at the second pontoon we decided to go back to the first and tied up starboard side to. Time for a well earned beer.

A quick call to Craig and Stephanie found them in Plymouth and they popped over to Newton Ferries for a drink in the pub.

All in all a lovely simple first day of the season at sea. We retired to our bunks and slept soundly.

Crew: Sandy Garrity & Alex Bowling

Trip Stats: Distance: 51 nm, Avg speed: 6.00 knots, Max speed: 9.00 knots, Under way: 8 h 25 m.

Weather: Issued 28 April 2018 04:05 UTC

Sea area: Portland Wind: Southeast becoming cyclonic 5 to 7, then becoming west 4 or 5 later Sea State: Moderate or rough Weather: Rain, then showers Visibility: Good, occasionally poor at first.


The Lads Trip 2018 - Preparation

The Starcross Fishing and Cruising Club "Lads Trip" to Alderney was early this year and fitted in with my plans to move Aphrodite to Plymouth so I tagged along as a friendly ex-member with Delphi being the only other boat this year.

I had spent Thursday running round getting jobs done for the boat, eventually meeting Frank Rowsell onboard who was fitting the new main at about 1500. The sail was hoisted and check that all fitted as expected. The whoops of delight from Frank indicated that all was well.

I left the boat as I need to get the car down to Plymouth ready for my journey back from the marina home once we had delivered the boat. Much to my surprize the trip by train from Plymouth to Starcross was going to take over an hour and a half, with a very long wait at Newton Abbot railway station, but I eventually arrived back in Starcross at 2000 and met up with Alex who was looking forward to a week away.

We met as usual in the clubhouse on Thursday night and decided that a departure on Saturday morning was the plan, but the big question was where. Much scratching of heads, the consultation of various sources of weather and chats were done, suggestions ranged from Poole to Plymouth as the weather ruled out Alderney.

Having taken the decision to depart on Saturday morning we had agreed to aim for the Yealm, just east of Plymouth and Alex and I got about prepping the boat for a trip. Having just been put back in the water there was a fair amount of tidying up to do!

Friday night we popped over to the club for 2000 as arranged. No sign of the other boat crew, which led us to wonder if we or they had got confused as I always use GMT on board. At about 2100 they all bounded in the front door offering huge apologies as there had been some issues with outboards. A final confirmation of departure times and where we were going a pint or two and we headed out to Aphrodite to sleep and be ready for departure time of 0700 on Saturday.


Splash April 2018

Finally, we are back on the water! The winter always feels very long when you are not able to go sailing. With the snow that hit Devon in March the season felt even longer than usual.

My original plan was to be back in at the Easter Weekend, ideal for spring tides, but everybody was behind and at least four boats were blocking me in so the next set of spring tides were booked and I set about cleaning, polishing and waxing the hull as we finally had some heat in the air.

With the lift in booked for Wednesday the 18th of April the yard called to say that there were still some boats in front of my that were blocking me in and I would need to wait for the first set of springs in May. That for us was a non started, I needed to be on the water on this set of springs as plans had been made for the trip to Plymouth, via the scenic route, time booked off from work for both me and the crew.

After work on Thursday I popped down to the yard to see if Aphrodite had been moved and saw her sat comfortably on the boat lifter third in line to be lifted in and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

I had arranged to meet the chap and his son who I had bought my mooring down the river so I could show him where it was and he could help with mooring up on the Starcross Fishing and Cruising Club visitors mooring where I had arranged to put Aphrodite for a week.

Friday's high water was only 3.70 meters, we usually launch with a 4.00 meter tide so as soon as we were in "Mark the crane" suggested we move sharpish. "Mark the engine" popped down to see that the engine started. Fuel on, cooling water seacock open, battery switched on and I turned the key, the engine cranked over, but did not start - gulp. Guess who forgot to move the fuel to 1/2, tried again and the engine fired up and we were ready.

"Mark the crane" suggested that I had more depth of water if we just reversed off the quay which we did, the first trip of the year is always more stressful than any other as you have not been at the helm for five months, there are a lot of moored boats on the river and usually a large crowd of spectators but we were off, after almost doing a full 360 degree turn, down river on a hot sunny day.

We chugged happily down river, showed the old mooring to the new owner and then went off in search of the club visitors buoy, described as a large skateboard wheel, finally found it and tied up to it. By this time the tide was racing down the river and we took the decision that three in the dinghy was a little bit "enthusiastic" and so waited for slack water.

This is the last time, for the foreseeable future that I'll be spending the winter ashore on the Exe and will be quite sad to leave the river as I have met many good people there, but it is time for a change.

Crew: Sandy Garrity

Trip: Distance: 5 nm Moving Average: 4 kts Max: 5.5 kts

Crew: Sandy Garrity, Mike and his son

Weather Issued: 20 April 04:05 UTC

Sea area: Portland Wind: Wind Variable 3 or 4 Sea State: Slight or moderate Weather: Mainly fair Visibility: Moderate or good, occasionally poor.


The Winter's Job List

A summary of the work done on the boat over the winter.

Bilges cleaned: Clearly a job that had not been done since she was built! Floor lifted and bilges scrubbed, perhaps a lick of paint next time I do this job.

Hull cleaned, polished and waxed: The hull does need a bit of TLC that I have not been able to do since I took over stewardship and I had a few fun, but very tiring days with the jet wash, soap and water followed by polish and wax. I do need to follow this up over the summer with a good go over the deck.

Anti fouled and anode checked: The hull was actually quite clean once the muck from the river had been jet washed off. My original plan was not to anti-foul her this year but I knew she would not be lifted out until summer 2019 I slapped on a coat of primer and a coat of anti-foul. I'll keep an eye on the fouling over the next 18 months before she gets hauled out, blasted back to grp and coppercoat applied.

The engine serviced: This was the major work over the winter. In order to really sort out the fuel problem the tank was removed, drained and steam cleaned. The fuel lines replaced and a new "easy access" primary fuel filter installed in the engine bay. I hope this sorts out the bug problem that I've had. I do need to be able to control now that I am in a marina. Looking forward to testing the engine.

Clevis pins replaced on the back-stay adjuster, it really was time these were replaced.

Clevis pin replaced on the boom.

Wiring from switch panel to the base of the mast upgraded to tinned copper. The start of the job of getting the wiring up to a modern specification. This small section of wire is the start of a total rewire that I want to do over the next few years.

Battery monitor installed giving volts and amps currently used. This will save having to lift the bunk in the rear cabin to take a reading on each battery.


Moving to Plymouth

It is strange how plans change. I had considered keeping Aphrodite afloat in a marina next winter, but after a visit to friends in Plymouth and a long time pondering the pros and cons of moving the boat to a marina full time I took the decision to move the boat when she went back in the water.

Having taken the decision to move I had lots to sort out on the Exe, a mooring to sell, a decision to be made about re-joining the sailing club and how I was going to get boat from the Exe to Plymouth.

Much to my surprise the mooring was sold within the week and I wrote to the club explaining the move and that I would not would not be renewing.

We quickly came up with a plan to combine the annual Lads Trip with the move.

Just a matter if signing a large cheque and practicing my driving in marinas!