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.