Plymouth to Mylor and dry dock.


The long-planned trip to take Aphrodite to Mylor so that the hull could have Copper Coat applied was at last here.

I collected Alex from Plymouth railway station at 1945 UTC and we headed off for a bite to eat before an 0700 UTC start in the morning. I'd not seen Alex since the trip from the Exe to Plymouth via Falmouth back at the end of April 2018 so we had lots of news to catch up on and finally got to our bunks at 2300 UTC.

The morning arrived faster than usual, we surfaced and headed for the showers, prepped the boat for sea and slipped the mooring at 0730 UTC with a slight breeze from the northwest. I was trailing a technique for single handed departure with a bow bridal and am convinced it will work with a bit of practice.

Once out in Millbay we raised the main and motor sailed out of the western entrance to the sound, several other yachts also making their way out and lots of small day boats with keen sea anglers already fishing. Sunshine and bright skies welcomed us and the vista of the Cornish coast lay before us.

Leaving the marina. Credit: Alex Bowling

With light winds we realised that today would be more of a motor sail rather than a sail and with a still badly fouled hull progress would be slower that usual. Looking back at the passage figures we lost, on average, a knot on this trip and the Eddystone Pursuit on the figures we were having last year with a freshly antifouled hull (even though it did look like the surface of the moon). Clearly the speed will improve with the hull being stripped of all the old antifoul and copper coat applied. There are other advantages about the change of antifouling, the primary one being I don't have to spend hours and hours antifouling the hull every year. A couple of scrubs a year should keep the hull clean and smooth.

We finally had enough wind about 1200 and turned the engine off; always a moment of pure magic. With the genoa unfurled we made our way past the coast a few miles offshore spotting several pods of dolphins along the way always a thrill. At one point I dropped a paravane over the side to see if there were any mackerel about for lunch. As usual for me not even a bite.

St Anthony's Head Lighthouse Credit:Alex Bowling

At 1700 we were off Dodman Point with about 20 nautical miles to run and the wind died. On starting the engine, I did my usual check over the side and was quite alarmed so see no water coming out of the exhaust! Sprinted below and switched the engine off. Last time this happened a plastic bag had covered the intake, so I closed the seacock, undid the clips, pulled the hose and opened the seacock - water gushed out. So that was not the problem. Next check was the impeller, that looked OK, no spines missing. There must be a blockage further in system. Unclipped and pulled the hose past the impeller and blew. That worked! Went back to the impeller and decided to remove it as I pulled, I spotted that the rubber part had come apart from the metal hub perhaps that is the problem. Next get the replacement impeller - now where are my engine spares they had been moved over the winter and I could not remember where they were (Note to self: put the engine spares back in there usual place) all this while Alex was coaxing the boat out to sea in very light winds. Finally I found the spares and replaced the impeller, started the engine and was delighted to hear Alex say we have water and a huge thumbs up.

Post impeller drama. Credit: Alex Bowling

Given the time we decided to motor sail to Mylor and turning into the Fal was greeted by a F6 whistling down the river! I called the marina, let them know we were on our way if a little later than planned, and pleaded for an "easy berth" which was duly granted. We headed up river while sorting out mooring lines and fenders. Having done the pilotage and dropping waypoints onto the chart plotter navigation was easy and not as scary as the chart suggested, a rather narrow channel between moored boats for the final run in. We spotted the berth and eased ourselves into it (quite well I thought). Thankfully, the marina is well sheltered from the wind that was belting down the main channel.

We finally arrived at Mylor at 1900 UCT and after tying up and sorting the boat out we went ashore for a pint. A rather fine pint of Porthleven. Alex had agreed to meet his family who are local, and we parted. Time to get back to the boat, supper in the oven and sleep.


I woke at 0600 and listened to the radio while making that first pot of tea. A busy day ahead was planned: remove the sails, extract the mast wiring, sort out the running rigging, deflate the dingy, tidy the boat, leave the keys and get myself back to Plymouth.

Aphrodite at Mylor

The first sail down was the genoa, it had been on the foil for a good nine months and I was expecting a struggle but no! Loosened the halyard and down she dropped, a tad faster than expected.

Next was the main, Frank and Mac had devised a clever attachment for the sail bag, some sail material that goes under the foot and that too was an easy release.

With both sails folded I popped them in the cabin and set about the other small jobs I had to do on the boat before dropping the keys off with the marina and walking the three miles to the station, hopping on a train and getting back to Plymouth.

Crew: Sandy Garrity, Alex Bowling

Trip Stats: Distance: 43 nm, Avg speed: 3.80 knots, Max speed: 5.50 knots, Under way: 11 h 15 m.

Weather:Inshore waters Issued by the Met Office at 07:00 (UTC+1) on Sat 6 Jul 2019

Lyme Regis to Lands End including the Isles of Scilly

24 hour forecast: Variable, mainly northwest, 3 or 4. Smooth, occasionally slight. Fair. Good.