A Consolation Sail

Shortly after 0600 (UTC) I heard the kettle being put on the stove, Alex was up.

After a lazy breakfast and and several pots of tea we decided that there was more than enough power in the batteries for a day sail and the weather was perfect.

Just as we exited from Millbay I spotted a convoy of MOD Police launches, pilot boats and tugs, in Plymouth that only means one thing there is a submarine movement and sure enough a black conning tower hove into view. As we were motoring I headed toward Sutton Harbour and let the convoy pass.

Once the convoy had passed we raised the main and headed to the eastern entrance and went to play with the wind.

As this was a consolation sail we headed west in a F4 with no firm plans, just go and have some fun. With a clean bottom, wind from the north west and a flat sea we had a cracking time, easily up to hull speed at times and usually tripping along around six knots.

A few hours out we turned onto the other tack and headed back. Rounding Rame Head and into the western approach to Plymouth Sound we followed the wind round and managed to do it in one tack, well over canvased we heeled well over, sailing at its best!

Just by Drakes Island we dropped the sails and motored into King Point to attempt my second parking attempt of the day. Gelcoat intact we tied up the boat, tidied up and went and found a restaurant I had been recommended.

Crew: Sandy Garrity, Alex Bowling, Joe North

Weather: Inshore waters forecast to 12 miles offshore 07:00 (UTC+1) on Sat 7 Sep 2019 to 07:00 (UTC+1) on Sun 8 Sep 2019

Lyme Regis to Lands End including the Isles of Scilly

24 hour forecast: North 3 or 4, occasionally 5 at first. Moderate in far west, otherwise smooth or slight. Mainly fair. Good.

Trip Stats: Distance: 30 nm, Average speed: 5.00 knots, Maximum speed: 7.00 knots, Under way: 6 h 00 m, Sailing hours: 5 h 0 m, Engine hours: 1 h 0 m (inc warm up cool down).


Not the Alderney Crossing

An end of summer long weekend had been planned for several months. Loosely based on the old Starcross Fishing and Cruising Lads Trip where we would head for Alderney and if the weather and wind was good end up there, if not then end up somewhere.

Originally a crew of four, one had a better offer and decided he would sail another day, leaving the three of us.

Joe and I drove down on Thursday evening, called in for victuals and fuel then headed to the boat, grabbed a bite to eat and got some sleep.

Alex joined us on Friday morning and we set about passage planning and checking the boat.

Departure was planned for 1900 (UTC) just as the sun was setting, heading east to Prawle Point, then due east to the north east point of the Casquets Traffic Separation Scheme finally crossing the TSS and into Braye. A passage of about 100 nautical miles or 20 hours.

We slipped the pontoon and headed out into Millbay and started to raise the sails when the ship that was docked there announced her departure with a loud blast on her horn just as we were raising the mainsail, we hurried back into King Point to let ship get underway.

With the ship well out of the way we sorted out the main and headed for the breakwater.

Joe, Sandy and Alex departing Plymouth Sound. Credit: Alex Bowling

With the sun setting the crew picture was taken and we past the break water. I went below to start the passage log and was worried to see the battery monitor displaying 12.7 volts with a discharge rate of 0.5 amps with the engine running something was wrong with the electrical system; either batteries or alternator.

Sitting quietly at the navigation station I came to the decision to turn back as we had no way of recharging the batteries at Alderney as we would be on a swing mooring. Time to address the crew!

I climbed back on deck and explained the situation, Alex and Joe were disappointed but agreed with my decision. We turned the boat round and headed back to the marina.

My next challenge was a night berthing, with no wind in the marina no gelcoat was damaged and once tied up, plugged in and in the saloon we all poured a large drink.

Crew: Sandy Garrity, Alex Bowling, Joe North

Weather: Issued by the Met Office at 19:00 (UTC+1) on Fri 6 Sep 2019

Lyme Regis to Lands End including the Isles of Scilly

24 hour forecast: West 5 or 6, veering north and decreasing 4 for a time. Moderate, occasionally rough at first near Isles of Scilly, becoming slight, but smooth at times in Lyme Bay. Occasional rain then showers for a time, mainly fair later. Good, occasionally moderate at first.

Outlook for the following 24 hours: North 4 or 5, becoming variable 4 or less. Mostly slight. Fair. Good.

Trip Stats: Distance: XX nm, Avg speed: X.XX knots, Max speed: X.XX knots, Under way: Xh XXm