August 2012 part 1

Right, there is going to have to be some hasty blogging this week to catch up to real- time when I go on holiday on Thursday. Do you think we can get through two years of sailing in four days?

Thinking about it, I had a rather tight target to meet when I started sailing in August 2012…

I went straight down from work on the Friday, getting to Maid at about 9pm, and first I needed to do a quick damage check – it appeared since I’d last been down another boat had rammed Maid in the middle of one side, bending two of the stanchions supporting the guard-wires and gouging the paint on the side of the cabin top.  That was clearly the limit of it though – looking up plate thicknesses Maid is not built anything like a tank but approaching some landing craft! Slightly concerned about what damage might have been done to the culprit..

With that sorted, I promptly headed off as I needed to sail westward and the wind was currently from the south, but due to swing round more inconveniently.

I was keen to get to Portscatho before the wind change made it awkward was to meet up with Si and Cat, a couple we met on their boat Planet in the French canals nearly 3 years previously. If they weren’t such lovely people I’d say obviously shared experiences like getting stuck in a broken-down lock together obviously make you stay in touch 🙂

Taking a trip back even more years, here we are going through a lock:

2009-11-13 #04

and here are Maid and Planet together one rather misty morning (I have distinct memories of wandering through a French village with 50 yard visibility looking for a bakery and mostly finding grumpy barking dogs).

2009-11-18 #00

Anyhow, returning from even further in the past to 2012, since getting back to Cornwall at roughly the same time as me in 2011 they’d spent much of their time working away building their engineless wooden fishing boat Kensa to Si’s design (more here, and come to that Cat’s equally wonderfully written blog of their adventures on Planet is well worth a look as well – here). She’s thought to be the first fishing boat built and launched in Portscatho for fifty years, and I was keen to get there and share in the excitement.

However, first I had to motor for quite a while to get out of Plymouth Sound late at night and in the dark- there seemed to be little wind and a big swell rolling in, and it was all rather tense – how big would the next swell be, would there be enough wind to sail outside, how hard would it be to get back in to shelter if there wasn’t?

In short, was this really a good idea?

Luckily the forecast held true and I was able to sail off towards Rame Head and then onwards.

I can’t say I had really missed sailing at night. It can be beautiful and peaceful, but mostly you just want to be asleep, not looking around every 15 minutes or half an hour. You can’t relax to the same degree sailing coastally as you can offshore, as you’re nearly always near a hazard of some sort, and the tides are often much stronger. Having to start tacking as the wind changed to blow against us in the night wasn’t ideal in some ways, though it was prove that starting early had definitely been advantage.

Morning found us between the Dodman and Nare Head – we seemed to cover a lot of ground in my final cat-nap and it was slightly alarming when I could first see! Not that I could see much, but enough to definitely not want to hit it.

2012-08-18 #02 - Copy

The weather gradually cleared from the east – this is the Dodman astern..

2012-08-18 #03 - Copy

..and this is the view once I’d anchored, unfolded the dinghy and gone ashore in Portscatho. Maid is in the background on the left, with Nare Head above the end of the breakwater, and Gull Rock merging into the Dodman on the horizon.

The big splash is a kid jumping in the harbour- guessing there’s nothing new in that except the wetsuits!

2012-08-18 #04 - Copy

This is my first peek of Kensa in the shed.

2012-08-18 #05 - Copy

If you’re looking at the that picture wondering how she ever got out of the shed, quite a lot of us helped, and it was quite a task! (though it didn’t quite match the boatyard owner needing to remove part of his shed to get my parent’s boat out once).

I also went for a bit of a walk along the coast on the Saturday- here’s the view towards Nare Head and the Dodman from above Porthcurnick beach..

2012-08-19 #01 - Copy

and here’s the view back to Maid and Portscatho from the beach.

2012-08-19 #04 - Copy

The Sunday dawned rather murkily, but by high tide in the early afternoon it was splendid – right on time!

2012-08-19 #09 - Copy

As you can see there was quite a crowd. It feels wonderfully decadent to stand around chatting ankle-deep in the sea drinking champagne.

2012-08-19 #18

Before we’d drunk too much it was time to take the Kensa out to her mooring buoy – as well as taking photos my dinghy was quite handy for helping ferry her crew back in.

2012-08-19 #22 - Copy

Here are Maid and Kensa together.

2012-08-20 #03 - Copy

Then back to the beach for the continuation of the party, before heading to the Plume of Feathers, etc.

Come the next morning the swell in the fairly exposed anchorage off Portscatho was getting irritating, so I tacked out and headed for the Helford River.

2012-08-20 #09 - Copy

Cue some more walking – this is one of the beaches on the way into Helford Passage..

2012-08-21 #24 - Copy

this is the village itself..

2012-08-21 #10

and this is a rather unexpected find of a splendid garden/art exhibition.

2012-08-21 #14

The next day was a slightly brisker sail further down the east coast of the Lizard Peninsula to Coverack, a place I hadn’t been to before.

2012-08-22 #09 - Copy

I immediately liked it – here Maid is anchored in the background off the little harbour. It’s about the last place in the village to have evening sun as it drops below the Lizard so half the village seems to gather there in the evening, and the fish-and-chip shop in the converted lifeboat station is excellent.

2012-08-22 #10 Coverack - Copy

The next day was forecast to be calm and then quite strong onshore, so I decided I’d better do some motoring in the calm bit while the tide was favourable. I was hoping to pick up a bit of wind once I got a little way offshore but though it teased I had to do a fair bit of motoring to get back round to the Helford.

2012-08-23 #02

There follows a rather unfortunate episode where my wallet ended up spending a tide or two in the mud alongside this slipway before I managed to find it again, though I did feel quite lucky I’d done so!

2012-08-24 #02 - Copy

Luckily I had enough time to hunt for it, and being anchored in the Helford is a lovely place to be in most conditions.

2012-08-26 #01

After spending a couple of days there I then headed out..

2012-08-26 #15

..past a colossal cruise ship anchored of the entrance to Falmouth..

2012-08-26 #16

..and up Carrick Roads with various other Ocean Cruising Club boats (including the rather lovely Zahlia below) for a party on some pontoons on the river.

2012-08-26 #20 - Copy

Not before we’d had a bit of an adventure with the King Harry Chain Ferry, which looked to be waiting for more cars but then decided to start moving at a rather awkward moment, leading to some very swift manoevuring under sail and some cursing of the motor boat right in front of me which just jammed its engines straight into reverse 😀

2012-08-26 #22

Still, we all made it, I had a very good time with lots of very nice and interesting people, as I have found so many club members to be, and entirely failed to take any pictures including any of them, so here’s a token one of Maid and some of the other boats.

2012-08-26 #23 - Copy

And that’s where we shall pause for a brief (this time, honest!) intermission 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: