Monday, 29 October 2012

Lands End, Lizard , Falmouth.

Well lots has been happening, sailing, biking, sunning, storming (round the Lizard..!) we ended up leaving the boat for about a week on the Menai Staits (Thanks to Denise for kind lend of mooring). We had a very fine time here where Erle and Carloe watched over the boat when we were not there as well as entertaining us when we were, thanks so much. More friends Di and Paul also were very hospitable feeding us and taking us to local music session, great times. 
We visited my parents in Shropshire where we collected our latest ebay indulgences - Brompton folding bikes. O yes . A pair of them.
 Once I had welded up a seat post extension and oiled the chains we were ready for their first test ride of 65 miles. 
Timing had been perfect to join in the first day of an 800+ mile ride to Turin ending up at the ‘slow food festival‘ 
The ride has been organized Maddy Corbin (my brothers Partner) in memory of a dear friend Philippa Corbin, and to raise awareness of depression. A very worthy cause - please look up to fine out more.  a few days ago all thirty cyclists (including ma Mum and brother) finished the ride including  over the alps (you cant avoid these!) and battling headwinds (sounds like sailing). The biggest well done to you all for the ride and raising all that money for the ‘Charlie Waller Memorial Trust’ and ‘The Human Givens Foundation’.   
The Brompton bikes coped very well for the first day of 60 odd miles winding up and down through the lovely Dorset countryside from Axminster to Swanage. We are sure they are going to be fantastic for exploring ashore from the boat - we had some great rides around Anglesey never mind just nipping out to the shops (minutes by bike hours by foot).

Anyway back to Sailing the junk. We left the Menai straits on the 21st october heading south. It took 48 hours and 200nm to get to St Ives Cornwall (nice round figures arnt they!)
We had thick fog and not much wind for the second part of this. Also dolfins following us for 8 hours during the night (about 20 of them) amazing as great fosferesents (sp) made them sparkle. Also poor garden type birds joined us for hours at a time lost at sea in the fog. 
We anchored off St Ives for the afternoon and went ashore for a pasty yum. In the morning we set off on a favorable tide for rounding Lands end. We decided to push on and get around the Lizzard and in towards Falmouth. We had a f6 headwind (NE) so it was a long rough battle through the night around the Lizzard. We finally picked up a visitor mooring on the Helford river at 8am and went to bed. We had a day or two exploring the delightful area around Halford. 
We met a friend of a friend, Tim, on board his junk rigged boat ‘Santiana’ which he is currently trying to sell as he is building a new junk with trees from his own woodland with Tim Loftus, a boatbuilder friend of ours. Small world. I hope we will see him again In Falmouth to talk some more junk! 
Another short day sail into another strong headwind up to St Mawes where we dropped anchor. Its free to anchor here which was a nice surprise even though we were asked to move a few yards for some reason. Very friendly harbour staff.
Goiing across to Falmouth this afternoon where there is lots to see and do.
We have now got to plan the next stage of our voyage - we are real late in the season now for heading further south (across Biscay) so we are looking at various possibilities ...........

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


A bit of a late start but after what seemed like weeks of preparations we have finally set sail south.
We left Ullapool on the wednesday 3rd October, had a great sail down and inside of Skye - going under the Skye bridge at around midnight then running through Kyle Rhea (at 9knots!) under moonlight. priceless. We then anchored until daylight in Sandaig Bay.
Next day was headwinds so we bashed on to the isle of Eigg and anchored in the Bay of Laig (NW side). From here we sailed none stop to the Isle of Man (200 nM) in two days two nights. Goiing outside of all the islands (Mull, Islay etc) and then running down into the North Channel skirting northern island and out into the Irish sea.. We picked up a slightly dodgy mooring, 5am Sunday, (the pick up immediately broke off!! apart from that it seemed good) in Port St Mary on the south end of the island. After a few hours sleep Charlotte and I went ashore and had a very nice day wondering about (got steam train to Douglas- really felt like we are on Holiday!)
Yesterday (Monday 8th) we had a great sail south to Anglesey - North Wales. We ran a few miles down into the Menai Straits in the dark from the north east end and dropped anchor just off Beaumaris.
Just woke up to a beautiful morning with the sun rising behind the Welsh mountains, now waiting to get the tide through the Swellies to pick up a friends mooring for a few days while we visit friends and family.
Everyone says that the hardest thing about going cruising is getting away - I think i can totally agree with this - especially if you are starting off with a brand new boat - my list of jobs to do and finish (on Hestur) seemed endless in the last few weeks and took up most of my time - packing my bags only took a few hours! Charlotte probably had the hardest job of packing up / moving out of our little house where we were staying in Ullapool so i could spend the time getting the boat ready...
Everything is working well - the new Tender floats and fits perfectly on the fore deck - Also a dream to row - thanks so much John! The self steering works well and has steered us just about all of 350 nM in a wide variety of conditions (not always good ones!) Thank goodness for that as it was very untested.
Top photo taken just off the Small Isles when we were joined by pod o Dolphins.
Bottom picture Taken by Reiner Luyken as we sailed out of Loch Broom Ullapool. Thanks for that - great picture taken from the Ullapool - Stornoway ferry as Reiner returned from a great trip across the Minch in a open Boat.

Moor soon...