Buying Bigger

We bought Elektra in November 2016

This is our new adventure having owned and sailed a Hurley 22 over 5000nm during the last eleven seasons, my wife Vicki and I (Bruce) decided to look for a bigger yacht back in August 2016 having spent a nice evening on a Sadler 34.

Then we began the search for our new yacht soon after, we put our H22 on the market in September. We looked at Hurley 27s first before moving on to Hurley 30s but it soon became clear we were not going to find a good one. we liked the size of the H30 but we needed to be able to over winter any yacht we bought up a creek. So in the end we searched the internet looking for bilge keel Westerly Konsort,s  and Sadler 29s. We looked at lots but it was when we got to Poole to see a S29 we knew we had found her, I made a silly low offer subject to survey thinking it might take all the winter to come to an agreement on price but to our suprise the offer was excepted three days later.

After three months of free storage ashore was offered by the broker we decided to leave Elektra in Poole and do the delivery passage in March have got all the winter jobs plus new standing rigging done before she goes in the water.

It was a five hour drive one way to Cobbs Quay in Poole from our home in Cornwall, we looked at Elektra in October and made an offer subject to survey, we visited her again in November for a week after the paperwork and payment had been made to arrange jobs. Again between Christmas and New Year for three days and again in February for final jobs and launch. For our last visit we hired a car one way picking up Bryan our friend and delivery skipper from Plymouth on the way in March 2017. In some ways it would have been far easier to have done the delivery passage at the end of 2016 but while she was in Cobbs Quay, Poole we had new standing rigging, new cabin heater and got Elektra ready for the passage home.

On the way to the sea

Friday 12th August

We had thought of sailing back to Polkerris for evening meal at the Rashleigh lnn which we had used before but ringing the number which was unattainable l looked it up on Google, new number and new owners, we looked at the menu and couldn’t see anything we wanted to order so we gave up that idea.

The weather forecast was for SE force 4/ E force 4-6 west of the Dodman for Friday. We thought we would be able to sail all the way back to Falmouth area so decided to leave good time on Friday.

Dolphins joined us 4 times on this passage
I think Dolphins prefer a fast moving craft, we seem to see them more often when motoring.

Picking up the anchor and motoring Elektra out over the bar at 0850hrs we could goose wing her out to the Mew Stone WP, from the way point there wasn’t any wind so me started motoring Elektra towards St Anthony Head WP 36nm away. This passage turned out to be pretty boring except for the Dolphins which kept on visiting us. Motoring on until 1100hrs when we could motor sail at 6.5-7kts. At 1300hrs we sailed for about 1hr at about 4.5-5kts, then around 1400hrs the wind turned onto the nose and we started motoring again. The short time of motor sailing and sailing had kicked up a nasty 3/4 corkscrew sea for the rest of passage into Falmouth. From 1500hrs with no wind and same corkscrew sea we turned into the shelter of the Carrick Roads at 1600 and motored into and anchored in the Precuil River at 1620hrs having logged 41nm.

It’s a joy to see Dolphins.
The Precuil River

Thursday 11th August

On Wednesday after our dinghy problems (see last post) l booked a table at the Ship Inn in the Yealm River for Thursday evening, luckily this was the last available table.

The forecast for Thursday was NE force 4-5 / E force 4 later which would be good for going west-southwest to the Yealm River. I pulled up the anchor at 0900hrs which was very well dug in and a bit of a mess to clear up after stowing in locker, Vicki motored Elektra slowly in the direction of Salcombe  entrance, the out going tide was adding to her SOG of 5kts.

Rounding the Mew Stone off Salcombe at 0930hrs, l set just the genoa for what would be according to forecast a run down wind. As soon as the sail was set the SOG was 7kts, then 8kts, then followed a fast but short lived sail for 1.5hrs which we covered over 10nm. One out into Bigbury Bay the speed dropped off and we started motoring at 1110hrs Motoring into the Yealm River Entrance, now low water only 0.2 under the keel in the channel so going very slowly. We dropped anchor in Cellars Cove at 1230hrs just outside the river moorings having logged 18nm, another hot day, we had been very lucky with the weather all week. In the evening we were able to use the dinghy to get all the way to the pub for evening meal. The Ship Inn meal was always on our list every time we went east but in resent years we haven’t been, first meal there since 2018, just as good. Back to Elektra we had another wonderful sunset to finish the day.

Barn Pool to Salcombe

Elektra in Barn Pool

On Monday we set off for Salcombe. The tidal stream wasn’t going east until 1155hrs, so l pulled the anchor up at 1110hrs and we motored Elektra out of Barn Pool, though the Bridge, across Plymouth Sound and out past East end of the breakwater and on to our way point off the Mew Stone. Motoring on glassy smooth sea. Once off the Mew Stone l did try to sail but gave up 1/2hr later. Motoring ESE towards Bolt Head we had a Royal Navy escort for a short while until the wind filled in a bit and we could sail slowly. We also saw Ken Endean’s yacht heading our way but  a little more inshore of us, l would have loved a chat as l am a big fan of his writing.(pilot books).

Royal Navy escort

The wind was off and on all across Bigbury Bay, a little sailing then no wind and the same again on repeat. Once we arrived at Bolt Tail the wind picked up on the nose (l should have sailed from here) but thinking we were nearly there continued motoring, would have been great sailing. Once we passed my Bolt Head way point we turned onto a better heading and were motor sailing, turning north into Salcombe pushed our SOG over 8kts. We turned into wind and l lowered the main just before crossing Salcombe Bar at 1510hrs. Now in a long line of yachts heading into Salcombe, speed slowed as skipper’s tried to find a mooring, when l could l took my chance to pass them as we were heading up river to anchor. This was Salcombe Yacht Clubs regatta week so lots of racing sailing dinghies heading south to dodge! We finally dropped anchor off Frogmore Creek at 1545hrs having logged 22nm

Sunsets in Frogmore Creek

As we were on holiday, we stayed here at anchor in Frogmore Creek for 2 more rest days, visiting Kingsbridge by dinghy to the north on Tuesday and Salcombe Town on Wednesday, returning from the Town Vicki suggested going up Frogmore Creek so we passed Elektra at anchor and continued into the creek, the tide was running in west and the wind was blowing from the east so we got quite wet in the spray. It didn’t seem quite as good an idea but the head of the creek was lovely, a quick scout to find were the pub was for another time. Then we headed back down to Elektra, then it happened, yes you guessed it the outboard ran out of fuel! I had topped up the tank in morning before going to Salcombe, the motor only holds a litre which does about 5nm. Have you ever tried to row one of these inflatables any distance? Vicki had to go and sit on the bow to give me room, l am glad to say we were getting blown in the general direction we want to go. All l needed to do was row us away from the lee shore and once nearer to Elektra towards her so we didn’t get blown passed. Once back l could rest again, all part of the joy of boating!

Saturday 6th August

We would be heading due east to Plymouth area, the tide stream was with us heading east 0920-1520hrs, the forecast was of northerly force4 veering east force2-3 later, pressure was set to rise, more hot and dry expected.

Elektra anchored at Polgwyn Cove

It seemed an earlier start would be a good idea, l pulled up the anchor and Vicki motored Elektra out of Polgwyn Cove at 0930hrs. Once clear of the shelter I set all the sail and stopped engine, there didn’t seem much wind at all and it wasn’t long before we were motoring again! Around 1000hrs off Fowey the wind filled in a bit and we could sail east-northeasterly towards Udder Rock. After almost an hour of slow 3kts of sailing we started motoring again along the coast north of Udder Rock, passing Polperro and then Looe Island.

Sailing towards Rame Head

After Looe Island the wind filled in again a southeast force2-3 and we were sailing. This continued all the way to Rame Head which we passed at 1415hrs, the wind angel was a little better to Draystone way point which wr passed at 1445hrs but turning north into Plymouth, now running was very uncomfortable in the moderate swell, so l rolled the genoa and started motoring.

Now to find an anchorage, Cawsand which we had used before wasn’t looking a good option with the east winds so we headed for Jenny Cliff which we hadn’t ever used but had heard was good for east winds. Once there the wind seemed more like south-southwesterly so not sheltered. Then without stopping we motored over to Barn Pool west of Drake’s Island which we found very calm, there were a few yachts at anchor already. We hadn’t used Barn Pool before but new from friends of its problems, lots of discarded metal on bottom and steep shelving banks which go from 0-28meters of depth in the same sort of distance. So we took care to find a good spot before dropping anchor at 1600hrs having logged 29nm.

Anchored at Barn Pool, Plymouth other side of the water.

Hottest July since records began

Ever since getting back from our holiday at the end of June (you remember wet and windy) here in Cornwall there has almost been no rain and hot with it. The scaremongering in the media of global warming has intensified in reasent weeks. What the media fails to report is this weather only started at the beginning of July, before then it was colder and wetter than normal.

As you possibly know, l have cut grass for a living for the last 30 plus years. And l have found out over the years, grass grows the same amount every year, only the weather determines when. Over the years we have had many dry summer’s, normally the rain comes in the end and a autumn flush of grass with it.

As my work has actually dried up, Cornwall is now very dry! And l won’t be missed from cutting any of my gardens another summer holiday is in order. How lucky am I, this doesn’t happen very often!

Anchored in Gillan Harbour

Friday 5th August was our first day of our 3rd summer holiday this season, wow! We had a forecast of northerly force4-5 with outlook for easterlys later in the week. There wasn’t any hurry to get aboard as HW was 1050hrs. I went down in the morning early to top up the fuel and water, arriving home again, we loaded up the truck with gear, stores and left home about 1100hrs. I had left the dinghy attached to the pontoon so reversed in by Sailaway building to off load and left Vicki with the stuff while l went to park the truck. We loaded up the dinghy and motored out to Elektra on her swing mooring. Elektra was bouncing about quite a bit because of the northerly wind do we dropped the mooring and motored her into Gillan Harbour a little further and dropped anchor so we could pack easier.

Heading for the Dodman Point
Anchored off Gorran Haven

We picked the anchor up again and left at 1310hrs, l pulled up the main with 2 reefs and with 1 reef in the genoa we set off across Falmouth Bay. I was tempted with more sail but know from past experience we are coming off a sheltered shore. A wise decision as it happened. What followed could only be described as the best sail of the season so far, the sea was smooth, Elektra was close on the wind heading northeast in northwesterly force 4-5. It was as much as we could do to hold her on course during the odd gusts. We were sailing against the tide stream and covered the 14nm from Gillan to the Dodman Point 2.75hrs. From the Dodman we rolled away the genoa and started motor sailing as the wind had swung around more on the nose. We dropped anchor off Gorran Haven at 1630hrs having logged 16nm. We stopped here for Fish&Chips, will l lowered the dinghy into the water Vicki ordered the food. When we had lowered and attached the motor we headed in for the beach. When we got to the shop we were a little early so went for a pint at the local pub. Got chatting to a couple on holiday from Cheshire, it was there first day as well. We said we had sailed up from the Lizard and had stopped here for their great Fish&Chips, in that case they said they would try them later in the week. After eating we were back aboard and pulling the anchor up at 1840hrs. We motored Elektra around the point and north into the  wind across Mevagissey Bay to the shelter of Polgwyn Cove where we dropped anchor for the night at 1930hrs having logged 20nm.

Anchored at Polgwyn Cove

Weekend sailing

Our local anchorages tend to be the same places all the time. Chosen over the years from many we have used to be very reliable and good holding.

After seeing the family away in the morning of Friday, we got stuff ready for going out to Elektra for the weekend, we couldn’t leave quickly because we had to wait for the tide to come back. I had left the dinghy on the pontoon over night so we only had to carry stores to dinghy.

Out on Elektra again in the evening. With the wind blowing from the west under full sail we made Channels Creek 9nm to the north in 1.5hrs, only slowing a little when losing the wind under Pendennis Point, it was a great sail. There it is well sheltered from the west.

Elektra in Channels Creek

On Saturday, l had a few jobs to do. New genoa cars to fit, l had tried this the previous weekend but found the track ends difficult to remove, asking in the week on a Facebook forum, lots of suggestions had been made, one of which was to remove the foreword stop ends. These came off easily and the job was done fairly quickly in the end.

Next was a problem with the genoa furling gear, ever since buying Elektra in 2016 the furling gear had played up from time to time. This season we had had problems more than once rolling the sail back in after use. Reading about the gear at home, l had discovered that the top bearing should be pulled to the very top of the furler, they suggested using a short piece of line from the top of the sail to the bearing. But our genoa rests on the pulpit when fully unrolled. So l pulled the sail down to check the top bearing and gave it a good going over with WD40 before pulling the sail back up as high as it would go. Then at the bottom I tighten it back down to the spool. I thought we were sheltered but playing with such a big sail it didn’t seem so sheltered! Elektra being a masthead rig the genoa is 2/3rds of her sail power. Once rolled in again, l decided that was enough for the day and l will try it another day.

The forecast said that a strong southwest was coming overnight, Channels Creek would be open to it so having found out a sailing friend was anchored at Malpas, we decided to move upriver. Arriving at Malpas we anchored near by and had a chat. Robert and Mandy envied us over for drinks later. Vicki made dinner and we went over, Vicki and l had a great evening, lots of stories with Robert and Mandy aboard their Sadler 34.

Elektra at Malpas

Robert and Mandy left in the morning but we stayed until nearer low water because we wouldn’t be able to get in back at Gillan until 2hrs after LW. What we didn’t think of was the shallows just south of Malpas. The anchor had dug in very well during the strong wind in the night, in fact so well l had to get Vicki to motor Elektra over it to break it free from the bottom. The chain and the anchor came up covered in mud, this left me with a big clean up job and a few buckets of water down the side decks. All this added time to my job and When Vicki motored Elektra over the shallows  she said the sounder showed only 0.1m at one point.

A nice northwesterly to push us home, couldn’t have planned it any better. The furling gear seemed to work a lot better but l had been on to Mylor Rigging for a quote for a new one. It was a lovely sail and we were back in Gillan packing up within 2hrs.

Sailing with Family

Elektra our Sadler 29 which was designed in the early 80s and built/sold as a 6 berth! Will there are 6 berths so all could lie down to sleep as long as they didn’t any stuff with them. Vicki and I normally as just 2 and use almost all locker space, we have as 3 a few times which works quite well. With anymore than 3, there wouldn’t be enough locker space for living aboard.

Elektra gallery

Last week some family came to stay, I had suggested a days sailing but they had other plans. So when I arrived home from work on Tuesday evening and said I had strimming tomorrow and had to cut up a tree on Thursday. Allison said “we can’t go sailing then?” I said “I thought you had other plans?” I said “that’s OK, the tree can wait, we can go sailing”

Arriving home from work on Wednesday, I told them we needed to leave home before 0930hrs. So next morning when we finally left home at 1000hrs after some hadn’t had time for breakfast, I knew the tide would be dropping away the things might not work out great. Running out of tide I quickly pushed the dinghy down to the water, there wasn’t enough water to float it off, Vicki took the trolly back up the beach and I walked the dinghy over to the end of the pontoon before climbing in. Allison and Imigen climbed in and we pushed off. There wasn,t enough water to lower the engine in completely but 20 meters away before I could, Allison said “we could have waited a bit longer, there would have been deeper water” I said “the tide is going out, that’s why we needed to leave by 9.30am!” We motored out to Elektra and they climbed aboard and I went back for Molly and Vicki. Back at the pontoon, I couldn’t get right in with the engine down. Vicki and Molly got in and I got out to drag the dinghy into deeper water. There is a depth where it’s too deep for wellies but not deep enough for the engine! I had to get in and use a oar as a punt poll to get us out into deeper water before I could lower the engine. We made it out to Elektra in the end and aboard. Vicki and I got Elektra ready to leave the mooring.

Crossing Falmouth Bay

The forecast seemed to suggest no wind but we were presently greeted a light onshore breeze from the East. Elektra goes extremely well in very light winds, it’s always very nice to keep much bigger yachts behind when sailing and today it was the turn of a modern Southerly 32 which we sailed past and kept in front of all the way to St Mawes, sailing in 6kts of wind at 3kts though the water. Our passengers didn’t seem much interested in sailing but arriving at St Mawes and dropping anchor. Vicki turned the gas on and made hot dogs for lunch which went down very nicely.

Heading back to Gillan

Then it was time to return, now close on and more wind Elektra was leaning over more and the kids asked why. We explained that this is normal, it’s called healing. I went into a bit more detail but they weren’t really interested.

Getting back on the mooring and then ashore in the dinghy the tide was now coming in again so a lot easier, l gave Allison some money to buy us all an ice cream and went back to Elektra for another load. Sitting eating ice cream later l said this was better than chainsaw work any day.


Back when we bought Elektra in Nov 2016, she came with a CQR anchor and she needed new anchor chain. In Cobbs Quay yard was an excellant chanderlers, I was always down there getting bits as I needed them. The CQR, I was going to change, I had always liked the Bruce anchor because I had seen for myself how well they dug in, out in Scilly during 2 gales back in 2013. At the chandlers they had a anchor chart for finding out which size was needed, it suggested 8kg for our Sadler 29, the chanderlers had a shop soiled 7.5kg genuin Bruce round the back still with lables stuck on it, I said I will have it, in the end the CQR went in the yard skip!

40m of 8mm chain bought from a Plymouth based online chanderlers was delivered on a pallet to Elektra,s bow in Cobbs Quay, Poole for £180. After spending 176 nights at anchor during the last 5.5 seasons this chain had gone quite rusty which tends to make the deck rusty when in use and I thought a new chain would be a good idea.

So a trip to the chanderlers in Falmouth on Friday was planed, being holiday season I set of early before the visitors get on the roads, arriving down in Falmouth at 0845 after 16 mile drive which normally takes 40mins. First I wanted to replace my flare pack, putting my old flare pack down on the counter, I was told we don’t take them. I asked if they sell them, yes they said, I said I am not buying another pack unless you take the old ones. So the old ones went back in the pick-up and back aboard over the weekend. I asked did they have 40m of 8mm chain, they didn’t know and would have to check, it turned out they did. So I came away with the chain after loading hand over hand into the pick-up at the cost of £238. I tried another chanderler for the flares but he hadn’t renewed his storage licence because of the Covid lockdowns.

So homeward bound, left Falmouth at 0915, turned off the main Helston Falmouth road to cut though to Gweek down narrow lanes only to get jammed up! Narrow lanes only work if not too many cars and folk know how to reverse! Visitors don’t go back, we did get though in the end but, it was long time after leaving Falmouth that I got back home, 16 miles in 1.5hrs.

The next day I had a few jobs plan aboard Elektra, we wanted to move her out of Carne Creek around HW, being neap tides she would only just float. About half an hour before HW I started her engine, dropped the bow mooring and pulled her back on the stern mooring and dropped that too, put the engine in reverse to port to swing her bow to starboard to face the channel. With “0” showing under the keel on the sounder, it’s nice to see “0.2m” appear as we turn to port over the channel. Being in very shallow water tends to be where the paddle boarders and kayakers are, and they don’t tend to know where the channel is and are suprised to see a large yacht coming in their direction! Inside the narrows over the channel the depth under the keel never was more than “0.5m”, only going though the narrows did 1.2m show. We motored around to Flushing Cove and dropped anchor in shelter to do some jobs.

The anchor chain had a story of it’s own! I didn’t really think how much I would have to handle the chain to do on the water. The day before I had loaded into the pick-up hand over hand, I thought a wheel barrow would be useful to move the chain on the beach. So hand over hand from the pick-up to the wheel barrow, hand over hand from barrow into dinghy. Hand over hand on to Elektra’s foredeck, we were anchored at the time (chain made fast) so the old chain had to come out of the anchor locker on to the deck also. Then I could undo the shackle between the anchor warp and old chain and connect to the new chain, then the new chain hand over hand into the locker! Then we moved Elektra back on to her swing mooring before undoing the anchor from the old chain and connecting the new chain, you would think job done, you would be wrong! Then the old chain hand over hand into dinghy, hand over hand into barrow back on beach, hand over hand into the pick-up, hand over hand into barrow at home and finally hand over hand into shed at home, who needs a Gym membership?? Lol

I didn’t tell you about what had happened before the chain. We had anchored in Flushing Cove to get shelter from the strong SW winds. The furling gear had jammed the last time we were out and needed sorting out. We had a problem with halyard wrap and I had read in the book of notes that the top swivel berring needed to be at the top of the gear to avoid halyard wrap. The problem I had was I couldn’t unfurl the sail and I couldn’t pull the halyard up more until unfurled. Which meant I had to take off the genoa sheets and unfurl by hand around the forestay! Well we thought it would be sheltered there, didn’t seem so sheltered when I had a 330sq ft sail flapping around my head! The anchor was holding well, the chain was almost horizontal most of the time until I could furl it in a little! It took a bit of doing but we have it working again.

I was a bit sleepy that evening.

Another holiday or a long weekend?

I came home on Monday evening and said to Vicki “we could have another holiday” Vicki said “what do you mean” I said “there hasn’t been any rain since our holiday and the grass has slowed right up” “I can go from Wednesday 13th July” Vicki said “I have work to do on Wednesday” I said “thats OK, I do some maintanance on the equipment and we can go Thursday, I don’t need to be back to work until Wednesday next week”

So it was decided another holiday or was it along weekend? The forecast was saying Northerly force4 for Thursday, with strong easterly for the weekend. I first suggested sailing down around the Lizard Point and exploring west of the Lizard but as the week went by there seemed that the east wind wasn’t going to give up and we may get stuck the other side of the Lizard Point. In the end I suggested sailing NE to the Dodman and north across Mevagissey Bay to Polgwyn Cove which we like and anchor for night, Then next day as the wind vears around to the east go to Polkerris to anchor and the pub for an evening meal.

Crashing across Falmouth Bay

The tide stream wasn’t going our way until evening and with things to do in the morning couldn’t get aboard that early, it was 1600hrs when we cast off. The wind was stronger than the forecast, northerly force5 gusting 6, we were hard on the wind going in a NE direction, I had pulled 2 reefs into the main and only half of the genoa was out,we were still logging 5-6kts SOG. One disadvantage of twin keeler is the slamming which comes when hard on the wind in a swell, OK for a little while but it dose become annoying in time. We had this all the way across Falmouth Bay but once in the shelter of The Roseland the swell eased and with it the slamming. It was nice to see another yacht leaving out of Falmouth and coming our way, there didn’t seem to be any other sails around. Leaving the shelter of The Roseland across Gerrans Bay the slamming began again! I kept looking over to see how the other yacht was doing, we seemed to be going about the same sort of speed and I wasn’t enjoying it! Then the next time I looked the other yacht had turned around, we were just up to Gull Rock by this time. This was enough for me to suggest turning around also and heading for the shelter of the Precuil River, Vicki quickly agreed and we went about. Now going back into tide but on a broad reach the slamming had gone and Elektra showed no sign of slowing, if fact she was going faster 6.5-7kts. Once off the south of St Anthony Head calm arrived, I quickly went on deck and pulled the main down, started the engine and rolled the genoa, before motoring north into the wind to St Mawes and into the Precuil River. Dropping anchor just 3hrs had passed since leaving Gillan, somehow it seemed a lot longer, we had covered 15nm.

Friday and Saturday we rested, enjoying the hot sunny weather, the wind was from the east and the Precuil River is very sheltered from east wind.

The Precuil River

On Sunday we decided to go sailing again. We dont normally just go sailing to go sailing, we are normally on passage to another place. But with all this hot and sunny weather there was still wind. After motoring out of the river I set just the genoa and we set off south across Falmouth Bay towards the Manacles logging 4-5kts, hot even out at sea, it was lovely sailing again. At Manacle Buoy we turned and headed north again, slower in this direction we got back to St Anthony lighthouse about 2hrs after leaving. So we continued north up the Carrick Roads via the channel because it was spring tides and near LW. We arrived up at Turnaware Point bang on LW. I could beleve what I was seeing! A motorboat coming down river went the wrong side of Turnaware Bar Buoy and hit the bottom at the same time a big RIB going north went straight onto the bar without slowing down! At Turnaware and in Channels Creek was just full of yachts and boats, I hadn’t seen the river that busy since we started cruising in 2006-07. I didn’t like the idea of anchoring there so we turned around and motored back down the channel to charge the batteries having sailed and logged 14nm in 3hrs. We motored back into the Precuil River and anchored with only 4 other yachts after 4hrs and 20nm for the day.

Sailing south towards Manacles

We had a problem furing the genoa at Turnaware, on Monday I tried to sort it out without any luck, was thinking maybe a new gear would be the answer. This got me thinking about new sails and with time on my hands got some prices. In talking to the sailmaker who seemed to think the type of gear should be still OK now even from 2003 when it was new.

The Precuil River

On Tuesday after thundery rain we headed out of the river and back to Gillan, just motored back across the bay and up onto Carne Creek mooring because of a forecast for strong East wind on Friday. There we had brunch and washed up, getting off Elektra just before the water had gone. Back to the beach and home by midday.

Carne Creek