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.
With east winds most of April and too much work to do we had found the month had just slipped by without much sailing.
I had moved Elektra to her seasonal mooring on the last Sunday of April, now ready to go sailing. The normal thing each season is to have one weekend away to find out what we have forgotten! The weekend 6-8th May was this year’s.
Friday 6th, l had a few chores to clear in the morning, we needed to have left St Anthony beach before the tide went out at 1330hrs. Getting the gear and stores together in one place we could see it was going to be 2 dinghy trips out to Elektra. So we left home at 1230hrs for the 2 mile drive to St Anthony. Wheeling the dinghy down to the shore and loading up for the first trip. The tide was dropping away Vicki climbed in and l pushed the dinghy out as far as my wellies would let me and climbed in, our only problem was there wasn’t enough depth to put the engine down and no room to row! So it was a bit of pulling on other moored boats and mooring buoys to get to deeper water, where the engine could be lowered. Out at Elektra Vicki climbed aboard and l passed the shores aboard. Vicki was left with stowing the gear while l headed back for another dinghy load. Arriving back at the shore with a light dinghy l could almost get right in with the engine down. I loaded the rest of the gear and this time l was able to row myself into deeper water to lower the engine. Back out at Elektra l passed the rest of the gear aboard and refitted Elektra’s davits before attaching the lifting strops and climbing aboard Elektra. I then lifted the dinghy onto her davits.
In the mean time Vicki had been busy finding homes for all the gear and stores. We were both getting over heavy colds so we’re understandably exhausted after our workout! Stopping to rest and have some lunch before doing anymore.
After lunch l started getting Elektra ready to leave the mooring, it was 1445hrs before l dropped the mooring and we sailed Elektra out of Gillan under full sail. Slow at first but once out of shelter of the land a little faster in the 12kts of SW wind. Elektra didn’t really sail well on this wind direction, the mainsail takes the genoa wind. So l pulled the mainsail down and Elektra went 2kts faster. Now just sailing on her genoa making 4-5kts. We were making for our favourite place, heading in past St Mawes up the Precuil River to our favourite anchorage we continued to sail though the moorings and dropped anchor under sail at 1610hrs having logged 7nm.
I had no sooner dropped anchor and hung up the anchor buoy, when l got back to the cockpit Vicki had the cockpit encloser ready to put up. The cockpit cover bars are normally left up only removing the canvas but the bars had been removed over the winter so Vicki helped to reinstall. Enclosure up Vicki put the kettle on and we sat down for hot chocolate and cake. After that I fell asleep for an hour or two. It was getting chilli when we headed into the cabin at 1900hrs to play scrabble, closing up the hatch and starting the Eberspacher, l opened up a bottle of Melbec and we settled down with music for a competitive game. In the end Vicki won.
Saturday we were really lazy, sleeping on passed 0900hrs before l got out and made coffee, then brunch, washing up, where did the day go? I slept quite a bit of it! Caught up with a little reading, still reading March 2021 Yachting Monthly, l cancelled my subscription last summer because l never have time to read. I am getting fed up now with the printers trying to get me back! I think l still have 12 issues to read! After dinner another evening of scrabble wine and music this time it was my turn to win.
Sunday, l got out normal time, the day started sunny and then clouded up and looked almost foggy, with the sun early l started and ran the Eberspacher for a while to warm the cabin. Another brunch and we slowly got Elektra ready to leave, it was then I desided to pull off the split/leaking pipe in the heads and cut it back, seemed like an easy job! All went well until I picked up the sodern kitchen roll sheets from the floor and flushed down the toilet. This blocked the pipework and with no spare time remaining had to be left until another weekend.
The fog had cleared by the time we were ready to leave, I pulled up the anchor at 1345hrs and Vicki motored Elektra back out of the river to St Mawes where I pulled up the main. Then followed a fast sail back to Gillan in an ESE4-5, our problems started when trying to pick up our mooring in Gillan Harbour which is exposed to easterly winds.
There was quite a lumpy swell running into Gillan, we sailed on past our mooring rolled the genoa, started the engine and turned into wind, I lowered the main before picking up the mooring, just an 1.25hrs and 6.5nm after leaving. Lowering the dinghy was another problem with the swell, if that wasn’t bad enough lifting and lowering the engine to the dinghy was another problem. I think we were both glad to escape Elektra and head into St Anthony and home.
Vicki was away with family over Easter, I stayed home because I had to work some of the time.
On Easter Friday I had to get out early to load some gear aboard Elektra before the tide was to low. After this back home, I had bought a new dinghy and I set about pumping it up and fitting new launching wheels. Having unrolled ready to pump up I found the dinghy didn’t have the lifting D ring! (when ordering I said I needed this D ring and the supplier said the dinghy had one). I wasn’t happy and got on line to complain but it was Good Friday and nobody was working. The suppier got back to me the following Friday by which time I had come up with another way of lifting the dinghy on the davits.
On the evening high water I moved Elektra from Carne Creek out to her mooring in Gillan Harbour, I attached the dinghy and headed out into Helford River to check engine and nav equipment. Just into Helford River it started to rain so I turned and headed back to the mooring, in by dinghy and home.
On Saturday I had to work but on Sunday I was out to Elektra again to fit a new stern nav light higher up on a temporary teak strut (the old one had lost its lense and the dinghy when on davits covered it) I might have done this from the dinghy but there was quite a swell so it seemed safer from aboard Elektra even if I was hanging over the stern at times. I was thinking I would go for a sail but there was fog so continued with jobs. Once the light was finished I checked all nav lights, a few more checks in the cabin, the next time I came into the cockpit, the fog had cleared.
Time for sailing! I have found you have to be far more ready to leave when sailing alone. Vicki and I both love to helm so nearly never use the tiller pilot but sailing alone this is a must. While the rest of the UK was bathing in sunshine, here in Cornwall the weather was poor. I hate being cold so pulled on some leggings a coat and lifejacket. I started the engine, walked foreward and dropped the mooring, by the time I had returned to the cockpit Elektra had been turned to port and was blowing out to sea. I engaged foreward, turned and motored out east of Car Crock cardinal buoy. I was being lazy and only pulling out Elektra’s genoa, I stopped her engine and sailing towards Falmouth but there didnt seem like much wind in Falmouth Bay, so I turned her towards Helford River. A beat to windward would have been better with the mainsail, on just her genoa isn’t the best way but I was quite happy, she was logging 5.5kts at times. Once into the narrows I turned Elektra out east again for a run to August Rock and back into Falmouth Bay and little wind. At August Rock I turned her south and headed towards Nare Point, slower and slower, then the engine was started again and we headed back to her mooring, picking up 2hrs after leaving having logged 7nm.
Now back on the mooring the forecast for the coming week was east wind from Wednesday and strong east on Thursday-Saturday. I needed to put Elektra back up in Carne Creek but the tide was to low so I had to wait. Then it rained hard for an hour before clearing again (I went to sleep in the saloon). By 1645hrs the tide was high enough to move in to Carne Creek slowly, high water wasn’t until 1837hrs but as long as Elektra just clears the bottom, all was well. As soon as Elektra was moored up, I collected my stuff and headed in by dinghy.
Once at home I checked the ships AIS tracker and was surprised to see most of Elektra’s track for today was showing there. Last season she didn’t seem to show everwhere we sailed her.
We had been given the 1st of April for Elektra’s launch date but it was the 10th of March before I even started getting some winter jobs done. Still busy at work, it wasn’t until the 24th before I could really get on with the jobs. With a few finishing up jobs on the 27th, Elektra was ready for launch. The next 4 days I was back busy at work.
When Friday arrived the boat yard wasn’t ready so pushed the launch to Tuesday 5th, leaving me another weekend for jobs. But I only managed to find time on Sunday to do some more.
Elektra finally was launched on Wednesday, being busy working then she was put on their waiting mooring and l moved her into Carne Creek on Thursday morning. I set 3 anchors fore and aft though the next 2 days of strong south-westerly winds and by the weekend she was neeped until the following Wednesday. With strong southeast winds forecasted for Sunday and Monday, l was very happy she wouldn’t float.
On Saturday Vicki and l when out to her for cabin cleaning and a few other jobs. More cleaning jobs on Sunday and she will be ready to load gear.
Around October of last year I mentioned to Vicki about fitting a new kitchen at home at sometime. With in a week kitchen catalogs apeared, opps! I must been thinking out lowd, I didnt mean now!
With grass cutting continuing up to the end of November (the year had been a month behind ever since May). Winter work started later and with Mums house getting ready to sell and then selling quickly! We were very quickly at Christmas with no work done on Elektra yet. Then I had put aside the first 2 weeks of January to fit the new kitchen, 2! I should have allowed 4 weeks, it seemed we were 2 weeks finishing off!
Now nearing the end of February I think I have only been aboard Elektra 3 times since she was pulled out for the winter in October. Without much cold weather the grass has continued to grow, now with it all needing another cut before the spring, I am going to be busy into March which I normally use to get Elektra ready for the season.
We had managed to get Elektra launched early (last day of March) but the lockdown wasn’t lifted properly until the 12 April so only had 2 day sails before then. We had a long weekend aboard from the 16th but being very cold we were glad to get home to the woodburner on the evening of the 19th.
We had another the first weekend in May but still cold, then every weekend the weather or tide stopped us getting Elektra out until the SSOA Rally in Fowey over the bank holiday weekend at the end of the month.
I was too busy working in June for any sailing until I grabbed a week long holiday out to Scilly from the last weekend (we had to motor the whole passage due to little wind) Then followed a NE gale for 24hrs with rain for 36hrs, I am glad to say the weather improved after that with hot sunny weather for rest of week, then we motored back to Gillan before the next forecasted blow.
Then came payback for having a holiday, I had to do 70hrs work over the next 7 days to catch up with work (joys of being self-employed). There was some very nice hot sunny weather in in July and we got out for a few weekends but little or no wind for sailing.
August turned out to be a good sailing month, we managed to get out sailing locally most weekends.
September, we planned a holiday for the first week, with the first weekend a SSOA Rally in Fowey. We had a narrow tide window to get Elektra out of Carne Creek but managed to escape across to the Precuil River for the Friday evening. The next morning we set off early for Fowey, setting one reef in main and half genoa for passage ENE into East wind which had built up a big swell. Our best heading out of the Carrick Roads was 170 degrees, we stayed on this tack until east of Helford River then tacked, we had a good line for Fowey and Elektra was handling it well but both Vicki and myself had back pain at the time and we couldn’t put up with the pounding for the next 6hrs, so turned and headed back. This turned out to be the best sail of the season, we logged 7-8kts back into the shelter of the Precuil River. There we stayed until Wednesday when Mum was taken ill and we had to get back. A few daysails by myself up to the end of the month.
October, just one weekned away before Elektra was pulled out of the water 22nd.
The numbers are, we had 56 days aboard, 33 days on passage but only 14 days sailing. We were aboard 37 nights with 31 at anchor. we only logged 356nm, a very poor sailing season for us but we still enjoyed the time we had.
There wasnt any hurry to get back to Gillan as long as we got back today, the weather was due to turn wet and windy from the southwest.
It was going to be a sail to windward in southerly force 4. I picked up Elektra’s anchor at 1250hrs and Vicki motored her back out of the Precuil River, once out in St Mawes Harbour I set all of Elektra’s sail, our first port tack took us over to Pendennis Point, looked to close so we tacked and once clear tacked again which took us to just north of Rosemullion Head. Then we tacked out into Falmouth Bay quite away as I know how flucky the wind can be around the Helford River entance, our next tack got us into Gillan. We just started the engine to get Elektra onto her mooring. We had logged 8.5nm in 2.25hrs.
After a cold night (we were warm enough in the forebunk) the temperture came up again though the morning and the wind filled in.
The plan was to go for a sail in Falmouth Bay and then find a nice anchorage for the night. The wind seemed to be coming in from the east but once we got out into the Bay it was southerly force 3-4 making for nice sailing. After about 1.5hrs we headed towards Falmouth and into the lovely Precuil River for the last time this year. We logged 11nm in 2.5hrs.
This evening was a little warmer but we still used the cabin heater for a little while.
Elektra had been in Carne Creek since I last sailed her, the tide was good for moving her out around 1430hrs, I had work to do in morning so we went out to Elektra around midday. she was already floating but showing 0 under her keel on the sounder. Vicki stowed the gear and stores while I got Elektra ready to move.
Elektra’s gale proof mooring in Carne Creek is a fore and aft trot mooring so I attach both moorings together before dropping which makes it easier to moor to the next time we use.
When we were ready I dropped the mooring and Vicki motored Elektra slowly over to the channel with 0 still showing on the sounder, it’s nice when going into deeper water over the channel and the sounder shows 0.3m under the keel and deeper 0.5m as we head out towards the narrows. Going though the narrows and into Gillan Harbour the sounder shows 1.2-1.5m under the keel. We anchored Elektra of Flushing Cove with about 2m under her keel, we knew she would ground around low water with the 2.5m tidel range.
It was a lovely afternoon with no wind but we decided to put up Elektra’s cockpit encloser as we knew it would be colder later as the evening came in. I dont know why but I seem to be able relax aboard and fell fast asleep for 2hrs.
In the evening we retired below and started the cabin heater for a cosy cabin.
I managed to find the time for an afternoon sail but Vicki couldnt come out so I went out on my own, just for 2hrs, sailing was slow but I enjoyed it anyway, when I got back to the mooring Elektra had only logged 5.5nm.