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

Summing up for 2022 Season

Elektra had been launched after a rush 4 days to get the jobs done on April 5th but she wasn’t ready to sail. It took most of April to load the stuff needed to go cruising and I only managed one day sail alone during April logging 11nm.

Still not ready in May we only managed one weekend away (to find out what we had forgotten).

Elektra off Fowey entrance at the SSOA rally

It was the beginning of June before we managed to do much sailing at all, out most weekends and a week long holiday at the end of the month which turned out to be wet and windy! We logged 130nm in June.

It was July before the real summer weather started and with it the dry slowed the grass so I could have another holiday, this month we logged 97nm.

Heading east

But by August the dry weather had stopped the grass altogether and we were able to get away for 2x 10 day holidays, the first of which allowed us the time to sail east to Salcombe. With this fantastic weather we also had good winds, which don’t often go to together. The 2nd holiday we just sailed around our local area and managed to log 197nm in August.

At anchor in Salcombe

With September came the rain and we only managed one weekend away.

Last weekend aboard, at Malpas

I only managed 2 day sails in October and Elektra was pulled out for the winter on the 28th.

The numbers are, we were aboard 62 days, 45 nights, 34 of the nights at anchor. We sailed 36 days logging 513nm which isn’t much but better than any one of the last 3 seasons.

Bigger yacht??

In resent weeks a few yachts have come onto the market which would have suited us. Having been converted from fin keel to bilge keel we don’t want to go back, not many bigger yachts have bilge keels. The cut off seems to be about 35ft possibly because of the yachts weight at that size.

We have been spoilt with our Sadler which were designed to sail well even with bilge keels or as Sadler called them twin keels. Many of the Westerly’s look like the bilge keels are an after thought!

Anyway a few weeks ago a very nice twin keel Sadler 34 came on the market which had been completely updated since 2017, I saw the add 2 days after it was posted and contacted the owner by which time there was an interested buyer flying back from the Med to see her. Needless to say the yacht was sold inside a week so I mist out. There was another Sadler 34 up London way, although 10 years younger the present owners hadn’t spent any money on her during the last 10 years so she was in need of a major refit, having seen her details we weren’t interested in looking partly because of the 6.5hr drive one way. I told the agent she was overpriced, he suggested putting in an offer. We thought about it a little longer but having priced up work she would need, we decided against. Sailing friends were suggesting a very low offer but refits aren’t just money they are time as well. It had taken us 6 years so far to update Elektra and not finished yet, we didn’t want to start again!

Then a Sadler 290 came on the market. S290s are a more modern design, we had looked at these a few years before but with only 48 built they didn’t come on the market very often and we couldn’t find any. I enquired about this 290 but being 60k she was out of our price range.

Looking at all these yachts got me thinking of just how much time and money I had spent updating Elektra and I went to the effort of writing it all down. You sort out a job but you don’t remember what it was like before. Looking at the list made me think, why change now we have the yacht nearly like we want her?

So there it is, after looking and pondering about buying a bigger yacht we have decided we are happy with Elektra.

Last sail for season

The weather was poor though October, one low following the next, finding any time to go sailing was difficult but I could see a possible day out and having sailed the last time in almost no wind I didn’t want that again.

So it was Wednesday 12th October when I went sailing next, The forecast was SW force 4-5. Being alone again I didn’t pull up the main just sailed on genoa alone. I decided to sail east round Nare Point and Southeast to Manacle Buoy then close on the wind South until I felt I wanted to turn around. This is what I did, following Elektra out of the Helford River about 1/4nm behind was another similar sized fin keel yacht under full sail. I hadn’t really looked at the tides but being springs the tide must have been running south at 2-3kts off the Manacles. I was seeing 7kts SOG most of the time, Elektra was going like a train!

I continued to sail south for another 2nm or so before going about. Then I could see the tide stream when heading north, even with Elektra was surfing down the waves her SOG had slowed to 3-5kts. It was a lovely sail, I picked up Elektra’s mooring 3hrs after dropping having logged 14nm. On the GPS the fastest speed was recorded as 7.8kts!

On the 16th of October I moved Elektra into her Carne Creek mooring as there was a easterly blow coming and there wouldn’t be enough depth to move her in there later in the week. The wind has continued to blow and we are now waiting for the boat yard to pull Elektra out for the winter.

Elektra in Carne Creek

A day sail in October

I had been busy at work over the last fortnight but was keen to get out sailing again but Vicki wasn’t interested as she thought it would be to cold on the water, so I said I would go out alone on Saturday 8th.

The tide was dropping away fast as I got the dinghy down to the water. Not deep enough to lower the engine but deeper than wellies depth, so I rowed into deeper water and then lowered the engine. Getting out to Elektra it looked like it was going to be a nice day. I set about getting Elektra ready to leave the mooring, I have to be more ready when sailing alone, have the tiller pilot plugged in and ready to use.

I dropped the mooring at 1000hrs and motored her gently out of Gillan into Falmouth Bay and set all sail but almost no wind! I sailed around a bit at 1-2.5kts for a bit before giving up and motoring in towards Helford. We hadn’t been into the Helford River all summer, so it was nice just to doodle along and look at the yachts. I dropped anchor off Portnavas Creek at 1200hrs and put the kettle on for lunch.

After around 1.5hrs I pulled up the mainsail and pulled up Elektra’s anchor, she started getting a little close to a moored motor launch so before stowing I went back to the helm and turned her to starboard across the river before walking back to the bow to stow the anchor in locker. Then I motored Elektra back out down Helford River, in the narrows the tide was running in at about 3kts so a little slow going for a time. Once clear of the narrows I started sailing Elektra towards Durgan, this was good but when we tacked south back across the river the wind died off so I had to motor again. As we neared Mawgan Sheer the wind filled in again and we were sailing at 3-4kts. Almost sailing due east, I continued like this for a while before going about and heading back to Gillan. I picked up Elektra’s mooring at 1530hrs having logged 14nm in 4hrs.

Sunday 25th September

There wasn’t any hurry to leave Malpus, with the low water being at 1216hrs and the sounder showing 0, we waited until 1320hrs before casting off. The sounder was still showing 0 but Elektra didn’t ground leaving the pontoon. Vicki motored Elektra slowly out and back down the Truro River with very little showing under her keel while I coiled lines and stowed fenders.

Elektra at Malpus

At around 1400hrs south of Turnaware buoy I set all sail, and we sailed on slowly on making around 2-3kts SOG against the tide. Slow until we past out of the Carrick Roads into Falmouth Bay were SOG increased to 5-6kts, it was lovely sailing and I picked up Elektra’s mooring in Gillan at 1625hrs having logged 11.5nm

Sailing again

After getting back from our holiday it rained for a week which meant my work took almost 7 days to finish. Then another week with the grass growing fast and more rain meant no sailing for most of September.

Elektra on mooring

It was Friday 23rd before we got out for another sail. We couldn’t get aboard 1330hrs due to the tide. The weather forecast was for northerly force4 gusting 5. Elektra was bucking up and down on her mooring when we arrived out to her which meant difficulties getting the outboard off punt and aboard Elektra and also the punt onto it’s davits. Once done we didn’t want to stay there long and cast off at 1500hrs with 2 reefs in mainsail we motored out and set half the genoa before stopping engine. We were heading north into wind. The conditions always look worse heading into wind but by the way Elektra was handling we felt sure the wind was north east force5 gusting 6.

Heading northeast into northerly wind

Our first tack was almost due east, when we tacked we went northwest! Before tacking again in a northeast direction, now the wind had shifted and was blowing from the north. That tack took us over to St Anthony lighthouse before we tacked again towards Pendennis Point. The next tack was northeast towards St Mawes Castle. The west to Falmouth Harbour breakwater. Next tack was right into St Just in Roseland, just south of the moorings we tacked and headed over to Mylor. We almost made it past north of Mylor moorings but had to tack again, this time over to the west shore again about a 1.5nm north of St Just at which point we started the engine and motored around Turnaware buoy and up the Fal River and dropped anchor in good shelter off Cowslands Creek having logged 13.5nm in 2.75hrs

Looking east along the Fal River from anchorage
Elektra on Malpas pontoon

On Saturday we motored north to Malpas pontoon because l had booked a meal in the evening at the Heron Inn.

Walk ashore pontoon for £25 for 24hrs, £6 for 2hrs

Not another holiday!

After out last holiday I had spent the next 10 days mainly only looking for work, over the last 54 days we had only 23mm of rain along with some of the hotest days on record. So I suggested to Vicki we had another holiday.

Gorren Haven

So on Friday 26th of August we set off from Gillan aboard Elektra for another holiday. The weather forecast of NW force3-4 looked good for our sail in a NE direction up to Gorran Haven to get Fish&Chips for dinner. We cast off at 1545hrs, what followed was our best sail of the season so far, we covered the first 12nm in less than 2hrs before reefing the main and genoa. Once up to the Dodman Point progress slowed and we dropped anchor in Gorran Haven at 1815hrs having logged 16nm. Into the Haven for Fish&Chips (we think the best in Cornwall). At 2000hrs we were back aboard and motoring east and then north to Polgwyn Cove for a quite night at anchor, dropping at 2045hrs having logged 20nm total, we had got quite cold in the chilly north wind and had started up the cabin heater.

Polgwyn Cove

On Saturday 27th we motored Elektra out of Polgwyn Cove at 1040hrs and headed for Fowey, the forecast was for strong east winds in the comming days. We thought a few days in port on a mooring wouldn’t be a bad thing. We picked up a mooring in Fowey at 1150hrs having logged 6nm motoring in no wind. We stayed in Fowey for 3 nights having meals ashore each day (we dont often eat ashore) we were on holiday. While I was in Fowey so long, I managed to walk out to the Day Mark which I have sailed passed so many times but never seen close up.

Fowey sunset
Day Mark

On Tuesday 30th after a few days of strong easterly winds we cast off with a forecast of east force4-6 with east-southeast force 4 later. With the wind over the last few days we expected there to be a big swell running. I pulled up the up the main which still had a reef in it and we motored out of Fowey, there didn’t seem much wind and I shock out the reef, we motored Elektra out to Cannis Buoy at 1110hrs and set all the genoa before turning off the engine for the sail southwest to the Falmouth area. It was good sailing across St Austell Bay to the Dodman Point but from there with the incressing swell from the east, I lowered the main (we find the main takes the genoas wind when almost running) passing the Dodman Point and turning more west-southwest. We were glad when we sailed in past St Anthony Lighthouse and shelter at 1455hrs having logged 19.5nm. We motored up the Precuil River and dropped anchor at 1520hrs having logged 22nm

Fowey entrance looking east from Gibbin Head

There in our favorite anchorage we stayed for for 3 more nights, the next day we rested. On Thursday we went into St Mawes and had lunch at the Victory Inn. The good weather was forecasted to come to an end on Friday or Saturday. We didn’t want to get wet so made plans to go home on Friday. So on Friday 2nd September we motored Elektra back down the Precuil River and out south-southwest across Falmouth Bay to Gillan in no wind. We had been aboard for 8 days and only logged 54nm but we had a holiday and now it’s started raining again I expect I will start to get busy!

Precuil River

Funny stories

Anybody who has done any amount of sailing or boating will have a few stories to tell of things which didn’t go according to plan! I know because I have a lots, Vicki and I have been cruising since 2006, before that we had a day sailer.

My stories go back as far as when I started sailing in 1972 aged 12. I learnt to sail in a 8ft pram wooden dinghy which I has built myself the winter before, I never had any lessons, I remember dad pushing me off from the shore and I found out what worked and what didn’t the hard way! Sounds crazy now but in the shelter shallow waters of Gillan Harbour it was reasonably safe. What we considered safe back then compaired to now are quite different. Growing up I remember most boats were built of wood and some leaked badly but folk still went to sea in them.

Carne mooring, idea for April swim

Thinking about stories , one came to mind from soon after we bought Elektra. We had done her delivery passage in March 2017, there had been a few problems but we had managed the 165nm over 2 long days. Since her delivery passage Elektra had been mooring in Carne Creek as her seasonal mooring wasn’t avalible for use until the first of April. We had a day sail on Sunday the 2nd and all had gone well but Elektra had to go back onto the Carne mooring because her seasonal mooring is open to east wind. Our first weekend aboard was the 7-9th of April, HW was 1550hrs and only a 4.3m, Elektra needs 4m to float. With gear and stores to get aboard and stow before leaving Carne mooring, we needed to get out there as ASAP after the water was deep enough to get to her with the outboard leg down. I worked out 1330hrs would be about right, it turned out to be bang on and we arrived out to Elektra almost scrapping the bottom with the motor. We lowered the boarding ladder and Vicki climbed aboard. I passed the stores and gear to Vicki, attached the dinghy and climbed aboard myself. We both got busy with jobs, I slid out between the seat and the top bar of the pushpit to pull up the boarding ladder.

Then I found I couldn’t get back! I said “Vicki, I’m stuck!” “what do you mean, your stuck”. I was stuck and I couldn’t get back no matter what we tried, My rib cage was stuck on the seat. Thinking fast I said to Vicki “I will have to go out” “what do you mean” I said “I will push the ladder down again, climb out on to the ladder holding on to the back stay” This is what happened only everything in my pockets went splosh into the creek! I could have lived without my pocket change but the truck keys I couldn’t! Only one thing for it and that was to strip off and going looking for them, in the water I could stand up in waist deep water but had to dip down to get the keys, April isn’t the warmest month for a swim! I managed to retrieve my keys and some of the money and was glad to get back aboard, dry and get some clothing back on, brrr! Lol.

Elektra was new to us, what we didn’t know at the time was during building they had cut the pushpit legs to sort and bolted them down to the boat anyway making a sort of wedge shape and if I had only slid sideways a little I may have been able to get back into the cockpit.

The rest of the weekend went without any other problems!

New Furler

Ever since the beginning of the year we had been having problems with the furler on Elektra, the genoa had been down a number of times but each time we still had the same sort of problem, sometimes the sail wouldn’t unroll and other times it wouldn’t furl away.

For a few years I had been thinking of ordering a new set of sails and this year in July after getting prices from a few sail makers had placed my order with Crusader Sails who had made a mainsail for our last yacht.

We were invited over to our sailing friends yacht Robert and Mandy for drinks one evening near the end of July, talk got around to new sails and then on to our problems with our furler. Robert said the best furler make was Profurl, he had one fitted on his last yacht and also on their yacht now, a very nice Sadler 34. Robert and Mandy are great company and the evening passed by very quickly.

I came away thinking of getting a price for a new Profurl, the next week I asked Mylor Rigging for a price and was shocked by their quote, they said we don’t normally fit them, we fit Harken. They quoted for for 4 different furlers 3 Harken and 1 Profurl, prices ranged from top £4,388 to 3,162 for the Profurl. Telling Robert about the quote, he suggested AllSpars in Penryn so I got another quote from them. I also asked A2 Rigging but they never got back to me. Matt from AllSpars got back to me with a quote before the end of day, his price was £2,340, still a lot but quite a bit cheaper than the Mylor Rigging. It didn’t take me long to decide and so I ordered from AllSpars. Matt would have fitted the very next week but we had planned a weeks sailing.

Getting hold of AllSpars the Monday after our return from holiday, Matt said he could fit Thursday-Friday, and so it was agreed, I would take Elektra to AllSpars in Penryn on Thursday morning. I hadn’t ever been that far up the Penryn River and the depth was my consern, we were moving towards neap tides with a max depth of 4.6m at HW, Matt thought we could get in an hour before HW.

So I planned to arrive at AllSpars at 0900hrs so had to leave Gillan at 0730hrs, I needed to be more ready as I would be taking her alone to Penryn and Vicki would pick me up by car from the boat yard after mooring up. My problem is I don’t like being late! So found myself motoring Elektra out of Gillan in almost no wind at 0700hrs which meant I got to AllSpars early too. Going up the channel I didn’t know were I was going but Matt was there to take my lines and all was OK, against the quay Elektra still had 0.3m under her keel almost 2hrs before HW. She would possibly float here in 3.7m of depth. Matt contacted me later in the day to say all went well and Elektra was ready to take away. I said I would be over around 1100hrs tomorrow.

Vicki drove me back to Penyrn and dropped me off just before 1100hrs, after a little chat about other jobs I wanted Matt helped with lines and cast off back out into the river in reverse into the fairly strong wind. All went well and I thanked them. Out in the channel now I used the tiller pilot so I could walk forward and coil lines and remove fenders. Only in low revs but the wind was pushing Elektra along quite quickly, I was glad went that job was done and I could get back to the cockpit. With the wind in the west it seemed a good idea to sail but I wasn’t sure if that was allowed in Falmouth Harbour, so it wasn’t until a Sadler 25 came out between the mooring and started sailing that I unrolled a little genoa. Elektra picked up to 5kts very quickly. Coming east out past the harbour I could see the pilot boat and a tug towing a barge coming south down the Carrick Roads, not being sure where they were going I continued east. When I was satisfided they were continuing south towards Falmouth Bay, I turned Elektra south also towards the bay. There were lots of other yachts coming our way, a Hurley 22 under full sail and a ketch with main and genoa up. I had the feeling the wind out in Falmouth Bay was going to be a lot stronger so sailed on with just the genoa out.

I was correct in my thinking and once past Pendennis Point things hotted up. When the ketch which was following got out into the wind they very quickly turned around and headed back into the Carrick Roads. Elektra was very quickly making 5.8-6kts she just left the Hurley standing, out to the south was a large old gaffer 50ft? Motoring into wind while she rasied her sails, not wanting to get in her way I sailed Elektra to pass her astern. This didn’t turn out too well as we got closer she also turned onto a starboard tack. Getting steadly closer to one another, the old gaffer wanting to go south and my heading was south-southwest, when I thought I was far enough ahead I cut across her bow releasing us both to go on our own course. The wind was 17-21kts from the west, Elektra was handling it well, this was the stongest wind I had sailed Elektra in while alone, the tiller pilot just couldn’t cope with the wind as Elektra was pushed over on her ear so I was mainly helming. It was lovely to be out sailing, as we neared the shelter of Gillan I started the engine and when the wind eased rolled the genoa without any problem, before motoring in and picking up the mooring. What a sail, Elektra had covered the 7nm in 1.25hrs just sailing on her genoa.

End of Holiday no 3

After a rest day on Saturday including sailing friends Robert and Mandy joining us for some drinks in the afternoon. This was the end of the really hot weather and we had been aboard enjoying the last 9 days of it.

On Sunday with work to look at on Monday we had to get back home, the forecast was giving verible force1-3 and we had decided to motor the 6nm back to Elektra’s mooring in Gillan, I pulled up the anchor 1150hrs and Vicki motored Elektra slowly out of the Precuil River, arriving in Gillan Harbour 1305hrs. We needed to do some washing up and we now had plenty of hot water. We couldn’t get ashore until 1600hrs but jobs and packing took up most of that time only leaving us a short while to sit and enjoy the surroundings before loading the dinghy and heading in. The outboard refused to start, so in the end I had to row.

We would have been back home about 1700hrs but driving out along the bottom St Anthony narrow road we came across a visitor who was unable to reverse her car having met 2 on coming cars and after 10mins of trying she had only managed one car lenght with about 50 yards more to go to a passing place, I got fed up waiting so reversed the pick-up 1/2 a mile back to St Anthony, turned and drove out the top road. Back home we unloaded and got ready to work for Monday.