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.
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 coing in from the east but once we go 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.
After a drizzly start to the day, Vicki and I didn’t fancy going out for the weekend but I had a few things to pick up from Elektra so went out to her on my own after the weather had dried up in the afternoon.
There was almost no wind but I thought I would go out anyway, thinking it was about SE wind about 4-5kts I pulled up all the mainsail before dropping the mooring, motoring slowly out between The Dennis Head and Car Crock, I pulled out all the genoa and stopped the engine. Elektra was only making 2-2.5kts SOG but it was nice to sit back and enjoy being out on the water again. The wind seemed to get less the further out into Falmouth Bay we went until Elektra was only making 0.8-1kts at which point I rolled up the genoa and started the engine again and turned into wind to lower the mainsail before motoring slowly back to Gillan. I picked up the mooring again in Gillan after logging 3.5nm in 1.25hrs.
Our last yacht wasn’t set for sailing alone, she never had a tiller pilot and any atempt to leave the helm would have her turning into wind very quickly. And because of this I never sailed her without Vicki.
When we bought Elektra in November 2016 she came with a tiller pilot but both Vicki and I love to helm when sailing so we thought we would never use the pilot. In June 2017 we sailed to the Yealm River to attend a SSOA Rally. On the way home with little or not wind we had to motor, I decided to try the tiller pilot out and set up for the passage back to Fowey, the pilot proved very useful for this and I thought it could helm better than myself! We used a few times after that durring the season when motoring.
When Vicki had a burst apendix in September that finshed her sailing for the season. Left me with the only option of sailing alone if I wanted to, this worried me as I hadn’t ever sailed a yacht on my own! Leaving the mooring the first time alone worried me, would I be able to pick up the mooring again when I returned? As it happend I shouldn’t have worried myself and I sailed 3 times alone that October with the aid of the tiller pilot before Elektra was laid up for the winter.
Saturday 18th September
So when Vicki was feeling a little under the weather and didn’t want to go sailing, I decided to try to go solo again. As I motored the punt out to Elektra I thought the clowds were a bit black looking but the forecast said dry. Once aboard I started getting Elektra ready to leave the mooring but then it started to rain, it got heavier and heavier so I stayed in the cabin! In a while it eased and I put on waterproofs and decided I was going to sail! Visablty was only about 2nm but I thought it would be ok so dropped the mooring at 1400hrs and motored slowly out of Gillan setting just the genoa, slow at first but faster and faster Elektra went.
Sailing around Falmouth Bay, it was lovely to be out there even if I did have to wipe my glassis to see AIS detail, was that ship moving or is it anchored?? As the weather started to clear and I could relax a bit I really started to enjoy myself. Turning back to Gillan was a slower sail down wind but I almost got back to the mooring before having to start the engine for the last 60-80ft and picking up the mooring was easy too, the time was 1615hrs and Elektra had logged 9nm.
With twice as many packing up jobs to do than normal, it took me a while before I was ready to leave but the sun had come out again!
We planned to go home as weather was due to deteriorate but it beat us to it with heavy rain in the morning so we stayed a little longer.
We had news from my sister to say my mum was poorly so we still planned to leave but didn’t want to get wet so waited out the rain until evening. So it was 1640hrs when we picked up Elektra’s anchor and headed out of the Precuil River, there wasn’t much wind so we decided just to motor across Falmouth Bay to Gillan. It was foggy and only about 1/2mile visibly which got down to 60-80ft in the middle of the bay, l was beginning to wish l hadn’t gone out there! But with the aids of AIS, Chartplotter and Compass all was well and the fog cleared again to 1/2mile as we crossed Helford River into Gillan, picking up Elektra’s mooring at 1755hrs having logged 7nm.
Though the rest of Saturday and Sunday the weather was drab and drizzle so we stayed put and read mags and books sheltered in our cockpit enclosure.
On Monday 6th of September the sun came out and we awoke to a glass like calm. Enjoying a little more cockpit time in the morning before taking the dinghy down river to St Mawes for shopping from the co-op and a pub lunch in the “Rising Sun” our 3rd pub lunch since February 2020!
After lunch we had showers at St Mawes Sailing Club and returned to Elektra for a lazy afternoon.
On Tuesday 4th was the same good weather but the wind was forecasted to strong and gusting from the East. We planned to stay another day and then go sailing on Wednesday.
The plan had always been to go to the SSOA rally in Fowey for Saturday evening but we knew with big easterly swells and blowing force 4 gusting 5 it was going to be a bumpy ride.
We had agreed to leave at 0900hrs against the tide and the wind, hoping for a less bouncy passage. Picking up the anchor and heading out into St Mawes where we turned into wind to pull the mainsail up with one reef before turning back towards the entrance. I coiled the lines and setting half of the genoa as we turned south. It seemed plenty of sail as we headed out into the swells of Falmouth Bay.
Then followed an extremely uncomfortable push to windward, best heading over ground was 170 degrees, logging 5.5kts, this tack which we stuck to until east of Helford River Entrance when turned onto a starboard tack, visibly was barely 2nm. Healing hard and crashing though the swells, Elektra was handling it well. It was at this point Vicki asked did we really want to put up with this for another 6hrs? The answer was no! In hind sight it might have been better to reef the genoa more but we decided to turn back.
Now on a broad reach Elektra picked up speed, now logging over 7kts and times just under 8kts, one of the best sails in a long time!
Good sailing right into St Mawes moorings, where l started the engine and rolled in the genoa. It was nice to be in quieter waters. As Vicki turned into wind l let the main down and packed it away. Motoring in slowly as it was now low water, we dropped anchor in our favour part of the Precuil River after just an hour and half in which Elektra had logged 10nm. The fastest speed recorded by the GPS was 7.8kts!
With a few jobs to do in the morning including checking Elektra on her mooring after a friend had phoned to say her aft mooring line was around her rudder. Checking her in the morning the line had sorted itself
Being neap tides Elektra would only float around high water 1550hrs, we planned to leave home about 1330hrs, driving along the creek road Elektra wasn’t far away from floating, by the time we had launched the dinghy and loaded the stores, motored the dinghy out to Elektra she was. We needed to stow everything before heading out into the easterly swells, it was going to get very bouncy! Vicki got on with work in the cabin while l did jobs on deck. At 1515hrs we dropped the mooring and motored Elektra slowly out of Carne Creek. Turning into wind l pulled up the main with one reef.
We then motored out into the easterly swells and set a reefed genoa for sail to the shelter of St Mawes, we were logging well over 5kts at times but the wind seemed to ease the closer we got to St Mawes. We dropped anchor off Place Manor at 1650hrs having logged 6nm.
The plan was to sail to Fowey tomorrow for a Sadler Rally into the same easterly swells and force 4 gusting 5. In the meantime a quiet night at anchor.