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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
 

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.

Chain!

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

Well, summer has now come!

The week following our holiday was lovely, hot and dry! As Friday is “POETS” day “Push Of Early Tomorrows Saturday” we were aboard mid afternoon and cast of at 1840hrs sailing on just the genoa as I was being very lazy! We had a good line for St Anthony lighthouse and started the engine instead of tacking when we got there. Motoring from there into the Precuil River and anchoring at 2010hrs having logged 7nm.

There we stayed for the weekend soking up the sun, the bad weather of our holiday a distant memory! Shorts weather for the first time this summer.

The Precuil River anchorage

On Sunday we decided a proper sail was needed and after a lazy brunch. I lifted Elektra’s anchor at 1200hrs and Vicki motored her back out of the river. I set all the sail and stopped engine, there was a lumpy swell from the east, the wind about E force3-4, it was loverly weather for sailing, warm even on the sea, we were loving this sailing day, we headed south at about 4kts SOG and nearly to the Manacle Buoy we tacked and headed back toward the Nare Point in a NW direction, the speed slowed to about 2kts and we kept this up until the Nare when the wind seemed to die off altogether. So motored from there into Gillan having logged 10.5nm in 2.5hrs.

Sailing south towards the Manacles

A Chance of a Holiday

I like to get a holiday in before the school holidays start, late June-first week in July. But the weather had pushed my work on with no sign of time for a holiday, I decided to take a week anyway, either the 4th of 5th week of June. With strong winds forecasted for the weekend 18-19th June, I pushed the holiday plans to the following week starting 24th and continued with work though another week. On the Sunday 19th Vicki and I went out to Elektra to get her ready for our holiday, I topped up the water tank and the diesel tank, checked the engine.

Kevin and Colin’s Sadler 26s

If was a lovely sunny week, great for getting on with the work but once the weekend arrived the forecast was for strong southwesterly winds and rain! We decided to go aboard anyway and anchor in Gillan close in to Flushing Cove which has good shelter from SW winds. So on Friday we went aboard, in Flushing Cove were the 2 Sadler 26s of Kevin and Colin who we know. It’s a mini Sadler Rally!

Elektra in Flushing Cove

The next day Kevin went to Falmouth and Colin bravely sail for Fowey as there was a bit of a lull forecasted in the afternoon. But we stayed though the wind and the rain of that weekend. On the brite side when we thought of things we had forgotten, I just zoomed back to the pontoon in the dinghy and drove home to get which ever item we needed. It was nice to have some time for R&R.

On Monday 27th with the tide we planned to sail to Fowey, the tide stream was running east between 1440-2040hrs so there was no hurry to get away. So Vicki cooked a mid morning brunch and after washing up we slowly got ready to leave Gillan. I lifted and stowed the anchor while Vicki slowly motored Elektra out of Gillan, the time was 1320hrs. Which would be fine as the 1st hour was crossing Falmouth Bay which would be a cross tide. I set just the genoa for this down wind sail and stopped the engine, very quickly Elektra was showing 5-6kts SOG. In the first hour Elektra covered 6nm in the southwesterly force 4-5. The sea built up more and more with each mile we covered, it didn’t look nice looking behind! But Elektra took it all in her stride. We passed Cannis Buoy 1750hrs having logged 23nm, still sailing right in though Fowey Harbour enterance before starting the engine again. We decided to motor Elektra up river to Wiseman’s Reach for good shelter from the coming SW blow. We moored up at 1830hrs having logged 27nm. We quickly lowered the dinghy from its davits and fitted the outboard and set off down river and into town for dinner. Returning back to Elektra just before dark.

Wiseman’s Reach during a dryer holiday

The next day was a SW gale and rain so we stayed aboard and read books and mags. On Wednesday the wind easied with showers, we braved going back into town for shopping and another pub lunch.

Tha forecast for Thursday was W force2-3 incressing WNW force4-5 later with more strong winds forecasted for the weekend. We decided it would be best to head west while we still could, back to our favorite anchorage in the Precuil River. At 0700hrs we cast off and morored Elektra back down river and out of Fowey. There was a very light head wind, so we continued to motor Elektra SW towards the Dodman Point which we rounded at 0900hrs. The wind stayed light until about 1050hrs when 2 scalls and heavy rain passed over, the wind incressed to SW force5 but being nearly there continued to motor. We dropped anchor in the Precuil River at 1115hrs having logged 22.5nm. Later at HW we motored Elektra back out the river a little and anchored off “Place” which would give better shelter for the coming SW strong winds. There we stayed for the rest of our holiday before stailing back to Gillan on Sunday 3rd of July.

Elektra anchored at Place

It hadn’t been the best weather for a holiday but we had a lot of R&R which we needed after a busy spring and early summer. We had only covered 57nm in 9 days aboard!

And so the sailing season has begun

After the Sadler Rally the weekend before, it was our turn to go and have a normal weekend of sailing, R&R, then more sailing. We find we don’t have to go far to enjoy Elektra. The Falmouth area is  full of places to go in all sorts of weather. One of our favourite anchorages is up the Precuil River. Which is only a 7nm passage from our mooring in Gillan.

With a forecast of SW 5 increasing to SW 7 over Friday night The Precuil River wouldn’t be ideal and further up the Fal River would be better.

I haven’t ever been into racing dinghies or yachts and tend to be under canvased not over. With the SW forecast l set only the genoa and we exited Gillan between the Dennis Head and Car Crock. It was only partway across Helford River that the wind picked us up and we were off, logging over 5kts. Elektra sails very well indeed on just her genoa, being mast head rigged her genoa is 2/3rds her sail power and running down wind as we where her main would only take the wind from the genoa.

Two Westerly’s where rounding August Rock Buoy about 1/2nm in front of us as we came out of Gillan, they also just sailing on genoas. Sailing the 4nm across Falmouth Bay we had passed both before we got to Pendennis Point. Pendennis sheltered us from the wind for a little while before Elektra sped away again, the tide was high enough to sail over the shallows north of St Just in Roseland and Elektra rounded Turnaware Bar Buoy 1.5hrs after dropping her mooring having logged 9nm.

Electra sheltered north of Turnaware bar

We decided to anchor east of Turnaware in the shelter of the entrance of a small drying creek, as close as possible. Elektra would touch bottom here at low water but the mud bottom would make for good holding.

The wind blew in the night as forecasted but we were fine in good shelter. Next day we motored Elektra across the river to Channels Creek as the wind was forecasted to veer west or northwest. Re anchoring for Saturday night, we like Channels Creek better as Turnaware was the first place our anchor ever dragged back in 2009.

Channels Creek

On Sunday after a lazy brunch we weighted anchor again for the passage back to Gillan. This time the wind was lighter from the west and l set all sail. After motoring Elektra out of Channels Creek and south past Turnaware, the sail took over and l stopped the engine. Elektra was logging 3-4kts as we sailed south. Across Falmouth Harbour entrance a little bit more wind helped Elektra get up to 5kts. Again in the shelter of Pendennis Point Elektra slowed. Then clearing Pendennis Elektra was off at 5-6kts, some gusts pushing the speed up to 6.8kts. We were very quickly back to Gillan having covered the 9nm in 1.5hrs.

SSOA Fowey Rally

Our season hadn’t started very well at all, with April mainly East winds stopped most sailing. In May l got busy at work, so by the end of May we had only spent one weekend aboard. I was determined to get to the Sadler and Starlight Owners Association rally in Fowey over the Jubilee weekend.

With the Jubilee weekend came the problem of fitting 40hrs of work into 3 days along with wet weather which increases time needed! The week before had taken longer because of wet weather so l had to work the weekend doing some of the Jubilee weeks work. Anyway having worked 10 days nonstop we were able to get aboard during the evening of the 1st of June for the 0545hrs start the next morning.

Elektra off Fowey

Out the next morning at 0500hrs to catch the tide, l pulled up the main and dropped mooring at 0545hrs as planned and motorsailed across Falmouth Bay towards Fowey in light Northeast wind. I soon went down to get the tiller pilot to take over. Then followed a quite fast passage motorsail passage to Fowey arriving about 4hrs later having logged 23nm. In Fowey you wouldn’t have thought we were an early yacht, the pontoon was already full so we rafted to “Rockhopper” a Sadler 32. Being still quite early, Vicki cooked brunch before we rested. With a pontoon party early evening and run ashore for an evening meal, the day seemed to fly by.

The plan for the following day was a sail together to Fal River pontoon with a photo and video drone arranged for us just off Fowey, the plan was for the drone to be taken to the Dodman point for more photos later, this didn’t quite go to plan! There wasn’t much wind, ok for a few drone photos off of Fowey but very little wind to sail SW towards the Dodman Point, some got cruising chutes out but very little wind to fill them, then over the radio came the message the drone from the Dodman wasn’t going to happen. At which point we started motoring, we don’t own a chute, always opt for engine in very light winds. I had been busy with my camera, I am always looking for a good sailing photo and with all these Sadler’s around, was an ideal time.

We motored all the way to St Anthony light house where I knew there would be wind in the Carrick Roads, and there was. We then started sailing, beating north. The rest of the fleet just continuing to motor. We had a lovely sail having tacked 5 times, we were nearly to Turnaware before the engine was started again. On a chart the Carrick Roads look shallow north of St Just in Rosland, most visiting yachts stay in the marked channel but we know we can sail anywhere in the Carrick Roads except for 2hrs either side of LW on spring tides when we also need to keep to the channel.

On the first Truro River pontoon, we got ready for the next evening party. An evening of singing with music. Roast Pork and apple rolls, very nice with cheese to follow and drinks to wash it down.

The next day was wild, wet and windy from the east but the pontoon seemed very sheltered, a few yachts left, 3 to sail east, 2 of which returned having had an intersting time, the other pressed on getting into Fowey (20nm) 9hrs later! We stayed put, deciding to pay for another night on the pontoon.

The following day, time drifted on and we had to motor the 10nm back to Gillan before the tide would be to low to get into St Anthony beach. A weekend with a lot of motoring but it was great metting up with everyone.

First weekend away

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.

Elektra’s swing mooring

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.

Saturday in the Precuil

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.

Heading back to Gillan Harbour

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.

A little sailing

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.

Elektra on her seasonal mooring

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.

Carne Creek mooring

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.