Sunset, Porth Conger, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly. June 2018.
A little about me
My name is Bruce Carter, my mum and dad moved around a lot when I was a kid and I was born in St Austell in Cornwall, we moved to Winchester when I was 4 and Glasgow at 12 spending all our holidays in Cornwall near the Helford River. I trained as a Carpenter and Joiner when I left school and moved back to Cornwall at 22 when I felt able to start out self-employed. A few years later I became a partner in a windows company but after 5 years of that went back to carpentry on my own again. Some years later my bother in law moved up country and gave me 6 holiday let mowing jobs (to do in my evenings), by the end of the year had grown to 16, this work just snowballed, over the next 5 years this mowing work completely took over my carpentry work, so since 1988 I have been making my living cutting grass. I like to go sailing to get away from the sound of engines. But with the work I do, a max holiday I can have at any one time is 9 days which limits how far we can go.
This blog is about sailing
I have sailed since I was about 12, I was pushed off from the shore of the shallow waters of Gillan Harbour in a “Scamp” dinghy I had built the winter before, I found out what worked and what didn’t the hard way. I had my first and last lesson 2 years after building a “Embassy” dinghy, I learnt a few things but mainly the calls for going about.
I built 3 plywood boats, Scamp 8ft, Embassy 10ft? and Falmouth Bass Boat 16ft by the time I was 18 from plans and fitted out a GRP Plymouth Pilot before the age of 21. I sailed a plywood Enterprise from the age of 15 which I bought secondhand and had refitted, I went sea kayaking in a GRP sea canoe between the ages of 18 and 23 and logged 4000nm in 5 years, I had a Plymouth Pilot motor boat which was moored in Gillan Harbour for fishing from 23 until I got married at 26. I went away from the sea after that, had a small holding with my first wife and when she left then played golf for a while.
At the age of 44 I came back to sailing with my second wife Vicki , she had never sailed but had been on lots of narrow boat holidays. We hired a Wayfarer a few times from Sailaway at St Anthony in Gillan Harbour during the summer of 2004, Vicki loved sailing from the start and later that year we bought a Bradwell 18 called “Acorn” and day sailed from St Anthony around local waters of the Helford River and Falmouth area.
Our Hurley 22, seen here in the Carrick Roads in 2011
At the end of 2005 we bought a Hurley 22 called “Gala” for staying aboard and longer passages. Over the winter of 2005-06 I did a RYA Day Skipper Shore Based and RYA DFC Radio. Vicki and I then sailed “Gala” which had a fin keel and needed to be moored in the deeper waters of the Helford River, we sailed her over 5000nm though the next 11 sailing seasons, including three holidays to the Isles of Scilly and east as far as Dartmouth on two occasions and Salcombe on another two holidays.
In the summer of 2015 we had the chance of buying a Tomahawk 25 from a friend for a good price but having looked at the yacht we decided she needed too much doing to her for us to go cruising. For a while I looked at yachts on the internet, on ebay I saw a very nice Sadler 29 for sale at a good price which we were very tempted with but in the end decided to continue to sail our Hurley 22.
Having been thinking of buying a bigger yacht for more comfort aboard, back at the end of August 2016 we met up with our friend Phil Biggs in Fowey an ex H22 owner now sailing as crew on a Sadler 34 called “Spirit of Quetzal”, after a nice evening aboard Vicki and I decided to look again for a bigger yacht.
Being a Hurley owner we looked at Hurley 27s first before looking at Hurley 30s the size of the H30s we liked but it soon became clear we were not going to find a good one and I didn’t want to buy a project, the other down side was most Hurley yachts are fin keel . Knowing the next yacht will have to be over wintered up a creek, in the end we went looking for bilge keel Westerly Konsort’s and Sadler 29s. Something I noticed as soon as we started looking for a bigger yacht, the yacht market was flooded with boats and lots of owners were taking what they could get, not the yachts true value.
We looked at a Konsort in need of a big refit and a Sadler 29 which had painted freeboard locally (Mylor) before going up country to look at a Konsort in Weymouth but it was when we got to Poole to see another S29 “Elektra” we knew we had found our new yacht, I made a silly low offer subject to survey, to our surprise it was excepted three days later.
Every sailors idea of sailing is different, my wife and I both work in the week and go sailing weekends and also try to have 2, one week long holidays aboard each season, weekends we like to sail somewhere Friday, drop anchor for a day in a lovely spot and sail back on Sunday, rest aboard is every bit as much part of our sailing as the sailing itself, its the only time we take away from work to sit in the sun. Elektra is our holidays and weekends in the summer, we don’t have the spare money to jet off to other countries during the winter months , we need to work hard to keep her.
I always said don’t own two yachts at the same time but I bought “Elektra” in November and gave away “Gala” for a low price the following June. But as yacht price have dropped by about 50% in the last 10 years, I think I won in the end.
This is the story of “Elektra” from when she became our yacht on November the 7th 2016.
“Elektra” was built in 1984 sail/boat number 116, from new she was owned by Mr E R Whitly who sold her to Mrs V E Jupp who then sold her to Brain Pickering in 1990. He sold her to Mrs P Smith who sold her to Christopher Lucas in November 2000, she was moored in Lowestoft until Mr Lucas sold her to Anthony Osgood in April 2011. Mr Osgood sailed her from Lowestoft to his mooring in St Mawes and renamed her “Sandstones”. In the winter 2015-16 (London Boat Show?) Mr Osgood traded her in for a new Bavaria 33 and the delivery skipper who delivered his new yacht, sailed “Sandstones” back to Poole non-stop for the yacht brokers to sell. After we bought her, reading the paperwork we found her old name which we liked better so changed her name back to “Elektra”. After three months free yard winter storage was offered to us in Cobbs Quay, we left her in Poole for the winter and did the delivery passage home to Gillan Harbour on the Helford River in March 2017.