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.
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.