During our first long term cruise, this year we knew that we had a few creaking systems and lacked some systems that we would want to install to make life on board more comfortable. We mostly managed, but the old fridge (scheduled for replacement at the end of the cruise) lasted only 2 days before being pronounced dead!
Including sailing a bit faster!
We followed our intended plan for 2016 quite closely, leaving Cambeltown, Scotland for Glenarm, Ireland; traveling down the East coast of Ireland to Arklow, jumping off from there to Milford Haven. After exploring the Welsh estuary of Milford Haven we rounded Land’s End, overnight, to Falmouth in Cornwall and headed East via Devon and Dorset to the Solent, ending the year at Hamble Point Marina, where fitting out works were planned.
748 nautical miles;
117 hours on motor including motor sailing;
34 hours sail only;
Average speed 4.95 kts
117 nights in a marina;
28 nights on a mooring ball/mid-river pontoon;
1 night at anchor;
1 night at sea;
6.35 days average stay at each of 23 stopping points;
£23.96 average nightly cost of parking;
£220 spent on diesel (29p/nm);
£ CENSORED spent on beer;
PLANS FOR 2017
Looking at the above numbers it would be good to reduce our average overnight parking cost – possibly more anchoring and mooring balls, and lower French marina fees may assist.
It would be good to motor less. The high percentage of motoring is largely due to selecting a weather forecast for long passages that should have just had us sailing, but on each of the 3 longest passages the wind was a little lighter than forecast and saw us motorsailing. Better that than getting caught out by setting off with a forecast at the higher end of our comfort zone which then pipes up by a couple of Beauforts! However we may have to be slightly more adventurous.
We averaged only around 5kts. We do sail faster than that but feel we are under propped – we should be motoring at 6kts+ but see only 5kts at 2600rpm. We are speaking to a propeller supplier and that could be the major investment in 2017/8 winter. Forum research suggests that the Flex-o-Fold is a good prop for us – but the cost is over £2k! (EDIT – the jury is out on the Flexo-Fold – awaiting detail on galvanic corrosion issues reported on forums).
So, on to our travel plans for 2017.
Our plan is to travel from Southampton down to the West Country, stopping off at some favourites from last year but adding in Yarmouth, Weymouth and Brixham, which we had to miss out in our rush to get to Southampton in time for a university reunion and the Southampton boat show.
From somewhere between Plymouth and Falmouth we will hop across on an overnight passage to L’Aber Wrach or (if we can hit the Chenal du Four at slack tide by good fortune) Camaret, hopefully arriving by early June.
From there we will head around the tip of Brittany and cruise the south of Brittany and Loire Atlantique. We return home for a couple of weeks in the height of summer and then return to the boat in the car. We already have a haul out date in a marina in the area on 21st September, from where (weather permitting) we head down to end the season with a spot of wine tasting in the Bordeaux region, visit the La Rochelle boat show and return home in early October.
Well, that was our plan – typing this in Weymouth with Westerly winds forecast for 10 days or so suggests that end of May across the Channel might be optimistic!
Meeting Friends Parts One to Five……..
You might think it would be more appropriate to feature a sunset at this stage, the end of our trip – but this sunrise over the Hamble is more symbolic of our experiences this year – which was the dawning of a new adventure.
Our winter base is to be in the Hamble River at Hamble Point Marina.
Sunday 11th September dawned beautifully as we departed the river at 6.30am. We had selected a day with some wind but not enough to sail as quickly as we needed to arrive at Portland Bill, 50nm away, at the right state of tide, before turning north to Portland Harbour. Whilst we were at neaps, there is still a strong tidal race created by Portland Island projecting several miles out from the coast.
Mystery and coincidence…..
We had to drag ourselves away from Salcombe and move on. Next stop, just 17.5nm away is the river Dart. Within the entrance busy Dartmouth and quiet Kingswear face each other across the river, and a few miles upstream lies the small village of Dittisham (pronounced locally “Ditsum”) with a couple of pubs and a ferry across to a place of mystery……..
Rubbing shoulders with the beautiful people!
And so we headed for the honeypot that is Salcombe with great expectations. Our friends at Huddersfield Golf Club, Peter and Diane Jagger, had encouraged us to go there several years ago. They had gone year after year when their family were younger and kept a wooden day sailing boat there.
We apologise, dear reader, for leaving you wondering where we have been for a month.
We left Fowey Saturday 16th July 2016 with a good forecast for the 25nm trip to Plymouth. We untied the mooring lines (one taking the strain plus a backup in case of chafe) and left around 10.30, with one hour of adverse tide (but that last hour sees a weakening flow and we were at neaps) and arrived in Plymouth at around 3pm.