Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

1 st to 8 th of July 2016 - Almost non stop to Falmouth

Crew : Helen Andy (Skipper), Grethe and Andy
Destinations : Levington, Foulger's Gap, Dungeness, Isle of White, Dartmouth, Start Point and Falmouth.
Distance : 344 miles

Our crew, Grethe and Andy arrived punctually on the Friday evening, so we were out of the lock in good time and heading down the river where we picked up a mooring and had supper. The following morning we were up at 6am and left our mooring at 7.15am. The wind was South Westerly/Westerly so we were able to sail down the river under mizzen and genoa. As we headed out into the Thames Estuary we made good speed, around 6 knots through the water. It was rather heavy going, though exhilarating at times. We passed through the new wind farm at Foulger's Gap. As we passed North Foreland there were some brief and sudden squalls of up to 32knots of wind with heavy rain. The first was quickly followed by a period of calm, with winds reduced to 6 knots, before the next arrived. We decided to stop at Dover for some R&R. The sea state remained pretty bumpy as we motor sailed around into the harbour, feeling windswept and happy to be in the peace and quiet of the breakwater.

The following morning we had a relaxing start, leaving Granville Dock at midday. We motor sailed for most of the day and through the night on port tack. The sea state started of quite unsettled but gradually became more comfortable as we headed out into deeper water. We sat two person watches of 3 hours on and 3 hours off, with the aim of changing these to one person watches of 2 hours on and 6 hours off once we had got to know our crew. We passed by Dungeness and then The Royal Sovereign Light beacon as the sun was setting. 


By the following morning we were all quite tired and looking forward to having 6 hours off between watches. On Monday morning as we passed south of the Isle of White we were able to turn off the engine and sail close hauled, allowing plenty of room south of Portland Bill. Unfortunately it still took us further north of our destination and into Lyme Bay. We decided to head for Dartmouth as the wind was increasing and the forecast wasn't great with yet another low pressure system on it's way. We did't think Start Point would be very comfortable so thought a day on Dartmouth would give the sea state a chance to calm down. During the night we ended up heading toward Teignmouth so eventually resorted to motor sailing once again. We arrived in Dartmouth at first light, finding a place on the deep water pontoon. Every 30 minutes or so we heard the whistle of the Dart steam railway as it passed.

We had a day in Dartmouth. Grethe and Andy spent the day exploring the local establishments, making use of the water taxi. Andy and I went across in the tender. We donned our oilies and life jackets, but remained perfectly dry and made good speed so the waterproofs weren't really necessary. The new tender and outboard are working well. We just need to find a way of securing them so we don't have to walk around with the heavy battery in our rucksacks. We found some steps up hill so inevitably had to follow them where we found a bench with superb views over the harbour. We then did a little provisioning before returning to the boat.

On Wednesday we left our berth at 7.30am to rid ourselves of the rubbish and fill up with fuel as soon as the fuel barge was open at 8am. We motor sailed out of the harbour and across Start Bay around Start Point.  


The sea was calm as we headed toward Eddystone Lighthouse. Unfortunately the wind was on our nose so we had to motor sail to pass the lighthouse safely.


However, once we had past it we were able to sail close hauled across Lyme Bay. We didn't quite make St Anthony's Head on port tack. However, as it was getting late and we were keen to anchor in day light we motor sailed past St Anthony's Head. We were anchored just outside Pendennis Marina by about 8pm. It wasn't quite clear where the anchorage was, so we had a couple of attempts to find a suitable place. However, after supper and a glass of wine, Andy decided we were probably in a no anchoring zone so we moved once more. He managed to rescue the new soft shackle with the boat hook after losing it overboard. Fortunately he managed not to fall overboard himself as he wasn't wearing  life jacket.

The following morning we got an alongside berth in Pendennis Marina in order to drop Grethe and Andy off and do some chores before heading up the River Fal for a few days at anchor. We had a few jobs planned and needed to visit a Chandlery. After walking down to the sea front, we discovered the fantastic chandlery that used to be there had closed. There wasn't really any where else we could find what we needed, so made do with stocking up on milk.



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