Monday 28.02. Went down to the yard to open up the boat and air her through, bright cold and breezey morning that was perfect for the job but did make me wonder if i had been too hasty in coming back upriver. Checking forecasts at home though its possible that another weather slot opens up at the weekend.
Jobs : boat airing through, made electrical connection so that i can connect and disconnect the companionway half-board with its compass using a pair of flat trailer connectors. Bought a basic alarm clock so that i can use that for one time alarm and my phone for another. Tried the roller arrangement for the stern deploy, looks like it will work great except that it projects outside the boat enough to be a problem if i ever go alongside another boat..also needs a cap or fairlead over the top of the coaming. Considering going up an anchor size which would mean a 7kg bower anchor (maybe the Manson) and keep the 6kg Rocna as a lunch hook/ kedge on the 70m warp and ditch the 8kg D type. Also : messed about with the mains’l reefing again so that i have now got the tack line and clew line running aft.
5. Thursday 02.03. 0830. Shopping for fresh food, all gear and food aboard. Fender board and lines off, away under power. Cool but clear morning, very still on water with clear reflections . Away just after high water. Motoring briskly downriver filming and photographing. 0930 Coffee : yay. Off halton quay. Sails up after Weir Quay. Tides Plymouth : 0817 5.5 14.38 0.7 20.36 5.3. Plan : motor and sail down to sound, consider either east or west passage depending on conditions in sound, west may give more viable passage as predicted winds are mainly south, possibly east of south but sw or west later. Possibility of passage west in narrow weather window today only. 10.45 Bridges under sail, towards sound. Quickly to narrows and out with strong ebb, crabbing to get into bridge channel, beat towards breakwater. Sheltered inside but distinct harder wave pattern outside. Beat towards Cawsand. 12.00 Difficult larger waves, some breaking in western entrance. Considered turning back but ok-ish to continue. 1230 Off Rame head, tacked and good course footing towards distant headlands west. 1400 Looe abeam to loo’ard. Eased sheets slightly for speed. Engine as needed. Brisk lumpy but fast. 1600 Reaching down to Fowey roads. Running into entrance with difficulty, vang fitting failed and boom skied. Difficult and heavy to steer : ran up harbour and hove-to. 1630 Alongside at gridiron with difficulty (wind and tide).
Narrative : BBC weather seemed to show a short (1 day) window of opportunity with winds mainly in the south but possibly south to south east but then west later. I felt it was worth getting quickly into a position where i could leave Plymouth so left Calstock on a bright and clear morning and motored quickly downriver taking some film and photographs on the way. I got sail on below Weir Quay and close-reached then beat down to the bridges by 1045 and then quickly over the hamoaze and reached off for the narrows. On the fast ebb we were spat out of the narrows and i made for the bridge but crabbing hard. In the sound i beat out to the breakwater to see what conditions were like over the shelf (rougher) and then tacked to beat again over to Kingsand/Cawsand. I could see a much more broken horizon showing rough conditions in the western entrance (wind over ebb). I had a difficult half-hour motoring and sailing, took a couple of big-uns over the bow and again considered backing off but nothing got to the ‘very scary’ so i pushed on . After about half an hour i was clear into deeper water, still lumpy but sail-able so tacked to the west and cracked slightly. Rame came abeam at 12.30 and i made all possible speed across Whitsand bay sailing hard. looe came abeam well to loo’ard at 1400 and i was able to reach off a few degrees to come inshore gradually and find Fowey where the entrance is invisible from the east. As i moved inshore it got a lot choppier even with the tide slack , took some spray. At 1600 i reached down to Fowey roads and ran through the entrance. Something gave way forward and the boom skied almost giving me a broach and steering was heavy as i ran up the harbour. I came up and hove-to to get the main down, the trollwinch trolled me as always. By 1630 i was alongside at the gridiron…all the pontoons there, very welcome coffee break before sorting out the mess below as i hadn’t stowed properly.
6.Friday 0303. Alongside at the gridiron pontoon where it looks as though every harbour pontoon is chained together, jobs day : Re-site vang fitting. Clean and tidy the boat. Swap anchor warps around and mark-up new warp. Check petrol. Rest and relax. The new best bower anchor is swapped to the 7kg Manson (bought this week) with 15m of 7mm chain and the bag of weighted warp. The Rocna now lives in the cockpit locker and on the 70m warp ready to deploy as a stern anchor or long kedge and that might be useful for when running onto a beach to dry out or hauling-off.
Saturday. 04.03 Gale warnings in Plymouth (8) and Fastnet (9) and already very windy alongside. Plan today : move boat to Penmarlam and head home.
Narrative : the brief weather window has slammed shut again so there is no chance of moving either any further west and with neither the local chart which must be at home or local knowledge i don’t feel like poking up the river yet so its time to pack up, get the boat alongside and go home.
Thursday 09.03. Drove from home via Lostwithiel and got lost (pun) trying to find Golant by road, eventually did find it, worked out the parking and then drove down to Fowey and went across the Bodinnick ferry to drop me off at Penmarlam. Jax to take car home and then join me in a couple of days time when she will drive and park at Golant and i will take the boat there and dry out alongside the quay. For me : straight aboard the boat and motor out upriver, very grey and drizzle.
Motored out and around the docks, headed upriver via wisemans reach and the Golant moorings, headed further up and into the Fowey river proper and spent some time trying to find the actual river channel, eventually found a spot in deeper water and anchored there. At some point in the night i felt the keels grate gently over a hard shingle bottom and so dried out, woke up dry and level just a few yards from the actual channel edge.
Friday 10.03. Officially my birthday so started the day with an extra-thick bacon butty, went for a walk and to explore the channels and banks, the bottom where i am is hard shingle, slightly sandy but becomes mud both sides and within a few hundred yards up and down river. Did an hour scrubbing the bottom and washing the side decks which had all got a bit green over the winter.
Pm. Lifted easily on tide, waited a bit as the firm breeze was directly ahead and i had shallow water ahead, up-anchor and motored back to Golant where i tied up on an inshore mooring. Watched the clay trains come through.
Saturday 11.03. Started day on mooring just off Golant on a strongly ebbing near-spring tide (-2 days) so waited until 2 hours after HW and then motored quickly inshore to ground just off Golant slipway, then held boat off for a few minutes but with a rapidly falling ebb she was quickly hard aground on a good firm bottom. Spoke with a bloke from the rowing and kayaking club who directed me up to their clubhouse for a can of water.
PM. Jax and kit aboard, pulled off bank and then motored/sailed back upriver to previous anchoring spot and prepared to dry out there for an overnight berth. Anchored in just 6 feet (rising tide). Later on tide motored upriver towards Lostwithiel but very difficult to find true channel, turned around under Pylons and headed back to anchoring spot.
Sunday 12.03. Am early : at anchor Fowey river. Grey/overcast and rain showers. Lazy morning including bacon butties then moved off downstream and picked up mooring just over central sandbank at Golant and dried out there, went for walk around the banks at Golant and then ashore to top-up the drinking water. Sun broke through which gave us a much better time having a walk around, Jax ashore to explore.
PM. Flood kicked in strongly so all-aboard and wait to lift off : fascinating to watch the tide encroaching from all sides and swirling around the keels. Lifted quickly but with shallow bank all around i decided to wait again and have afternoon kip….woken up by violent rolling in a strong wind against tide so threw the mooring off and motored downriver. Initial plan was to anchor again just above wisemans reach and wait out the last of the very strong flood and unpredicted north-westerly blowing about a 6 straight over the tide. Made a bad mistake in trying to pick up a mooring instead of anchoring, on second attempt got a line around the prop and was almost instantly sluiced inshore and nearly on the rocks : only saved by immediately deployed anchor. Did get onto mooring to sort out but then moved off to a better one actually in wisemans reach…..NOOB error !.
Monday 13.03. On mooring in wisemans reach and plan : go alongside at Fowey lifeboat pontoon, put Jax ashore to move car from Golant to longer term parking above Fowey and then do fresh food shop…me and boat to move off, do boat cleaning etc and then pick up around late morning. Slight change of plan in that it seemed ok to stay alongside pontoon so did my jobs there but a bit concerned by 1100 that no sign of Jx. Checked phone and text says ‘can’t start car (expletive) and waiting for RAC’….had quick think and texted back ‘have you checked immobiliser ?….embarrassed silence then “its started now”. ! Went into town and did grocery shop and got fresh bread from bakery. 1130 Jx turned up looking sheepish. Onto boat and immediately away.
1200 Cleared Fowey roads on last of ebb, sails up and into St Austell bay, light upwind. Decide that it was too late to go for the Dodman as it would be a strongly east going flood by then so instead headed north into the bay with a possible plan of anchoring off one of the small beaches near the Gerrans head and a ‘get-out’ clause plan of going into Mevagissey for the night if conditions became unsettled. 1430 anchored off first shingle beach to north and east of gerrans head, nice lunch break in shelter. 1630 moved off after 1610 MSI broadcast and had nice ghosting broad reach over to Mevagissey. 1745 into Mevagissey harbour and onto a mooring as fishing boats alongside wall. Several fishing boats arrived then and into the night.