||Round to Topsham to help Derek H with putting bits and pieces back on his Westerley Fulmar.
|SYC boat fettling
||Down to SYC to do a little bit of boat fettling
|Man overboard practise
||Out to sea off Dawlish Warren to practice man overboard drill. The MOB (a pick up buoy with some chain attached) survived!
|Exe to Dartmouth
||A lovely sail down from the Exe to Dartmouth.
Wind ranged from very little to about 22 knots.
|Exmouth Marina to SYC
||Bringing Derek's Fulmar back to SYC from Exmouth Marina.
|Thalmia moored at SYC
||Helping Derek put Thalmia on her mooring at SYC for the first time. In fact, when I missed getting the pick up on to the cleat, we proved that Derek can moor her OK single handed anyway!
||Thalmia was craned in at Topsham Quay and then we went for a quick sail just out past the fairway buoy.
The wind was up and down a lot. From nothing in the estuary to about 23 knots out at sea.
|Up to Topsham Quay
||Putting Thalmia to bed for the winter!
Up to Trouts pontoon ready for Thalmia to be lifted out for the winter later in the week.
||The CHase Around the Ore Stone race.
A great day's sailing. The weather forecast was fairly strong (F4 to F5 with occasional F6) and that was about right. No real sudden gusts so the winds of up to about 22 knots were fine and fun.
Unfortunately I didnt help Derek to quite the heights in the results table that he managed last year with the commodore as a more competent crew!
It was still a fast sail - fast enough that we had to potter around off the fairway buoy for a couple of hours waiting for enough tide to go back up the Exe.
Then back to Starcross Yacht Club to arrive by sea for the inaugural Starstock mini festival.
|Out to the fairway buoy
||A windy sail - as expected. We went out just past the fairway buoy but as it was very gusty - 31 knots / mid force 7 - we snuck back in just before the tide got too low to return to the mooring.
|First Fulmar Outing
||Some fettling on Derek H's boat (re-attaching reefing lines etc) and then a quick outing along the Topsham part of the River Exe. Upwind under main and downwind under genoa. Lovely boat.
|Exe to Dartmouth
||The plan was to go to Salcombe. However, the weather forecast was out and there was little wind to start with. That and some shennanigans with the cruising chute - that included giving it a wash in the sea - meant we were later than planned heading towards Start Point. Again the forecast was out as we now had 20 knots of wind that would have been against the (admittedly) neap tides after we rounded Start. So we gave up bouncing into waves and headed into Dartmouth / Darthaven for the evening.
|Starcross YC to Brixham
||Down from Starcross Yacht Club on the Exe to Brixham. This gave us a couple of hours shorter passage time the next day and the ability to leave at our preferred time (as Brixham is navigable at all states of the tide).
|SYC to Brixham
||Down from SYC on the Exe to Brixham ahead of the channel crossing to St Peter Port on Guernsey.
|Straight Point and Exmouth Docks
||A sail on Derek's Fulmar down the estuary and then along to Straight Point (the Royal Marines weren't firing at the time). Sailed back alongside Julian's Halmatic 30 - the boats are nicely matched for speed. Then into Exmouth Marina whch was interesting. I'd not been into Exmouth Marina before in anything bigger than a RIB so going in under the lifting bridge in a 30 foot yacht was interesting.
|Granville to Isles Chausey
||From Granville across to the Iles Chausey.
The Iles Chausey are basically a "bunch of rocks" off the French coast. Apparently there are 365 islands at low tide. With a the ten metre tidal range when we were there, there are a whole lot less at high tide.
Most of the photos are at low tide - showing The Sound that runs to the east of the main island.
The approach requires some reasonably careful pilotage and then lying to the fore/aft moorings available in the Sound.
The earlier photos show some very tall navigation marks at low water - look in the later photos which are closer to high water and they only just appear above the water!
|Salcombe to the Exe
||A great sail back from Salcombe to the Exe.
Left the mooring in Salcombe and said goodbye to Simon T and Andy B leaving them to their Round Britain sail.
Out over Salcombe Bar in thick fog. Experimented a bit further with the now fully working radar in Derek H's Fulmar and then headed off for the inshore passage around Start Point. Like the day before, wind was with tide so Start Point was fine and the fog mostly lifted as we reached Start Point.
Then along past Berry head and into Torbay for some "man overboard" practise.Think I proved that I'd be able to get back to pick Derek up if he went overboard but without the practise I'd have probably run him over!
Then up to the Exe waiting for the tide to change to allow a safe return to the mooring.
Excellent weekend all round.
|Exe to Dartmouth
||With the SYC Newport Trophy cancelled due to the possibility of a Force 6, we set of with Peter S for company hoping to get as far as Salcombe.
However, with the wind pretty much on the nose, progress was a little slow for us so we motor sailed.
As we crossed Torbay we saw the annual Brixham Trawler Race taking place.
The weather forecast was pretty much right (with maximum gusts of about 26 knots - F6), so we gave up on the idea of rounding Start Point and ducked into Darthaven Marina in Dartmouth.
|Poole to Weymouth
||Sailing Derek H's new boat back towards the Exe. Stage 2 of the journey from Poole to Weymouth. The boat is a rather nice Westerley Fulmar.
Fairly large tides so we took the offshore route around the overfalls at St Albans Head.
|St Peter Port to SYC
||A very fast sail back from St Peter Port, Guernsey to SYC on the Exe. For most of the way the wind was quite strong - maybe a force 5 - but was on the port rear quarter. This meant that most of the sail was done with just a small amount of reefing and lots of sailing down the following waves. Long and tiring - but fun! The speed meant that we were unexpectedly back at the Exe before low water so we were able to sneak in and be back on the mooring at SYC just before it got dark.
|Dartmouth to QAB Plymouth
||From Dartmouth round to Plymouth.
With Spring Tides and a forecast that was F5 gusting F6, we planned to take a cautious route round Start Point staying about a mile and half off.
However, as we motored out from Slapton we encountered some large waves at the edge of the Skerries / the edge of Start Race. But as they were all fairly regular they were quite fun!
Once round Start the wind increased a bit to gusting F6 and one particular wave dumped a load of water in the cockpit. However, with Dark Side of the Moon tracks from the Pulse Pink Floyd album playing on the waterproof bluetooth speaker and the course after Prawle Point allowing us to stop motor sailing, we were then flying along towards Plymouth.
So into QAB marina much earlier than expected.
|Exe to Salcombe
||A great sail from the Exe down to Salcombe.
Sailed past Simon T and Andy B on Nelly Nui as they prepared for their Round Britain sail.
Met up with them again off Dartmouth and we sailed on together towards Start Point.
We took the inside passage around Start Point and encountered a really heavy rain shower including some very loud and rather too close for comfort thunder and lightening.
After that it was a beautiful evening sailing across Salcombe Bar and onto a mooring followed by a fine dinner ashore.
|Brixham to Exe
||A lovely day sail on Derek H's Fulmar.
First a quick trip with Liz on board round Berry Head. Mostly motor sailing and watching the wildlife.
Then, after dropping Liz off back in Brixham, a sail back up to SYC on the Exe. Light winds - but enough to sail most of the way. A chance to "play" with some of setup on Thalmia including the cruising chute and a think about how a preventer might be rigged.
|Brixham to St Peter Port
||From Brixham across to St Peter Port on Guernsey.
Overall a good crossing with reasonable visibility until just after the shipping lanes. Then the fog came in with a vengeance! Having the luxury of both AIS and radar on Derek's Fulmar made a huge difference.
If you look at the photos I've left one in that looks like "just grey" but see if you can see a yacht. When we reached St Peter Port (via the Little Russell) it was still very foggy but actually not quite as dense as a previous year. We could see the "gates" of St Peter Port harbour well before we would hit them!
|Brixham to St Peter Port
||After a delay of 12 hours waiting for the weather to improve a little, we set off at lunchtime for the channel crossing to St Peter Port. The wind was a fair bit stronger than forecast making the first part of the journey much harder work than expected. A decision was reached (as the wind started to ease a little) not to abandon and return to Brixham. This turned out to be a good call as the wind continued to drop. The TSS crossing at night - with no moon - was eerie. We had to stop at one point to allow about 5 boats to pass ahead while allowing one to pass behind. The completely dark night (no moon) made this TSS crossing very different to previous night crossings. Also the tide was very strong - as can be seen from most of the track across the TSS where we end up being taken down much of the TSS while still maintaining a boat aspect at right angles to the traffic!. The last part of the crossing was under motor arriving at St Peter Port just at first light (with an easy trip down the Little Russel).
|St Peter Port to Starcross YC
||Back from St Peter Port to Starcross Yacht Club on the Exe.
Up the Little Russell at about 08:00 with just a little "wind against tide bounciness" at the top end.
Then across the shipping lanes with very good visibility.
The sail started with an excellent wind from the north east at about F4 to F5ish but died away a little after crossing the second shipping lane.
So it was on with the motor for maybe the last third of the journey reaching the Exe at about 23:00 and on to the mooring just before midnight. I don't think the Exe is a good place to try to navigate at night without local knowledge (it's our "home port") - too many unlit channel / lateral buoys and moorings very close to the channel edge.
My "top tip" for navigating the Exe at night is that if the red / green channel buoy you are navigating for doesn't flash occasionally then you're heading for Brunel's railway line!
|St Helier to Granville, France
||From St Helier on Jersey across to Granville in France.
We were joined by dolphins briefly - very large ones - but as they disappeared quite quickly it became more fun watching the people watching for dolphins!
Then on via the Ilse Chausey - more later on them in this blog - and then on to Granville in France.
Played with the cruising chute for the first time on this cruise.
Granville is an old walled town - a little like St Malo along the coast - but not so crowded. The marina, like many on the French coast, has a cill and at low water the approach to Granville completely dries out.
|Weymouth to Topsham
||From Weymouth round Portland Bill to Topsham at the top of the Exe.
Stage three in bringing Derek H's new Fulmar back to the Exe.
With very big Spring tides, we took the offshore route around the East Shambles buoy and a few miles off Portland Bill.
With the wind pretty much on the nose after we turned west, we motored most of the way back from Portland Bill.
With the wind varying between 12 and 20 knots against us and 1 or 2 knots of tide with us, the first half of the journey back to the Exe (after Portland Bill) was a little bouncy at times.
We reached the Exe just as it got dark - the trip back up the Exe in the dark and with big tides was interesting! With the Exe's mix of lit and unlit buoys and moorings encroaching on the channel, I really wouldn't recommend going up the Exe at night without local knowledge!
|St Helier to Sark
||From St Helier on Jersey up to Sark.
Along the south coast of Jersey where some wind against tide made the sailing a little bouncy but gave us 8.8 knots over the ground as we went round La Corbiere (as a very blurry photo shows).
Then up to La Greve de la Ville anchorage on the east side of Sark.
Suprisingly the wind gusts got up to 25 knots as we were getting close to the pilotage in to the anchorage. Once within the anchorage - and about 30 yards from the shore - the anchorage was very still.
Went for a stroll around Sark - including across La Coupe which I'd promised myself I wouldn't walk across again.
|St Quay to Ile De Brehat
||Up from St Quay-Portreaux to Ile de Brehat. The Ile de Brehat is a small island on a rocky shore. Somewhat similar to Sark (no cars and a very small population like Sark but no cliffs).
|Iles Chausey to St Helier
||Out from the Iles Chausey via the northern passage. Look carefully at the chart and you'll see that the passage dries to a height of up to 4.5 metres! However, with a tidal range of 10 metres and the excellent French navigational markers and transits (which again can be seen on the chart at higher zooms), the passage pilotage was fine.
Iles Chausey was exceptional - a truly stunning place. What wasn't so good was all the flies that migrated from the rocks that were covered at high water and hitched a ride on the boats all the way to Jersey.
At Jersey, we anchored in St Aubins Bay waiting for enough water over the cill at St Helier marina.
|Ile de Brehat to St Peter Port
||After getting up an hour too early (confusing French and English first light times!!!), we sailed from Ile de Brehat for St Peter Port on Guernsey. The sail around the north east corner of the Ile de Brehat was notable for two things. First, we hit some fairly strong overfalls. It was neaps and a middling wind so we weren't expecting much. Given how lumpy it was, this is one to avoid at Springs. Secondly, Peter S caught a bunch of weed and plastic around his prop while going through the overfalls. Peter was able to sail on OK and got enough motor back to be able to motor into St Peter Port later. The rest of the sail was lovely - under cruising chute for a large part of the journey.
|Sark to St Peter Port
||Round from La Greve de la Ville anchorage on the east side of Sark to the Saigne Bay anchorage on the west side. The Saigne Bay anchorage has some rather dramatic rock stacks (think James Bond / The Man With The Golden Gun - but smaller).
The on - via the Gouliot Passage and one of the passages north of the Lower Heads cardinal - to St Peter Port marina to meet up with lots of other Starcross Yacht Club "yotties" for the traditional meal in La Perla.
|St Peter Port to St Helier
||A really good sail from St Peter Port on Guernsey across to St Helier on Jersey.
Along the south coast of Jersey where the usual past times of spotting the German 2nd World War defences and avoiding the Condor fast ferries passed the time nicely.
|St Peter Port to St Helier
||A lovely sail from St Peter Port on Guernsey across to St Helier on Jersey. Ideal winds and weather.
|St Helier to St Quay Portrieux
||After a light wind start, a lovely sail down from St Helier, Jersey to St Quay Portrieux on the Brittany coast. Sailed under cruising chute for most of the way. St Quay has the huge advantage of being an "all tide" port (i.e. no need to wait for there to be enough water over a marina cill).