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Adams Blog: Sailing month 1

Adams Blog: Sailing month 1

This is a bit of a recap, and behind where we are at the present day, but it includes a nice map of the whole journey in the first month as well as some thoughts on what it may have been nice to change.

Today we counted and we were sailing for 16 of 30 days in the first month, and that included spending ~4-5 days at a wedding in London!

Day 20: Penzance to the Isles of Scilly

Day 20: Penzance to the Isles of Scilly

There were points where we were considering not heading the Isles of Scilly, as we are on a schedule to reach Porto, Portugal at the start of August. We thought it would be a shame to miss out though, and the long-range forecast looked good for a hop to the Scillies, follows by a crossing of Biscay or to Brest, France.

We once again used Fast Seas weather routing for this crossing, and we included the details of this in our Nic 38 owners forum reply.

The route was all on a single tack out along the cornish coast, past lands end and straight to the Isles. Our track matched this rather nicely.

We did lose the wind for a little bit as we approached Lands End. We could see the wind on the sea in the distance so motored up to it, and that gave us the opportunity to grab this picture of Lands End from the sea.

We headed into the Isles of Scilly at the closest point to us, the Eastern Isles.

The sea continued to look like the picture above (nice and flat) just with short rolling ocean swell.

There was a lovely little anchorage which we shared with 3 other boats, and a family of seals.

We trekked around the nearest island and on our way back from land in the dinghy the seals were all relaxing in the seaweed close to shore and we snapped this great picture.

Day 19: St Michael’s Mount to Penzance

Day 19: St Michael’s Mount to Penzance

One of our shortest hops coming up here!

We anchored at St Michael’s Mount to protect ourselves from some of the North Easterly winds, but day 19 brought some calm.

We wanted to head to Penzance to top up our diesel and water tanks and to try and pick up a replacement Calor gas bottle. We also had some friends that may come to visit so wanted an easy and safe place to leave the dingy!

We just sailed across with the geona again, but it took no time at all.

You can see this track includes 1) anchoring outside the harbour to wait for fuel 2) heading into the harbour behind the sil, turning around and coming back to the fuel barge 3) heading back out of the harbour to anchor back up where we would be spending the night.

We headed to shore in the dingy through the outer harbour which is not behind a sil and headed for some dinner being picked up by our friends that were driving. When reaching Newly we ate at Mackerel Sky Cafe. Delicious, but no picutres.

We managed to find a Calor gas bottle at the local morisons, did a little shop, had some on land showers before heading back to Hannah.

Day 18: Housel Cove to St Michael’s Mount

Day 18: Housel Cove to St Michael’s Mount

Time to head to Penzance (ish)!

Before setting off this mainly looked like a big sail upwind as we were in a northerly wind.

After 6 hours of sailing and a couple of tacks, we found ourselves nearing Penzance.

It was lovely and flat in the bay, even quite some way out and made for some very nice sailing.

Penzance Harbour is behind a sil and at the time of our arrival the sil was closed (we already knew this). We had the option of using a mooring ball outside the harbour, anchoring outside the harbour, and using a different anchorage.

St Michael’s Mount looked like it gave good protection (and a nice view) so we headed to it!

You can see us approaching the Mount below.

The anchorage was rather windy, we were sheltered there with 3 other boats, one of them arrived with us, re-anchored a few times and then decided to leave for somewhere else.

We stayed put in the winds, charged up a bit with the wind turbine and generally relaxed.

(In this sort of wind a trip to the shore in the dinghy is not really much fun)

By the evening, the wind had dropped and it was rather lovely.

Day 17: Helford River to Housel Cove

Day 17: Helford River to Housel Cove

We wanted to break out the larger journey around to Penzance. We found an anchorage (Housel Cove) on Navionics that looked like it should give us pretty good protection from the swell and wind for the night and headed off!

This was an easy sail again only on a reefed genoa as we were trying to sail at 2-3 knots so we could fish with the paravane as we went.

Although we were ready for the fish, the fish were not there. Even while trying to sail slowly, you can see the bend in the rod as we occasionally hit 4+ knots.

The journey took only 4.5 hours and we found ourselves in Housel Cove which is overlooked by Housel Hotel and Lizard Lighthouse.

We were in the bay all by ourselves, and also had a beach that seemed to be mostly inaccessible from the land, so private for us!

We both got a little artistic on this day.

Kathryn took this very nice looking picture of the deck while we were sailing

Adam took this rather blurry, but perhaps nice to look at picture of Lizard Lighthouse at night from the bay.

Day 16: Falmouth to Helford River

Day 16: Falmouth to Helford River

Back from a wedding, we wanted to get out of the pricey mooring that we were at and get back to anchoring, so on to the Helford river (a short hop across the bay).

As you can see on the track, we decided our trip would be far too quick, even only sailing with the genoa out.

So we did a few tacks and tried to get as close as possible to a beach where @brendonprince_ was having a little SUP (as he advertised on Instagram).

Didn’t manage to get super close to the beach, but did manage to get this little shot.

Over to Helford we went, maxing out at 7.3 knots with only the genoa (nice!).

The anchorage on the east side of the river was lovely.

Day 8: Saltash to Falmouth

Day 8: Saltash to Falmouth

We originally planned on heading to Falmouth on Day 6, but ended up in Saltash instead avoiding some weather.

This was the first day that we experimented with weather routing using Fast Seas. You can read a bit about weather routing on Wikipedia, and can take a look at us chatting away about Fast Seas weather routing for Nic 38s on the owner forums.

We had 3 different routes planned with a set of parameters that we were at that point unsure of.

  • Optimistic: Based on a theoretical good into wind angle of 45 degrees. This would take us around 8 hours.
  • Pessimistic: Using a polar that we created from what we thought our actual sailing performance was from back in 2020 and 2021. This would take us around 18 hours.
  • Middle ground: Based on a theoretical “normal” into wind angle of 60 degrees. This would take us around 12 hours.

So quite a range of times.

Each route took us right out into the channel, and with a single tack back all the way into Falmouth.

We went for it, planning for all 3 (or other eventualities), and the middle ground route ended up being roughly what we achieved. We were sailing on our closest point of sail the whole way with 1m swell from the west and 15-25 knts generally from the west.

In the image below you can see the middle route we managed, as well as 2 way points indicating the tack points of the other 2 routes.

Due to the single tack the voyage was quite pleasant 🙂

We headed to a marina, as we had a wedding to attend and wanted to keep Hannah safe and out of the way of others. We arrived in the evening so spent that evening on a visitor pontoon rafter up next to a very lovely yacht that had just come back from the Azores.

So many boats anchored up hiding away from the winds to come.

On day 9 we moved to the inner harbour of Port Pendennis Marina. Exciting day as we took Hannah over her first sil and through a swinging bridge.

Day 6: Plymouth to Saltash

Day 6: Plymouth to Saltash

We were considering heading to Falmouth for day 6 (sailing to a schedule), but started heading out of Plymouth, reached the swell and decided that was not the day for us.

We turned did a U-turn to head back into the protection of Plymouth.

Along the way a pilot boat can and did a little doughnut around us, letting us know there was a great big warship following us in, and that we might want to move over a bit.

We had said before that it would be cool to sail under the Tamar bridge, so we took this opportunity to head a few miles up the river to get under it and anchor on the other side.

You can see the track heading out, turning around and heading up river below.

We ended up anchoring at the end of a collection of mooring buoys on the northwest side of the bridge, which also happened to be along side a rowing competition of some sort!

As we were staying around Plymouth we had the opportunity to invite a friend of Hannah aboard for dinner!

We had a pretty wonderful lasagne made mainly from tins, shipped Daisy back to shore rather late and settled in for the night.

Day 5: Salcombe to Plymouth

Day 5: Salcombe to Plymouth

Another route that we have sailed before, so planning was relatively easy here.

The track was around 20 nautical miles and we only motored in and out of the rivers at either end. We managed to average 5 knots (one of our fastest voyages to date) and actually hit 9.3 knots while under sail.

We anchored on the western side of the estuary, outside the breakwater near Cawsand. (We were on the east side during our last visit)

Headed into shore on the dinghy with some dinner that we made on the boat and ate it in the sun!