“You can’t control the wind, but you can adjust the sail” sings Ricky Skaggs. And that’s what it is all about, isn’t it. Do what you can with life, but be prepared to change, and to adjust to new circumstances. We’re trying our hardest!
Monday 20th May:
A day full of wonderful Cornish sunshine!
At the end of today, Joe had measured, fitted, altered, welded, crimped and soldered, and done just about everything possible, and the new MasterVolt alternator is now installed on its bracket with a new flat belt, very tightly by the engine. We’re getting excited!
And while this was going on, Dominic cleaned the remainder of the hull, fixed the stiff hatch handles, and did lots of other little jobs. We also bought a rescue line from the chandlery, which we thought could be handy, having done the MOB practice yesterday.
Tuesday 21st May:
Joe and Mark were working away all morning and by lunch time the alternator was checked and tested, and approved by Aquafax, the MasterVolt supplier. And we’ve got extra venting for both the engine and the heating system. We’re very happy with the output from engine to battery: around 120 amps feeding our battery. That’s more than double than it used to be! Another win for persistence. After paying our dues we got ready, waiting for the tide to rise, and just after 4pm we were away. Feels very strange to actually be on our way!
Because we can, and as the weather is so gorgeous, we went over to our favourite Helford River. This time we anchored on the north side of the river, and were watching the spectacle of lots of beginner dinghy sailors going past and around us while we ate our dinner outside on the deck. What a lovely day!
Wednesday 22nd May:
We’re Going West again! We set off at 10am, having calculated that this was the time to go in order to catch the tide. It was a day for the solar panels, rather than the wind generators, as we had brilliant sunshine but hardly any wind! We wafted along, with the help of said tide, saw a fishing boat cleaning the fish with gulls excitedly waiting for the scraps. Quite a few very large jellyfish-looking creatures passed us by, up to a meter in diameter. Could they have been siphonophores? Later on we saw a string of normal-looking jellyfish, but still very large. And we glimpsed dolphins!
We went over the Manacles with its treacherous rocks; ‘The Graveyard of a Thousand Ships’ and looking at the chart you can well believe it. We went past Lizard Point much closer to land than last time, as weather and tides meant we didn’t have any of the overfalls. Going in to Mount Bay the wind died down completely and for a couple of hours we hardly moved.
We saw a strange shape on the horizon. It didn’t look like one of the many tankers that are still anchored in this area, but more like a townscape. It turned out it was the Boka Vanguard, a semi-submersible heavy lift ship, the largest vessel of her type ever built, and able to carry cargoes up to 110,000 tonnes. It was designed to move offshore oil and gas facilities, but can also carry other ships and act as an offshore dry dock facility. You don’t see one of those every day!
We got some slow large Atlantic swells, and a bit of wind, and around 5:30pm approached Mousehole where we had planned to anchor. But as we had feared, the area behind Shag Rock was littered with lobster pot buoys, and however hard Dominic tried, there wasn’t room for us. So we motored down to Newlyn and plonked ourselves amongst other lobster pot buoys with a view of Newlyn and its very busy fishing harbour, Penzance and the ferries and St Michael’s Mount. Not quiet and bucolic like the Helford River, but we’ve got somewhere for the night. Underway: 8hrs 15 mins, average speed: 4.2 knots, max speed: 7.1 knots, wind: very light southerly, 3-7 knots.
Tomorrow we’re going round Lands End. To where we haven’t been before. The adventure begins!