The run-up to ensuring we had everything on board Pipistrelle that we required, and making last-minute arrangements at home was a hectic time. But, we finally boarded Pipistrelle on Friday 2nd June with our sailing friend Mike Foster who has joined us for the first three weeks, and set about stowing the final gear and provisions, and having the new rig checked one last time, before heading west.
With some jobs still waiting to be done, we decided to make a short hop to the end of the Solent that evening, and anchored for the night just east of Hurst Castle. The weather was kind to us with a light northerly breeze.
To ensure that we adhered to our passage plan, we headed west with stops at Dittisham on the River Dart where we enjoyed the scenery and had a barbeque on board.
In Dartmouth we bought 2 crabs straight from the trawler that were expertly cooked by Bob and offered for lunch next day when we met with friends Chris and Mike who entertained us to dinner at their lovely home. They even provided a taxi service to the local supermarket where we reprovisioned. In case you’re wondering – sailors need calories! Then, after anchoring in Cawsand Bay, Plymouth Sound, overnight it was on to Queen Anne’s Battery in the shadow of the Hoe for electronic repairs plus a visit to the marina launderette.
Falmouth, where we met Ian and Linda, and then had a brief stop in the Helford River, and a dinghy ride to Gweek, before leaving for the Isles of Scilly.
Murphy being alive and well, meant that an area of high pressure had settled over the UK bringing sunshine which is good, but north westerly winds, not so good, for what seems to be a prolonged period of time. We had decided on an overnight passage to St Mary’s, but with only 5 kn of breeze this meant that we were motoring the whole way. At 0300 just off the Wolf Rock light and before the northbound shipping lane between Land’s End and the Scillies admiration of the starlit night with the Milky Way in prominent view was brought to an abrupt halt. An alarming grinding noise was emanating from the rudder! It turned out that a securing collar had come undone allowing the rudder to drop by about 0.75” until the steering arm prevented it going any further by resting on a wooden bulkhead. This necessitated emergency repairs – lifting the rudder with the topping lift, tightening up and securing the collar in place with duck tape. Well done Mike!
We arrived in Hugh Town, St Mary’s at 0600 having watched a superb sunrise earlier and caught up on some sleep.
Marine engineers would not be available until Monday morning so we spent the day on St Mary’s and cycled around the island, visiting an Iron Age village and burial ground and Holy Vale, a hamlet with a micro climate encouraging the growth of beautiful flowers and plants.
After a bit of a rolly night on the mooring we navigated to a picturesque anchorage between Tresco and Bryher.
We walked round Tresco, visiting the Abbey Gardens en route which are very pretty, but for us didn’t compare to the National Botanical Gardens we visited when we were in Cape Town.
Abbey Garden photos…..
We then walked along the sandy beach to Old Grimsby, and back to the dinghy, before going across to Bryher for a sundowner at Hell Bay Hotel, which is in a lovely location on the west coast, looking out across the Atlantic. Regrettably they did not have enough food for an additional 3 people, according to the chef. Strange hotel………Instead we found the New Inn on Tresco most accommodating!
Monday dawned cold and grey, and with just enough clearance we motored back to St Mary’s so the engineers could repair the rudder assembly. The mist rolled in, and the Harbour Master kindly towed us back onto a mooring for the repairs to be completed so we did not dry out alongside the harbour wall.
The mist remained until the early evening, with vis down to 80 metres at times. It cleared by 1900, whilst we were ashore for an evening drink, so it was back on board, and whilst the evening meal was cooking, Pipistrelle was prepared for a passage north. We motored back to the moorings between Tresco and Bryher, this anchorage being as close to an exit to the north as we could get.
Tuesday 10th June dawned bright, and with a F3-4 Northerly, we hoisted the main and motored north. After a couple of hours we set the jib, turned off the engine, and found ourselves on a perfect course for Kinsale, S. Ireland. The wind only failed 6 hours from Kinsale at 02.45, and we arrived at 0900.
Tonight we will be enjoying the Guiness, and hopefully excellent craik!
Tomorrow we set off to explore harbours to the west, before returning on Saturday to meet another friend, Alan Painter. He will join for the week sailing to Dublin.