Sunday, 27 May 2012

 20th May to 26th May

Off sailing! leaving June to sort out the garden and do the washing.
Peter, the skipper, and his wife picked me up on the Sunday and we travelled down to Plymouth to pick up the boat.
* Celtic Flame 11

She is a Dufour 34 with 6 berths and belongs to the GSA which used to be the Gas Sailing Association, owned by British Gas for use by their employees. Since the company was split up the boats were passed on to what is now the Go Sailing Association which anybody can join and indeed there is a wide range of members. The GSA has 4 boats, two moored in Southampton, one in Largs, Scotland, and Celtic Flame. They vary in size from 28ft to 40ft and provide a great opportunity for people to sail at a reasonable price.

* The Saloon and Fwd Cabin

* The Galley

* The Navigation area

* The Heads

Peter’s wife dropped us off at the boat and carried on to stay with friends in Cornwall.
We had promised the bosun that we would carry out a minor repair to one of the locker doors which had broken but which the last crew did not have time to fix. This we duly completed whilst we awaited the arrival of the rest of our crew. Peter’s son and Sue a friend. They were delayed in London as Thomas was rehearsing for the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games and did not arrive until 10.00pm so it was a late supper and off to bed ready for an early start the next morning.
* The Crew

After a misty start we left Plymouth in blue skies and a little breeze heading for Fowey. We passed the famous Plymouth Hoe and out past the breakwater into the Channel.
* Plymouth Hoe

* Blue Sky Sailing

We made good progress with the wind against us to Fowey Estuary and moored up at the short stay pontoon so that we could go shopping and have a shower at the Yacht Club.
* Entering the Estuary

* Fowey Town Mooring

* The Flags are out for our arrival in the Narrow Streets of Fowey

 We topped up with water and then moved off to moor at a pontoon in the Estuary, later taking the Water Taxi back to Fowey so that we could have a look around and eat in one of the excellent restaurants in the town.

As we left the mooring the next morning we spotted three old sailing ships and voted this one as the next boat for the GSA.

* New GSA Boat

Leaving the Estuary we only had light winds until late morning when it picked up and gave us a good sail to Falmouth where we called in at the marina to top up with diesel and then motored across to St Mawes where we dropped anchor outside the harbour.
As there is no water taxi here we inflated the dinghy and rowed ashore to meet Peter’s wife and friend for dinner at a local hostelry. Whilst having dinner we watched the young female and male crews practicing rowing their Gigs.

 * Cornish Pilot Gig

The Cornish pilot gig is a six-oared rowing boat, built of Cornish narrow leaf elm, 32 feet (9.8 m) long with a beam of four feet ten inches.It is recognised as one of the first shore-based lifeboats that went to vessels in distress, with recorded rescues going back as far as the late 17th century.The original purpose of the Cornish pilot gig was as a general work boat, and the craft is used for taking pilots out to incoming vessels off the Atlantic. In those days the race would be the first gig to get their pilot on board a vessel (often those about to run aground on rocks) got the job, and hence the payment.
The Forecast for the next day was very light winds from the NE (against us) with banks of fog so we were concerned about getting back to Plymouth. We decide therfore to make an early start as we would need to use the engine for a lot of the way back. We raised the anchor at 5.45am and set off in blue skies and sunshine although there was no wind. We motored on for a couple of hours and listened to the early morning forecast which indicated that the wind make back to the SW and strengthen. It did indeed increase but from the NE so we raised the sails and turned off the motor and had a nice quiet sail for a couple of hours when the wind died again.
We motored on for another couple of hours when the wind suddenly picked up and came from the SW. So it was up with the sails and off we went. The wind increased to force 5/6 so we got out the cruising chute (similar to a spinnaker) and our speed increased to 6-7 knots. We soon reached the entrance to Plymouth Harbour but were enjoying ourselves so much we decided not to go in but to sail on and enjoy a great day for sailing. Finally we decided we had better turn around and head for the marina as we would have to sail back into the wind. This was an exhilarating sail and the wind had increased so we took a reef in to take some strain off the boat and make it a more comfortable sail back.
* Cruising Chute Out
* The Mate helming a down wind leg

We moored up at about 5.30pm a tired but overjoyed with a good days sail and jumped into the showers at the marina..
We had a lie in the next day and as there was little wind decided to motor around to the Naval Dock Yards and review the fleet. There were 5 subs a couple of Frigates and several auxiliary craft moored up along the river.

* Old Dock with Ships Figurehead

* Naval Escort down the river.

Sadly it was then time to return to the marina, clean the boat and leave for home.

Sunday 27th May
We had planned to come to the boat on Saturday for a few days but June’s mom was rushed into hospital at 4.45am with heart problems and so June was busy seeing to her mom and it was 8.30pm when we were finally able to take her home.
This will be probably be our last visit for a little while as we have a new Guide Dog Pup, Phoenix, arriving on Thursday and we will not be able to let her go on the grass until she has had her second vaccination.

After checking on June’s mom we made an early start for the boat in gorgeous sunny weather and arrived by 8.30am.
I set to doing a few of the mods we had identified on our last cruise like putting some more dividers in a couple of the drawers and fiddle rails in the cupboards where we store the tins (just to be on the safe side).
I also put some fixings in the stern locker for the mooring pins, chains and Armco hooks so that they would be neat and tidy and easily found when needed.

Kev and Lyn on the share boat next to us were just packing up ready to go home and we ended up playing ball with their dog, Amber. The last thing they took out to the car was a Parrot called Magic who had been a real attraction on their trip as he was kept in a cage in the window and everybody saw him as they went through the locks and of course had to stop and have a closer inspection. He said hello to me and apparently has quite a good repertoire.

Before dinner we went a walk across the fields to the canal and followed the towpath back to the marina entrance. We were passed by a Rose Narrow Boat with a large group of lads on it and they were slightly the worse for wear as they seemed to make a few strange manoeuvres and went from ead slow to full speed and back again. Still they were not giving any other boaters any problem and I would guess were just finishing off a stag weekend.  

Hopefully tomorrow we will head off towards Rugby and see where we end up.

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