Sailing from Chatham to the Isles of Scilly and back

Post Reply
Jolly Roger
Posts: 1005
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:08 pm
Anti Spam measure: No
AntiSpam Text: Westerly
Location: Kent, UK

Sailing from Chatham to the Isles of Scilly and back

Post by Jolly Roger » Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:58 pm

On Sunday 18th June I finally arrived at the boat at 4.30 pm. Quickly loading the cool item into the electric cool box that had been left to chill overnight. Then motored to the fuel barge to fill the tank and off down river to anchor in Stangate Creek.I found the gas hose to the gas bottle was cracked, so I condemmed it. (full details in "Renovations to Concerto" thread)

Very early on Monday I lifted anchor and started my 3 week holiday. Heading down the north Kent coast, there was little wind, so it was motor sailing all the way, except it continued all day until I reached Brighton at 10.30 pm. I punched the last couple of hours of tide as I departed, then had a fair tide to Dungerness and a slight tide against me till Beachy Head, then fair tide again. If you get the tides and boat speed right it becomes a fairly easy route in either direction.

The following morning was not quite as early a start as I need to top my fuel tank up as light winds were forecast, even though they were from the east. Motor sailing was the order of the day, except just past St Catherine's Point on south side of the Isle of Wight. There was enough wind to sail at a reasonable speed. With the wind astern it was almost a dead run, so I was goosewinged. Being the fidget I am on a boat, I thought about setting the spinnaker. So I considered the clouds to see how stable the wind would likely to be, ideal weather. So started rigging for the spinnaker and finally up it went. Beautiful splash of purple and white helped push the boat speed up by ¾ of a knot. It stayed up for 4 hours, so it was worth setting. As the afternoon changed to evening, the wind eased and the kite was dropped. Not a problem behind the mainsail and into the cockpit, and it stayed dry. Sorted out the chaos on deck and went back to motor sailing. Repacked the kite in its launcher, no I do not use a squeezer. Passing St. Albans Head, the speed over the ground reached 10 knots, I think there was a little help from the tide.Arrived at 11.20 pm in Weymouth. Roughly 200 miles in 2 days, not bad going.

Wednesday I needed to visit a supermarket and a chandlers. Both completed by 9 am! Then off I went again. After rounding Portland Bill my destination of Plymouth meant I aimed for the Lizard. It was a better sailing day as the wind had swung southerly. This made it just too close on the beam to safely set a spinnaker, so it was a white sails day. As I closed on Start Point, the wind lightened, so on went the engine and genoa furled. It went very cold and dark ahead. I decided to close the hatches and drop the main as it looked like fog. The visibility dropped to 100 metres, so I decided to use the chart plotter to enter Salcombe. I saw the eastern shore first before I picked up the first green buoy, but I was 50 metres too far east and with just over 2 metres under the keel on the bar. As I moved to port I found another larger yacht come out of the fog. So I throttled right back and let them lead me in as they had a full crew and radar. A quiet night was had on a visitor pontoon and all for £18.50, not bad value.

Looking at the chart I thought Newlyn would be possible, so set a course for the Lizard. The wind was not kind as it has swung west, but had some strength to it. I had a reef in the main and four rolls in the genoa. Knowing the wind was due to go north westly, I sailed some distance south of the rhum line. The wind did not change as predicted and the beat was very lumpy. Concerto sailed well at 35 degrees apparant on compass autopilot. Any tighter was too fine to be under compass control. It resulted in a tacking angle of about 100 degrees, but better boat speed. The beat meant my progress was not as good as I would have liked and I calculated I would arrive at about 3 or 4 in the morning. So I decide to divert to Falmouth, except this was further north, if only I had kept north of the rhum line I would have arrived a couple of hours earlier. As it was I arrived at the entrance just after midnight and headed for Falmouth Marina as I needed to connect to shore power. The lights around the harbour were very confusing and eventually I worked out where to go. The channel is quite narrow and almost all the buoys are unlit for most of the way. Then a number of moored boats had all round white lights on, yes on moorings not anchored, to confuse me more. Eventually I made my way to the marina, brushing one plastic channel buoy I did not see and running aground 5 times. I did not realise access is very limited at low tide. Finally tying up at 12.40 am. I was very tired and went straight to bed.

Today I decided I needed a rest day, also the wind was forecast as west to south west force 6. No point hitting your head against a brick wall when you don't need to. A fried breakfast in the marina restuarant was a treat, followed by a fairly lazy day except for a couple of urgent repairs (see Concerto thread). Up early tomorrow and when at the Lizard I intend to head north as it is a westerly forecast, becoming north westerly later. Then I will decide whether to go to Newlyn or straight to the Scillies.

Another update when I have wifi.
Roger
Concerto Fulmar FR38
Photos at http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/Conce ... 2/library/

TyroSailor
Posts: 630
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 6:48 pm
Anti Spam measure: No
AntiSpam Text: Westerly

Re: Sailing from Chatham to the Isles of Scilly and back

Post by TyroSailor » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:41 pm

That's splendid progress, Roger: well done :-)

I'm in Cowes, hoping tomorrow morning's wind will ease enough (from today's 5 - 7) to get to Ryde for the Southern Area Rally. Had hoped to go this evening but people were reporting gusts of 30kn, and I didn't fancy that on my own in a 26' boat!

Good sailing and fair winds!
Experience: That which would have been most useful five minutes before you acquired it.

Steve
Tyro (Centaur 1361)
at Southampton

User avatar
philipstevens
Posts: 1024
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 5:10 pm
Anti Spam measure: Yes
AntiSpam Text: Westerly
Location: Home Nr. Saint Ives, Cornwall.

Re: Sailing from Chatham to the Isles of Scilly and back

Post by philipstevens » Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:30 am

Roger,
if you come into Penzance, give me a call (PM me), and I can let you have a list of Scillies waypoints - my own list and a Scillonian III list.
regards,
Philip.
Moderator and Admin.

Previous owner of Konsort Duo, Oyster, KD22

Join the WOA - only £15 per year (UK) http://www.westerly-owners.co.uk/ab_join.php

http://www.marketmechina.com/ & http://www.celticwebdesign.net

Jolly Roger
Posts: 1005
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:08 pm
Anti Spam measure: No
AntiSpam Text: Westerly
Location: Kent, UK

Re: Sailing from Chatham to the Isles of Scilly and back

Post by Jolly Roger » Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:20 pm

Finally got some reliable wifi.

Well after leaving Falmouth at 8 am I headed for the Lizard and then tacked inshore and ended up off Mousehole by 1.30 as the tide had been very kind. So I decided it was worth continuing on to the Scillies. The wind was not kind as it was a beat with reefed main and genoa. The rolling waves meant a tight windward course was not possible again, but I was going for a fast boat speed to rise over the waves. A lot of the time I was battling a spring tide in the same direction as the wind, so progress was slow. Eventually I saw the islands in the distance and thats where they seemed to stay for hours. The sunset was quite good and as the light faded the islands were still 10 miles to windward. As I felt my way to the coast, the tide became southerly at over 2 knots, so I remained up tide and let it push me in the direction I wanted. Finally as I approached Peninnis Head I was not too far off Carrickstarne rocks as I could make them out, so turned to enter St Mary's Sound. The wind direction suggested that mooring in the main harbour might be uncomfortable, so I headed for Porth Cressa. What fun entering here was at night, with no lit buoys again! As I saw some yachts ahead I gently eased toward them and saw empty mooring buoys. Having prepared for anchoring and mooring to a buoy, the buoy seemed easier to pick up. Moored at 11.50, absolutely shattered. Well Sheerness to Isles of Scilly in 6 days including a rest day, not bad at all but not something I would recommend to most cruising sailors.

Sunday ashore in Hugh Town was very quiet, but I found a pub that did a nice roast carvery. I think I earned it. It also gave me a chance to recharge my laptop, but alas no wifi. There was supposed to be wifi on the moorings, but that kept dropping out. It was a lovely inlet, but you could roll a lot at high tide. On Monday I went ashore for a shower and a quick look around some of the shops. Then I took the scenic route to the north west to enter New Grimsby Sound between Bryher and Tresco.The direct route was not possible as it was low tide. I picked up a mooring and took the dinghy over to Bryher. Came back with some fresh crab for a salad onboard. Today has been very damp, but I thought it cannot last too long as the BBC forecast said dry in the morning. So over to Tresco to the gardens, well it is now 2pm and just stopped raining. The gardens are lovely with plenty of people looking round. So I am sitting in the cafe charging my laptop and using their wifi. Tomorrow I am heading for St Hellen's Pool for a peaceful day doing some jobs.

I have found the biggest problem is keeping the laptop and phone charged, so I will be organising an inverter to use the main ship batteries.
Roger
Concerto Fulmar FR38
Photos at http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/Conce ... 2/library/

Jolly Roger
Posts: 1005
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:08 pm
Anti Spam measure: No
AntiSpam Text: Westerly
Location: Kent, UK

Re: Sailing from Chatham to the Isles of Scilly and back

Post by Jolly Roger » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:17 pm

Wifi at last!

After leaving Tresco Gardens to walk back to the boat, it started to rain. Then the tide was out so I had to pull the dinghy down the beach a long way. So when I finally got onboard I was less inclined to move. By the time I had cooked a meal and had a little bit of wine, I could not be bothered to move even though the rain had stopped. Checking the weather on XC Weather for Thursday and Friday, well up to 45 knots was forecast for Friday. That night the wind changed direction and made New Grimsby Sound quite rough, so much so it woke me at 3 am! By 7 I had had enough and followed most of the other boats and left. I took the sceneic route to The Cove, between St Agnes and Gugh. Tranquility returned, but due to the lack of sleep I fell asleep for most of the morning. So ended up having a lazy day, I could not be bothered to go ashore. Early evening I got the dinghy on deck and packed it away when it was dry.

With such a poor forecast I decided to leave the Isles of Scilly on Thursday morning. Up at 5.30 and a quick breakfast, it was time to lift the anchor, despite the light rain. The wind was quite strong and the anchor winch kept jamming due to the encrustation on the chain. I finally lifted the anchor at 6.40 to find a mass of kelp over the CQR. Once cleared using a boat hook, I headed out to set the mainsail and decided on a double reef, and the same for the genoa. That was the right choice as there were 24 - 26 knots over the deck. It was a fast sail as the wind was from the north west, but later moved almost northerly. By 13.20 I had the Lizard abeam. I had planned to go to Plymouth, with Falmouth as a possible early destination if the weather turned worse. Well Falmouth was a beat, so impossible to reach easily. Plymouth was going to be close hauled, so I decided to go to Salcombe as it was only 10 degrees higher then the course from the Isles of Scilly. It made this a 90 mile journey, but the log never dropped below 6.5 knots and was mainly in the 7 to 7½ range. I arrived just before the harbour team finished at 11, they said there was a space on the visitor pontoon or I could use C pontoon or pick up a buoy near the fuel barge. Well I checked the visitor pontoon, and the space was just long enough. The first attempt I decided was wrong so went round again. Second attempt, in I went. Gently nudged into the space which was only about 10 ft longer than Concerto, I did not even use reverse! I felt so pleased at the tight mooring and done when it was dark, but there was no one watching (as usual). The boat astern then decided to turn his deck flood light on, which made tidying up the boat easier, but he left it on all night! By the time I got up in the morning both boats either end had left so I could not take photos of how tight it was.

After a lazy day in Salcombe, I took the tide for a long sail to ..............Torquay. All of 25 miles. Even then the wind dropped and I had to motor some of the way. Could not believe I arrived in daylight, or should I say by 13.30! A big moan that the wifi in the marina office would not connect and on the boat I could not get a signal. I "enjoyed" the delights of Torquay, but not my choice despite having been born there.

Today I left for Poole. All 70 miles, so departed at 7.00. The wind was light, so it was sail assisted motoring until near Portland Bill - boring. Then the wind increased slightly and I could sail without the engine. Yipee. However my speed dropped by ¾ of a knot, so I considered the spinnaker. I thought about it, then rigged ready to launch, but I decided to wait to see if the wind was going to hold. A quarter of an hour later the decision was made, up spinnaker. The boat speed increased to more than when I had been motoring. Passing Porland Bill was fun as I went through the race and the foredeck got wet, but I was making 9.7 knots over the ground! I held the same gybe until Anvil point, then I had to gybe to head for Poole. The gybe did not go quite to plan, the spinnaked decided to start wrapping itself around the forestay as I had altered course too much. Soon sorted and found the wind was no longer 30 degrees off the stern but just 30 degrees behind the beam. BUT the windspeed increased from 10 knots up to 14 to 16 knots, with one gust of 18 knots. Not really suitable for a singlehander, but I was enjoying the sail. I had been doing 6.5 knots but now it was 7 knots plus, with one gust I reached just over 8 knots. I was eating up the miles. One slightly smaller boat who had been a dot on the horizon was passed and soon I was competing with a Mystery 35 and doing well against such a quick boat with a crew of 2.When they dropped their sails I dropped the spinnaker behind the main and into the cockpit, and kept it dry! So out rolled the genoa on a beam reach, but I was at the limit for full canvas with 18 to 20 knots on a close reach. So charging along whilst I cleared up the mess of ropes and repacked the spinnaker, the Mystery 35 just dropped astern, well and truly Concertoed. Dropping the main did not slow her down much, but once tidied, I furled the genoa and entered Poole harbour under engine. Heading for Cobbs Quay marina as I am a MDL berth holder, so free berthing. I just missed the 6.30 bridge opening and had to wait an hour. I am here because I need to see Kemps, the sailmakers, about a slight hook on the genoa I had made by them last year.
EDIT I Sent photos of the hook on the leech and they came back and said this was within normal limits as the sail is single thickness, but the leech on a furling genoa is 6 thicknesses of sailcloth. The alternative is to have a hollowed leech with less drive. Surprisingly some sailmakers only have 4 thickness of material as the leechline is built into the sacraficial strip. This makes it cheaper to manufacture, but more expensive to replace the sacrificial strip. Two of the main culprits are Elvstrom and Crusader, so be warned to check when ordering sails.

Not sure exactly what I am doing for the next few days, but I have to go to Portsmouth to pick something up and might be meeting Steve (TyroSailor). The only firm thing is I must be back in Chatham by next Monday.

For those of you wanting some photos/videos. Once home I will be making a short film, which I hope you will enjoy. Lots of photos and videos need editing, but with limited power for my laptop, I could not do this as I whilst on holiday.
Last edited by Jolly Roger on Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Roger
Concerto Fulmar FR38
Photos at http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/Conce ... 2/library/

TyroSailor
Posts: 630
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 6:48 pm
Anti Spam measure: No
AntiSpam Text: Westerly

Re: Sailing from Chatham to the Isles of Scilly and back

Post by TyroSailor » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:49 pm

Sounds like you've had some exciting sailing, Roger. I'm amazed that you manage to fly the spinnaker single-handed. I can just about manage the white sails. But then I suppose you have more experience, and a bigger, more stable boat!

I'm aiming to be in Tyro (Southampton) from Wednesday afternoon and could sail Thursday to meet you in Hamble (or possibly Beaulieu or elsewhere) that afternoon/evening. I've also invited Hillary to join me on board, or in his own Centaur, Moonshine, but I suspect he'll have to work.
Experience: That which would have been most useful five minutes before you acquired it.

Steve
Tyro (Centaur 1361)
at Southampton

Jolly Roger
Posts: 1005
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:08 pm
Anti Spam measure: No
AntiSpam Text: Westerly
Location: Kent, UK

Re: Sailing from Chatham to the Isles of Scilly and back

Post by Jolly Roger » Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:52 pm

Left Cobbs Quay yesterday mid morning. Had a delightful sail within the harbour, but as soon as I passed the chain ferry the wind evaporated. Back to motoring, but after an hour and a half the wind filled in from the south and I had a lovely beam reach. At times I reached 7 knots, so very enjoyable. However once I reached Hurst Point, the wind dropped and it was a dead run into the Solent but with the tide with me. At this time I still had not decided where to go, and thinking of all the places I could go, I ended up deciding on Port Hamble Marina for the chandlers and close proximity of some shops.

What a busy marina filled with lots of new boats. Many of them are either flexi sail or chartered. There were plenty of people working on the boats from checking them and cleaning them, but other boats had different people on them the following day. This morning 15, yes 15, 37 footers departed for some racing. Each had a skipper and crew of 7 hoorah henries. The attire was shorts, t shirts, baseball caps and sunglasses. Laughter, clapping and selfies seemed to be the order of the day. They certainly were a type of sailor I never seem to meet. I did not see them return, but they should have had a good time "sailing".

Now I am moored in Gun Wharf Marina in Portsmouth, after motoring all the wa. I need to go to HMS Warrior to collect an antiquarian book on ship design I lent them last year which included a set of plans of the Warrior that they had never seen. All the restoration was made using sketches by a midshipman, and there were some significant differences compared to the plans. They should have copied them for display on the ship.

At lunchtime tomorrow I have planned to meet Steve (TyroSailor) in Stokes Bay. I shall anchor about 1pm close to Gilkicker Point and he will moor alongside. If there are any other owners who wish to join us, you will be most welcome. Not quite sure where I will be going after that as I am meeting another sailor from Chatham that evening. He will be leaving Eastbourne that morning and he has not yet told me where he will moor.
Roger
Concerto Fulmar FR38
Photos at http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/Conce ... 2/library/

Jolly Roger
Posts: 1005
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:08 pm
Anti Spam measure: No
AntiSpam Text: Westerly
Location: Kent, UK

Re: Sailing from Chatham to the Isles of Scilly and back

Post by Jolly Roger » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:19 pm

Well the meeting with Steve (TyroSailor) did not go completely to plan. The wind was SE and there was too much chop behind Gilkicker Point to anchor and my planned second meeting was cancelled. Steve had a later start than planned and the wind direction was not ideal coming down Southampton Water, so I suggested meeting at Cowes and staying overnight. Steve countered with a pontoon at the Folly Inn, further up the Medina. He had advised I should use the main channel into Cowes as the tide was dropping, but I thought there was still sufficient depth in the small boat channel. The echo sounder did drop to 1.2 metres under the keel, but being an East Coast sailor, that was plenty. Steve arrived first by about half an hour and I managed to then tie up directly astern of Tyro. I had never been up the Medina and what a delightful and peaceful place for a night. We had a lot to chat about and I helped him with some advice and assistance on Tyro. Later he came aboard Concerto and I prepared a fry up. The conversation revolved about boats and we both had an enjoyable time.

The following morning I was up at 5 and slipped quietly off the pontoon at 5.25. Surprisingly I was not alone with a number of boats were heading down river. There was no wind and it was warm, yet the decks were wet with dew. I was passed by a small boat with 3 men out for a day's fishing, one already had a can of lager in his hand. The procession of boats approached the chain ferry, but they were still loading, so no delay there. Turning into the small boat channel I could not believe the small fishing boat had decided it was an ideal place to stop to fish, they soon moved when they saw me coming. Now heading to the east, I still had not decided on whether I was going to Brighton or Eastbourne. By now there was a little breeze from the SW, so I raised the main to capture a little bit. Later on the wind increased to about 6 knots apparent, so I unfurled the genoa. The engine had been set at 1950 rpm and without sails this will push me along at 5¼ knots, but the sails meant this increased to 5¾ knots - so worth doing. Heading for the Looe Channel off Selsy Bill, were yachts from a number of Solent ports. Some of the larger boats were motoring fast and a few dropped behind. The tide was with us so the distance made was good. As I reached Boulder, there were 2 larger Dutch boats a short distance ahead and another larger boat just astern. The two ahead continued to pull ahead, but the boat astern seemed to slightly faster and gradually he motored passed with his mainsail up, yet another Dutch boat, so I just gave him a wave.

The wind increased slowly and eventually I turned the engine off, about off Littlehampton and started sailing. The other yachts were slowly pulling ahead, but I was not worried as the wind made my boat feel alive. As I approached the new wind farm off Hove,the last Dutch boat was about a mile ahead to my lee. The wind changed direction slightly and increased, so waiting to check how stable it was going to be, to see if I should set the spinnaker. It was stable, so I quickly rigged the spinnaker gear. The wind was still stable, so up spinnaker. Once properly set I was sailing at 6¼ knots, so a good speed boost. Then I realised the boat ahead to lee was getting closer and he had poled out his genoa. A race was now on, could my smaller boat sail past him or in other words - could he be Concertoed. Slowly the gap decreased and he started raising his course closer to mine. My autopilot was performing well with the small rolling sea from the starboard quater, not as good as hand steering, but very acceptable and meant I was ready to adjust the sails quickly when needed. As we closed I saw the other boat was being hand steered, so I took out my phone and started taking some photos and short videos. As I sailed through his lee, I asked him where he was going, Eastbourne was his reply. By this time I had already decided Eastbourne was my destination, so I called I would see him there and I will let you have the photos. He then brought out his phone and took some photos. The extra speed the spinnaker brought, soon made its mark as I headed eastward towards Beachy Head and he dropped far astern. When I arrived near the headland I had to gybe the spinnaker, but ended with a wrap around the forestay. Soon sorted, but the sea became very lumpy and disturbed. The speed dropped and the wind changed direction again forcing me to try and dead run to clear the point. Unfortunately the tide put clearing the point out of the question, so I gybed again but this time almost perfectly. Bringing the wind to 30 to 40 degrees off the starboard quarter saw the boat come alive agin and the sloppyness of the sea mattered less. Once clear of the point and another gybe, I was heading towards Soverign Harbour. The wind shifted and increased to 14 knots and 30 degrees behind the beam. The boat went woosh and the speed increased to over 7 knots and surfing down one wave with a gust I hit 7.9 knots. Eastbourne Pier was approaching fast, so it was time to start dropping the sails and preparing for mooring. Being prepared is always wise, but I could have held the spinnaker for another half a mile. By the time I had entered the entrance, the boat was completely tidy with all spinnaker gear stowed away, spinnaker packed, mainsail packed away, 8 fenders tied on and the mooring line prepared. The lock was open with 2 fishing boats to starboard and a yacht to port. Mooring astern of the yacht, then another fishng boat entered followed by my Dutch friend. So whilst waiting for the dock to close and rise, I chatted with the Dutchman. He had a very well maintained 20 year old Bavaria 36. He said his auto pilot could not handle the quartering sea, so he had to hand steer. He was surprised I was sailing with the auto pilot with a spinnaker, but he saw the results. He also wanted to set his spinnaker (he wanted to race me!) but his wife was unhappy for him to go on the fordeck if they had to gybe. Later we met on my boat and we exchanged photos, he was delighted and surpised I had taken so many and some videos and apologised he had only taken 3 photos. Who cares how many, my stock of photos of my boat sailing has increased from one to four - all of them under spinnaker.

The following day I left just after 11 and headed for Dover. Another day of sail assisted motoring, boring. Other than having a Belgium boat just astern for hours on end and being advised I was just inside the safety area of the Lydd army range, nothing at all worth commenting on. I had to wait outside the Western Entrance to Dover as a number of larger ship movements were taking place including a dredger exiting. Once inside I headed for the marina and opted for the outer tidal basin as I had missed the tide for the locked in basins. That evening I met a family friend who came aboard for a chat.

It was a quiet night until 6am, when the small motor boat alongside filled with eager noisy fishermen with their rods. Then a short while later the same happened on another nearby boat. There was no rush to catch the tide as the timings were probably the worst possible with high water Sheerness at 2.30. So I calculated I could take the tide from Dover to North Foreland, but I would have to punch the spring tide along the north Kent coast. It took ¾ hour from slipping the berth to finally exit the Eastern Entrance as I had to hold for a dredger to enter the Western Entrance. Listening on the VHF was interesting as 2 ferries wanted to leave and one enter as well, so a ferry left from each entrance and the incoming ferry was slowed slightly and passed close to one as it entered. Glad I missed that hold up. The sea was lumpy as normal off Dover, but was slightly glassy with little wind. As I rounded South Foreland a breeze started to fill in from the NE, so up mainsail. It was about 20 degrees off the starboard bow. It finally settled with a little bit more easterly to it, but I headed up wind as it made it more likely I could unfurl the genoa. Finally near Brake buoy, I freed off and set the genoa and the wind filled in so I could sail and turn the engine off. Hitting over 6 knots with the wind 50 degrees off the bow in bright sunshine was a lovely experience. The tide lifted me higher and slowly I freed off slightly more and the speed increased to nearly 7 knots. Ahead I saw a curling white wave, no not wash from a fast boat, but the meeting of the two tides. From now on I would have to punch the tide. Gently easing round North Foreland, I realised the wind would be coming astern so I could set the spinnaker again. When I had rigged everything and fixed the autopilot on the correct course for the Copperas Channel, the wind was now 30 degrees off the port quarter. So altered the spinnaker fittings from starboard gybe to port and up she went. The sunshine and warm wind made this a beautiful sailing day. I speculated whether I could hold the spinnaker all the way home up the Medway as the direction was perfect. Gently running at about 5½ to 6 knots I seemed to be making fast progress through the water, but the speed over the ground was only reading 4 knots. Who cares on such a lovely sailing day. The odd boat passed coming down on the tide, but I was alone heading west. Gradually the wind shifted further forward and by the Copperas Channel it was only just behind the beam, but then I could ease off 20 degrees for the Four Fathoms Channel off the Isle of Sheppy. The sailing was good and the sun slowly moved further ahead and started reflecting off the small wavelets. When halfway along the island I had to lift my course slightly for Sheerness, the wind was almost on the beam again. So I sailed as close as I dare and close to the Medway Channel I had to drop the spinnaker and close reach past Garrison Point, the entrance to the Medway. The distortion to the wind due to Sheerness meant I was close hauled heading for Grain Reach and slowly as the river turned I could ease the sheets. It became a story of tightening and easing the sheets as I progressed up river as the sun was starting a glorious sunset. What a bonus the wind remained southerly as the usual tacking up river was avoided.

This was a fitting end to a 3 week holiday in which I covered about 1000 miles. Other than steering the boat for berthing, 98% of the time the steering was done by autopilot. Just shows how a good autopilot is nearly as good as an extra crew member. I am glad I made the singlehanded trip to the Isles of Scilly as it is a difficult place to reach from my normal area of sailing, but I would not be in a rush to go back.

So where next year? I think the Channel Islands and the northern French Coast.
Roger
Concerto Fulmar FR38
Photos at http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/Conce ... 2/library/

Post Reply