Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.
Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".

Monday, 11 August 2014

Dinghy cruising up the River Lynher part three

"Stay close to the Ince buoy and the northern shoreline when passing Black Rock as there is a large mud/sank bank that dries out in mid channel. Deeper draft boats should not proceed past this point 2.5 hrs either side of low tide". I took heed of the RYA pilotage notes on the Lynher and kept close to the green starboard buoy off Black Rock; as did the larger draft boat ahead of me! I of course needn't have worried as much since Arwen only draws 8 inches when her centreboard is up, which it was!

From Ince Point to Black Rock and the Ince buoy had been a leisurely affair. Following the compass bearing of 238M from Anthony buoy had brought me past Ince Castle and a lovely hillside of arable land and Cornish hedgerows. trees lined the bank and in the bay just before Black Rock lay another Drascombe, cream hull and tan sails, riding at anchor no more than 6m offshore whilst its occupants played bat and ball on the gravel beach.....another little isolated sun trap beach. Beyond Black Rock lay the huge mouth of Tredown Lake, its mudflats still exposed; its creeks reed lined. Marshes fringed the upper creek area and wading birds went to and fro across the muds. Flocks of small terns drifted on the incoming tide; herons and white egrets stood motionless on one leg at the waters edge. The winds had shifted again; around to the north and so Arwen was on a close reach, her mainsail pulled in; her jib taut. to avoid crowding in on the boat 300m ahead I allowed the sails to spill air and we cruised along at a few knots aided by the incoming tide. On this point of sail, the mainsail was across the sun and provided welcome relief and shade from the heat and brightness. With Arwen practically sailing herself, albeit slowly, I was able to stretch my legs, stand and admire the views further afield than could be seen from a seated position. To the SW lay Wacker Lake, another muddy creek and mudflats but with a car park and a quay. Popular with SUP people (stand up paddle boarders to the uninitiated), there are one or two good clips of paddle boarders having fun at Wacker Lake on YouTube! one or two clips are aerial showing the great views and relief of the area.

Dandy Hole was clearly in sight. two yachts lay at anchor, well spaced so they could circle when the tide turned. Hugging close to the southern shore and steep tree lined slope, they were well protected and it was clear why the anchorage has such a great reputation. I had feared that it would be crowded, being the summer and with all the fine weather we have had, but two boats? That was a pleasant surprise and bonus.

Dandy Hole proved to be a delight. the sun shone off the water, deep and slow flowing. Arwen by now had turned head to the wind and it was clear there was insufficient tacking room up channel. her sails were dropped, tied and stored within her cockpit. Her mizzen lowered and tied off, her jib furled. Barely drifting in the current I was afforded great views of Redshank Point, a small beach backed by a flat grass bank, then salt marsh and mudflats. It had always been one of my proposed overnight mooring spots. Clearly it was popular for on its grassy bank, three pieces of 2" by 2' diameter scaffolding pipes had been driven into the bank to provide tie up points for mooring warps. we meandered over, passing around the stern of a delightful 18' wooden sail boat with cabin. An elegant craft she had come down channel from St Germans under jib alone.

The beach was stony not rocky. A mixture of mud, small stones and clumps of seaweed. It shelved steeply in only one or two places.  It would be sheltered on this occasion as overnight weather predictions were for light winds from the west and no rain. It was a 'definite possibility'. But the intention was to sail to St Germans and so under the lowest of throttles, Arwen's bow was turned up channel and we voyaged through the channel between Erth Hill and its neighbour on the western shore. Ever conscious of the pilotage advice and work I had put in beforehand, a close look out was kept for the green and white channel edge marking poles; and a close eye on the compass bearing 323M which I hoped would keep me mid channel in the deepest part.

Arriving 400m off from St Germans Quay it became clear that I didn't want a busy anchorage. Redshank Point was calling and so we turned and slipped back along the way we had come....the outboard coughing at its low throttle setting and then cutting out twice.......each time giving me heart palpitations for I knew it would be a tricky sail or a very long row back to QAB!

Ten metres off the beach, over went the Kedge anchor , out the back of the stern on the port side away from the outboard; Arwen gently drifted forward onto the beach with the gentlest of crunches on the shingle. I had chosen my spot carefully, clumps of seaweed, large patches of mud, few stones that I could see. Jumping off the foredeck into 8 inches of water I carried the mooring forward and round turn two half hitched her to the mooring pole. There was another hour to high tide. And so I explored the beach, chose the campfire point and collected the firewood, all the time keeping an eye on Arwen. She drifted around a little as the winds changed direction; and on several occasions I went down to check her. As the tide began to fall around 1600, I started what were several trips to her; each time pushing her down beach a wee bit more and adjusting the stern anchor warp. Eventually I was happy. She settled on a bed of seaweed and mud and came to rest. Arwen's first beaching and overnight stop.
of course, being paranoid, when the tide had fallen significantly more and exposed the anchor in the mud......I waded out, collected it, waded further out and threw it into the just cant have enough Kedge anchor warp out in deep water can you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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