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".

Friday, 31 July 2015

Falmouth Adventures: Day Two - heading downriver to Mylor

We waited. It rained. The wind blew at 20+kts, screaming in gusts down the channel from the east. Boats strained at moorings. Halyards shrieked on alloy masts.

my shelter for much of the morning, passing the time, reading, posting blogs, watching the world stream by

On Friday, things didn't abate until around 2pm. And then we made the dash. Under motor, Arwen chugged her way down past the King Harry Ferry. We hugged the western shores, down past the creeks. The wind did exactly what we had anticipated. It shifted around to the north west. A good call made!

We drifted a little off Loe Beach as the tide fell back. Would it be a good anchorage for the night? Could Arwen be beached there safely? Could we get off in the morning? With open land behind and winds predicted to continue from the north, I decided to move on. Down past the millionaires Row - Enormous houses with extensive gardens that ended in their own personal jetties. Manicured lawns, large ribs under cover on slipways.

The sea had turned grey, a slate grey with odd white tipped waves. Sheets of drizzle swept across Carrick Roads in grey walls as thick grey clouds scuttled past overhead. Turning into Restronguet Creek put us in to the wind and Pandora Inn really didn't seem that inviting. So we turned and moved on south towards Mylor.

A quick call on VHF confirmed space on the outside visitors pontoons at Mylor Yacht Haven. Yes they did have a shower block; yes it was a sheltered mooring from northerly winds; yes a scraggly looking little 14'6' day sailing dinghy with a soaked forlorn looking skipper would be most welcome!

outside pontoon - facing into the winds - perfect

And so I wussed out! We motored alongside and tied up behind a large blue hulled cruiser of some 30' length. It would provide plenty of windbreak during the night. Fore and aft mooring lines held Arwen firmly against the pontoon, aided by bow and stern springs. The boom crutch went up; Sails were furled and tied neatly and the white tarp tent was stretched out and clipped in place. Boat towels came out to wipe down thwarts and mop the floors. The rain started to ease and the wind blew through from bow to stern to provide a drying breeze.

With sleeping kit laid out and tent secure, it was time to explore Mylor Marina. What was needed was tea - lashings of it - big pots......chips would be a bonus too. Warmth and space to write up passage notes and observations; post brief blogger messages via mobile phone.

From my window seat I could see Arwen bobbing in the breezes, her courtesy flags streaming. Occasionally sailors in their red jackets would stop to briefly peruse the white tarp tent......."who is that idiot? He's sleeping in that?"  It was etched on their faces....disbelief! I'm pretty sure it was etched on mine too!

Some chart work - what should we do tomorrow? The forecast for Sunday was grim, worse that the last two days. The plan was to sail across to Helford tomorrow and return on Sunday. Tomorrow would be nice weather....but that return to be back on Mylor Creek slip for 2pm on Sunday would be rough - straight in to a wind 20kts+ and torrential rain from the north!  If I was to end tomorrow then I would need to haul out around 1.15 at latest; after that the tide would have fallen too much at the slipway and I would be committed to waiting until 2pm Sunday. Perhaps I could sail up the Perceuil river tomorrow and find a sheltered overnight spot but that would mean sailing back across Carrick Roads on Sunday morning - it would be rough!
 Decisions, decisions. Lets see what tomorrow brings. Maybe Sunday's weather forecast would be better.

I spent an hour people watching. It is a favourite past time. Don't know why but I suspect it has something to do with being a teacher. We learn fast to read people, to pick up on emotions, movements and little nuanced expressions.
Sailors, walkers, day trippers came and went , seeking sanctuary from wind and rain. Different ages, different interests. Sailors - elderly single men, chestnut brown weathered faces, content to sit and stare out of the window. Rib owners, younger, noisier. Jovial, loud, types, back slappers and all bonhomie. Walkers, kitted out with best gear, quieter, poring over maps and guides. Marina business people poring over tablets and laptops. Career climbers, career focused - ignoring their children; sending emails, making mobile calls, organising and issuing commands from afar; their children left to play on their own tablets. A cross section of society all in one room sheltering from the British summer no change there then!

The foul weather clothing I'd strewn across various stools was drying nicely; the chef bought me another pot of tea with a huge smile and nod of understanding. My foul weather gear has really impressed me. I invested last year in a proper yachtie jacket - Gill - with high collar; neoprene cuffs; foldaway hood. It was bone dry on inside and had done its job well. My lightweight gortex berghaus overtrousers - well - they had performed magnificently as always. Much prefer them to heavy sallopettes.

I returned to Arwen as the rain died away and the evening sun began to break out. The pub across the way was serving pie and chips - sounded and smelt tempting. I was dry; pilotage plans for tomorrow sorted.

Now it was time to find a comfy table in the pub and treat myself one more time - pie and chips; roskilly ice cream, window seat (we welsh are so nosey....) and a good book .

Things were looking up. Definitely looking up! And, moored alongside the pontoon that night, when the winds howled and rigging clanged and shrieked, I missed it all! For I was dry, well fed and sound asleep!


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