Annabel Sailing Diary

2015 Diary A sailing family year


Here I am Christmas eve M is still in bed, deciding to put down some thoughts about 2015.

My immediate thoughts are you really cannot predict the future.

January saw us in Spain and Portugal with the camper van until March, visiting some places for a second time. It’s similar to sailing there are only so many places of refuge (campsites or marinas). Also you bump into the same people again each year, small world we say but it’s just they have the same mind set and are able to enjoy travelling. Our return ferry had an unpredicted delay as the Brittany Ferries ship broke down and the replacement one took an extra day to arrive. Brittany Ferries did an automatic rebook if you caught their SMS phone message Ok. The return crossing of the Bay from Bilbao was very rough until we had crossed the shelf to deeper water.

Relaunching our boat was smoother this year, no mast to refit only antifoul to put on and new anodes. I am going to prop the boat up higher next year, working under two shallow keels is a struggle, there are never any perfect answers. During winter maintenance I had replaced a gasket to correct a large oil leak from the engine’s front gear case. That would not be the last of boat repairs, we had a mast sheeve box fail and the engine coolant circulating pump bearing failed and no, you can’t just press the shaft out and replace, it’s buy a whole new unit, expensive!

This year we have been allocated a deeper mooring in the local Crockerne Pill. One of our mooring buoys was sinking so a new one with more air in it was required.

Easter saw us taking the Portishead Cruising Club trip to Gloucester through the canal from Sharpness.

Later in mid-April ‘M’ had her first foot operation, both feet were successfully completed by Christmas 2015. Five stars for the NHS. The Pill singing ladies a cappella group had a good year with regular practice on a Monday evening and some gigs at local events.

With the boat we entered some club races including the Plate Race also the main open event of the racing season ‘The Holms race’. It was rough and windy again and the additional crew got ill. We were unable to put 100% into winning and finished 20th, halfway down the fleet of finishers. There were some accidents during the race one boat lost his mast due to rig fixing failure.

The summer holiday cruise sailing was not extensive, the pontoon at Padstow very addictive, stern on to a pontoon with electricity; positively magnetic but we now have bus passes which work in England (not Wales) and were used extensively in Cornwall.

Some members of the Club escaped the clutches of the Bristol Channel but not many this year, for various reasons. The weather was the main one but age combined with sickness another (two of the boats next to us in Padstow). Weather issues caused the rest of the younger sailors to opt out of a trip to the Scilly Isles and instead went across to Milford Haven, even that was a rough trip.

Our boat was collected by the Filer family who sailed it back from Padstow. We took the Campervan and did a tour of Cornwall visiting some English Heritage/National Trust places that we have not been to before.

This prompted us later to take the camper and our bicycles (on the new Thule cycle rack) to Devon. We cycled a disused rail track between the campsite (Bondu) and Lydford village.

We had considered an autumn cruise but poor weather changed our minds so we used the last of our 30 days in the Portishead Marina and craned out earlier than anticipated to get on with the work on our house (replacement windows and a new kitchen),  first one in the family for 30 years said our daughter.

Then late October our tenant in the bungalow died and we needed to do some cleaning and redecoration work. The ceilings in some rooms were brown with cigarette smoke. Externally the fascia boards also needed replacement, altogether weeks of work. By Christmas it was complete and a new tenant (plus dog) installed.

2016 Diary

Rod and Magaret Deacon sail Kindred Spirit II a Hunter Horizon 30

The plan A this year was to sail round Ireland clockwise. This rapidly became too large a project so after a week in Solva Pembrokshire looking for a weather window we sailed up the East coast of Ireland to Arklow followed closely by Sarapat who were in Milford Haven. The St Georges channel was rough until we cleared the islands off Wales, then the wind moved aft and it was only a question of not arriving in the dark, though really it was just paranoia, we easily made it and could have got into the river anyway. The pontoon had lots of space, the reserved notices are mostly just bluff, you park and in the morning a man appears, asks for money and points you to the showers.

Arklow is an ancient river port the river water is polluted but the small town now has a smart shopping mall a short walk away. We stayed for their Seabreeze festival. Music, marching pipe and drum bands and pig derby plus stalls selling food and craft work. Lots of people drinking but no trouble. To be continued.