Our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in yesterday’s extreme weather.
In Teignmouth, we were on the edge of it.
Blue Mistress was snug, but the wind was blowing downriver and the incoming tide made for choppy water. In these conditions, there is a tendency for the boat to ride onto the mooring buoy. This has damaged the bow in the past. Padding the shackle and swivel has helped.
The two rows of moorings in the centre of the stream are swing moorings, the shallower moorings at the edge of the stream are fore-and-aft. The long keels of the Folksong and the Contessa 26 are holding the vessels more or less to the tide, whereas the three fin-keeled yachts beyond them are being swung by the wind.
The effect of the wind against the tide is more obvious here. The wind is pushing the two bigger yachts side on to the tide, hence the heeling. The gentleman aboard the far boat is waiting for it to float.
All the while, the bridge was whistling.
Images by Bill Whateley
I have been wondering about the term ‘master mariner’. An official definition is: “A Master Mariner is the professional qualification required for someone to serve as the Captain of a commercial vessel of any size, of any type, operating anywhere in the world.”
I’m not thinking of the official qualification, designed to satisfy a regulating authority, I’m thinking of what it takes to be a master mariner in sailing vessels like ‘Ceres’ and ‘Bessie Ellen’.
We spent a day in Fowey while the mainsail was repaired – an excellent repair by the sail loft at Toms Boatyard in Polruan, and returned to the Helford River the following day. The pub at Helford Passage was welcoming, the meal back on board the usual high standard, and the bunk . . . . well, I don’t remember.
This will be the last day of my first voyage on a trading ketch. I am comfortable with my place on the ship. I know where I stand. If I were to apply for a job, I wouldn’t employ me yet. But that’s ok, I know what I would have to do to get there.
The next day, the weather changes, the wind comes from slightly east of south. It is Force 4 when we leave Newlyn, although it rises to 5 later The rain sets in and visibility is poor. The sea is ‘moderate’.
It is 2300 on our second night at sea. The promised storm is two days away. It is a fine, star-lit night. We are keeping close to the Irish coast as the tide is more favourable here. The lights of Dublin are beginning to loom on the horizon ahead of us.
We had the tide through the North Channel and Beauforts Dyke. During the day we have seen the Mull of Kintyre, the Mull of Galloway, Belfast Lough and the entrance to Strangford Lough, as well as the Isle of Man. We are very approximately at the focal point between Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales and Cornwall I mentioned in the first of this series.
We join ‘Bessie Ellen’ after lunch. In the morning she came into Oban, rafted to VIC32
and took on fuel before going round to the pontoon to offload guests and prepare for new ones.
Loaded and instructed in safety measures, we leave the berth and the skipper pilots us out of Oban and down the Sound of Kerrera.
I have a chart in mind. It covers Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales and Cornwall.
I am on the Glasgow-Oban train preparing to sail from Oban on the northwest coast of Scotland to Fowey on the south coast of Cornwall aboard the Westcountry trading ketch ‘Bessie Ellen’. During a ten-day passage, we will see all five countries.
There was no wind as I motored into the Sound on Wednesday morning.
At Mullion Cove, with the wind from the south west, there was an opportunity to photograph swell – or, at least, to attempt to photograph swell. Trying to record waves at sea is nearly always disappointing – the vessel moves in tune with the waves. I have seen some amazing images from the Southern Ocean but they really need to be taken from outside the boat to truly reflect the situation.
I had pencilled-in today and tomorrow for a post-refit shake-down passage to Fowey and back – weather permitting.