Long Overdue Update
originally published on www.thegledaproject.com on 5th Sep 2014
Firstly, sorry for the delay in putting up a new post, mainly due to connectivity, well lack of. Since my last post I have been ‘up country’ for a couple of weeks to sort family issues, leaving Neil alone on the boat, in what turned out to be rubbish August weather and we have started sailing, meeting some deadlines and marking some milestones. I’ll fill you in on what we have been up to in this post and then add some others on the ‘flower shower’, ‘In the Night Sailing!’ and what Landgirl Afloat thinks of sailing so far.
While I was in Leamington I collected a wind generator for Gleda – wind power seems much more likely than sun sat on the River Tamar in Devon at the height of a UK Summer. You wouldn’t think so, but there you go; the good old British weather. When I got back to Weir Quay with a car full of stuff, including the jenny, Neil had motored Gleda down to the pontoon to pick me and my stuff up. It was the first time that I had been on her moving under her own power. Such a thrill. Weather that afternoon was poor so spent most of the time unpacking and putting stuff away.
Putting up the wind jenny the next day was exciting in a terrifying kind of way. You know the kind of way that you’d be happy not to have to experience again. Imagine, a heavy moving wind turbine on top of a long metal pole at the very back of the boat where there is nothing to hang on to above a tide running fast with waves and the wind trying desperately to start the thing spinning at warp speed. Then add someone (me) who has never used a drill, being responsible for pinning in place two legs that hold the pole in place knelt on a narrow plank whilst Neil tries to hold the heavy pole in place without it a) falling back on to the boat or b) falling into the river. After quite some time of heart stopping drama (trust me it was at the time), we now have a wind generator which has been put to great use.
The following day we headed into Plymouth for some final bits and pieces from the chandlery before we set off for Fowey. About 3pm Tuesday afternoon we set off down the Tamar towards Plymouth. We motored down on the tide and our first landmark was heading under the Tamar Bridge. More than once, in fact many times, Neil and I had been crossing the Tamar Bridge in a car saying that one day we would be on the water below – well we were. That night we anchored in Kingsand & Cawsand bay which was really pretty but a bit hard on the nerves through the night as every little sound had me wondering if we were dragging the anchor. We weren’t.
We then headed around the coast towards Fowey. Not much wind so not much sailing was done so we ended up motoring around. Next milestone was sailing pas the cliffs in Polperro where friends, Maria & Ian with my goddaughters, Rachael and Laurel, were on the cliffs to wave us past. After many holidays in Polperro again we had stood on land looking out to sea saying that one day …
We then headed into Fowey. Bearing in mind that this was Fowey Regatta week, the day before the Red Arrows were due to perform and is notoriously busy in the summer months anyway. As we headed in, there was a sailing dinghy race taking place across the river. Neil did brilliantly negotiating his way slowly through this mass of sail (little did he know it would be good practice for the week to come). Again, this was still only day 2 of sea trials and testing her steering capabilities and sails etc.
We had a great few days in Fowey, not least that there are shower and laundrette facilities. On the day of the Red Arrows, Maria, Ian, Rachael, Laurel and Maria’s brother Nick and family joined us on board to watch the Red Arrows. Not only a fantastic display but another milestone as 4 years previously we had seen the display from a rib on the water and had said how great it would be to watch from the deck of Gleda. Added to which I got to share the moment with my best friend too. We finished off our stay in Fowey by seeing the firework display at the end of Regatta week then headed across to Falmouth. The photo of me above is showing the joys of sailing in the UK in August!
We sailed to Falmouth. Neil seemed pleased although there was some tweaking he wanted to do. I made tea. Neil’s parents saw us sail into the Carrick Roads at Falmouth past Pendennis Castle which was another milestone for Neil as Falmouth is a special place for him and his sailing history. We spent a good few nights up the River Fal out of the way of the delightful August winds. Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep out of the way of the rain. We did however during this time anchor again in a creek, for one night only, the wind got up and Neil particularly had another disturbed night. We also did some more sailing in the Carrick Roads. Apparently better than our sail round and still some tweaking to be done. This was the week of the Tall Ships in Falmouth where they welcome over a dozen tall ships (it’s kind of in the name) along with thousands of visitors. It has to be said that seeing some of these ships on the horizon in full sail getting nearer was great. Mercedes, one of the ships came in to Falmouth flying a huge skull & crossbones and fired her cannon. Pendennis Castle fired back. It was just like Pirates of the Caribbean but without Jonny Depp (of course I have my own pirate).
Neil’s daughter Nicole joined us the morning of the Parade of Sail which is when all the tall ships parade from Falmouth harbour across the bay to a race starting line off the Helford River. We were moored in St Mawes harbour by this time, yet another milestone. We had spent a few short breaks at The Idle Rocks Hotel in St Mawes and again looked out …….
Getting to Falmouth for the Tall Ships was a deadline Neil had in the diary since they announced the date at least a couple of years ago. I have to say the Parade of Sail was fantastic. Not just to see the huge sails of the tall ships but the literally thousands of sails all around them as people headed on to the water for the best views (which was where we were). You could also see the thousands of spectators on the cliff tops watching. At one point we inadvertently found ourselves in amongst the tall ships sailing against them. Neil kept his nerve and managed to manoeuvre, under sail, through them despite the wind dropping and causing him near heart failure. That could of been a front pager – hand built catamaran takes out 100 year old historical ship. Actually more likely to be the other way round given the size of them.
The next day the 3 of us set off and sailed back to Fowey. We had a voucher for a free night in Sep/Oct and were planning to use it 1st Sep. Nicole left us that night and the next day was showers (not a flower shower) and laundry then Neil was talking about a sail at night ……
For now (Friday 5th Sept) we are back on the mooring in Weir Quay.