Rosamund and I have at last set off on our trip from our home port in Lyme Regis to Scotland. We plan to do the trip in two stages with a stop off in Milford Haven and a week at home.
We set off from Lyme on Sunday 24th May after a fantastic effort to get Milo ready to sail by the local boat builder HJ Mears & Son, the local marine engineer Rob Perry Marine and of course the harbour masters Graham Foreshore and Mike Higgs who lifted her out and in again and left her on the pontoon for us to be ready to leave on any tide. Milo’s rudder had been damaged in the recent gales and emergency repairs were necessary just before we left.
What I like about sailing, apart from the usual challenges of weather navigation, tides and current, is the unexpected. After some quite tedious motor sailing against the wind to first get to Salcombe, then Falmouth and then Newlyn, we look a bus and train to St Ives as it was too windy to sail. We discovered the Barbara Hepworth museum there which was an absolute gem – set up in the house that she had lived in, it was like a time-warp from the 1970’s – everything had been left as it was in her workshop the day she died – her tools and the sculpting she had been working on. Very inspiring – I must try some woodcarving when I return from our Scotland trip.
The next day we headed for Padstow with an ambitious plan of arriving by high tide at 4pm in order to get into the inner harbour. We had to get up by 3am and leave at 4am in order to achieve this and cover the 64nm involved. The winds were light (3 to 4) so we motor sailed the whole way, but then at 1:15pm – the unexpected happened – a whole school of Dolphins chose to adopt and play with us. I went to the pulpit and two were swimming literally underneath me one to the left and one to the right of the bow as if they were guiding us along. Ros and I then changed places and she occupied the pulpit sending FaceTime images to the grandchildren! There must have been about 12-15 in total – they would race, dive, surface, one baby one jumped clean out of the water – others criss-crossed the boat and each other. We had a thoroughly entertaining 45 minutes until 2pm when we reached our waypoint off Padstow – they seemed to be having such fun and I’m sure they could see us – some did victory rolls flashing their white bellies. They guided us well into Padstow. Ros was glued to the pulpit and when I came up behind her she said “who is sailing the boat?”, to which I replied “she’s sailing herself” (thank heaven for the Autohelm).
We are now safely moored against the Quay in Padstow inner harbour, having arrived earlier than expected at 3pm. We’ll have to wait here three days now for storms to pass.