Morecambe to Falmouth
Day 1 - Tuesday 16th May 2017, Travelling to Mylor Yacht Harbour
Deirdre dropped me off at Morecambe station in time for the 0823 train to Lancaster. I bought a coffee & waited for the crowded 0857 southbound to Crewe. It felt like a day off with no charts, pilot books or almanac to plan the voyage. So I settled in with my notebook to write a short story about the trip for our blog.
The skipper, his wife and crew Erni met me at Crewe for the onward leg to Falmouth by hire car. Their yacht is a Gunfleet 43 sloop and it's about to leave Mylor for a summer season sailing in Scotland. They've asked me to sail with them & provide some coaching during the passage.
In the car we talked about possible routes for the trip. Should we sail up the west coast of Wales or the east coast of Ireland? The choice would depend upon the weather, so forecasts for the next few days would be important. The skipper favoured XC Weather whilst Erni used Meteo Weather. It's strictly a personal choice based on ease of use and graphics, as most of these internet weather sites are using the same 'GFS' weather computer model. Magic Seaweed, Windguru, Windfinder and Passage Weather are other sites favoured by our clients.
The Met Office surface pressure charts showed the UK between two highs and two lows, what meteorologists call a Col. This would bring light and variable winds. Due to the uncertainty of a weak high pressure and a not so deep low on this chart, my concern was that this forecast may not hold. There were two cold fronts marching across the UK, from NW to SE and we were certainly in the warm sector ahead of them. Rainy, drizzly, misty dreich sort of day with poor visibility. The passing of the cold fronts would bring showers overnight and through the following morning, becoming dry and bright in the afternoon. Would that be a good time to set off? We'd have to look at the tides and pilot book to find the best time to round the Lizard.
Should we go to Newlyn for the night, it would be a closer, but when was the best time to round Lands End? Should we head for Padstow before going up to Milford Haven? Newlyn is a fishing harbour, do they have room for us? Padstow has a cill, when can we get in and what is the latest time we must leave? Would we make it in time after rounding Lands End? It was obvious we had some work to do once we reached the yacht at Mylor.
The car journey passed in a flash, thanks to Erni, a very interesting octogenarian who'd fished and sailed around Scottish waters for many years. As an artist, he'd travelled throughout Scotland looking for stunning views to paint. We shared our experiences of beautiful anchorages and remote places.
What, Mylor already? Time to get out of the car and stretch our legs. We stowed the gear and food and got to know about the domestic arrangements onboard. The heads have an electric flush and unusually, use fresh water. A pee requires a little flush but the big flush button is for big jobs! And it will need two or three flushes to clear the pipes. Gas is turned on via two solenoid valves, but the electric circuits have to be switched on through a computer screen that controls and monitors all the circuits onboard, including batteries, fuel and water.
The skipper gave us a safety brief before we headed off to Castaways restaurant for dinner.
I sat up for a while after the others turned in, writing notes and catching up with business emails whilst I still had WiFi.
Check back on our blog for the next chapter, coming soon!