|Dover to Falmouth|
Crossing the English channel is always
exiting. This is the busiest shipping lane in the world feeding and fueling
Europe. Our crossing turned out to offer more excitement than we bargained
for. Half way across the busy shipping lanes our motor putted out. There was
very little wind so sailing was painfully slow. After alarming our faithful
friends in Noravind (a 39ft cat) I set to work. The fuel filters where
dirty. After getting contaminated fuel (diesel bugs - fungi that actually
lives in fuel) we have had this problem a few times. This time I had
to chanage filters and bleed the engine 4 times in the choppy North Sea
before I got it right. But only to find out that we also where empty on
fuel...... Noravind managed to pass over a fuel tank with 20 liters
but to no use. When the tank is all the way empty all the water and dirt in
the fuel comes through the fuel lines. Diesel does not like dirt and you
have a problem. So for my 40 th. we got towed into Dover at 5 o'clock in the
morning only to spend the day taking the whole fuel system apart to clean
it. By the evening the engine was ready and we had some sort of birthday
party with Noravind. I was VERY tired!
I learned later that our fuel tank takes 100 liters less than what it is supposed to. A mystery yet to be solved. No wonder we where empty!
Dover Beach Birthday party
With renewed spirits we set sail for Brighton. Here we enjoyed a few days with good friends. Grahame and Glenda with their daughter Megan came down from London to see us for the day. They used to live in Norway before being re-located to London. It was lovely to see them again and learn about their new life. Giles a good old sailing friend flew down from Newcastle bringing a bottle of champagne and the latest yachting magasines. He stayed for two days and learning about our plans to maybe get a generator he bought us one! So when we arrived in Falmouth a few days later it was delivered to the boat. My face dropped to the ground!
Brighton was quite a nice place. The marina was not pretty but the services where good. Things like good clean showers and a functional laundry is of the outmost importance if we are to avoid becoming real old salts. Brighton itself had an eclectic international feeling about it. We went to the beach, the royal pavilion, the fun fair and the Lego shop. People of all shapes and sizes, occupations and orientation where to be seen.
Leaving Brighton the weather forecast promised us northerly winds. Perfect conditions for sailing west. It was a promise of flat seas and good sailing. Unfortunately it did not materialise so we ended up motoring against a building sea. For a while we where doing 2 knots banging into the waves. In the end we gave up and headed for Portsmouth for the night. Sailing (motoring) down the Solent past Isle of Wight the next morning was beautiful. This is a very attractive part of England. Green hills, white cliffs, beautiful buildings and gardens. Heading out through the Needles we had great sailing conditions for a while. Bright sunshine and 12 knots of breeze. This was made more memorable by the fact that I got to try out the Hydrovane wind steering for the first time. I adjusted the sails, locked the rudder and engaged the Hydrovane.... and it just worked! It silently steered the boat in the right direction without draining our battery or using our main steering system. Absolutely wonderful! Coconut sailed at 5 + knots taking care of herself as we headed west. The whole passage to Falmouth was very nice. Not much wind, but the only passage we have had so far that did end well. All the other ones have included some mechanical failure (read engine) or change in the weather (read bumpy ride). So we arrived very satisfied at Falmouth Marina.
Being in Falmouth feels very much like being at the end of something, or maybe rather at the beginning of something. This is where we leave northern Europe (we hope) to go south. Next stop from here would be Spain if we get a 4-5 day weather window. Right now sitting in Falmouth the weather is great, but the forecasters promise us "very rough" seas on Tuesday. Not the type of weather we are looking for. So we have to wait for it all to pass and then have a go at the bay of Biscay. While we wait we spend our time preparing the boats and experiencing Cornwall. Noravind is installing a SSB Radio (long distance HAM radio) and we are doing some rigging work as well as changing our fuel filter system. I got the dinghy and outboard repaired as well. The dinghy needed some patching up. Our outboard engine needed parts to convert it from wheel steering to tiller steering. But today it was ready and we took it for a spin up the river exploring. Quite fun and it is great to be mobile again. Our dinghy is very much our car on the water.
For some time Colin wanted to go swimming and having located a indoor fun pool we all set off with rented cars to enjoy some weekend fun. We headed north to Newquay. A UK surf spot. Lots of young people come here to surf and enjoy each others company. We headed for the pool and afterwards enjoyed lunch at an outside cafe on the beach. Arriving the tide was still out and the few boats in the harbour where all standing firmly on the ground. By the time we had been served our food they all where afloat. Amazing how fast it goes. 4 meters of tide also meant that we had to struggle to walk back the same way as we came. With the tide two seals arrived. They seemed very comfortable with people and let us up very close. I was convinced one of them where sick but it turned out that this was normal seal behaviour in these parts. There even was a sign warning people not to get to close as the seals could bite.
We also learned a lesson in Norwegian history today stopping at a pub/Inn called The Norway Inn. It turned out that ships from Drammen, small Norwegian town in the south east, came here carrying logs. This was in the beginning of the 19 th century and the logs where used for the mines. On the trip back the ships picked up clay. Going up the river from Falmouth towards Truro the ships stopped at The Norway Inn. Guess they got good food and beer like us.
Calling up Hurra, a Benetau 37 crewed by a family with three girls on board, we learn that they are about to leave Dover heading our way. Another Norwegian boat, Lille Blå, crewed by a family with two girls, are sailing in their company. So it looks like we will be four Norwegian boats in Falmouth soon. All fighting to get south to the sun.
Coconut news letters
This site was last updated 23-10-2005 14:37:40