Everything is OK

June 18, 2015 at 10:21 pm

After storming round the Lizard, anchoring at St Agnes in Scilly for a 4 hour nap, being becalmed overnight and then a 36 hour upwind slog across the Celtic Sea I closed the Cork coast yesterday evening sadly 35 miles downwind of my hoped for approach to Fastnet Rock.

I had a problem with my main set vhf, my handheld vhf battery had died, I was in very poor visibility in f5/6 with a 2m sea and had had a near miss with fishing boat with his AIS turned off so was on high alert. I also suspected I had a rope around the prop (which I did) and didn’t want to start the engine.

But I was sailing in to Kinsale off the wind under jib only, and intended to anchor there and in calm water lift the outboard and check the prop and rudder.

However, in these challenging conditions and with fatigue I pressed the wrong button on the Spot tracker as I prepared for my aproach. I was meant to send “Somethings amiss. Diverting to nearest port. Don’t worry” as I was heading for Kinsale but instead pressed the button that sent “I need help, please call the coastguard” to my mother who duly did what we had prepared.

As we closed the coast my phone signal came back in and out and I had persistent phonecalls from an 066 country code. When the signal  eventually had enough strength to connect, it was the coastguard and I was horrified to discover both the lifeboat and helicopter had been launched, to which I was oblivious as I had no radio watch.

I gave my current position and within 5 minutes I had the SAR helicopter overhead and a Trent class alongside.

Of course, it was clear they couldn’t leave me there in fog with no vhf and I was taken under tow and brought 13 miles to Courtmacsherry and brought alongside to the flash of photographers.

The local news reported a few inaccuracies, but there’s a photo. See it here: http://www.thejournal.ie/rnli-rescue-woman-off-cork-2168573-Jun2015/

There’s clearly alot to think about here, but apologies to everyone who saw the spot message.

It goes without saying I am of course extremely greatful to the coastguards at Falmouth and Valentia and the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat crew and the speed of response was both stunning and heartening.

And sorry mum.

Had an amazing few days, and keen to set off again. Hoping to get to Baltimore very, very soon.

Jester Baltimore Challenge 2015

June 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm


It’s a hive of last minute preparations up here at the Tamar River Sailing Club.  I’m very nearly ready, just some final stowing to do, make some sandwiches and I’m doing to do some mince and cabbage in the pressure cooker later this evening too.

The weather is looking excellent, just have to make it round the Lizard before the tide turns foul at 0130 on Monday. If I don’t make it I will anchor in the Helford to wait.

I didn’t sleep very well at all last night, not enough red wine I think… Though it was more excitement than nerves. To be honest I just want to be off now!

Anyway, I’m going to try for a little nap now… And tomorrow you can follow my track here:  http://littleyachtduet.com/where-am-i/ Though don’t worry if I ‘disappear’. Apparently it can be a bit flakey :-/

But what do you do out there on your own?

June 9, 2015 at 4:17 pm

I fairly regularly get asked what I do out there on my own. “Don’t you get bored or lonely?”

Er, not really… Not often.


This was on Sunday morning, about 8am, about 15 miles south of Start Point. I’d left Plymouth at 1400 the previous day, headed South for 25 miles miles, then turned left for 25 miles and here I’d just turned North to head for Dartmouth (also 25 miles) and was using the engine to clear some shipping.

The weather was a bit gnarly leaving Plymouth, beating into a top end f5 with a big SW swell, but it eased and we turned east off the wind by nightfal…  And then by morning the wind had dropped right away.

Was good to test the new stuff. Bernard was brilliant, and the new AIS was money well spent I think.

However, the engine was a concern . The swell was lifting the engine, including the teak wedge it’s mounted on, up out of the lazarette locker. I thought it was going to come loose! A bit concerning at 6 kts and 30 degrees! I think I’ve figured out a way of fixing this though, and there’s still time.

I forgot to shut the sink seacock and had a bit of a panic when I saw the water overflowing onto the floor. Then I couldn’t find the bilge pump handle, then when I did I realised it should probably have a lanyard, like I’ve put on the washboards. And I should probably carry a spare…

I didn’t close the air vent on the fuel tank either, and I think some moisture got in the tank, as coming into Dartmouth the outboard was running really ragged and wouldn’t idle. Managed to get her on the pontoon ok, and fresh petrol has sorted it.

Got in at 1300. 85 miles covered and 23 hours at sea.

Really useful experience.

Tried the egg timer thing but couldn’t sleep. There was too much shipping.


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