Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cork To Scilly

Usually when we are cruising, we stop in a place, meet the locals, get the lay of the land, have an adventure or two, work on boat projects and then we're ready to go on to the next location.  Both Canada and Ireland left us wanting to explore where we were instead of moving on.  It was sad to start looking for a weather window for the 200nm passage to the UK.  Unfortunately, Ireland only allows US citizens to stay for 90 days, which would put us in the middle of winter.  We unsuccessfully tried to convince the Irish government to give us a long stay visa but our efforts were futile, so we were off to England.

We left Crosshaven on a beautiful Friday morning, against superstition (sailors believe it is bad luck to leave on a Friday).  Our plan was to see how timing played out when we were near the Isles of Scilly, about 40 miles south of Lands End, the southernmost tip of England.  If we could arrive in Falmouth in daylight, we would keep going past the Scilly's but if timing was off and we needed to either slow down or speed up to arrive during the day, and get the tide timed correctly, we would stop overnight at Hugh Town on St. Mary's, one of the Scilly Islands.

The wind was directly behind us which meant the two of us would need to pole out the jib and go wing-on-wing.  With the current behind us as well, and the wind over 25 knots, we were cruising.  At one point I saw 11.5 kts SOG (speed over ground).  Considering we usually average about 6kts, that was really fast for Terrapin!

By sunrise, we reached the traffic separation zones around the Isles of Scilly.  These are areas on the chart designated where there is so much traffic that cargo ships going in opposite directions are "spaced" - comparable to highway lanes on an interstate.  However, small, private boats, are only allowed to cross these zones at 90 degrees - images of the Atari game "Frogger" come to mind.  These lanes are very strict and managed closely.  Nevertheless, as we crossed the traffic separation zone it was clear we had gone too fast that in order to arrive at Falmouth in daylight, considering tides, we would have to slow the boat down quite a bit - or stop.  So, why not stop?

We emailed the harbor master in St Mary's who advised us that we were welcome to pick up a green mooring ball.  We navigated our way into the harbor, found the green buoy and realized that the shackle we would moor to was ON the ball.  With 7' of freeboard, it would be hard for me to reach - and don't ye know it was blowing 25 kts (o'carse it was).  No problem, I picked up a nylon line to temporarily secure the boat and then together Baxter and I moored the line properly once the dinghy was in the water.

Since this was our first arrival in the UK on the boat, we contacted Customs to report our entry and declare that "yes, we have a dog on board".  We answered the appropriate questions, provided the requested information and three phone calls later, we were cleared in to the UK.  We took the dinghy down and we were off to shore for a celebratory pint!
Quick pit stop for diesel before heading out
Goodbye Ireland - we will be back soon!
Beautiful day for a sail
These oil rigs in the middle of the Celtic Sea kinda look like the Tivo Guy.
Sunrises never get old.  The wonder of what the day will bring is captivating
Wing-on-Wing.  We take the Spinnaker pole (the big metal pole that is horizontal on the left) and lower the top of it down the mast and then attach the bottom of it to the clew (end of the sail).  That keeps the headsail from slamming as the wind is behind the boat.  Then we move the boom (the white metal horizontal piece on the right that holds the mainsail) and move it to the opposite side of the headsail so as not to block the wind from the headsail.  That way, both sails are filled by the wind from behind.  The hard part with two people is attaching the spinnaker pole to the headsail, but it's manageable.

Traffic Separation Scheme
Geographical orientation of Isles of Scilly to Cork and Falmouth
Kala doesn't care what else happens in the world except that she goes for a dinghy ride, and the faster the better.  First time dinghy has been off the deck since we left Newfoundland in July.
Securely attached to the mooring in St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

No comments:

Post a Comment