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Scillies 1st August

Yacht Quintet
at Anchor
New Grimsby
Scilly Isles

1st August, 2005

<-Newlyn 31st July Waterford 5th August->

We woke fresh and without hangovers this morning. Moderation has its benefits. Mind you, had the music been better at the 'Dock' we'd have probably been rough again today.

Click for a larger imageIt was a nice morning, bright and breezy with the wind from just west of north as we motored out of Newlyn Harbour. We were clear of the harbour at 7.00 am and hoisting sails for the run down to the Runnel Stone which we had rounded by 8.30 and were heading for the Scillies. Soon after 9.00 am The Scillonian passed us on its morning schedule and all of the time the sky seemed full of buzzing helicopters.

We had decided to include the Scilly Isles in our itinerary as the wind seemed intent on blowing directly from Ireland precluding starting to the voyage to Erin for today at least. Staging at the Scillies would give us a new place to visit as neither of us had been there before and it would put us a few miles closer to Cork making the crossing of the Irish Sea a little less daunting. And the forecast looked, this morning as if we might be spending a few days in the Scilly Isles.

We romped along all morning and were past half way by noon, with a position of 50o00.1'N 5o42.2' and a distance run of approximately twenty one miles so we were hopeful of an early land fall but as we finished our sardines on toast for lunch the wind started to back and ease. By late afternoon we were reduced to a little more than three knots but we clung on, refusing to motor while we were still going in the right direction. And it was a beautiful afternoon, not hot but very pleasant compared with the previous week.

As phone signals returned I called the Harbour Master at Hugh Town, St Marys, and was informed that visitor moorings were available. He also provided the phone number for the Harbour Master at Tresco. When I called him, I was told that there were no moorings available but plenty of space to anchor. So we were headed for Tresco and the harbour of New Grimsby. Sounds lovely!

As we approached the shallows to the north of St Martins, the wind got really light and we drifted towards the rocks. Another yacht motored past to shoreward of us and headed seawards. As we got closer to the granite fangs of rock outlying St Helens and Tean, we debated whether to put the engine on but we took the traditional approach and tacked for deeper water. What a mistake! With wind this light and a fickle tide we tacked through almost 180 degrees, almost back on our course. But we struggled on and got past that set of rocks.

Click for a larger imageI was steering with Clive navigating and I had to have serious words with him at one stage. He was saying 'you can go fairly close to the rocks after the light house'. So I went close to the rocks after the lighthouse and it got very shallow.

When I pointed this out to Clive who was huddled over his chart, he looked out and screamed 'Not that bloody close and not before passing that other rock!' to which I had to reply that we need slightly more specific navigational information on which to base courses to steer when this close to the beach. Perhaps he could be more specific about 'how close' and 'how far past'. I know that I upset him because we arrived at our harbour and he nearly missed it. We were sailing straight past. Had I not asked him to check, we could still be heading for the Caribbean!

Click for a larger imageWe dropped sails and motored into the anchorage which was indeed quite full. All moorings bar one were occupied and the vacant one bore a 'reserved' sign. Yachts and motorboats were anchored all over and an Ovni yacht was even parked in the pond towards Bryher town. You can't get in there except near the top of the tide and only then with the sort of draught that an Ovni carries with the board up. But we saw a good spot, behind a small catamaran and a yacht and close to the Tresco shore, hopefully facilitating a visit to the pub later.

Could we get that bloody anchor to set? The bottom looked like sand but the way the anchor skidded across it I think it must have been one part cement. God it was hard.

After three attempts at setting the anchor in this perfect spot, we decided to move to a less attractive but vacant spot on the other side, the Bryher side of the bay. This time the hook went in and held. At last. It was nearly 9.00o'clock.

We had a beer and Clive decided he would cook simple eggs, bacon and beans as we were too knackered for anything more complex.

I have just come on deck for a quick smoke before dinner. And now I know why this spot was vacant. We're anchored over the power cable between Tresco and Bryher. Clive insists we're not but we certainly are. And we are staying here. I am not hauling that bloody anchor again tonight!

Lets hope that the lights in Bryher stay on tonight or Clive might be back in the electricity cable fault finding business again very soon.

Les Sutcliffe

<-Newlyn 31st July Waterford 5th August->