Archive for August, 2012

Earthquake hits Jan Mayen

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Beerenberg seen from Sumara 2011

Walking around the Rim of Beerenberg 2011



It looks like Jan Mayen has been hit by a very large 6.6 magnitude earthquake but no damage has been reported. I wonder if that makes Beerenberg closer to errupting (although Gudrun assures me Katla in Iceland is the next to blow – and it could be soon!).

Apparently is was very big, bigger than any they had experienced before but not enough to trigger a tsunami. The previous largest quake was in 2008 at 6.2 magnitude which was regarded as Norway’s biggest quake.

Beerenberg last errupted in 1985 on the north slope but with little lava. A large erruption happened in 1970 with lava flowing for three weeks and creating 4 sq km of new land. Any new erruption is likely to be a flank erruption on the north or north east side. An erruption from the central crater would be the worst case scenario and would cause a tremendous explosion and catastrophic consequences for everyone on the island.

This recent quake was still a fair way from the island in an area that is frequently hit by quakes.


Dartmouth to Weymouth

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

28th August 2012 Log 8773

We sat on the boat on Monday evening in Dartmouth wondering if the weather would improve. It was wet and squally, well very wet and squally. The forecast was poor, SW 4-5 but 5-7 later, although the grib files showed a good chance of a pleasant sail in mainly force 4 SW to S until at least 2100 GMT. We decided to get up at 0330 GMT to give the weather a final check and then set off in the dark. It all looked good when we woke so we donned our gear and thought how to extricate ourselves from a 27ft long mooring in a 26ft long boat with a running tide. With a big push we set off quietly down river with a fair tide beneath us. The sky was star lit and the sea relatively calm. We hoisted the main, stay and yankee and got underway. The wind was mainly behind us so we dropped the stay and poled out the Yankee to achieve the desired 4kn in order to catch the tide at Portland at 1500. It is always good to see dawn and after an our or so we were once again the only yacht to be enjoying the day. Actually quite a few yachts eventually took the opportunity to head east while they could and about five yachts overhauled us across Lyme Bay. Amazingly three of the yachts were under power, two with tightly hauled mainsails and one with no sail at all. If you are not sailing with a force four up your stern what exactly are you waiting for?!
Sadly no dolphins or whales but just a cracking good sail across the bay. We hoisted the genoa (which needed drying in anycase) and were making 5-6 kn for a good while. As we approached the Bill, bang on time, the wind picked up a bit so I unhanked the genoa and put the Yankee back up, this time without the pole as the wind had backed 20 degrees. I had decided to take the cautionary approach and go outside the race and the Shambles. With a good tide this was a good ploy as when we turned into Weymouth we once again had the wind on the beam and maintained 5 kn. I tucked away the mainsail 15 minutes before getting to the harbour mouth and continued under Yankee eventually arriving in perfect time for the 1800 LT bridge opening.

Log 8826

This morning it is raining very heavily and Terry rang to say he wouldn’t make our meet up for tea. I had forgotten Terry is no longer driving and the weather was hopeless for a long wait for a bus. We made up for it with a good long chat on the phone and he kindly offered to give the boat a good air while I leave it here for a couple of weeks.

Next week, of course, is the famous Cholsey Classics, where up to three highly tuned clinker 8ft dinghies compete for the reknowned Cholsey Cup.


Monday, August 27th, 2012

The approach to Dartmouth from the castle

Another appalling day of constant rain and strong winds so we decided to go for a walk out around the headland. We visited the very highly recommended Alf Resco cafe but it was packed with queues on the street so we had to give it a miss.


Dartmouth’s Alf Resco Cafe


We stopped off to look at the church en route to the castle with some fine stain glass.

Stain Glass in the Church near Dartmouth Castle

As it was still bucketing down we went to look around Dartmouth Castle  too (£4.80). A chain used to be rigged from here to stretch across the harbour mouth to prevent enemy ships entering the harbour. Then we pushed on around the cliff path to Little Dartmouth. A great two hour hill walk but a little muddy on this occassion. Once we returned to Dartmouth we treated ourselves to a massive cream tea in the Sloping Deck Cafe. It is our intention to sail in the morning when we are hoping for a short weather break so we bought some nosh and tried to get a river taxi back to Sumara. Alas they were not to be found. After a soaking wait of three quaters an hour the boat eventually arrived and dropped us off with a big wood cracking broadside ram! Just a little slower with the mooring would have been so much better. Oh well, better get ready for the early morning sail.

Plymouth to Dartmouth

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Julie and Paul in Dartmouth

26th August 2012 Log 8744 Approx. Distance 38nm

Grit caught the train back to London on Saturday morning and Gudrun was coming down in the evening.  It rained stair rods all day so I wasn’t missing out on anything. A few boaty jobs got done and then I donned full foul weather gear to meet Gudrun at the station. We had a meal in The Bridge restaurant in the marina which was good and had an early night. In the morning the rain had stopped and it was wall to wall sunshine. Amazingly, hardly any boats were stirring and we set off to the Plymouth breakwater without a yacht in sight. As usual my grib files looked good but the forecast was more threatening. We were heading for Salcombe originally but I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to get out if the weather closed in. So we sailed past Bolt Head with a pleasant F3 South wind by now accompanied by many other yachts. Start point was calm so we cut the corner through the tide rips. I took out the pole as we rounded up on a port tack for the entrance to Dartmouth. We dropped the main while there was plenty of sea room and continued under Yankee until the wind died in the shelter of the hills. It was about 1530 GMT. I radioed Dartnav on Channel 11 and the friendly staff allocated us a berth on a floating mid-stream pontoon. There are flukey currents in the Dart and we changed our approach to head east dispite the ebb tide. On springs this river can have quite a powerful stream. Once moored, Julie and Paul kayaked out to meet us. We showed them around the little ship and chatted about kayaking and life in general over a glass of wine in the cockpit. Later we mooched together around town and had a healthy meal in (I think) Taylors with some very vivid floral wallpaper. Later we parted, Gudrun and I got the River Taxi back to Sumara after a busy and very pleasant day. Log 8773

TR2 Theatre Royal Plymouth Workshops

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

The Very Impressive TR2 Workshops

TR2 Paint Frame

As we were in Plymouth Grit and I thought it would be really nice to visit the TR2 centre which is the impressive workshop base for the Theatre Royal Plymouth. We phoned Julie Perrin who is actually a freelance scenic artist who leases the large paint frame. TR2 was immediately very impressive, new, and on a grand scale. To cover the obviously high overheads of the centre, they take on outside contracts. The wardrobe department were working on a show in Copenhagen. Many of Cameron Mackintosh’s shows are built or part built here and the Theatre Royal often opens shows prior to them moving to the West End. Julie Perrin is one of the country’s most skillfull scenic artists and is kept very busy. Curently she is working on Mathew Bournes new Sleeping Beauty designed by Les Brotherston. This show will open in Plymouth prior to moving to Sadlers Wells. TR2 centre looks like a brilliant place to work with large spacious workshops and some really nice quality work. I was very impressed by the quality of a plywood cove piece built with great prescision. Well done to whoever had the vision to create this valuable asset to British technical theatre.

Falmouth to Plymouth

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Beautiful Lines!
A large ship manoeuvres amongst the yachts in Falmouth

Log 8710. Distance approximately 40nm.

Again the forecast was slightly uncertain. The shipping forecast said SW force 6-7 later but I could see no sign of it troubling our trip. The grib files showed light winds for at least 24 hours. So we decided to leave at 0645 GMT. Baro 1004. There wasn’t enough wind to sail to begin with but by 0900 we hoisted the mainsail and it began to fill. By 1000 we were gently sailing along on a calm sea with hazy sunshine. Soon the wind grew to to a nice southerly F3 and we were making 4 kn. The barometer is gently falling but by now we were rounding Rame Head ready for a goosewinged sail up to Plymouth. We decided to head for Plymouth because Grit needed to get back to work in London and Gudrun was to join the good ship. The train links are good from Plymouth although it was a shame to sail past the Fowey regatta week! We moored up in Plymouth Yacht Haven at 1733 GMT. Cost £48.00 for three nights – not too bad. Log 8744

Falmouth Art Gallery

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Rubbish photo of a fine painting. Best go along to see it for real.


This was a very pleasant suprise. A relatively small gallery but with some fine works interspersed with quirky working models with wind up handles. These acted as a great “eye rest” from viewing too many paintings. I particulary liked a painting by Sir Frank Brangwyn called Construction of South Pier Mevagissey. There were some good Henry Scott Tuke paintings too. Although much of the collection was rightly Cornish related there were also Matisse prints and some good Pre-Rafelite studies. A very worthwhile visit. Free too.


The weather was fine for most of the day so we went for a good long walk and ended up for lunch and a swim on Gylly Beach. The cafe here is first rate and well worth the walk from town.

Grits not going to like this! Garlic bread, yummy.

Gylly Beach Cafe

Aberystwyth towards Falmouth

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Aberystwyth showing Robin and Rosie waving us off despite Sumara still being moored in the harbour!

Jannicke in Aberystwyth

Log 8498 Distance approx 230nm
Grit and I arrived in Aber (as they call it) on Thursday 17th August to have a day preparing and provisioning before setting off towards Falmouth. We went to the Christopher Williams exhibition again where I was surprised to meet Jannicke (I’ll put up a nice picture of her later). In the morning we were greeted by Robin and Rosie who are best friends of Terry, who made Sumara. Robin said he had seen her as a log cut through as planks and he gave a hand casting the keel. We needed to catch the tide so unfortunately couldn’t spend long with them. Robin saw the Scottish Three Peaks sticker on the hull and said he had done the Tilman Three Peaks three times and I should try it! Mnnn, maybe.
We set off at high water-ish with a favourable tide. Robin and Rosie were at the pier head to wave us off. The forecast was a bit uncertain in terms of wind strength but for sure it would be a beat the whole way. Definitely SW or S winds between F3 and 6. We waved goodbye to Aber, a lovely town with plenty to do, and tacked off away from “The Patches” to get a long board down the coast before tacking again a few times to clear St Davids Head. It was spring tides and they run at 4 – 5 kts off St Davids so we were keen to give it a wide berth. We headed for a waypoint between the Smalls and the shipping lanes. The shipping lanes can be quite an obstruction to yachts adding considerable mileage and spoiling advantageous tacks. In this case a wind shift acted in our favour and we managed to slip past the south corner by using a little bit of engine to assist us as the wind had nearly failed.
Across the Bristol Channel the wind varied in strength but was never too strong, one reef was needed at one point but then the genoa was hoisted.

Grit en route to St Davids Head

I was up a lot whilst we sailed around St Davids so it was good to catch up on some snooze. We were making almost south in the SW breeze and after two days or so we reached a point on the coast near to St Ives.

Sailing Off St Ives

Here I hoped to pick up a sea breeze by staying inshore and also I also wanted to catch a reverse tide which proved elusive.We were going to try to use the favourable tide on Monday evening to round Lands End. We were making 4-5 kn SOG but very little boat speed. I was looking forward to easing the sheets after so much windward work but when we reached Longships to bear away we were stuffed by slack winds and needed to motor. The tide here runs strong, very strong. It shifted against us one hour before prediction and there was no twelve’s rule here. It pretty much stopped us dead at one point shifting sidewards in a fierce tide rip towards the rocks. The little Kubota 12 hp did some sterling work and eventually after a long unpleasant struggle we broke free. The wind returned and we romped towards Lizard picking up a favourable tide. Although we gave the headland three miles offing with this spring tide there was still a very confused sea.


Falmouth Marina

Soon Falmoth was in sight and we moored safely in the visitor marina at 1138 on Tuesday morning. Cost £21.00 per night. Fair price for spotless showers with piped Radio 2 (?)! Log 8710.

Olympic Traffic Restrictions

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Ha Ha Road Closed

Although I fully accept the need for certain traffic restrictions during the Olympics,

the thing that got my back up was the sheer pleasure the authorities took in making the road closures.

The Daddy Beast

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Race Number and Medal!


Grit and Me relax after the Race


Muddy Legs

In theory we were going sailing this weekend but a close study of the grib weather files was not encouraging. As I was still in a positioon to shunt my holiday by a week I decided it would be a good idea to let the deep depression pass and hope (naively maybe) for better weather the following week. That meant there was a weekend free. Something had to be done to fill it up. I thought a little run would be fun and a quick browse on Runners World website came up with –

£36 later Grit and I had signed up for a 14 mile trail race which needs little explanation. The Daddy Beast is the big nasty race which takes place as part of a series of races from The Scout Centre in Cranham. We, stupidly, did not realise that we could camp there and ended up camping about 15 miles away (in Folly Farm).

Next time we will definately camp at the Scout Centre which looked about perfect.
We arrived at 8.30 to book in because I had messed up the online booking as I normally do. The club racers were there with their matching singlets and logos. They looked pretty hardcore. I suppose there were only about thirty entrants so there wasn’t anywhere to hide. At the race breifing we were asked if we had any comments and a big clap of thunder roared above. We started, and the rain started too. What an amazing trail it was. Situated on the edge of the hilly Cotswolds we were running down muddy washed away paths, through corn fields, across meadows, in dark woods and just about every terrain you could imagine. There were steep and long 100m climbs and wonderful views. The trail was well marked, although it was still possible to run past a turning if you lost attention. Grit and I ran together at the back of the fleet but certainly not completely last. After three hours and about 16 minutes we finished to a lovely welcome with medals, goody bag and an ice cream. Highly enjoyable and I would love to do it again next year. Our time was pretty slow but it was longer than a half marathon, rumoured to be 14 miles looking down but a lot longer with the hills. A pretty tough race. I was happy with the result. No injuries.

The results have been released and we didn’t do too bad!