Setting forth – August 2015

Nearly ready to set off

My little adventure probably started on 11th August. That’s the date I was relaunched from Baltic Wharf Boatyard, Totnes. I was in good shape with lots of time, expertise and effort spent in smartening me up. (I noticed M had had a haircut too!) There was a cheery group of well-wishers for the River Dart trip down to Dartmouth.P1010007

A quick veggie supper in Dartmouth

And once in Dartmouth, friends from Exeter came aboard for a meal, while fine bright evening sunshine highlighted the pretty Kingswear shore. M and Nigel then sailed me east to the familiar waters of the Solent, IT expertise from Nigel enabling my AIS gadgetry to recognise me as Henrietta (this won’t mean much if you are not a boaty person, but matters to me).

Bob and Andrew with gannets behind (a long way away on the rock)

In Lymington Andrew A. came aboard. We then went west again to Weymouth and collected Bob H. Then on to Alderney, where I was anchored and the men were encouraged by Andrew to visit a gannet colony (A. seems very keen on gannets.) I think there’s a photo somewhere…

A shopping trip in Cherbourg

…then on to Cherbourg and back to Lymington, my waterline even higher with a load of bottles and French food on board. (Since a boat’s waterline is somewhat akin to your waistline, you can see why I am sometimes bothered!)

A farewell party
From the top of the cake

In Lymington, eleven humans (M’s friends and family) came aboard – a happy lively squash in the saloon. There was a special cake – thank you Lizz – with decoration that looked like me. It’s even got my name on it. (You can eat it, heaven forbid!)

Ashore for a spell

For four weeks from early July, I, Henrietta, sat ashore in Baltic Wharf Boatyard, a neighbourly and pleasant place on the edge of Totnes in Devon, with some expert boat people for wood work, engine work and other work. I have been prepared for a long time away. M went to his non-boat home (it’s made of brick and immobile) to tidy up and let it out for tenants. (His new home is aboard me and, as you know, I’m very mobile and made of GRP)

A lot happened during these weeks ashore. I officially became Henrietta, with new documents, new labels and new bits. My decks were cleaned and tidied. A layer or two of polish and lots of smart anti-fouling were applied. Engine serviced, electrical bits, a new solar panel, more handholds…….. You may not be interested in these details but they mean a lot to me, and boat owners know how long and pricey these lists can be!

Finally, I’ve been loaded with a mass of spare parts, tools, even more charts and books and clothes for M, and food and drink and……It makes a boat feel overweight…. though my figure is as fabulous as ever.

We know people who spend years getting ready for sailing adventures like ours, but skipper is a bit impatient, and he hasn’t spent much time pondering the details of what he plans to put me through. (Men can be like that). Anyway, we’re going to leave soon, and just see how we get on. If it doesn’t work out, we think we may be home for Christmas.

Ready for re-launch

Learning how it all works

From the launch in Plymouth in early June, there was a busy month with lots to learn. Rather than too much detail, I’ll post a few photos. We sailed to the Scilly Isles and up to the Solent, and across the Channel twice. Then we went up the River Dart to Totnes, and out of the water. Skipper and boat are getting to know one another.

Plymouth, before the sails are even on
Gentle sail to the Scilly Isles
Anchored off St Agnes, Scilly (all a bit busy in summer sun)
Anchored off Swanage
Brisk breeze to sail out of Alderney


Trying out Hydrovane – hands-free steering

The unreliable journal of a sailing voyage