On the morning of Thursday, 10th July I woke to find a cold, uninviting grey scene. There were dark clouds scurrying to the southwest, but at least, that meant the wind was in the right direction for the next leg to Falmouth. We were underway at 0920 and by 1100 ‘Aziz’ was hurtling along south of Dartmouth, at the same time we dodged through gaps within a flotilla of racing yachts. Heavy drizzle reduced visibility. Disconcertingly at that time, the self-steering unaccountably made juddering noises, which was a bit perplexing, but it continued to satisfactorily steer the boat.
I called up Wembury Firing Range on the VHF to inform them that I would be sailing a mile south of their danger zone. In fact, they stopped firing until I was well clear, and on a heading which would take me north of the Eddystone Lighthouse. The chart was littered with innumerable wreck symbols marking the graves of valiant men who went down with vessels that were torpedoed by German U-boats during both world wars.
Eddystone Lighthouse, courtesy of Wikipedia
As the wind was from astern, we were comfortably averaging 5 knots. The evening forecast mentioned fog, but thankfully I could see no sign of it. I also noted from the final gong of Big Ben, as heard on my radio at 1800, that my watch was exactly 4 seconds fast. Exact time was very important for calculating sun sights. At 1944 the yacht’s position was 50 degrees 13.5 seconds north and 4 degrees 22.7 minutes west. The Eddystone Lighthouse bore 192 degrees at a distance of 5.1 nautical miles. I learnt a lesson to keep well clear of the Eddystone, because when I was sailing ‘Zeta’, my Folksong, fairly close to the rock in calm weather, she nearly became impaled on a beacon marking a small separate rock. I only avoided a catastrophe by ferry gliding the yacht across the current to generate lift in her sail.
By mid afternoon the clouds disappeared to bring glorious sunshine which made things so much more pleasurable. At night the stars aided our steering, and I had the thrill of seeing several shooting stars. A phosphorescence wake marked our progress.
At 0400 St. Anthony Head light bore 276 at 2.9 miles, and by 0600 we were peacefully anchored off the delightful Cornish village of St. Mawes, to the east of Falmouth.
Text for the Day
Psalm 145:8 ‘The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.’