Sailing my Paradox and country living


The stuff of life

During my last 16 day sailing trip I had more trouble with deteriorating loaves of bread than with any other fresh food.

I depend heavily on bread for so much of my diet while afloat and the problem of keeping it in good condition is fairly central. I only cook a proper meal with fresh ingredients once a day and reach for the bread for sustenance at most other times. So breakfast, lunch and supper will likely include bread. There are so many different things that can be spread on a slice of bread making  lot of variety possible.

I prefer to be self sufficient and independent of shops for a 2 or 3 week period, as that allows me the freedom  I seek,  able to stay at the more remote places without being forced to find shops and stores within walking range .

I’ve learned to chose the types of fresh fruit and vegetables which keep well for a long period in the less than ideal conditions on my little boat, or, to eat the ones that keep less well  first and use the long lasting ones later and I’m happy with that.

So bread has been the the weakest  link in my food scheme so far.  Towards the end of my last trip I tried to make bread after I’d run out of the bought stuff, using the Trangia but It really didn’t work out.  It stuck badly to the bottom of the aluminium pan although I’d used plenty of olive oil to wet the pan first, so broke up into fragments as I tried to pries it out . Also it tasted a bit unwholesome – slightly bitter , maybe because the flour was 3 years beyond its use by date…..who knows



The bread mix -old stock strong flour, salt and water before cooking


After cooking for 40 minuets on a low heat. Tasted a little bitter – was the flour rancid? It stuck badly to the bottom and sides of the aluminium pan . I’m considering spending out on some non-stick pans for the Trangia. Available on Amazon , but a bit costly for my slender wallet.

I now think that I have a solution. Bought some of these in Lidl the other day


not expensive. A very long shelf life is a plus, although they are a bit dry and hard for my ideal.
















Size is everything


Another few days cruising in June.

The usual mixture of calms and strong winds. Some  helping greatly, some right on the nose, making progress impossible. Some sunny days and some wet, which kept me  in my cozy little domain below

Sometime I find my little boat too little and lust after something bigger . Often I visit on a bigger boat for social chatting, cups of coffee and afterwards hunger for just a bit more space. , where I could take perhaps 3 steps before falling overboard and be able to stretch my old bones without having to lie down to do it.

Then I find my own private anchorage. so shallow that the  big boats- the ones with all that interior space are excluded and I can enjoy solitude.. Then I know that I’ve chosen wisely.




A new Cornish Lugger

Just built in one one of the boatyards alongside the Milbrook Creek and seen north of Weir Quay the next day, after launching.


Sadly I know nothing else about her, but so pleased to see a brand new traditional boat and a fair sized one at that. Must have taken a lot effort and money to build her. Most impressive.

So, that’s three boats of that type in the Plymouth area that I know of. This one, the one moored at Cremyll and the Four Brothers moored  at Milbrook.

If anyone reading this knows any more, I’d love to hear about it.



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Hilltop litter pickers

For the last few months I’ve been a volunteer with the local litter pickers. It gives me something of value to do  with some exercise and feel that it’s a worthwhile thing to be involved in..

We meet up to perform our duties every couple of weeks in or around Shaftesbury, usually on every other Wednesday. We’re issued with the yellow coats and the picking up gadgets by some local firms who sponsor us, so only have to get ourselves to the meeting point each time.


Here we are at the meeting point before setting off on our allocated routes today. As you see, we’re all oldies  Quite a good turn-out for a small town deep in the Dorset country -side.

Sometimes some of us will clean an area independently . A few weeks ago me and another cleaned up at a lay=by near here and collected lots  of rubbish just from there.


The grass and hedge area around the lay-by before we got to work.


Why folk chuck their rubbish at places like this and  are so disgusting, I cannot fathom out.

A large part of the rubbish is from take-away places in the nearby town. If the containers were reusable and could be returned to the take-away to reclaim a small sum as deposit, the whole problem would disappear. When I was a kid , fizzy drinks came in reusable glass bottles and we could earn some pocket-money  returning them to the store to get a few pennies back..so us children cleaned up to get some spending money.

I wrote to our MP suggesting this a few months ago.  The Govt have made a start by introducing the plastic bag tax – a  step in the  right direction.methinks, so would be just a small advance to control the take-away litter. He hasn’t seen fit to bother to reply .

Please dispose of this posting carefully after reading , although it’s made up up of just bips and beeps , so counts as environmentally friendly.







Worn out but happy

I arrived home last night after my little cruise feeling quite tired and spent. Yesterday morning’s  sailing exploits, when I spent ages beating up the river against the tide, only to run aground at one stage and expend much energy getting off the mud. then, in the afternoon, winching the boat onto the trailer,  followed by the long drive home.  were more than enough for one day for me.

But the tiredness will be gone  after another day or so and  the memories and photos will be with me for longer. The cruise was very satisfactory for me , with some cracking good fast and exhilarating sails and some slow ghosting at times too. Most enjoyable.

As always, I was flabbergasted at just how many nice yachts were moored up  in our harbours with no one using them. I’m convinced that 90 per cent of them just sit on their moorings or marina berths and hardly ever go for a little sail. One really wonders why people make such a big investment of capital to buy these expensive things and then fork out for mooring, insurance and maintenance without  getting fair use of their asset.  I suspect that a lot of them count as conspicuous consumption, there just to demonstrate the owner’s purchasing power……. Most are on the big side too. 35 or 40 feet is about the average. Maybe that they need more than one person to sail them and that the owners struggle to persuade others to crew for them..

Frugality is my motto. My 14 days and nights didn’t cost a huge amount.  There was the initial stock of food which I put on board before launching consisting and fruit and veg and a few tins of sardines and tuna, cheese and bread and butter,  some rice and couscous together with pasta .

The fuel for my old car for the return trip from home the the Dart – perhaps 35 quid, the 37 quid that I paid in the boatyard for using their slipway and secure parking for car and trailer while I was away.

I used 3 litres of petrol for the outboard and  3/4 of a litre of meths for the cooking stove over the 2 weeks. And about a litre of paraffin for the anchor light and interior pressure lamp. Not once did anyone ask me for any money for anchoring or using a mooring buoy.

So, on the whole I didn’t make too much of a dent in my bank account so don’t need to go on an extra economy drive to compensate.



For the mandatory picture, i noted this gaffer in the Dart yesterday. Caught my eye because it’s so different to the average  boat and I have a soft spot for gaffers anyway,.  I do like the low topsides and small deck house although the pram hood doesn’t add to her looks.  The grey colour is lovely.  Most boats have high topsides and huge cabins on top which makes them caravan like. This sort of thing is more elegant  to my eye. Anyone know what type she is?







Drifting up thge Dart

Today has been a complete contrast after yesterday.  No more fast sailing, as there’s hardly any wind in the river, which is surrounded with steep wooded hills to keep the breeze  away.

This morning I left my overnight anchorage, not far from the town of Dartmouth, at low water and allowed the flooding tide and what little wind there was to take me up stream to Totnes.   A slow journey of perhaps 5 miles or so.  A few desultory strokes with the sculling oar served to keep me in mid channel where I could make the best of the tide and just occasionally  a few little puffs from here and there filled the sail for a few moments to help me on my way



The river so placid.




This family of ducks watched me drift past.

I eventually anchored in this muddy little cove. As snug a berth as anyone could want and out of the way of any other traffic, although there’s hardly any.

That will do for today. Tea time now.



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Jester Start at Plymouth

I saw them all off. Not sure how many participants were there as is was impossible to distinguish the contestants’ boats from all the onlookers…..

I tried to get them all in one shot but they were too scattered for that so here’s a general shot of some of them.




Glen Maxwell flying the stars and stripes, the first and ,so far, only American to ever take part.IMG_0007.JPG


Glen taking a photo of me while I take a photo of him.


And Bill Churchouse in his Belgean- the boat he lives on and sails all over.

The start line was further into Cawsand Bay than is usual for this year. Normally it’s at the end of the breakwater which is marked with this cute little lighthouse


After the start , I high tailed it towards the east with the wind behind me  and after a cracking fast sail, made Salcombe easily with some tide to spare. Meanwhile the Jesters were plugging into a headwind and making slower progress

I overnighted in Southpool creek , on a borrowed mooring and now , a day later  in Dartmouth at anchor.


Salcombe in the morning sunshine.


Entering Dartmouth tonight.