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.




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.


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River Tamar Meandering

Since my visit to Milbrook Creek I’ve been mooching in relaxed way in the River Tamar. I ran into Bill Churchouse at Cargreen and as Bill’s a very sociable fellow didn’t get any further along the river that day


Here ‘s Bill wearing his Jester Challenge hat specially for the photo. Taken while my Paradox was rafted alongside  Bill’s boat at Cargreen. He’s taking a break on a the free mooring until the start of the Challenge  on Sunday.

I went ashore for a stroll around the village later that day, beaching my boat on the gravel causeway on the falling tide.


A  nice little village but few facilities. No shop there and the pub closed down some years ago, although I see there is a new planning application to redevelop the pub site.


This building is in Cargreen. It looks to me as it has ecclesiastical origins.

The old red telephone box has found a new use.




Some quaint cottages.


And an upmarket bee keeper’s house, witha row of beehives overlooking the river


IMG_0016.JPGIMG_0014.JPGgers a

I eventually got back to my boat just before the tide floated me off and sat on an empt y mooring near to where Bill was moored

In the  evening, Denis Gorman,  another of the Jester Challengers appeared. So more socialising


and Denis tried out my Paradox for size.


So yesterday was mostly spent socialising with very little time for sailing.

Today, I tried to make up for it by using the tide for a trip up river, but only got a couple of miles when another empty mooring was too much temptation for me and I decided to take break for lunch and a short snooze

The tides run very hard in the River Tamar


Look at the speed of the water rushing past that blue pick-up buoy.

That’s it for now. Not much sailing and lots of relaxing and chatting.




Visiting in Milbrook Creek

After my quiet night in the shelter of Jennicliff Bay I set off across the Sound towards Cremyll Narrows and on to Milbrook Creek

The wind was strong once away from the shelter of the high cliffs and I made fast progress until arriving at the Bridge.where the adverse tide almost stopped me..

Slow through the narrows at Cremyll too. Although I had a commanding wind and sailing at top speed, the foul tide rushes through here and at times I was whizzing through the water but  almost stopped alongside the same place.

Eventually crept around the corner into Milbrook Creek, where  the tide runs slower and made good speed until  I ran out of water. I just had to sit for a few hours until the tide returned to this drying creek and I could sail on a little way to my meeting with  Nick Skeats ..

Nick’s boat, Wylo 11


Nick has been in Milbrook Creek, dried out on legs on the beach since returning from the Caribbean in June., engaged in a major refit job. He’s lived aboard since building his steel boat  36 years ago and has been dealing with some major corrosion problems.for the last few months.

Some rusting must be expected after all those years – twice around the world and loads of Atlantic crossings. He’s had to remove all the interior – bit -by- bit, to get to the hull plating for chipping and painting. Had to weld in a few patches where the metal was perforated here and there.  He’s no mains electricity where he is and uses old car batteries in series to provide welding current. Then has to wait for a long time while his solar panels recharge the batteries.. That’s really showing patience and a laid back attitude.

Nick’s an amazing bloke. He even built the the propeller himself from mild steel. as is all the rest of the boat and it’s been OK since.. The engine, –  yes he has one ., was taken from his 1948 Bradford van which he was using while building the boat in New Zealand.

Try telling that to the members of the Scuttlebutt forum. They all reckon that an engine over 10 years old is only good for a mooring weight. He’s found the knack of living well on pennies = something like 3 thousand quid a year is his average..astonishing.


In the cabin of Wylo 11. The aft end is all chaos because that’s where Nick’s working at the moment.





The forward part is work shop. Also has a bigger than usual fore-hatch so that he can get his old motorbike in there too. Which naturally is a 1950’s shaft drive Sunbeam

Nick took me to see a new boat nearby. It’s a replica of the Bounty’s launch. Lug rigged, no engine. even has proper wooden barrels for the water supply

. Really is a lovely thing and must have cost loads to build. Capt Bligh sailed the original after the mutiny.






A deep transom, don’t you think. The box aft is for the shipwright’s tools.

After my visit which Nick, and back aboard my boat, I sculled out into the middle of the creek to anchor again for the night. Very strange weather. It was a cold evening, so I lit the paraffin lamp to give a bit of warmth


Made a sandwich for supper and the butter was still hard to spread.


Yet, during the night it became very hot and humid and I woke up in a hot flush at 1 am and took one layer of bedding off. Still couldn’t get back to sleep and sat up for ages eating nuts and drinking coffee. When I eventually drifted off again I didn’t awake until after eight.

I( made a big cock-up when getting under way again this morning. Somehow, I lost control of the sail while hoisting, so it jammed with the yard the wrong side of the mast half up and half down. There I was careering about with the boat totally out of control in the strongish wind. Not my best ever performance. To add to my embarrassment Nick Skeats was watching and gave a loud cheer after all was under control.

The east wind has become strong now  and after sailing up stream beyond Saltash with too many exciting vicious gusts and struggling  to get through the bridges against the tide I’ve anchored in the shallows North of Saltash to await developments…