Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Twins (nearly)

We had a great trip back to Dartmouth, split over two days with an overnight stop on the River Yealm. Day 1's friendly12-15 knot SSW breeze had us sailing very easily and the highlight of the passage was a pod of about 20 dolphins joining us and playing in our bow wave for two and a half hours.

Today's trip was decidedly more bouncy as the wind increased to 20 knots and the sea was a confused surfaces of breaking waves in all directions. A bit uncomfortable for the crew but Maunie took it in her stride. We returned to our mooring to meet up with friends Duncan and Elisabeth who have Quahog, another Vancouver 38P built immediately after Maunie; they are on a shake-down cruise after a lot of hard work on the boat so we organised a mooring share with them. With only 13 V38P's ever built, seeing two together is a rarity and we are looking forward to comparing notes over drinks on Maunie and supper on Quahog this evening.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Celebrating with Sir Robin

We had lovely calm and sunny conditions for a couple of nights at anchor off St Mawes, at the entrance to the Fal estuary. A pretty but touristy town, it was busy over the Easter weekend.
Maunie at St Mawes

A traditional pilot cutter from the Isles of Scilly

We then moved over to anchor at Falmouth. It was quite a day, yesterday, to be part of the 50 year celebrations of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's arrival in Falmouth, having become the first person to circumnavigate the globe, solo and non-stop. His 32ft wooden ketch Suhaili, which he and two friends built in India, has been beautifully restored and he sailed her, accompanied by a fleet of over 40 boats, across the finish line at precisely 15.24 (the time he crossed it in 1969). 

We joined the flotilla so here are some photos:

Lively Lady (built in 1948 and sailed around the world by Sir Alec Rose in 1968 - he stopped in Australia and New Zealand) and Suhaili, moored at the Falmouth Yacht Haven

Sir Robin unveils bronze casts of his footprints, showing his departure and arrival dates

Sir Robin and a fine yacht in the background

Suhaili in very fine condition

Setting out to re-enact the race finish

Some of the fleet, including HMS Mersey

Following Suhaili and Lively Lady towards the finish line. Luckily there was no wind!

Heading back to Falmouth

We are now anchored up river and are planning to head back towards Dartmouth. The period of sunny settled weather will change tomorrow so we'll get favourable SW winds but rain too.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

New pipe, clean bottom, let's go sailing

Usual trends of English Easter weekends, suffering gales and driving rain, have been confounded this year, we're glad to report, so we've taken full advantage of settled, sunny weather to sail west to Falmouth. Of course, this being a sailing trip, the good stuff has to be paid for in advance, so we spent a couple of hard days on maintenance first.

The initial job, to simply reinstall the refurbished heater, turned out to be more complicated, naturally. First, the multi-pin electrical connector socket had suffered terminal corrosion so we had to fit a new wiring loom to the thermostatic switch (Level 3 Bilge Ratting challenge) and then, when we fired up the heater, we could smell fumes coming into the cabin along with the warm air. The 21 year-old exhaust pipe was clearly shot, so new components were ordered and a Level 5 Bilge Ratting challenge (Level 5 is the highest) eventually had the old pipe out and a new one installed.

The old, sorry-looking pipe

One of several holes in the stainless steel inner pipe
The next day's job was to put Maunie onto the Dartmouth scrubbing grid to clean her bottom of 8 months' of accumulated slime and weed. Unfortunately, we were told that the electricity supply (vital for our pressure washer) wasn't working and so we (briefly) considered a quick-lift for a pressure wash at the local marina until they informed us of the price - £368!! So, with a bit of planning, we used two hose pipes on the grid, one feeding the pressure washer and the other providing a supply of cooling water to Maunie's on-board diesel generator. Perfect and very satisfying.

Half-way through the clean. Maunie's Copper Coat antifouling is wearing thin after 8 years of great service so we'll add new coats later this year

We were very lucky with the weather - warm sunshine and a gentle breeze
Hard work done, we could go sailing. Lovely. A nice 12-15 knot Easterly allowed us to fly the Parasailor for about half of the 64nm passage to Falmouth and the trip was enlivened by a couple of close encounters.

Heading towards Start Point

Not the usual sailing vessel to be seen on this coast!

The Dar Mlodziezy is a Polish sail training ship, built in Gdansk in 1982. 357ft long, she has a crew of 40 and takes up to 180 trainees

The Eddystone Light. These isolated rocks poke up out of deep water some 15 miles south of Plymouth harbour and accounted for many shipwrecks until the lighthouse was established. The first light was a wooden structure built in 1698 by Henry Winstanley, a shipowner who had lost two vessels on the reef. It was washed away in a storm five years later.

The current lighthouse was built in 1882 after the rock on which the earlier Smeaton's tower (1760) started to crack. Smeaton's granite tower was dismantled and rebuilt on Plymouth Hoe.
So, after a very relaxed and interesting passage, we anchored off St Mawes at 17.30 on Good Friday and have had a completely calm night. 

Dawn at St Mawes

We'll spend a few days around the Fal and are looking forward to catching up with friends and seeing Sir Robin Knox-Johnston arriving in Suhaili, the wooden yacht in which he won the first Golden Globe single-handed around the world race 50 years ago. He's planning to cross the finish line again on Monday, exactly 50 years to the minute since his triumphant arrival.