Monday, 23 June 2014
We have safely arrived in Padstow after a rather long day. As you already know, we left Mounts Bay and the dolphins this morning early at 0700, rounded Lands End at a particular time to seek calm water in its tidal gate, and then sailed on for Padstow. The Cornish coast has no effective refuge, especially for our size, so once committed one needs to be sure that one can keep on. However, the wind was exactly on the nose, and we could not sail so we motored the entire way, 72 nm, 10 hours in a 17-20 knot headwind and quite large Atlantic rollers which came barrelling in from across the Atlantic. Not a very pleasant passage, although the boat handled everything with great aplomb.
We reached Padstow at 1700, a little earlier than expected, and contemplated the aptly known Doom Bar. This is a ridge of sand which protects the mouth of the Camel estuary in which Padstow sits. The bar is very famous and has counted for around 600 recorded ship wrecks including one in 1995. We arrived at almost low water, but careful plotting meant we could proceed although Mark spotting the changes of depth in the clear water, just in case. I called this activity Doom Watch (picture to follow).
When we had crossed Doom bar, which is less than 1m chart datum, the depth increased for a while but then there is a very shallow and drying channel ending in the town. The new chart showed a channel which had changed from last year and we kept touching the bottom and admitted defeat. A harbour master launch came and showed us to the rapidly drying channel so that we could stay in the deeper Pool, collect Alastair, and eat ashore.
We tied up in the docks using a variety of springs and warps, against the harbour wall. However, the length has to be right.. Too short, and the boat will be pulled down as the tied rises. Too long, and the boat will swing as it refloats and damage itself or another vessel. I have elected to check the tension of the ropes at 0100 in the morning, Alastair has elected to check them again at 0400. These are long but satisfying days. tomorrow, we expect to sail to Milford Havens where I
have a berth guaranteed.