Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Newlyn to........Padstow, via Lands' End

For some reason getting around Lands' End had become a bit of a mental hurdle to me.  It is certainly hyped up in many of the sailing almanacs, talking about tidal gates, riptides, rocks etc, etc.  But I knew it was something I had to do if I wanted to complete this challenge and it had to be soon if I wanted to take advantage of the fair weather.  So off I set.
I was surprised not to see any other yachts heading the same way as me, but then it was a Monday morning and most people would be back at work after the weekend. I had plotted my route carefully, not taking any of the potentially hazardous routes, taking a wide berth around the many rocks and outcrops featured around that part of the Cornish coast.
These guys are crazy......paddling near Lands' End!
It was only as I passed Longships lighthouse that I saw 3 other yachts and none of us were going in the same direction!  Obviously this is quite a junction for passages to the Scilly Isles, Eire and those going N to S or S to N within Cornwall or further afield.
Visibility was getting worse as I rounded Lands' End itself, however I was treated to the spectacle of a helicopter landing on top of the lighthouse - I hadn’t even realised that it had a flat roof just for that purpose until it was going in to land.
Lands' End in sight
Apart from that, rounding Lands' End was uneventful and I had made it in good time, ready to push on to Lundy Island. I celebrated the milestone by eating a packet of Jaffa of my weaknesses!
Longships Lighthouse
Is he really going to land on there.....?
Several hours later I was still sailing along happily, making good time, I discovered I was loosing electrical power to my instruments.  Checking below deck it appeared my batteries (which I rely on for power when not “plugged-in” to the shore) were almost dead.  No problem I thought, I will just start my engine (it has a separate battery) and charge them up again...........that battery was dead as well!  Thinking back to the last time I had been plugged-in, I had been in Falmouth; I remember unplugging my shore lead and the display at the socket was reading “error” - I had obviously not been drawing power for the past 2-3 days and Brown Eyes had been relying purely on battery power!

Setting up the tow.
So there I was, with no way of starting my engine, no power and a long way to go. My choices were to sail on and try to anchor somewhere (but that would not solve the problem of the lack of power) or ask for help.  Out came the mobile; 999, “Coastguard please.” 

Off we go......
After discussing the problem with the Coastguard the decision was reached to send out the RNLI to tow me into Padstow, I was only about 6 miles away - the entry into the lock-controlled harbour there is too difficult just to sail into.  
And that is what happened; the lifeboat appeared, they launched a RIB which dispatched two members of the RNLI onto Brown Eyes, a towline was set up and we went to Padstow.
Padstow - safe and sound.
So I have to say a massive “Thank you” to the Coastguard, the RNLI and the Harbour Master and his staff at Padstow for helping me out and ensuring both mine and Brown Eyes’ safety.  They were all brilliant!
Brown Eyes in Padstow Harbour
 The batteries are now charged up and one of the RNLI lads has sorted out (removed) my hot water-tank leak - his day job is as a plumber.  This means no on-tap hot water until I get a new one fitted, but that is only a minor inconvenience.


  1. Hi Steve! How lovely to see Brown Eyes moored in Padstow Harbour! I have such lovely memories of living there when dad was serving at RAF St Mawgan ... too many years ago to even contemplate now! We picked up your story from a post on Facebook We have owned "Meltemi of Rhu", Oyster Mariner 35, for ten years now, living aboard her for all of that time! It has always interested us as to where the other 17 Mariner 35's were and now, to our delight, have found another one!! We shall watch your progress and wish you every success in your challenge. Fair winds from Meltemi at Lowestoft Cruising Club.

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