A Taste of Our New Lives

Log – 2 May to 5 May, 2017

The morning of the second of May dawned misty and atmospheric. We knew the forecast was for the sun to burn off the fog, but felt a little nervous that it would linger, and we’d have to postpone the little sailing adventure we were so excited about.

We wanted to try out our new Manson Supreme anchor and see how Kittiwake would sail, now we’ve loaded her up with all of our belongings. Catamarans are weight sensitive, so we needed to know whether we’d have to trim our possessions back, or if we were ok.

Sailing Kittiwake

We set off from the mooring ball in the Penryn River around 9am. Elena took us out of the river under engine, navigating between the buoys and avoiding the sailing school yachts which were piling out of the marina next to our mooring, and the ferries which storm around the place heading for St. Mawes or the Helford River.

The sun did burst through the mist, and we were in full sunshine the whole way out. We hoisted the mainsail while we were pointing into the wind. With its undersized rig, our boat is incredibly easy to handle; the mainsail takes next to no effort to hoist until it nears the top of the mast, and it gets taught.

When we’d pootled out of the river, into the sheltered waters of Carrick Roads, we tacked back and forth in light winds, easing ourselves back into the feel of sailing. We were a bit rusty, especially in tacking, where each person needs to do things in a set order.

Sailing KittiwakeElena looking into the decking, hoping to spot a dolphin or two

One downside of our catamaran is that the winches are ten feet apart on opposite sides of the cockpit, so if the helm (on the starboard side) needs to tend to the winch, then the person on the port side needs to dash across and grab the wheel. This takes a bit of teamwork, practice and co-ordination, and it’s fair to say we didn’t quite have it sorted.

We were originally going for a little day sail, to a secluded beach on the far side of Carrick Roads, only a couple of hours away, but the sun was shining, and we were ghosting along nicely in the light wind and calm conditions, so we decided to head down to a cove to the southwest and anchor out overnight.

We took a little detour towards the Lizard Peninsula to try to get a chance to see basking sharks, but didn’t catch sight of any – it’s still too early in the year perhaps.

Sailing KittiwakeRyan desperately trying to spot basking sharks

As we pulled into the cove, we caught a decent sized pollock – our first fish caught on Kittiwake, which we filleted and cooked fresh for dinner that night. It felt very rewarding to eat our own catch and it tasted delicious.

The cove, located near Flushing, was beautiful, with seabirds lining the cliffs, little beaches and wooded hillsides surrounding it. The water was shallow, but having a shallow draught, we could squeeze right up to the back of the inlet, where the waters were sheltered and calm – perfect for a night’s rest after a big day.

Flushing CoveElena at the helm, approaching Flushing Cove

Flushing CoveFlushing Cove

The next day we headed out into some much rougher seas. With the waves pounding on the bridgedeck of the boat, the speed was slow, and tacking back and forth was laborious, albeit a bit more slick following the prior day’s practice.

Outside of Falmouth the waters were much calmer. We turned and headed downwind. We put out the genoa on one side of the boat, and the mainsail on the other, known as goose-winging, and cruised gently into the river that we call home at the moment.

Sailing nearly all the way to the mooring, we furled away the genoa and came in under main, using the engine for the last hundred metres or so. Eventually, we’d love to be able to to pick up our mooring under sail alone, but we’ve got a fair bit of learning to go yet, so we opt for the easier option.

The trip was a success – we picked up sailing again and decided Kittiwake’s ok with her current load. We also had a little taste of our new lives – sailing to new places, fishing for food, spending the night at anchor in a cute little cove, generating our own electricity,… It felt pretty incredible.

The fourth of May was a boat work day; I installed the remaining two solar panels while Elena drove all over Cornwall picking up bits for the boat – some big water containers so we can store 150 litres of water on board, some plywood, and a provisioning trip so that we have enough food to last for almost forever. We also finally stuck the naming lettering on Kittiwake’s hulls, making it all official.

Sailing KittiwakeKittiwake soaking in the sunset

The winds picked up in the night, keeping us awake, and today we’re confined to being inside Kittiwake, working on laptops, looking out to the other boats on the moorings riding around in the forty mile per hour winds. It looks like a different world. It’s pretty comfy and cosy in here though. There’s blankets, hot water bottles, and cups of tea aplenty – good hygge as the Danes would say.

Sunset from a sailboat


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