Sailing Island Swift Home by Lochlann

First passage Isle of Wight to Falmouth May 2013

Island Swift is a 35 ft Wylo Gaff Cutter that has, until recently, been accommodated at the Isle of Wight. We bought her in March and have been trying to find time to sail her back ever since. 
In May we finally set off on our voyage. It was absolutely amazing to sail her down the Solent and past the Needles. After crossing Christchurch Bay we anchored in Swanage for the night. In the morning we meant to set off early but (of course) the engine did not work. After fiddling with the batteries we set off, but a good two hours behind schedule. We sailed round Portland Bill and into Lyme Bay (which felt like open sea!). At one point we could look all the way around and see no land.

Simon at the helm

But nothing goes exactly according to plan, when we were off Portland Bill, Fin noticed water in the bilges! So we had to work the pumps. Dad did a lot of fiddling in the engine case to try and see were the water was coming in. After a lot of pumping we found that it was coming in through the stern gland. After pulling the gland out and clearing the blockage we were on our way again, except we had to bail out all the water.  Apart from Mum, no one could go down below, due to nausea.  So she had to bail out into the heads on her own, because we found that the bilge pump was not working.
Sailing towards Dartmouth, Dad, who was at the helm, cried, ‘a fin, a fin’. Fin and I raced up on deck to see, but Dad said it was probably just a wave. Despondently we trooped down again when, ‘there it is again!’ There was a mad scramble on deck and then, a dolphin fin sliced through the water like a shadow. Mum immediately bundled us to the bow, and there sliding through the waves was a black and white dolphin. Again its fin slid out of the water, then as a goodbye sign it swam to one side and jumped out of the water. We sailed into Dartmouth at dusk and anchored.
 We sailed into Dartmouth meaning to leave the next day for Falmouth, but the wind had other ideas.  It started to blow hard, so we stayed put.  Dad when to collect the van from the Isle of Wight and take it back to Penzance, while we waited in Dartmouth. While in Dartmouth we saw the wonderful castle, famous sailing boats, the steam train and had nice ice-creams.
Luckily the wind changed and we set off early one morning for Falmouth.  The anchor was well dug in and we needed the winch to haul it up. We have a wonderful sail past Eddystone Lighthouse.  The sun went down as we eat chocolate cake, then the moon came up beautiful and red.  We arrived in Falmouth at Midnight. What a brilliant start.
Written by Lochlann

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