Posted by: williekp | August 25, 2018

Not really a city person

I’ve been here in Vancouver for two days. I always build in some slack time on the way out to fishing adventures in case the airlines lose my luggage. I was looking forward to sharing the waiting time with our friends Mike and Shelia but poor Mike fell over playing tennis a couple of weeks ago, bust up his wrist, and can’t be here. Commiserations Mike if you read this. Like I said , I’m not a city person so two days was a long time.

There were bright spots. I used Air B&B which was great and saved me some money which I promptly spent on trips to two different and wonderful fishing shops. I thought I would make savings on tackle here and I suppose I did , but the flies that catch the steelhead fish come in many sizes and colours and you need at least two of all sizes colours and weights. The flies catch fishermen too.

I could walk to the fishing shops and to Granville Island which is one of Vancouver’s tourist attractions. That’s where the photo above was taken. I hired a bike and rode to Stanley Park (Prospect Point) where the other picture is from. It has been dull and a bit smoggy here because of all the forest fires🔥 .

Right now it is 7am Sat 25th (1500 in Blighty) and I am out of my room and through security at the airport waiting on my flight to Terrace. Settle into Kalum River Lodge later today and hit the river tomorrow. River low but a little rain forecast.

Next post….. more about the fishing!

Posted by: williekp | August 23, 2018

Not convinced about flying cities.

via Not convinced about flying cities.

Posted by: williekp | August 19, 2018

New Canadian adventure on the short term horizon


I’m off to British Colombia way north of Whistler in the next couple of days to fish wilderness rivers for Pacific Silver Salmon called Coho and sea run rainbow trout called Steelhead. The trip was fixed over a year ago with a fishing buddy but he broke a wrist about a week ago and can’t now make it. I would be suicidal. I have been looking forward to this so much. Problem is that I now need to be able to outrun the guide when the bear appears.

So, I will next post from Vancouver where I will stop over to make sure I have luggage and explore the city. After that, one and a half hours north by commercial jet, I will arrive in Terrace BC for about 12 days fishing next Saturday 25th Aug 2018.

Packing for a fishing trip like this is a big balancing act that swings between bringing everything and at the opposite end making sure that when you turn up to check  in with all the different airlines you don’t cop massive extra luggage charges. I think I have that in hand.

A few years ago I fished a famous river called the Skagit in Washington State for these steelhead and had one on for literally seconds. In that time it got to about 100 yards away downstream, jumped numerous times on the way, got off and I hope is living happily ever after.

This year I am much further north in an unspoilt area with no dams, fish passes or other things to spoil the natural environment. If we get success, it might look like this.


More to come. Wish me luck.

Posted by: williekp | January 23, 2018

It’s never fun pulling the boat apart to get work done

Because of a bad decision to fit a little known brand of sailing instruments when Lila was built I am having to replace two instruments in the cockpit that act as repeaters for delivering data about position, wind, depth etc. To make matters worse I need to migrate to a new networking protocol.

Hopefully it will be in and working by the end of today because when you shift everything to get at the guts of it all the rest of the boat becomes uninhabitable.

Really not good for my OCD tendencies.

Posted by: williekp | January 22, 2018

Back sailing ( fingers crossed)

Back in Lanzarote with a mix of old and new crew to try a bit of a tour around a few of the islands. Lila has been tethered at her berth for a long time so she needs a little cleaning up and I’m hoping to get some new sailing instruments fitted.

Current crew is in the photo above from left to right Issy, Harriet who sailed with me across Biscay last year and who has since gained Yachtmaster Offshore and Millie who has Day skipper and will do her Yachtmaster this season. Issy has a go pro camera and makes video logs VLOGS so I am hoping to repost what she records as well as some stuff of my own.

Watch this space.

Posted by: williekp | September 20, 2017

Fishing this time but no sailing

I am having a break in South West Ireland staying at the Thatch Cottage fishing lodge and being guided every day according to the weather and conditions onto different species of fish by the host here John Quinlan. You can read about his operation here . Suffice it to say that this is my third visit here, over the years and John is a master of his trade guiding anglers from all over the world onto the unspoilt and many different types of fishing available here. John’s wife Lynn ably supports the operation with great food morning to night.

This time we started on day one on a mountain lough or tarn. It empties via a stream into the sea a few miles away and supports a small run of sea trout and salmon as well as a population of hardy small brown trout. The scenery is absolutely beautiful and so quiet.My fishing buddy Bill and I caught many small trout and enjoyed a great first day.

Day two dawned to a plan to go after sea bass. We drove to an area of great natural beauty called Glenbeigh which looks across an inlet to the beautiful Dingle Peninsula. I have caught bass before but only once before using a fly rod, and then only a small bass. You cast out a small fly which imitates a baitfish and draw it back through the channels in the estuary hoping that they are at home. My luck was in and I caught one which improved my personal best. The surroundings again were beautiful.


Day three dawned to great weather and an outing in John’s 19 foot boat out into Ballinskelligs bay. The target for today was to try to catch pollack on the fly rods and also to go a bit further out to target some larger pollack to take back home for the table. Both objectives were achieved, again against the most picturesque of backgrounds.


On day four conditions were right to do something I have always wanted to do which is catch a mullet on the fly. John Quinlan has perfected this but it takes the right conditions, knowledge, skill, patience and is based on the lifecycle of something called the kelp fly. If the wind is onshore at the top of a set of spring tides kelp gets washed up onto the high tide line and is stranded there until the next set of spring tides. If conditions are  right, the kelp fly turns up and lays her eggs which go through the cycle of becoming maggots, pope and flies. The mullet are interested in the small 3 mm yellow or cream maggots that float. So at the next set of springs if the maggots are there they get washed back into the sea and make easy pickings for the mullet who instinctively know where and when to go looking for them. You can see a video of what is under the kelp here. . John has tied an imitation of the maggot which is in the picture below.


You fish it with an indicator and a very light tippet. The mullet are extremely spooky and you need to wait until they are feeding confidently before offering them your fly. If conditions are not right for the maggots to wash in naturally, you collect them in a crate or wheelbarrow and chum the beach on an incoming tide. This was my result. Not huge but there are 6 lb fish out there.IMG_1280

After the mullet fishing we walked a few hundred yards to a rock mark to try for pollack and wrasse. There were not any pollack but we had a field day on the wrasse. We were fishing with light spinning rods and dropping small plastics like flish minnows directly beneath our feet into about 15 to 20 feet of water. Again John’s knowledge was invaluable. It turns out that wrasse are highly territorial. They attacked our intruding lures time and again. Bill and I had around 6 fish each to around 5 lbs from two adjacent marks. I would not have believed that so many wrasse could be lying there under my feet. Next time we plan to target them with a sinking line and a crab pattern fly.


On day five the weather broke and we fished an estuary for bass on the rising tide. I blanked but Bill had fish. The afternoon was a write off due to pouring rain but set us up for the next day going after salmon on the River Inney. The Inney is a spate river that has a small run of salmon and sea trout. It fishes well for a short window after a spate so we got our licences and over a few glasses of Guinness and wine eagerly anticipated the next day. You can fish the Inney with a single handed rod and it helps if you can Spey cast with the single handed rod. New rules this season are restricting to catch and release on single barbless hooks which makes landing any taker a bit of a lottery. I had three takes and landed one fish. I missed the other two by tightening up too soon before the fish had turned back down to its lie. I have paid a lot of money to fish much more prestigious rivers than the Inney and caught nothing, so my 2 out of 2 100% success on the Inney is again a tribute to John’s intimate knowledge of the river and the necessary conditions for success.

IMG_1305Day six we opted to try for a bigger mullet and whilst we both caught the big one eluded us. We also fished a small stream looking for beautiful little wild brownies with yellow bellies and red spots. There is a species of trout in Ireland called a  Gillaroo and these little chaps look just like them.


Our week was over. I caught bass, pollack, mullet, trout, sea trout, salmon all on the fly. In addition we has wrasse, pollack and cod as well as some other bass on lures. I put on 7 lbs and had a fabulous time in great company in the midst of the most stunning scenery. I am sure I will be back again. Thank you John and Lynn and Ireland 🇮🇪


The jury is out on this one. I am sure that  I mentioned that a drive belt on the hybrid motor broke on the way here. The net effect of that was not significant , such is the redundancy built into our particular Wylo. One of the jobs of the hybrid is to generate lots of electricity when the engine is running. If the hybrid is not working, we fall back to ordinary systems where, when the engine is running, it charges the batteries through the alternator. This is slower and not very efficient but gets the job done. We can’t manoeuvre the boat using the electric motor and can’t use the mains type electric for cooking or charging stuff. Other than that, it is a non event.

We took the precaution of pre-positioning a spare belt around the prop shaft before the shaft was coupled together. That meant that the belt was ready to slip over the various wheels and tensioner and then be tensioned and “Bob’s your Uncle and away you go “.

However, when you really look at everything there are a number of pieces of this jigsaw that don’t seem to fit. Most frustrating but very much helped by a call to the man who invented the thing and who is happy to help a helpless customer on his Sunday. Graeme of Hybrid Marine, made a short video for me showing the majority of what needed doing, sent me an updated version of the manual and took a long call from me while I checked my understanding. Loins suitably girded, I got out the tool bag and jumped in. Everything went swimmingly until I got to an unforeseen step which was cleared up by another call to Graeme. Problem was I needed tools I didn’t have. Step in the marina. They provided free loan of the bits I needed and joy of joy, job done. 

Time to start the engine and test things out. Turn the key and flash bang, no engine start but sparks and sinking feeling. Racking my brains as to what I could have disturbed, managed to take a lump out of my finger on a sharp bit while tracing wires. Not happy. Phone Graeme. Within two minutes fault is traced to loose connection on the engine battery and engine starts as normal. Then run through a series of checks to verify that the repairs to the belt are sound and that the hybrid is working normally. Lo and behold it all works. 😀

What is the learning? I need an expanded range of tools. Having a great supplier who is willing to offer support in a tight corner is fantastic. Having sorted it, it was relatively simple with the right tools. 

My conclusion is that I am not yet mechanical enough but I took big steps in the right direction today.🛠

Oh by the way, given that this is Willie’s Adventures Sailing and Fishing you might like to know that we caught our first fish, a tasty tuna called a bonito. See below.

Oh, and did I happen to mention quietly that IRELAND STUFFED THE ALL BLACKS. WAHOOO!!!!!!!

Till next time when we will be en route to the Canaries via a couple of deserted islands.



Posted by: williekp | November 2, 2016

Remarkable progress despite weather, wind and engineers

The new crew assembled according to plan in Lisbon. We made a small cruise down towards the sea to get a away from the noise of the bridge and to get to a nicer marina.

Then the weather took over and we waited for 6 days for a consistent forecast that made the 5/6 day trip towards Madeira possible. Some people in the same marina planning on the same passage left a day earlier than we did. However, comparing notes at this end, we all had the same frustrations of not enough wind from the right directions to make the passage really great. Having said that, we had a really good passage where we tried out the modified self steering on various points of sail and I was pleased with the results. We can self steer reliably on many more sail plans and points of sail. We also had a little visitor.

The new crew were great. We paired them off in watches of two with me as the floating resource. After about day two, I really wasn’t needed and had a lot of sleep while the crew managed the boat. We arrived uneventfully in Porto Santo about 20 miles north of Madeira Tuesday lunchtime after departing Lisbon the previous Thursday afternoon. This was an average of just under 5 kts for the 570 mile passage.

Relaxed helming!

In Lisbon I employed some engineers to service the engine. In that process they moved something and didn’t put it back exactly. The net result was a broken drive belt on an important piece of kit that generates electricity on board. We are still carrying that defect and will attend to it in Madeira.

Speaking of which, we are ready to leave tomorrow and will be there for about a week when I will repair the belt and get a few other little jobs done. I will leave you with a few views of Porto Santo.

Till next time… Willie

Posted by: williekp | October 18, 2016

New Toys all round

I have decided to upgrade my communications equipment so that I can better receive wifi and cellular signals when in or close to harbour and also send and receive e-mail and get weather information over my satellite phone when out of conventional internet range. An upside is that when I post now you will also get an indication of where the boat is if everything works properly.thumb_img_0001_1024To see the new posts you have to log on to and scroll through the boats alphetabetically until you find my boat lila and click on there. I will still be posting on williesadventuressailingandfishing when I have normal internet access.

That’s it for now. Must get packing.

Posted by: williekp | October 13, 2016

Things are busy even when you are back at home

Got back yesterday and it is lovely to see friends and family after a 6 week absence. Great to visit the squash club and the golf club and loving the fact that I have actually managed to lose weight. Sailing is great for that. I tend to eat less, drink less beer and put out a few more calories just through the movement of the boat. Long may it continue as I have a way to go yet. Today was all about liaising with the new crew members and ordering bits that I need to take back with me to keep things running smoothly. We chlorinate all the water we take on in marinas and we also pass it through domestic water filters before it gets out of the taps on board. I ordered three new filter cartridges today. I am also hoping that my guide to cruising Maderia and the Canaries ( plus the Azores and Bermuda) will arrive in time before I head back next Wednesday. I will give it a day or two before I start checking up with the technicians that I have booked work in with on the engine, wind vane steering and some internal door handles. There is always a long list of little jobs to be done to keep things ship shape. My crew John flies back tonight so I am hoping that the leaving the boat checklist I left him with gets done and there are no surprises when I get back next week.

We have 5 people on board including myself for the next legs. I plan to do a shakedown day and move Lila back down to Cascais. Everyone should get a familiarisation with raising and lowering the sails and bowsprit and reefing with a dose of tacking and jibing so that when we get our weather window to leave for Maderia we have some level of confidence on each watch with me available to help out and supervise where necessary. Five on board will also be interesting to see how space and comfort and general crew dynamics works out. The next crew look to have a good level of sailing ability and I am optimistic that we can run a safe and happy ship. Joyce will be joining the crew for the first time and I am looking forward to that because it is really she and I who are committed to getting across the Pacific. The Atlantic is something Joyce has done in the past but we are both excited about the possibility of visiting all the Pacific islands we can in the time available.


Committed Pacific crew mate Joyce


More on the rest of the crew next time.

I have been having trouble getting my tiller pilot to work properly. Having spent a four figure sum on acquiring it and having it fitted it turns out that it doesn’t like metal boats because they confuse its internal compass. I am sure I could spend as much again trying to get it sorted out properly but on the way down to Lisbon we motored a fair way and I rigged up a tiller lashing way of steering which worked pretty well.



So I am postponing spending money on the tiller pilot and buying a Jordan Series Drogue instead. This is a bit of kit that keeps you and the boat safe if you really get unlucky and encounter s very severe storm.


Jordan Series Drogue

I would hope never to need to use it but with a 20 plus day Atlantic crossing and a 25 day plus Pacific crossing and the changing weather patterns we are encountering everywhere it is a good thing to have on board. Trevor Robertson who owns and sails his Wylo singlehandedly and who has been to Antarctica and the Arctic in his, has just acquired one and comments that he should have had one years ago. That is good enough for me. No one who has ever used one has had their boat damaged or lost even in a hurricane ( it says here). More next time when we have a new crew and are heading for Maderia.

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