Thursday evening 3rd January 2013 I got a call from Ian Scott "Would you like to go out for a sail tomorrow?" Well yes! but on what boat, we are all ashore? "Graham is going out in 'Sea Shanty' a Bavaria 36. I'll pick you up shortly before 08:00hrs." Well that will be the earliest I've got up this year. "Pack a lunch!"
Paulene made up four bread rolls. I got my sailing bits ready; life Jacket, Leggings, foul weather coat and boots. Well that went into the bag but I was going to wear my light weight coat but I put hat and glovers in the pockets. Friday morning it was mild and calm. Ian came round the corner of the terrace and I locked the door and put my bag in the back of Ian's car, we then picked Graham McDiarmid.
Graham was disappointed that all was not ready to cast off when we arrived, he found the jib which Ian and I put on the roller foil. With the lines made ready, we were casting off at about 08:30 hrs. We put the mains sliders into the mast track on the way. We had another crew Bob Rennie to pick up from Saltash town pontoon. The boats nearby looked like being on a fore and aft trot, so turning where it looked like a gap we slowed down next to the jetty. After handing over his large back pack he jumped on, and we were away back under the Saltash Bridge, Royal Albert Bridge was being worked on with lots of hammering under protective covers.
With the Light winds the plan for the sail was to motor out and catch the light s/w winds out of Plymouth Sound and visit the River Yealm, Graham wanted to go on the RNSA mooring just below the visitors pontoon. Well he had paid his RNSA membership and had not used any of the facilities for years! Off Queens Ground buoy we were able to get the sails up and make a course of 180°M Looking back on it I hogged the helm, as I sailed out to sea and then after heading towards a lighter patch of cloud, where we could see the sun coming thought, it looked like it could have been over Jersey. As it was too far I soon turned back into the shore towards Wembury, where Ian helmed the boat, with Graham looking up Reeds Nautical Almanac to check the pilatage notes. We went towards Wembury Church before picking up the first set of leading marks on the hill side over Cellar bay. We soon saw the RNSA buoy but we went a little way up the river past the top visitors pontoon and turned round near where the power line is under the river. With the water flowing quickly out, turning round at the buoy was a challenge. Picking it up was not easy, as the bridle had large PVC covers on and the boat hook wouldn't get the end, with a little communication to the helm we didn't quite pull our arms out and put the rope on first one side, then the other part of the bridle on the other side.
It was time for lunch Bobs' looking pleased, with a bite and a Coca Cola, Graham had a Bagel with crisps to share around, Scottie a sandwich, and I had four bread rolls, Ian repeated his opinion of me that he would rather keep me for a week than a fortnight . I did put the kettle on for a cup of coffee after Graham showed me how to light the gas.
Here again I hogged the helm "Who wants to take it out?" said Graham, was I just too quick? But I did want to have a go! So a little power, on to stem the tide, after a hard over port turn before the Spit. 'Sea Shanty' was a delight and was very responsive. I had confidence of my pilotage out of the Yealm under motor, not really the place to sail in the narrow river valley. Off Wembury Church we put the main sail up and unrolled the jib, with a breeze on the wind the boat made 7knts. I find the wheel not as intuitive as the tiller having used one up till now, but I could get used to it. Taking in towards the sound I sat down and asked Graham to lookout the other side, I found the spray hood & side screens restricting the view, but this was not a racing event and they made for comfort.
Off the Lighthouse on the end of Plymouth Breakwater the wind was now on the aft quarter and it was a little slower. The rudder stock had a bit of a squeak with such light helm. Before the Bridges the motor was turned on and into gear, the tide was still ebbing strongly.
Bob & Graham making ready to go along side Jupiter Point
Ian Scott at the Helm
We put our fenders over the side Graham checked they were long enough as the pontoon was very low in the water. Ian Helmed us along side, well a few yards short we came to a halt! But better too slow than hard into the pontoon, we put the ropes ashore and took a little while making it all ship shape!
As Bob was going to be picked up Plymouth side after 6 O'clock they decided a quick drink in the Wheelers would be good, I declined too stay and have a drink but thanked them for a really pleasant day.