When the sun shines, Salcombe sparkles. As I sit here aboard 'Sandpiper' she lies to a buoy from where I can appreciate the beauty of the town. Guest houses, hotels, cottages, cafes, shops and restaurants are nestled together on the steep sided hill that comes to the water's edge. Motorboats, yachts, ferries, fishing boats and the Harbour Master's launch scurry to and fro. Tide against wind brings endless bubbles and dancing glistening waves. The hull resonates with joyful gurgling, the song of rushing water.
I am grateful and happy to be here. I broke my rule not to sail if the forecasted wind was Force 4 or more. A downwind course around Start Point seemed reasonable. I would skirt around the Skerries Bank to the east and continue south by west until southwest of the race.
The plan worked well, but I did not anticipate the northeasterly would be above a force 4, as indeed it was, and when I was reaching around Prawle Point I'm sure it was up to a 6. From Dartmouth to Salcombe the entire trip was done using only the jib giving an average speed of 3.7 knots over a distance of 17.8 nautical miles from departure to arrival.
From before Salcombe Bar I motor-sailed, because I knew the wind would be from dead ahead passing between Sandhill Point and Biddlehead Point.
I'm pleased I laid a course keeping clear of Start Point Race. I saw others going close to the Point as I have done before, but it was not worth the risk avoiding the Race by doing so.
As I write I'm having a problem with the buoy banging the hull. I shall have to anchor for a quiet night.
Anchoring made all the difference. Here off a gorgeous sandy beach there is a back-eddy so that 'Sandpiper' is in harmony with wind and tide. The wind has eased, and I'm convinced I shall have a good night.
The photos are of Dartmouth Castle and Salcombe.