Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Mondady, 16th and Tuesday 17th May


It’s 2140 and I’ve just finished clearing up after eating a welcome meal of rice, bacon, onions and scrambled egg, with tinned pears as a sweet – not a meal I suppose most people would fancy, but I put it together of necessity from what I had aboard.

My trip today started at 0400 in Weymouth Harbour and after 32 nautical miles it ended at 1930 on a borrowed mooring at Starcross, a village situated by the Exe estuary in Devon. You wouldn’t believe it, but what little wind there was came from ahead throughout the day; therefore the engine was much used.

The most exciting parts of the passage were rounding Portland Bill and entering the River Exe over the bar, an hour and a half after low water, which meant a nail-biting 5 foot clearance under keel and I’m glad there was no swell.

All in all it was a successful day; I felt very comfortable, to the extent that I was able to wash and shave and prepare snacks. Living aboard has now become routine, even while underway.

For mid May the wind was unusually cold and to combat it I wore my Russian hat and Musto yacht gloves.

As I didn’t have much sleep last night I’m hoping for a peaceful night.


Yes, indeed, I did have a refreshing sleep and I woke to hear rain lashing the cabin top, but as the morning progressed the sun came out and a fresh wind from the south soon dried the decks and sail.

After my usual breakfast I had a strip wash before donning a complete change of clothing; then I took the opportunity to clean the interior of the yacht.

Assembling the dinghy on the pushpit was an easy task, which I did in preparation for taking the rubbish ashore and for obtaining ‘yacht’ diesel at the local garage. There can’t be many places where ‘boat’ diesel is sold at a local garage, but Starcross has it all – even drinking water at the head of the boat slip which passes under the mainline railway.

Of course, Starcross is really famous for the Brunel Pumping House which was used for his vacuum suction railway. Although it worked, reliability was a problem, and the idea never took off for commercial success.

My laptop wanted charging and I had to do some shopping; therefore when I had eaten lunch I caught the 47A bus to the centre of Exeter, where I went to an obliging hotel which allowed me to use their cocktail room for charging the computer while in use.

Tesco’s was just down the road from the hotel and it was convenient to shop there before meeting my wife at her sister’s place in Alphington, a village on the outskirts of Exeter.

I intend to stay at Starcross for a couple of days, because it is in a beautiful village, and as far as I can tell, the moorings are free, since many of them are unused. There are several interesting places to look at, such as Powderham Castle where I intend to have a walk, although some parts of the estate are out of bounds to the public, maybe because of a resident herd of deer.

Starcross is particularly nostalgic for me, because back in the late sixties I kept two of my boats there before I took my family to Essex where we’ve lived for the past 33 years.

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