Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saturday, 26thJune

Great Mewstone off the River YealmBreakwater Lighthouse
Brunel's Bridge over the TamarFrigate

I couldn’t have asked for better weather; today was just glorious. At first there was no wind as I left the anchorage at Salcombe, but out beyond Bolt Head there was enough wind for sailing. The course to the Great Mewstone was 292 degrees across the expansive Bigbury Bay. Being a Saturday, there were many yachts on the water, most of the motoring, because of the light wind. I put the engine on for an hour or so, to keep up the average speed of about 3 knots.

Off the Plymouth breakwater I had to make a detour because of divers, but I could still edge past the western end of the breakwater on the port tack. By the time ‘Ladybird’ bore off towards Drake’s Island on a course for the Bridge, the flood tide was taking us along at a fair old lick. Going through the Bridge, which is a narrow channel to the SW of Drake’s Island, was a bit exciting, because in addition to ‘Ladybird’ two other yachts arrived there at the same time, all running downwind and a motor yacht was coming towards us in the opposite direction. By Cremyll Point the tide was racing towards the Hamoase.

After passing the Torpoint Chain Ferry I headed ‘Ladybird’ into the wind and took down the mainsail. From that point I squared off the Genoa and headed up the River Tamar. I didn’t start the engine until well past Cargreen. This was the safest thing to do because the wind almost petered out and I needed steerage way through the numerous moorings. The upper reaches of the Tamer twists and turns like a snake, and I had to take care to keep in the deeper parts of the River. I gave up using the Autohelm, because it was playing up, most probably because the battery was low on juice.

The River Tamar is truly beautiful with wooded sides and in parts a few small cliffs. Unfortunately, there were a good many very fast speedboats, some with ski equipment and two tripper boats from Plymouth going to Calstock. They don’t reduce speed when passing small vessels and their washes create havoc. Apart from those minor drawbacks, the place was idyllic. The evening as I prepare this Blog, all is peaceful. I can hear a blackbird singing and the screeches of swallows or swifts.

No comments: