Trip on Gundulph starting 2011-10-20 in BSANov11
Training Trip October 20 – 23 – report by skipper Alan Howells
Skipper: Alan Howells
Boat: GK 29 “Gundulph”
Alan, Don, Jerzy, Peter & Sarah demonstrated their ability to shrug off the weather during this long weekend. The lock at Sutton Harbour was being repaired which limited access. We were able to drop off stuff at West Pier, drive around to the car park and walk back around the harbour. In the morning there was a call on the VHF announcing that if we did not get through the gate in five minutes we would not get out. Peter was ashore at the time so picking him up from Mayflower Steps was practice for picking up Sarah later.
Whilst waiting we sailed around to Mayflower Marina in a nice breeze to buy ice. Having got everyone settled in we set off towards Falmouth on a close hauled course which was looking like we could make it in one. A gale warning with the suggestion of the wind going around to the South East resulted in a change of plan and we went into Fowey with a series of very broad reaches toward Fowey lighthouse until dropping the main just before picking up the sector light inside Fowey and sailing in on the white sector before motoring the last few 100 metres to the buoy.
Popped over to the lifeboat pontoon in the morning for showers etc and a bit of leaving and returning to the pontoon. The forecast was for a definite gale South to South East for Sunday so we came back close hauled again in a 7 with three reefs in the main, choosing a night in the Yacht Haven and a beer tasting at the Borringdon.
Sunday consisted of lots of tacking and gybing in 7 - 8 with a three reefed main in Plymouth inside and outside the breakwater to sample the conditions. Lunch was on a somewhat bouncy buoy partly in the lee of Drake's Island - that was the most sheltered bit of the Sound without going into a marina or up a river.
During the weekend everyone had quite a bit of practice at tacking and gybing, picking up buoys and motoring on and off pontoons, frequently in testing conditions. There was also some practice at navigation, day and night, and a bit of collision avoidance due to the activities of the Navy, commercial shipping, and some yacht racing. Everyone did remarkably well considering the conditions.
Five worked OK on the yacht but we were very lucky that everyone was extremely tolerant in the restricted space. In general I recommend four. The yacht was in generally good order and demonstrated her sea kindliness. A heater had been fitted and proved useful in keeping everything warm and dry. West Pier is in Sutton Harbour - the most sheltered in Plymouth. The access problems related to work on the lock gate and are almost certainly rare. West Pier consists of excellent secure pontoons with water and electricity right on the Barbican but has no other facilities. Even the public toilets nearby close at night - plenty of pubs and restaurants though. Parking is in a car park over the bridge (which would not normally cause a problem during the day until 9PM) and about a five minute walk away.