Trip on Cherry B starting undated in BSASep17
Bank Holiday on the water – report by Ian Collins
I don't know if "Sunny Bank Holiday" is an oxymoron, or is it only morons who book these dates and dream of sunshine. This weekend was truly a case of "sometimes dream come true", but not always quite as you would expect.
Bank Holidays equals Traffic and with Kath Liddiard and Rhian Phillips unable to leave till early evening we decided that it would be best to leave the boat at Yacht Haven Quay and await their arrival then eat onboard, this proved a good choice as Motorway maintenance sent them wandering round Exeter with the rest of the less than happy holiday crowd and an added an hour to the journey.
Around 0630 on a sunny Saturday morning Richard Trym and I quietly cast off Cherry B and motored down the Cattewater to the fuel berth at the Marina. We assured the staff we were in no hurry and if we could have the gate code and access toilets and showers, we would move the boat to the far end of the pontoon. So by 0900hrs, washed, dressed, fuelled and watered we set off for Torquay assured by "apps" on various devices of some soft but suitable winds. We entered Plymouth Sound and technically this is where my sailing report ends. No wind; neither sneeze nor snuffle ruffled the waters.
But the Sun, that glorious golden globe shone and shone and shone on us as we motored up the coast. Whilst soaking up the sun we remarked on the departing crew’s badly flaked mainsail. We had of course removed the sail cover whilst in harbour with the confidence of the seldom becalmed. Wembury Bay to Yealm Head, Burgh Island in Bigbury Bay, Bolt from Tail to Head then a sighting of Salcombe. On past Prawle Point to Start Point and across the Skerries Bank, to Combe Point for a peek at Dartmouth. Mew stone, Berry Head ,Torbay then into Torquay Town Dock where we were told to await berthing instructions while tied alongside the wave break jetty at the furthest end as the ferries’ overnight berths took up most available space.
Time moved on and we moved nowhere. By 2000 in need of sustenance and fearing to lose our booked table at Amici's for 2030 we headed over to the Harbour Office to find we had been forgotten. They had been very busy due to the Cowes to Torquay Powerboat Race the following day. They apologised and ever obliging we said it was alright we wouldn’t mind staying where we were, paid and climbed the hill for a very pleasant Italian meal in a restaurant as busy as the Harbour. Apart from the Disco Boat arriving lights and music toward the witching hour, and considering the fishing boat on the other side of the jetty left at 0500 a good night’s sleep was had by all.
Powerboat Racing, As an activity that seems to me as environmentally sound as pouring sump oil into an aquarium. We watched a few arrive in the morning; very noisy. The whole lot depart at 1400; even noisier but admittedly spectacular. This was a family powerboat weekend. Flat calm seas, Force 10 egos, Stupid speeds, Dangerous manoeuvres, with neither common sense nor courtesy available or offered.
Then on in the sun to Salcombe. Here the harassed harbourmaster greeted us with a shake of the head, a shrug and "find a yellow buoy with something about your length and raft up". We found one and tied alongside, it was marked PRIVATE once you were looking directly down on it. We found another with no claim of ownership so moored up. Salcombe being no great size and with commensurately few eateries and with powerboats four to a buoy and a similar number of yachts; with the night fast approaching an on board meal of mackerel fishcake was rustled up then chased down by red wine. It's at this point that the chugging of the harbourmaster’s launch disturbed the quiet of our backwater. He was most apologetic as he asked us to move. Accepting that he had said any yellow buoy, this one was bought and paid for with the possibility that the owner may return at any time but if we could raft against the dark green boat moored on the pontoon ahead all would be well. So, full of wine, in the dark, we moved forward toward a dark green boat. Never before have I been so impressed by large white fenders and the kindness of strangers. They came on deck as we slid alongside assisting us with ropes fenders, and good humour.
The following morning in beautiful sunshine we bade farewell to our helpful neighbours and headed out for lunch in the Yealm then onto Plymouth for fuel and water. 1630 as we headed up Cattewater Richard phoned to ask if it would be a problem bringing the boat back at 1800 as the Pontoon was full of powerboats awaiting dry storage. So it was tea at the back of Drakes Island where for about 20 minutes the wind blew.
As a nod to our good intentions both Rhian and Kath took and passed their "Tight Parking Badge" and at the next troop meeting Brown Owl will be handing out badges.