Trip on Aludra starting 2010-05-14 in BSAJune10
Plymouth Charter 14th- 16th May 2010 – report by Chris Baxendale
The boat a (Sun Odyssey 37 ALUDRA) was chartered from Liberty Yachts and berthed at Queen Anne’s Battery marina, Plymouth.
Boat’s Scribe: Chris Baxendale
Bob Hayes generously drove Nick Kinsley and myself to Plymouth, leaving Bristol at 3pm we had an uneventful journey down arriving at 6pm; the others had already arrived and stowed their kit plus the stores which had been kindly purchased by Becky.
So with gate codes in hand and a rumour that the RWYC were not adverse to visitors using their facilities, we set off for the clubhouse with Claire in the vanguard. On arrival we were greeted by two senior lady members who made us feel very welcome asking us to sign the visitors book and make ourselves at home. So far so good, until Claire in a stage whisper and a voice that could bend steel said “How can I fill in the bloody comments column when I haven’t had a beer yet”? It was in this friendly atmosphere that I found myself press ganged into the office of boat’s scribe by a dastardly ploy, as the most recent member of the crew to have joined the BSA, under said rules, I was duly elected by a six to one majority. For the future, the RWYC club house could prove to be a very good watering hole for visitors, the waitress asked us if we wanted to eat in the restaurant but we explained that Becky had a meal ready for us on board.
The following morning after a full English breakfast and a comprehensive skippers briefing it was agreed that Salcombe rather than Fowey would be our destination, so at 1045 we were able to slip and manoeuvre off the hammerhead end of the pontoon at the entrance to the marina and make our way out into the harbour. Once out we made sail with the intention of using the easterly entrance to the sound but fickle winds said otherwise, Bryan gave orders to “Make for the westerly entrance and waypoint, then hang a left”. With the wind NW about force 2 to 3 we had a gentle passage down to Salcombe on a broad reach. 3pm was the earliest time to be over the bar at the entrance to the estuary; we made the waypoint off Bolt Head by 4pm. Having motored up the river to Salcombe the harbourmaster gave us an option of buoys one of which we moored to in a most seamanlike fashion. Payment of £18 was requested by the authorities at which time Becky bravely offered payment with a slice of fruit cake and a cup of tea, amazingly this was declined by the young lad (no sense of adventure) but it did produce 7 free tokens for the Salcombe yacht club showers (value £2 each).
Sadly the club didn’t come up to expectations, although Becky and Bryan made use of the showers, the restaurant had a limited menu because of problems with the deep fat fryer, not the first time this had happened I gather. So it was up stakes and make for the nightlife of Salcombe with Claire as navigator! She had heard of a tavern called the Fortesque Arms to which we repaired and a very nice place too, a good selection of beers, a good and varied selection on the menu also reasonably priced. We did observe that 7pm was the latest you would want to eat as a big group. Having paid another £1.50 per head for the water taxi we returned on board around 10pm, some to bed, some to a bottle of red wine!
The weather forecast was not great for the following day with possible heavy showers for our return to Plymouth. It was while sitting in the cockpit at 0630 with a cup of tea in hand and discussing the various crew members’ night attire (nice pair Bryan) it became obvious that the forecast seemed about right - dark clouds and squally winds. After another more rushed English breakfast we slipped the mooring at 1000 to enable us to make the bar and thus the waypoint with adequate water under us. It was over this bar that had caused quite a large area of lumpy water that I found out the depth of feeling for the ‘blue duster brigade’. It just so happened that as we were crossing the bar a yacht flying the blue ensign and being sailed single handed was trying to hoist his main, in a sea which we with a seven man (sorry) person crew were not prepared to risk. Remarks such as “typical of that lot, think they can walk on bloody water” were banded about. The passage back was much more fun the wind backed S Westerly but now force 4 to 5 – 20 knots ish, we were beating into the wind trying to make good a course of 300 deg with a friendly tide after approx half an hour. The skipper did remark that should the heavy showers materialise he had a lot of chart work to complete down below. In fact the weather improved to the point of bright sunshine at Plymouth by which time Rob’s face had turned the colour of a good Cab Sauv.
It was decided that the easterly entrance was now an option. On entering the sound we found ourselves spectators to the end of a local dinghy race, it was like bees round a honey pot. With motor on, we entered the marina basin to find that there was no diesel available only unleaded so back to the marina to tie up. As we approached the entrance a little black head and two back eyes were staring at us and they were right in line with our berth, Sammy the seal certainly picked his spot. So did the yacht that occupied our berth, Bryan was forced to do a tricky approach across the interloper’s bows with all fenders out and fingers crossed. Spot on.
The wash and brush up was soon completed, only to be marred by my Bath rugby hat going in the drink. I only became aware of it when Bob shouted over that if I handed him a boat hook he would fish it out, good man! We said our farewells in the car park and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that a great time was had by all. Sailing, food, drinking, company all were top rate.
Thank you to all.