Trip on Spellbinder starting 2009-09-07 in BSASep09

Spellbinder” from Plymouth, Sept 7-10 – report by Jeremy Powell

Skipper: Gordon Ogden

Crew: John Hartland, Ginny Watts, Chris Watts and Jeremy Powell

Day One. The Alarm clock fired up at 5:30am and this is a holiday? Threw the sailing bag into the car and headed to Plymouth Mappicking up John on the way. On the way into Plymouth we could hardly see in front our faces, and were worried we were going to be stuck in harbour for the day. However, on arrival at 8:45, greeted by Gordon, at sea level at the marina the cloud and mist was high enough to see sufficiently. After introductions to crew and boat, and a bit of preparation and few safety briefs, it was off to the bar for a bacon and egg butty before setting off.

We had a light southerly and decided to head for Fowey about 15 NM to the west. Once away from the land the visibility improved and we had a nice sail up the coast. The sea was a little choppy after the Plymouth breakwater for a few miles but then settled out. Before heading into Fowey Chris did a few demo crash jibs and heave-to manoeuvres, I then did some too. During the day I had felt a little sea sick for the first time ever, strange as the motion was not bad at all. Getting on the helm doing the manoeuvres cleared it.

With the easy Southerly we decided to sail all the way into Fowey Mapbefore dropping the sails and motoring onto a buoy. With me on the helm and instruction from Gordon, Chris and John were able to pick up the mooring.....eventually. We checked out the water taxi availability over the VHF and put the boat to bed. At that point I was forced by the crew to drink some red wine. Chris and Ginny had done a fantastic job on the provisions.

The taxi picked us up and we hit the town where I was forced to have more wine, and a rather ‘green’ cider at the Fowey yacht club. After a good meal we headed back to the boat via the water taxi, after first getting in the wrong boat (The ferry for Polruan)

The next day did not start well for me, either sea sickness from bouncing around on the mooring or the cider/wine mix caused a delay to proceedings. The weather was not looking good, with poor visibility and choppy sea in the harbour, the plan to head to Salcombe was off. We moved to the pontoon to fill the water tank and I went for a walk in the town. The crew were happy to stay in Fowey if I needed it but I was soon OK and wanted to get out there. We left about 10:30, and as we got out to sea the visibility improved a little and the sea state was only slight. Still southerly we had an easy trip back to Plymouth. We sailed round Drakes Island and headed up the river to a mooring for a break. It was good to practice holding a transit in a cross tide that changed direction as we moved round the island. We motored back round to Plymouth Yacht Haven for the evening. Using the ship’s stores Chris and Ginny came up with a fantastic pasta dinner.

The next day saw the predicted high pressure reach us and we decided to sail out to the Eddystone rock and back, it was a beautiful day with light wind that had backed to the north. After a visit to the River Yealm, where we had breakfast, we made slow progress to the rock, and when the wind finally died a mile north of the lighthouse, we decided to head back by motor. During the day several gun exercises were heard on the Radio, south of the Lighthouse.

As we turned and headed back we were treated to a military display of helicopter submarine searches and fighter jet attacks on the Frigates. One pass of the jet came low and fast over the top of us and you could almost count the rivets in it. As we headed back the wind came back and we had a great run of close hauled tacks up and down the Breakwater John felt like he was back in a dingy and Gordon, was in his element. Chris had his eye out as usual spotting lobster pot buoys way out in front.

Once back in the marina we were shown mooring shorthanded by Gordon and Chris using a lasso of the pontoon cleat with a warp on the yacht’s mid cleat. Motoring forward it became a spring the boat and motor against and hold the stern in.

We ended the trip with a good meal in the marina bar, and the next morning packed up the boat and headed home.

Plymouth  50.3596,-4.1215
Weather at EGDB   3 kts from West 17C, 1019mb Mostly Cloudy
Fowey  50.3596,-4.1215
Weather at EGDB   3 kts from West 17C, 1019mb Mostly Cloudy