Trip on Sapphire starting 2012-09-27 in BSAOct12

Jeanneau Sunfast 37 “Sapphire27-30 September 2012 – report by Don Hirst

Sapphire is chartered from Sail West and is berthed at West Pier Marina, Sutton Harbour, PlymouthMap. Previously we have chartered a GK 29 from Wendy. This was a first time BSA Charter for the Jeanneau Sunfast 37. Skipper Alan Howells and crew Mike Berry, Richard Trim and Don arrived at 15.30 for the handover on Thursday after a clear drive down missing rush hour.

The parking, which is arranged by Wendy at a substantial discount, is in the Barbican car park across the swing bridge from West Pier, Sutton Harbour. Unloading adjacent to the pier is discouraged as there is a council number plate recognition van operating to catch transgressors. Handover of Wendy’s boats is always interesting. The GK29 has children’s games and fishing lines in handy drawers. Fortunately the children do not appear to have spread to Sapphire as the boat was spotless with clear stowage spaces. The inventory was interesting as it had been copied from the GK29. However when Wendy arrived, she had a new phone number which caused a three hour communication breakdown. The variations were resolved and she took our corrected list to revise the inventory. We went for a rather later than expected fish and chips and pint or two in The Dolphin.

Bob Hayes the final member of crew arrived at 8.00am Friday just in time for the first breakfast. After topping up the fuel at QAB we set sail for Cawsand, to anchor for our 2nd breakfast. At 12.00 we set sail for Falmouth in a Force 4 Westerly. The sea was a little lumpy so we had snacks and postponed full dinner until we had tied up. Two learning points emerged during the passage.

Having picked up the sector light it is wrong to assume a guaranteed absolutely safe course. Rather than sailing down the edge of the sector it is prudent to sail into the middle of the sector which fully opens up the entrance.

Beware of locals fixing navigation lights on temporary structures, in a similar way the allies did in WW II to mislead enemy bombers, in this case doubling the number of port hand navigation lights expected.

Despite this we tied up at 23.40 exactly on low water springs having missed the Falmouth Visitors Yacht Haven unmarked sandbank and concrete block, the subject of a previous BSA report. The helm did say he did not want to worry us unduly but on passing the fuel pontoon the depth gauge showed 1cm of water under our 2.2 metre draft keel.

We settled down to a well-earned dinner and I had achieved a personal goal of a non-stop Plymouth to Falmouth passage after the 7th attempt over the past 10 years.

We had a lie-in Saturday then fortified by breakfast went into the town for supplies of pasties and a pint in the Chain Locker. We set off after lunch. The Force 4 Westerly was still blowing and we had a fast, flat, 3 hour sail to Fowey. We picked up a visitors’ buoy, (which are now painted blue, Reeds has not been updated) for an après sail drink. There was no enthusiasm for blowing up the dinghy so we motored over to the lifeboat pontoon, moored up and wandered ashore. We passed several pubs, unusual for BSA, and went to The Ship and had excellent huge meals.

After another late start Sunday, we had our customary 2nd bacon butty breakfast on the move and another quick sail to Cawsand Bay, courtesy of our faithful westerly, which touched Force 5, where we anchored again for lunch. After which we topped up with two gallons of fuel at QAB, returned Sapphire to her Sutton Harbour mooring, cleaned the boat and returned home.

It was a super trip, with good weather and a good boat, which sailed well with her large main. She will sail even better with a full Genoa, which we believe is planned, rather than a No2 Jib. Thanks, as always, to Alan for an excellent trip; all the objectives were achieved.


Sutton Harbour, Plymouth  50.3688,-4.1339
Weather at EGDB   12 kts from WNW 14C, 1012mb Mostly Cloudy