Trip on a GK29 starting 2012-10-18 in BSANov12

Yachtmaster prep long weekend, Plymouth – report by Ian Collins

Skipper: Alan HowellsCrew: Ian Collins, Kath Liddiard, Rhian Phillips and Brian Adams.

Late on a bright Thursday afternoon, October 18th, Alan and I took possession of Sail West’s GK29 in Sutton HarbourMap. Settled on board we moved off the pontoon intending to take advantage of what was left of the light. Contacting the Gate Keeper we found that we were trapped in the harbour till 2100 so a change of plan and some boat handling filled the time to takeaway Fish n’ Chips accompanying a pint in the Dolphin.

Friday early, bright but sadly not breezy we saddled the Diesel Donkey and took in the delights of the Tamar. Our intention was to chase some contours and similar exercises. Sadly no; the depth gauge readings were, to say the least undecided jumping over a range of in places 5 metres. So back to harbour.

Kath, Rhian and a little later Brian joined us, sardine like in the saloon while Alan negotiated with Wendy regarding the instruments. Diplomacy resulted in an upgrade to the Sunfast 37 promised late on Saturday morning. With dreams of elbow room to come a happy crew set out to enjoy finding, then identifying some among the galaxy of lights that is Plymouth Sound by night, ending up at anchor in Cawsands enjoying the contents of Alan’s pressure cooker.

Saturday and the Sunfast came complete with breeze. Back out in the Sound but now under canvas we attacked mooring buoys and I drowned the MOB (sadly Fred has failed as yet to wash ashore). Alan kept us hard at it with tacks, gybes and general sailing exercises, a real-time learning curve. Then a quick dash into the Channel and a visit to the mouth of the Yealm and an even quicker dash back to the Yacht Haven and supper at the nearby, much favoured pub. It was here, talking to a local lifeboatman that the light we failed to find was no surprise; its scope does not reach the place where we were looking for it.

I decided that having drowned Fred I was not ready to face the RYA and thought that, instead of examining, Nigel, who had introduced himself the previous day, might be enticed to swap his time to instruction. Again to the Sound where we gybed through even more nautical hoops. Then back to Sutton Harbour and Nigel, who replaced Alan.

Nigel was a great find, confident, knowledgeable, humorous, and most important a kindly critic without pulling punches, a born instructor. He put us through our paces and added polish where possible to our performance. He then joined us for a very pleasant debrief in the pub. It was here that Nigel paid Alan a most deserved compliment. He said it was obvious that we sailed together regularly as we worked together well as a crew. A great recommendation for the success of Alan’s efforts.

We parted company the following day but before finishing I must thank Alan and the rest of the crew for a great practical sailing weekend with a special mention to Kath who never allowed her very real “pain in the neck” to interfere and preformed with good humour, full attention and participation throughout. Get well soon!