Trip on Pantalaimon starting 2013-10-18 in BSANov13

Sail Training Trip, PlymouthMap, Oct 18-20 – report by skipper Alan Howells

We (Alan, Dougal, Ian. Jerzy and John) picked up the yacht (Bavaria 36 ‘Pantalaimon’) from Liberty on Friday afternoon. By the time we had taken over it was getting dark, blowing quite hard and raining. This was not really conducive to the points I wanted to cover at the outset and no one was twisting my arm to get us out on the water so fish and chips and pub was the order for the eve. The arrangement of buying fish and chips in the shop and eating them with a beer in the Dolphin still applies.

Forecast for following day was roughly Southerly F5 – F6 which was about right though the forecast rain did not materialise and during the afternoon everyone, except Dougal*, was wishing they had brought sunglasses. Motored across the Cattewater to pick up a buoy and practiced fast mainsail hoisting working on coordination between the mast man and the crew on the winch. Sailed off the buoy and in turns worked on sailing to the wind, tacking and gybing aiming for progressive improvement.

Tried to anchor in Cawsand which was rendered difficult by the fact that the sounder packed up at that time (came on again later – no idea why). Tried to anchor in what should have been no more than 8m, which should have been OK with 40m of chain but could not get anchor, a heavy CQR, to bite. Tried again: starting lowering the anchor very slowly whilst going astern gently and then increasing the revs very slowly as the chain came straight. Again at just over 1,500 revs the anchor dragged. Gave up and sailed to a point about ½ mile South of the Tinkers and hove to, which the yacht did beautifully, for bacon butties. Then as one crew was suffering a bit we went back to QAB practicing gybing and dropping the main whilst sailing on the headsail, for a rest and lunch.

Afternoon consisted of more sail handling including raising main whilst sailing under headsail, reefing and more tacking and gybing in a strengthening wind. Tried a MOB under sail and then a successful night pilotage exercise to the Yacht Haven before going for the usual meal and drinks in the Borringdon.

The overnight rain had stopped but the wind was up a bit – probably F6- F7 but we carried on as before and then picked up a buoy behind Drakes Island for a break. The extraordinary good luck with the weather continued as a squall came though at that time wrecking a small yacht near Bovisand – everyone safely off with a bit of a scramble to the road. After the squall had abated we practiced sailing onto a buoy and then out into the Sound for more MOB work under sail. We concluded with a run, gybed to a fast beam reach, rounded to a close reach to drop the main in the Cattewater before bearing away to sail into the outer harbour under headsail.

Return in the marina was challenging. Most of the hammerhead was occupied by a far larger yacht with the remaining bit being considerably shorter than our yacht. In the then 30kns of wind it was impossible to hold the bow to the wind and crab in so a downwind moor was required, turning tightly in to try to get the yacht close to the short bit of pontoon available to us. Ever full of enthusiasm Ian jumped with rather more momentum than necessary and dived over the other side of the pontoon. Having persuaded him to let go the bow rope we immediately came in alongside the other yacht on the hammerhead to get someone ashore to help him. The last we saw of him before going behind the other yacht was in the ‘impossible’ position of hanging off two fender lines of a moored yacht with both heels on the pontoon. When he came into view again he was walking along the pontoon explaining that he had to remain in that position for a moment to get his breath before levering himself up. Treating the whole thing like a casual dip off the beach in summer he actually had to be persuaded to take a hot shower and change, which he was reluctant to do as he did not want us to do his share of the clearing up. A meal ended the day and we left for home.

* Dougal comes equipped for pretty much any weather though we don't know yet whether that extends to snowshoes.

Plymouth  50.3648,-4.1322