Trip on Tamarisk starting 2007-10-01 in BSAOct07
3.2Midweek from Plymouth October 1 - 3, skippered by Gordon Ogden. Report by Kate Hubert.
We left the rain behind us and arrived at Queen Anne’s Battery in Plymouth to pick up our Jeanneau SO 40 Tamarisk around noon. There was a delay while Liberty fixed the heater, as they were concerned we couldn’t do without it. Once fixed it pumped out heat so efficiently, that we had to switch it off (a feat requiring telepathy to work out the controller) and open all the hatches. As it turned out, we never bothered with it again!
We took Tamarisk out for a brisk turn around the Sound, with a nice gusty Easterly, around Force 6 and tacked our way through the abundant fleet of HM’s Navy. Even with a couple of reefs in, the boat cracked along at 6-7 knots, which blew away the cobwebs nicely. Shorter members of the crew took the helm, due to the curious ‘skipper-blindfolding device’, otherwise known as a folded bimini, just the right height to completely obscure Gordon’s view… As we headed back inside the breakwater, we decided to test the ‘200m rule’ by tacking close round the huge aircraft carrier, but turned away before the chaps patrolling the decks started staring at us too menacingly… Pat brought us into the berth beautifully, and after some nibbles and a glass of wine or four, we had dinner at the marina bar. We retired pretty early, ready for a prompt start towards Fowey in the morning.
We had high hopes for the wind on Tuesday, it was still Easterly, although had weakened to a comfortable F3-4, just enough to deal with any fuzzy heads. As we headed out of Plymouth we encountered even more naval activity, ‘stealth’ ribs, the carrier, hunter and destroyer class ships, as well as two mysterious slab-fronted craft we dubbed ‘those ugly ones.’ Further out we spotted a surfaced submarine so crept over for a better look, its course adjusted too, bringing it right past us. I’m afraid us girls got quite excited with all the top brass in the con-tower wearing great coats and gold-braided white caps. Luckily, they weren’t too grand and they waved back at us! We intended to round the Eddystone en route, but the wind began to desert us and so we bore away for Fowey direct. We managed to have a pleasant picnic lunch in the sunny cockpit and gradually peeled off layers of clothing. Katie looked like she was sunbathing, but managed to convince us she was actually keeping a sharp lookout by spotting two distant pods of dolphins. Eventually we had to admit defeat and motored our way for the last few miles. We even had a realistic surprise MOB drill – (that stands for Mat Over Board by the way,) after we lost one of our non-stick mats to the dying gusts of breeze… After that it was down to knot practice and checking the log against the measured distance transits on shore.
We arrived in Fowey, only to be overtaken by a zooming Moody 36 as we entered the harbour. And there was quite a sight to greet us – the whole World was in Fowey. Well, the large cruise liner called The World at least. We had great views of its apartments, owned by the great and the good so they can have the address, ‘No. 23, The World.’ We squeezed past her upriver, and took in the less glamorous sights, china clay freighters, who curiously bore Union Jacks rather than Ensigns (although they didn’t seem too worried by our tutting…) We practiced some mooring on and off pontoons, and got extra practice when we couldn’t decide where to stay for the night – we ended up rafting next to the cheeky Moody who’d nicked the last visitor spot, but got lucky when the neighbouring Nauticat departed. The main pontoon was reserved for the tender to The World, so we avoided eye contact with the harbourmaster and stuck on the ‘2 hour only’ pontoon on the grounds it was out of season…. As we enjoyed sundowners and nibbles in the cockpit, Fowey put on a great show for us, The World began to slip her moorings, accompanied by tugs and harbour-master vessels, all waved off by an enthusiastic crowd on the quay. After the excitement, we headed into town for supper (with a brief delay to retrieve Sue H who’d been left behind and locked in!) The Yacht Club was chef-less and Sam’s too busy, but we had excellent fresh fish and scallops at the Lugger.
The next morning we found it pretty hard to clear the condensation from the ports until we realised it was actually pea-soup fog on the outside…. Hoping it would lift later we were granted shore leave. The four women found the only shop in Fowey open before 10am and bought some clothes which they assured each other would come in very handy…! Luckily by 10am the sun had burnt off most of the mist and we headed out into a flat calm. The forecast didn’t give us much hope, so we settled in for a chilly motor back to Plymouth. Of course, by the time we headed into harbour, the wind had shifted and picked up, and the sun was out… but we kept ourselves amused by doing tidal calculations on the Bridge and I/Sue took us through in fine style, pilotage notes in one hand, nice cold glass of Chardonnay in the other…. And then all that was left to do was to tidy up and hand over for 5pm.
Despite the lack of wind at the end, we still had a great trip, learned lots and were amply entertained by the Royal Navy, leaping dolphins, Gordon’s naughty laugh, even the entire ‘World.’ (Thanks to Sue for provisioning, Gordon for being a patient teacher and Jock for taking that less than ideal berth in the saloon….)