Trip on Tamarisk starting 2008-10-19 in BSANov08

Plymouth 19 – 22 October – report by Jon Wood

Skipper: Gordon Ogden

Crew:Ros Bennet, Sue Fowle, Kate Hubert, Don Hirst and Jon Wood.

Boat: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 40 “Tamarisk” chartered from Liberty Yachts, out of QAB.

The idea was to get to PlymouthMap around 4.30 pm on Sunday for a night sail to Falmouth. Liberty and the weather had other ideas – Liberty wouldn’t do the handover until 8.30 Monday, and it was blowing a hoolie, even in the marina. So after a meal ashore, followed by a long walk back (the Barbican swing bridge opens for the night at 9.30 pm, and we got to the wrong end of it at 9.30 and 30 seconds) we spent a somewhat noisy, clangy night on board in QAB.

Monday dawned still very windy (if that is possible) with rubbish visibility. Liberty did the handover – in the end. I did a little reprovisioning. Don had provisioned the boat but somehow mislaid the bag of apples and bananas. He searched high and low but it proved fruitless.

Gordon thought the weather called for the storm jib. After a little faffing around this was rigged, tied down and all was ready to go. Then it absolutely peed down. An early lunch was called for. After lunch we set off – visibility still very bad. Up went the storm jib, 3 reefs in the main, then we hit a snag. No wind whatsoever. Luckily, no one saw us in the fog. Down came the storm jib, out went all 3 reefs, genny fully out. Tiddled around a bit but didn’t get very far.

Over the radio we heard a very one0sided conversation between a warship and a yacht. There were repeated, bur unanswered warnings about the consequences of being in said warship’s security zone. The final message went “This is warship........Yacht 50m off our starboard bow, we are opening fire in self-defence.” I think I heard the reply “This is yacht...........Just as soon as the helm has finished changing his trousers we will.............”

As we were going nowhere fast in a fairly rainy sort of way it was decided to head up the Tamar and spend the night under Brunel’s bridge. Ros and Sue did the pilotage – and the navigation all weekend. We tied up on the Saltash Sailing ClubMap pontoon, all of us slightly damp around the edges. Dinner was taken up the (steep) hill in Saltash. The crew was regaled by Don with tales of small arms and French maids. At this point I was going to comment on the 19th century good ladies of Saltash and Isambard Kingdom’s enormous erection – but in the light of Brand and Ross I won’t. Having donned dry clothes before setting out under clear skies for the evening, the “Big Man” had his little joke on us with a five minute monsoon as we were on the way back downhill to the boat. Result, everyone slightly damp round the edges again.

Tuesday a.m. and we really were off. Motor-sailed down river, with warnings from Gordon along the lines of “no wind – do we really want to motor-sail all the way to Fowey?” Out past the breakwater and plenty of wind (on the nose of course) and a spanking good sail all the way to FoweyMap – giving Kate ample opportunity for tweaking practice (what’s wrong with “near enough is good enough”?). One fault with the boat showed itself as far as Gordon and I were concerned. Tamarisk has a bimini furled up over the helm. For Gordon it was an inconvenience, for me a blindfold, for the lesser members of the crew not a problem.

Last meeting we heard grumbles about the cost of moorings and water taxis in Fowey, along with the length of queues for Sam’s. This meeting I can report cost of mooring and water taxi zero (lifeboat pontoon all night) and 5 minutes queue for Sam’s.

Wednesday morning saw me off ashore for some essentials, Cornish pasties for lunch and oysters for breakfast. Niles bakery didn’t have a delivery of fresh pasties until 10 am and the fishmongers were fresh out of oysters ‘til 10.30 – bummer.

Gordon’s forecast was for a good fresh breeze to get us back to Plymouth with plenty time to spare, so a detour via the Eddystone light was suggested. Result, little wind and a few hours in, with Eddystone still very much on the horizon, the calculation was made that at this rate it would be Thursday before we got back. We altered course to make as straight a passage back to Plymouth as possible and of course, as soon as we got near the breakwater, the wind got up again. Moral – take Gordon’s forecast and expect the opposite.

Coming in to Plymouth SoundMap we played “dodge the warships” (NATO exercise) and Sue kept an eye out for a sailor (preferably an officer) with a big boat. We were entertained with demonstrations of helicopters flying backwards and generally showing off, and the SBS practising boarding a rapidly moving trawler from RIBs – i.e. boys and their toys. We were politely shooed away from a frigate going upriver by two MoD Police in a RIB. They drew admiring glances from certain female members of our crew, what with their black rubber, big shiny helmets and firm manner.

At the fuel pontoon Gordon gave us a final display of how to come alongside in slightly windy weather. I then gave a display of how to use Jif and a kitchen scourer to remove all traces of Gordon’s lesson from the gel coat

We didn’t get as gar as we Wanted but still had a jolly time under Gordon’s usual excellent skippering, Ros and Sue’s navigation, Don’s fruitless provisioning and Kate’s tweaking. Oh, and I just went along for the ride.

Plymouth  50.3648,-4.1322
Saltash Sailing Club  50.4096,-4.2059
Fowey  50.3349,-4.6323
Plymouth Sound  50.3418,-4.1396