Trip on Pantalaimon starting 2014-10-10 in BSAOct14
Sail Training Weekend 10th -12th October – report by Neil Webber
(Secretary’s note: the ‘dense fog’ and the ‘sunken breakwater’ in this report were theoretical hazards provided by the skipper as navigation exercises.)
Alan and I arrived at Queen Anne’s Battery marina on Thursday evening to find Jade, Bill and Ian already onboard, having completed the inventory and already waiting for us in Chandlers Bar. After sampling the local beverages we stowed the remaining kit and provisions onboard for an early night.
Friday awoke with clear skies and an S/SW breeze, after a frugal breakfast we set off into Plymouth Sound where we confused the locals by doing innumerable figure of 8 patterns - two tacks followed by two gybes - until the skipper was bored. We then sailed over to Cawsand Bay where we anchored for lunch. After enjoying the sun, we set off to pick up one of the mooring buoys near Drake’s Island; successfully located and moored we soon set off up river towards Saltash again to collect a mooring buoy. With spring tides and approaching high water there was a reasonable amount of current; while finding the mooring buoys was straightforward actually picking one up under sail with the tide and wind both pushing in the same direction proved less straightforward and after a few attempts the crew were able to pick up the buoy. After a few more successful attempts we headed back to QAB to collect Jeff who was arriving by train. That evening Alan cooked a wonderful sausage mash and red cabbage onboard and after a drink or two in Chandler’s we settled down for an early night.
Saturday dawned very wet indeed, however, after an hour or so it cleared to bright sunshine and no wind at all. We decided to head up river under power towards Torpoint. As we were coming up to Mayflower Marina we entered an unexpected bank of dense fog with only about 50m visibility, so we continued to navigate with limited visibility and no GPS up to the mooring in Tor Point. After locating the mooring the fog disappeared as miraculously as it appeared, a S S/W wind picked up so we sailed back to the moorings by Drake’s Island, where we again picked up a mooring under sail and stopped for a bacon sandwich. When all were replete, we again headed for Cawsand Bay, entertaining the locals with our by now familiar figure of 8 sailing patterns. From Cawsand we set sail for the river Yealm. Once we had arrived we tried unsuccessfully to anchor just after the first transit point, after ploughing for kelp a few times we gave up and on a rising tide headed further up river to moor at a pontoon for a late lunch. Given the sunny afternoon and picture perfect location it was an ideal spot to spend a few hours on Saturday afternoon. We left at about 6PM to get clear of the river in daylight and to do a short night passage back to Plymouth Yacht Haven where we planned to be back in time for dinner in one of the fine local hostelries; we eventually sailed into the East harbour entrance and despite being able to clearly see the south markers buoys in front of the entrance, we decided to take the scenic route via a couple of yellow flashing buoys. We got into the Yacht Haven at about 9PM; a couple of quick calls to the Borringdon and Clovelly resulted in no room in at the Inn. We settled for the restaurant on the marina, The Bridge, which was very welcoming and was a more than adequate substitute at such short notice.
Sunday dawned grey and cold with no discernible wind at all, however, of greater importance to the crew was the fact that while we had bacon on board there was no bread to hold it in. To avoid having a mutiny on his hands Alan took the wise decision to head to Mayflower Steps where a short skip and a jump resulted in the Co-op’s finest bakery produce and we were able to set off to Jennycliff Bay to shelter from the forecasted NE breeze. After the crew were satisfied with their bacon sandwiches we had to raise the anchor which had become fouled in rather a lot of old netting, once sorted we headed off in a NE breeze to the newly discovered sunken marina entrance in Cawsand Bay. This was duly found and we entered avoiding the extremely shallow sunken breakwater. We then had a glorious sail back to QAB again via the East Entrance while Alan was below making lentil soup at a 35 degree angle and without any water. On the way in we were again amazed at the sheer number of yellow marker buoys Once in QAB water was located for the soup, after lunch we set about handing over the boat to Liberty Yachts.
A successful and enjoyable weekend sail training.