Trip on Phoebe starting 2018-03-30 in BSAApril18
Easter sailing 2018 - report by Ian Collins
Boat: Bavaria 36 ‘Phoebe’
Good Friday is fine terminology for the church calendar but in a meteorological sense this Easter it failed the grade. We drove in the cold, through occasional showers and some sleet to Plymouth. Here we stopped and shopped before signing up for ‘Phoebe’, Plymouth Sailing School’s Bavaria 36. By just gone six we had achieved a full crew. All Aboard with bunks sorted and food stored and bottled goods safe and secure; we headed down a very cold river, to Yacht Haven Marina. We moored up and then marched smartly away to The Clovelly Bay.
Later, and considerably fuller we abandoned the warmth of the bar and braved the hill back to a boat that had no heating. We had a fortifying drink and then donning all the clothes we could manage to squeeze on, including woolly hats; we settled into our sleeping bags for a long cold night. During the night and on into Saturday morning it rained, and rained, and then rained some more. Not always hard, not always entirely continuously, but sufficient to turn miserable into misery. We had been unable to contact Richard and our only heat source was the stove. At one point in the afternoon it actually stopped raining and a weak and watery orb attempted to breach the clouds. So we walked around Mountbatten, the point and climbed to Mountbatten Tower. It started to look like it might rain, so we hurried on back.
On arriving back Richard phoned and swiftly after arrived bearing a 240v electric fire and the expertise to at least manage to get the manic heater control to give us one hour of heat if we pushed a very specific button and forswore the temptation to push anything else. As you may imagine this button was pushed hard and often. Having survived so far, we awarded ourselves a meal and drinks in the Bridge Bar.
Sunday dawned and we didn't disturb it cocooned as we were in warmth and wellbeing. Later, bright and breakfasted, we headed out at around 1000 hrs into the Sound and sailed. We sailed past the breakwater and entered Cawsands Bay. Out again into a choppy 2mtr sea where we tacked East against a South Easterly wind of 18 gusting to 26 knots. Rhian and then Brian did sterling service on the helm. Around 1500 the forecast of rain made sure it didn't let us down and we high-tailed it to the Yealm.
I love a night on the pontoon in the Yealm. The Harbourmaster came through the pouring rain to collect the fee and looking hard at me asked " What the, -----, are you doing here?" It does make you wonder, doesn’t it?Anyway putting aside the mental instability of ancient mariners. We ate on board, we drank sufficiently of the grape to ensure a good showing at the glass recycling bin. And as we listened to the rain battering the decks we were both warm and companionable in the saloon.
Monday morning and the water that had fallen on the South Hams over the past few days appeared to be exiting the Yealm all at once. With Kath on the helm we left the mooring at a fair clip on the mid range of an ebb tide. I can honestly say I've never seen the mouth of the Yealm look less inviting. There was wind over tide, over sand bar, over rocks, with white horses preforming a maritime gymkhana as we faced an in your face stiff breeze. Kath took it in her stride, bouncing us across the bay and around the Mew Stone and then on 3 to 4 metre swells surfed us into the Sound and the safety of Cattewater.
We sailed 26 miles, motored 12 miles. We consumed sufficient of the good things in life amongst good company; and in all honesty we have known far worse during our Easter sailings. So thank you crew, well done.