Trip on Miranda starting 2019-11-15 in BSADec19
November and northerlies, 15 – 17 November 019 – report by skipper Ian Collins
The combination of date and wind direction was never going to be the prelude to a warm weekend. Putting sense and reason to one side, accompanied by Rich Trim and Alan Gray I arrived at Plymouth QAB around noon to sign over Miranda, a Hanse 385 from Liberty Yachts. That done we were off to Morrisons for a snack and a sortie round the shelves for fodder.
In the meantime Nigel Alltimes and Mick Hewitt had arrived and wisely hunkered down in QAB’s Chandlers Bar and Bistro to await our return. Forward planning in frosty weather made booking a table there for the evening probably the best decision of the day so far and when Taylor Mowat arrived around 1900 and having booked a table for 2030 we shortened the odds to 1930 and had a pleasant evening. The only shortcoming was Nick Redding who having damaged his leg earlier in the week was unable to join us. It seems the historic treatment of Crutch, Eye Patch, and Parrot, are no longer available on the NHS. Even without these beneficial aids we wish him a speedy recovery.
In a morning that was bright but cold, with a forecast with winds from the north, staggering slightly east and west and ranging in speeds from undecided to somewhat petulant. We set sail around 0930 and it seemed the waves more normally seen in the Channels westerly approach had taken the weekend off. Laid back is my best description of sea state. Members of the crew had on recent BSA trips visited both Salcombe and Fowey. So in close to a flat calm, and wishing to broaden horizons we motored past the breakwater and plodded east at around 6knots toward Dartmouth.
We did raise the mainsail as an expression of optimism. Our mainsail, looked magnificent while doing little in the way driving us along. Most of the way the sun shone but provided nothing in the way of heat. Round Start Point as if gifted by the Gods for our perseverance a Breeze from the North East made it possible to stand the motor down and actually sail. Tacking our way across the bay gently we came past the safe water buoy lowered our sails and as the sun dipped below the hills. Alan motored us, using the sector lights, in and on to the Town Quay. That’s all except for the 8 feet of stern overhanging due to the large yacht, and the eight Heritage Boats from the trust in Brixham already moored up; but what’s eight feet when you can walk into town. We ate in the Cherub. Good food, decent beer and a great welcome.
Up early and away which saw us rounding Start Point by 0930hrs in some lazy swells and the suggestion of some movement in the air that occasionally shook the mainsail and slapped the self-tacking jib into a perfunctory saunter along its track. By the time we past Bolt Tail and into Bigbury Bay the sails had begun to work although I would have quite happily have sacked the self-tacking jib had we had access to a proper working jib. I appreciate it’s one sail and two ropes you don’t have to bother with; but as someone who started with a gaff rig I’m quite fond of string and in our climate having a bit extra to do can help keep you warm.
For a few hours we sailed across the bay and rounded the Mewl Stone. This is where Miranda came into her own. The wind was only just West of North and this boat’s ability to crawl up the wind is, for me, just amazing. The crew tacked her past the breakwater and to just below the Citadel walls before dropping sails and with Nigel on the helm executed the quite tricky manoeuvre in to the berth at around 1600.
We had covered around 80 miles in about 16 hours but for exactitude I refer you to Taylor who kept a log with electronic accuracy. We all fronted up the trip levy and I deposited £30 with Becky. The Hanse is a well presented boat with a good turn of speed in light winds and a great upwind capability. The social side, evening meals, venues, banter etc. went very well as did the crews’ handling of the boat. I thank them all for their company and their effort that turned a cold weekend into a warm experience.