Gales all areas.

Todays post should have been a return to form with a single snappy title like ‘sound’ (PLymouth), Erme (river) or ‘bar’ (salcombe) except it doesn’t because i have been skulking away up the lynher trying to find shelter from the 4 days of gales that we have had.  Todays title comes from just one weather forecast, memory has it as yesterday evening, when every sea area this side of Spain was getting an 8 at least and some areas getting solid 10’s.  Not really the kind of weather for a little 23 foot boat to be making a coastal passage in February , furthermore had i left the sound i would then have been committed to a downwind passage and a potentially dangerous run over the Erme bar or even worse the Salcombe bar.

I started my trip pretty well as planned : rushed home from work, dumped my work clothes off, did a fresh food shop even amazing myself by buying at least some greenstuff and then going straight down to the yard and getting everything aboard. I was away at 0430 the next morning and had yet another chilly and dark river passage down to my regular spot in the sheltered corner below Pentille.  I waited there while i had some breakfast and then motored down past Weir Quay where i got sail on and had a fine reach down to the Tamar bridges, the wind came ahead there so i beat into sandacre bay to wait out the rest of the ebb…didn’t stay long, just enough for some coffee before i got sail on again and beat westwards up the lynher with a useful push from the flood.  Dandy hole was empty apart from Shandoo the shanty boat so i had plenty of choice where to anchor, i was expecting a blow so i tucked myself well into the western bank.

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The title photograph was the last time i saw sky for the next 3 days as basically it rained and blew hard on and off until i gave up and moved back down to sandacre bay to wait for a tide up the Tamar.  I shifted berth a couple of times, even had another exploration of the start of the Lynher proper where it splits from the Tiddy but the by then strong south-westerly was blowing straight in there as well .    Sandacre bay became almost untenable with really hard gusts blowing through and even on my heavier anchor, chain and plenty of warp the Liberty was clearly dragging a few feet on every heavy gust…..i think its the bottom texture there which is a fine black silt which was the problem.  Sandacre was bleak : i tried to get a couple of pictures of other boars as i swept through but really needed all concentration to steer along the trots, sometime i must get back and photograph a couple of the boats there.034

I had a slightly overpowered run even well reefed under the 2 bridges and was very glad to get into the shelter of the Tamar and even happier to get a hook down in the solid mud in possibly the only wind-hole on that stretch of river.  Three shipping forecasts later and at 0-dark-thirty i pulled my hook and motored back to base.  The tide was so high and the river so dark that i almost sailed onto the quay at cotehele, at base the tide was well into the yard so it was an hour there before i could even tie-up properly.

I could label the weekend as a failure and a wet fiasco but to be honest it was a good workout for sailing and anchoring the boat in harder conditions, it has shown up a couple of weaknesses in my systems and it is still only February : most boat owners here haven’t even re-discovered their boats yet.   I still have this week to play with so i can usefully get more jobs done and even slip out for another sail if this weather moderates.

Best laid plans etc etc.

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