Reise Reise , Seemann Reise.

This is of course a track by German heavy metal band ‘Rammstein’ : if thats a bit hardcore for you well its was that kind of day, just have to imagine my little boat rockin, rollin and flyin over waves to make the passage from Plymouth To Fowey on the only ‘just do-able’ day i had.      For those with no German it kind of means ‘up and at em boys’ and that was my attitude that day.

It was a quiet morning start at the yard, not at night for a change and with a fast ebb working in my favour i  motored fast down the river with all intention of breaking out of Plymouth sound but slightly unsure then which way i would go : the promised wind was about a 4-5 but predominantly in the south, maybe even just east of south but with a rapid change back to westerly’s by the evening.  With that in mind i got sail on , trimmed like a good-un and went for a look at the sound : spat out of the narrows on mid ebb and crabbed hard to get over the bridge, i could beat well enough up to the breakwater which is of course sheltered so made the decision to go west and least have a look at the western entrance which can be rough and hard going with wind over a strong ebb.  I was feeling confident enough to see if i could punch out through the rough stuff and at least get into the deeper water where the waves would be longer and more regular : i did have a difficult half hour over the shelf and had to work the liberty carefully over some of the bigger waves .I took some solid green ones over the bow and a few times considered my get-out clause which would be to run back into the sound , wait out the ebb and then run back up the river but i stuck with it, broke out through the difficult section and after a rough half-hour cleared into deeper water.  My initial course to the west i then kept high on the wind to stay in deep water but also footing for maximum boatspeed. Rame head came up by mid-day and by then i was close-reaching quickly across Whitsand bay, i had Looe abeam down to loo’ard by 1400 at which point i started reaching back inshore to find Fowey roads. In the shallower water i took quite a bit of spray but by then i was all but home and not quite dry into Fowey.  In the entrance something happened forward in the rig : the boom skied-up and i nearly broached but i was able to run up the harbour until i could round-up, heave-to and get the main off.  It was by then gusting harder into the entrance so the breeze was moving into the south-west and the horizon looked ugly but in another 20 minutes i was upriver and alongside a pontoon.  The harbour was completely deserted apart from some of the larger working boats and later on the clay barges.

It was a day for commitment and a bold approach : i had i reckon about a 14 hour weather slot where the logical direction was to go west….maybe i should have titled this “Go West” and used the obvious track as the intro : humorous yes but in my mind it was a heavy metal and attitude day and not a slightly camp-but-funny one. I treated it like an offshore race meets delivery trip : kept the boat and myself at it all day driving and trimming.  I was of course pretty tired and dry when i got in as i didn’t want to lose time and tide with a heave-to and drink.  There are some things that i could have done to make it slightly more comfortable but then the day was not about comfort and cruising but rather getting on with the job, making my escape from Plymouth and really getting the voyage going. I hope now that ‘normal service’ will be resumed and the next stage which i am planning now will be a return to gentler cruising, in retrospect though its good to know that i still have that other approach to call on when i need it.  My only regret is that i didn’t get any film as later on when i was alongside i met one of the crew off the dredger and he said that i was all but flying !


    1. It was that kind of day : full-on and no prisoners taken. Very much reminded me of my offshore racing days. Hopefully everything goes back to normal now…back to boat later in the week.


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