Tuesday, 26 June 2012


I have always enjoyed sailing into Dartmouth; the entrance is almost hidden from the sea and slowly unfolds in the sunlight as you approach. Sadly, the sun was in short supply on Monday. To catch the tide we cast off from the pontoon in Brixham early in the afternoon. There was little wind and we drifted out of the harbour and pointed towards the English Channel.

The Headland that protects Brixham

Once clear of the headland that protects Brixham, we found the wind - directly against us. I suppose this makes up for the downwind sail that we had from Portland. Several pretty craft were sailing for Brixham - I wondered what they knew that I didn't!
Unwilling to motor the 9 miles to Dartmouth, I set Vagabonds nose out to sea and we went off. It started to rain and did so intermittantly for the next three hours.
Several yachts motorsailed past us.

Motor sailing!
At some point in the trip we did 8 knots (according to the GPS). I wasn't really aware when this was, as I spent all my time concentrating on keeping us going, as close to the wind as we could.
At about half way there was a frission of excitement. A Mayday call from a vessel that was taking in water - in Chichester harbour entrance. Yachts standing by, helicopters summonded, harbour launches to the rescure, all cordinated ver firmly by the Portsmouth Coastguard. The situation was over in an hour - the vessel had been  taken in tow and the crew / passengers taken ashore; the airwaves returned to normal. Vagabond forged on regardless.

The Mew Stone
Several tacks later, we came abreast of the Mew Stone and were able to run to the Dartmouth entrance. Despite the conrary wind, we arrived early. The whole of the Dart river was emptying into the English Channel.

Dartmouth Entrance in the Gloom

Despite full sails, we were doing less than 1 knot over the ground as we went though the narrows.
On came Freddie, down came the sails and we motored into Dartmouth, just in time to see the last Steam Train of the day depart!

A quick glass of wine at the Royal Dartmouth Yacht Club, leaving an undecypherable signature in their visitors book. A discussion on Viral marketing with barman and then back to Vagabond for a fish supper on the quay.

Mussel supper on the Quay

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