A short passage to Dartmouth

3 – A few days away – to Dartmouth and back

I’ve been away for a while – first a week on the boat then a trip to London for a ’45-year’ reunion. In the latter we met up as fellow students, still recognisable as the young people we used to be – (well . . . some more, some less)! It was fun. But the London of today is not the same as it was 45 years ago. Our dental hospital was in Leicester Square and we could walk across the square without having to push through crowds of tourists. Not that I wish to turn the clock back – tourists are good for the capital, but I want to record this enormous increase in population and to contrast it with the single-handed sailing I enjoyed a few days before.

The aim last week had been to sail to Dartmouth via Salcombe, pick up my son and return with him to Plymouth the following day. In the event, the first two days were sunny and windless – I motored the whole way, the next two days there was heavy rain with a force 6 south westerly strong breeze (plus tide) against me. Finally, on the Friday, I enjoyed an exhilarating sail home on my own, because we had to drive to London on the Sunday and there was no guarantee the weather on the Saturday would be any better.

During that week, the boy missed his sail, and the rain came down furiously, especially on the Wednesday. On the Thursday, someone attempted to leave the pontoon without considering the consequences of wind and tide and ran into the back of Blue Mistress, wrecking a vital part of my self-steering gear, with the result that I got to know and really appreciate the help of the Harbour Authority, particularly Chris in his inflatable and Penny in the office and also Rob at Darthaven Engineering who came up  with a solution and made the passage home on Friday a lot easier. He converted a length of prop shaft. This was heavier than the original solid aluminium bar but a very effective quick-fix.

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A description of that passage back to Plymouth is for another post. In the meantime, here are three images of Kingswear,  across the river from Dartmouth, taken on the sunny Tuesday evening from the visitor’s pontoon in the middle of the river.

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(Images by Bill Whateley)