I have been getting used to new surroundings – new for Blue Mistress that is. No longer the city of Plymouth, but the town of Teignmouth – two ports, different aspects.
We too have wharves . . .
and buildings along the water’s edge . . .
and good pubs.
The entrance is interesting with shifting sandbanks meaning work for the dredger . . .
The sailing is less crowded . . .
Teignmouth is not only a holiday resort but a working port . . .
Vessels negotiate an awkward entrance.
Once in, their presence “alters the shape” of the town.
They continue the long tradition with this as with every other port – looking outwards, trading with other ports, both home, as with Celtic Ambassador, and abroad . . .
I am going to enjoy sailing from here.
(Images by Bill Whateley)
Blue Mistress and I left Plymouth early on Saturday morning.
The wind was favourable but the tide was still ebbing at the Great Mew Stone . . .
. . . and would be against us until Bolt Head, where the tide would turn but the wind would begin to head us. Both wind and sea rose at Start Point and pushed us further out sea before we tacked back towards Dartmouth, arriving just over nine hours after leaving Plymouth.
Overnight in Kingswear, looking across to Dartmouth, then the following morning . . .
. . . with little wind, and joined by my son, we motor-sailed to Teignmouth, an amiable passage, arriving around 1400.
Monday morning, we have a swing mooring – and a fresh start.
(Images by Bill Whateley)
One January morning in Teignmouth,
7 – A brief moment on the passage home
I had plenty of time to reflect on single-handed sailing during the week away. I passed many yachts, some with large sociable crews, more with large racing crews. They are the norm. So what about single-handed? Is it about sailing from A to B with no crew or is it something else – sailing for the sake of it, a little of which can be illustrated on camera but most of which remains in the mind of the sailor? The following records a few moments on the passage back from Dartmouth to Plymouth on that Friday evening.
6 – A small space – a lot possible
How would you spend all day in a space about six feet across from back rest to back rest, and approximately ten foot long with no headroom to stand upright?
5 – A lot of sail, very little wind
On the Monday, I set off early towards Salcombe planning to get to Bolt Head before the tide turned against me. There was no wind so, under motor, a chance to note the effect of the tide and the surface of the sea. Thus . . .
4 – A mooring in Salcombe
Ever curious, I have been asking myself about single-handed sailing and why I enjoy it so much. The fact that I am reflecting on this at all is a clue in itself. I will enlarge on this later.
What brought this on was the image below of a diminutive Blue Mistress moored among a sociable fleet of smart yachts in Salcombe and the acknowledgement that this is not a suitable haunt for the sailor who seeks solitude.
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.
We were invited to visit Knightshayes accompanied by the former head gardener who had been involved in designing and planting the gardens for over forty years from the early sixties. He was talking about the trees he had planted from seed, about the garden and woods from before the garden and woods were there, about the way they had collected trees and plants, about why they had put them here . . . or there.
3 – Bideford Bar
I have never crossed Bideford Bar but it seems that I have known it all my life. I thought I would check it out. Who knows? I may yet get the chance.
Many sailors have crossed this Bar, and many still do. To them I say, please bear with me. I am doing what I should do – looking at the water, reading the entries in the pilot book, looking at the chart. Also, I am looking at it from two different viewpoints – what it’s like now and what it might have been like in the nineteenth century. I have always had problems envisaging what it would have been like to live in a castle that now stands in ruins, but envisaging being at sea in a wooden sailing ship is different altogether – the sea is the same sea, the wind the same wind.
That there was a gale blowing and rain was in the air last week just made it more interesting. The outside bar was hidden in the murk . . .