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 . . .
On Friday, we cycled, mostly into the wind and intermittent light rain, from Barnstaple to Okehampton – 40 miles through the rolling hills of North Devon.
The New Zealand Herald has a report from one of their reporters in Vanuatu this morning – here. The video clip shows the destruction in Port Vila. Sadly, there has been loss of life. I understand wind speeds were in the 300km/h mark.
Yesterday, Webb Chiles carried a photograph of the damage in the harbour and a first hand description of the harbour itself – here
Sunday: the sun shining, the air warm, just a little wind. A day for airing the boat, clearing out and re-stowing the fore-cabin. I added eye-bolts for extra anchorage. The oars are strapped off the cabin sole; the bin for the anchor rode will now stay put.
The engine turned over and started after a shaky few minutes. Actually, it didn’t start first time. I left it. When I tried again, it started – (why not the first time?). It needed a run and I wanted an excuse to motor down river to the Sound.
There was hardly a boat to be seen – a classic yacht in the distance, too far away to photograph.
Plymouth was looking . . . well, iconic.
The yachts were stacked away.
Not a lot happening – but great to be alive and on the water.
Sunday Jan 15, 2012 UT/GMT
▼ 03:40 1.1m
▲ 10:10 4.4m
▼ 16:00 1.2m
▲ 22:40 4.1m
Strong winds are forecast.
24 hour forecast
0600 UTC Sun 15 Jan – 0600 UTC Mon 16 Jan
Wind Southeast 5 to 7, occasionally 4 later.
Sea state Moderate or rough.
Weather Occasional rain in far west, otherwise fair.
Visibility Good, occasionally moderate.
10:30 Merle approaching Teignmouth on the top of the tide . . .
. . . an exhilarating ride through the entrance (missed it) . . .
. . . ending in a tricky turn and stern-first into her berth.
Can this be good for a car?
Exmouth and the entrance to the Exe Estuary in the distance
No takers for morning coffee
No wind yesterday but a fine day to run the engine.
I removed the sail cover and attached the halyard but left the lazy jacks in place as I didn’t expect to set the sail. As the Sound opened up it, it was almost empty – two vessels in sight, one trying to set a sail. A little later he had given up.
It was also a perfect day to anchor and run out the rode. I dropped anchor around 1300 close to Jennycliff near the Withyhedge beacon.
Then time for lunch, and, as I had bought the dinghy with me, time for some photography.
There were three naval vessels at anchor. The village of Cawsand can be seen in the sunshine on the far side of Plymouth Sound – (just aft of the pulpit).
All the metal work makes Blue Mistress look positively industrial. The depth is 7.7 metres – it had dropped from 8.4 metres in the 3/4 hour I had been at anchor.
The washed-out colours of January.
This simple rig holds the course giving plenty of time to go fetch something from below. It works just as well under sail..
The tide was low and the water slack as I passed the Cattewater Wharves.
Flinterlinge, registered out of Groningen, was busy unloading.