Sailing my Paradox and country living

A May trip. some west country rivers.


There was to be a Dinghy Cruising Association gathering at a pub in Bow Creek, which is on the River Dart I’m a member of the DCA but not very active. I’d like  to get to more of their rallies but never seem to be in the right place at the right time.

I’m fond of the Dart – so beautiful and  miles of sailing in sheltered water to be had there and as I managed to get a 10day pass out from my usual duties, I thought that a visit to there and some other west country rivers would be nice.

So I trailed the boat to Dartside Quay at Galmpton Creek for launching and arrived mid afternoon.. The tides  were for HW in the morning and evening, so had to launch onto the dry slipway and wait for the rising tide to float me off. That worked out well – I had to get to Dartside quay during office hours , because the security there won’t allow access after the staff have gone home, which is fine by me,  as I value the assurance that my car and trailer will still be there when I return days later. After launching there was plenty of time for me to park the car and trailer in their secure compound and make some coffee back on the boat.  I was afloat by 6 pm and soon sculled out to spend the night at anchor in the river.

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On the slipway at Dartside Quay, waiting to float off. The yellow vessel in the background is a wartime Air sea Rescue Launch

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Not really sponsored by Amazon. For this trip I experimented with cardboard fixed over the skylight to see if the shading would help keep the interior cooler during hot sunny weather. It worked well so I’ve now made a canvass shade which is held on by Velcro.

The following day was the DCA meeting in Bow Creek, followed by a meal in the pub there.

These photos of our gathering were sent to me by John Perry and not taken by me. I hope it’s OK to use them here

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I’m on the left with silver hair and sunglasses. Alastair Law in the foreground with his arms folded.

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Here I’m in the rear just before arriving. Alastair’s boat, Little Jim is the green one.

Next morning I set off for the Plymouth area.where I arrived a couple of days later. Always one of my favourite places – so much to see and so many rivers to explore. You can go miles and miles up the Tamar or the Lyner and I spent some days there.

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This glorious old gaffer was anchored in the Tamar just north of the bridges.

But it’s possible to get it wrong  even when mooching around rivers. I anchored one day in a little creek just off the Tamar not far from Saltash and neglected to sound the muddy bottom first to ensure that it was level.  This is what happened.

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When the tide came back I soon moved to somewhere more level where I’d be more comfortable.

One day, while still in the Tamar an big thunder storm came.

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Taken in daytime but the sky so dark that the automatic flash came on. The Tamar bridges in the background.. Saltash in the other picture

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Another nice spot to while away time at anchor. Entrance to Tamerton Lake, the Tavy in the background.

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Entrance to Tamerton Lake with tide out..

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The anchor well set in the soft mud at Tamerton Lake.

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This not quite so elegant yacht is a resident on the moorings off Saltash

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Tamerton Lake evening

Then as time was running out, had to make a move to go towards home. Stopped at the Salcombe estuary  on the way back from Plymouth. I hid down one of the minor creeks for a day and watched the world go by until the creek dried out.

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Making silage Salcombe. Fascinating to watch the lads with the trailers doing their stuff  Beautifully choreographed

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Another curious passer-by at Salcombe .Some are a bit shy, others just stare openly.

Another day and time to move on again. Now around Start Point and eventually the Dart again.

I always find tidal eddies near the Start which kill my speed and make it a battle to get round, even when the main tide in the Channel is favourable. I think that no matter at what stage of the tide that you go there, the current is going to be adverse at some stage unless you go well offshore.

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Seen near the Start

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Start Point Lighthouse

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Following the coast around towards Dartmouth.  The beach near Slapton Sands . The scene of a  disaster during WW2 when American troops who were rehearsing for the D day landings were caught out by German E boats. Many died. There’d been very little wind all day  and I’d anchored once just off Slapton to wait for wind and take in the atmosphere

When I arrived at the entrance to the Dart there was a sail training ship anchored there.

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Due to the light wind I had little speed and the tide was setting me towards her and I became worried at one stage in case we were impaled on her bowsprite. But we passed OK.

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Saw this one while approaching Dartmouth too.

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This Paddle steamer is another resident of Dartmouth. There’s also a steam train that runs between Paignton and Kingswear so steam fans are well looked after.

That’s about it for this little 10 day trip. Not many miles covered – much time spent skulking at anchor drinking in the views.

Had another day or so on the Dart and then back to Dartside Quay to meet up with my old car and trailer


These two picture were taken on the final day of the trip by Jeff of the Yacht Forum.



2 thoughts on “A May trip. some west country rivers.

  1. Jim,

    This is a great cruising story and pictures. The last photo of you at anchor in the tidal stream on the Dart sums up to me what micro-cruising is all about. I also like the first picture of you on the slipway. That’s one’s such a great picture, I’m copying it to my desktop to keep me inspired for my build.




    • Thanks Bob. The last 2 pictures were taken by an acquaintance who has an excellent eye for a good picture. In the closer one I’m kneeling on the cabin sole and not really had my legs amputated……It’s not easy getting photos of oneself on the boat and we depend on others for pictures of our boats sailing.
      Good luck with your build.


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