Sailing my Paradox and country living

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More recent sailing – part 4. Return to the Dart

Where were we?

Ah yes, cruising in the Plymouth area in my mighty Paradox and had just failed to get up the River Lynher to Notter for a pub visit..

So, as the winds were likely to remain very light – which they’d  been for some time now, I thought that a return to the Dart would be sensible, as a longer sea passage would turn out to be a slow drift, being wafted up and down along the coast by the tides, rather than a brisk sail..

Starting to make my way along the river towards Plymouth Sound, to get in position for the trip along the coast, I passed some nice places to show you.

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Anthony’s Passage – just a hamlet of old cottages along the Lynher.

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These allotments are a good distance from the water, on the side of a hill and overlook the R Lynher. It would be a nice spot to while away some hours looking out over the river valley and one could even grow some good veggies on that south sloping ground.

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Heading down river at the junction of the Lynher and Tamar

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Barn Pool. A well known Plymouth anchorage

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This Victorian naval barrack block has been nicely converted into apartments and still looks like it did 150 years ago.

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Sailed in company with this boat from Cremyl to Cawsand Bay. The boat is concrete and built in the 1980s and the owner- Richard- lives on board summer and winter.

We both arrived together in Cawsand Bay and Richard kindly gave me a lift ashore in his tender after we were both anchored. This obviously called for another visit to the pub…. Richard said that he’d had no structural issues with the concrete construction of his boat which is good news as there are so many horror stories going about here in UK about the shortcomings of this type of build.

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At anchor off Cawsand.

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This boat arrived at Cawsand Bay latter in the afternoon and anchored nearby. A Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter?

So, spent the night tucked in Cawsand Bay ready to leave at first light for the coastal trip to the Dart. The forecast for the next day was very nice – Northerly force 4 to 5 .The main tidal constraint was to arrive and get around  Start Point before the tide turned against me. For the tide runs strong there and I’d struggle to make headway against it if I got there too late. So important to get sailing early to get the  timing right

We started off in fine style. The wind behaved as forecast and I romped across Bigbury Bay at top speed. I even reefed at one point – the first and only time during this entire cruise….resized_september trip 2015 081

Reefed the sail

Still going well as we got to Bolt Head but the wind faded after that and I made frustratingly slow progress to the Start. A light wind is  what I could have done without just then and a bit disappointing  in view of the good forecast…

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Start Point just after rounding in a light wind.

I managed to round the the Start – just, before the tide turned, but after that I struggled to get across the bay towards the Dart. as the wind became less and less. At one stage I became sure that progress had completely stopped. I fished out my new handheld GPS and turned it on. Sure enough we were going backwards at one and a half knots.

There is an anchorage just behind Start Point just off the Hallsands deserted village, where perhaps I could have waited for six hours for the tide to turn again in my favour,  but I succumbed to temptation, took the easy way out and started the Honda.. I fancied getting into port as soon as I could and hopefully before dark.

I made it into Old Mill creek at dusk and was pleased to arrive after a long day.

The remainder of the cruise was spent meandering on the Dart, mainly in light or nil wind.

Some pictures of Old Mill Creek.

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Plenty of firewood

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A graveyard for tired abandoned boats

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There’s an old boatyard towards the top of the creek. Someone likes vintage lifeboats

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A Dutch Botter style houseboat

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And this ancient boathouse. A shame about the lean- to.

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I wonder if those lee boards would fit mine?

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And this curious little tower. It looks like a fortification but it’s in a very strange place for a castle

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The Royal Navy officer training establishment is just beyond those trees.

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The steam train crosses a viaduct behind the old tea house

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Greenway Quay. Agatha Christie’s old house is just beyond.

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Approaching Rocket, the gorgeous gaff cutter belonging to David Dimbleby and moored at Dittisham

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Anyone who’s British will know of David Dimbleby, a serous political commentator and a celebrity here…  The boat is just beautiful and tasteful, just as you’d expect for DD  but has a very short abbreviated cabin and a huge cockpit. Looks like it’s to suit someone who always sleeps ashore in a hotel rather than staying aboard…..

Musing that it must be a strange life being a celebrity. Everyone you meet would know who you were without you knowing them. Must be off-putting when you’re going about your everyday life …

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This double ender is moored near Rocket.  I like.  Notice that there was bit of wind blowing then, just for a change.

That’s all for now.



Recent sailing Part3. Failure to get up the Lynher

After my 2 days with Geoff and was back on my little boat again, I wanted to take advantage of the big tides that were happening then and try to get as far up the River Lynher as I could at high water. I’d heard that there was a pub at a place called Notter Bridge which could be got to by a Kayak or canoe and really wanted to see if I could make it up to there in a Paradox.

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My sketch map of the Tamar and its tributary the River Lynher

So I anchored in the River Tamar between Cargreen and the Bridges and waited   The plan was set off on the last bit of the ebb to the junction of the main river and the Lynher, take the young flood up to the Dandy Hole.

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Waiting at anchor in the Tamar

While waiting, I’d discovered that a nice wholemeal loaf, one of two which had been bought the week before had grown some mould on the outside. I’d scoffed the first one already before meeting up with Geoff and was worried in case this second one was going to be a total loss…

So I scraped off the mould from the sides of the loaf – found that it was only the surface that was spoilt and then left it on the aft deck in the sunshine hoping to dry it out a bit more.This summer has been quite humid and I always struggle to keep mould from the bread and the cheese.

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The sunshine treatment worked well and I was still able to eat the bread a few days later.

Just before the tide changed I upped anchor and sailed in a very light breeze down under the 2 bridges and into the Lynher just as the flood started.

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Sailing slowly up the Lynher with the rising tide towards  the Dandy Hole.

The river all above the Dandy hole dries out completely at low tide and I had to wait there for a bit until there was enough depth to go onwards.

Went on slowly. Very little wind in the the river which is in a deep valley so mostly sculled the boat along with the tide helping progress.

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And under this railway viaduct as the rising water made progress possible

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Eventually had to take the mast down as the river became narrower and the branches of the trees lining both  banks met completely overhead.

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The mast down

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The tress meet overhead.

By this stage, the journey was getting more difficult. I was too busy fending off from the trees and rocks to take more photos. And, although the tide was still rising I’d met an increasingly strong current against me, presumably due to the abundant rainfall  that we’ve had lately.. Also the river was getting very shallow and narrow.

Eventually decided that it would be foolhardy to go any further. The ever stronger current impeded me and I repeatedly grounded in the shallows and the river was so narrow that there were only a few places where I could turn the boat round.

I quite expected to meet the African Queen being pulled along by Humphry Bogart and Katherine Wotsit at any moment.

So, common sense prevailed.  I managed to turn the boat and get back through the shallow gravelly bits to deeper water and out of the woods.

I hightailed it back to the Dandy Hole where I could anchor in deep water and only just made it before the night closed in.

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More recent sailing.Part 2. My trip with Geoff on Appledore Belle

So, I eventually arrived at the Cargreen moorings and rafted alongside Geoff’s boat for the night.

The plan was to leave my boat on the mooring for a couple of days while Geoff and me sailed off to Mevagissey and back in his.  Geoff has had a few health problems and can’t sail solo these days and I’d said previously that I would go for a sail with him so that he can get in another trip before the winter sets in. It’s a shame that our trip was so short.

Geoff’s boat seemed huge when I got on board. Must be about 8 times the volume of mine. You can actually stand up while inside…..It’s a 22 footer but big even for that length being a tubby family type cruiser.

It has that strange Bermudan rig – two pointed sails and a diesel engine. It was the diesel that we used to power us out down river to Plymouth Sound , where we unrolled the genoa and hoisted the mainsail.

The mainsail has a bolt rope which fits into a grove in the mast and so has to be carefully fed into place as the sail is hoisted. Quite a slow, fiddly,  business compared with raising sail on  mine .

The forecast was for a N f4 and -for a change it was right, and we made fine progress along the coast towards the west with the sheets eased. There was a little tidal current with us and we were making 5 knots generally in the right direction.

We arrived in Mevagissey at about 5 pm and moored up in the harbour on the fore and aft type visitors buoys.   It was my first time inside Mevagissey harbour as when that way in my little boat, I anchor in Portmellon Cove – which is free, while you have to pay to go into the harbour itself ..( I’m such a skinflint)    We rowed ashore in Geoff’s little inflatable dinghy – another new experience for me, as I normally land ashore direct from my boat and don’t need a tender

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Mevagissey, a Cornish fishing village

We had a pint and meal in a pub in the village and then rowed back to the boat just before it got dark.

We went ashore again in the morning so that Geoff could pay the mooring fee –  expensive these harbours – and so that I could get to the local shop to stock up with fresh vegies before returning to my  miniature cut- back life on Faith.

The return to Cargreen was all uneventful. Some wind, though not as much as the day before and the tide was more against us than with us. We made it back to Cargreen just before dark with the aid of the diesel engine and I was able to get on board my own little boat again and scuttle off to another empty mooring to spend the night in my little Hobbit Hole on my own.

Thanks for the hospitality Geoff. We’ll do it again one day.

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Geoff aboard the Appledore Belle.

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More recent sailing Part 1

12 days aboard this time and the winds were generally calm or very  light . Not at all like the last trip when I spent several days sheltering from gales….What difference a few weeks makes.

I set off on the Thursday morning just before the Bank Holiday week-end to trail  the boat the hundred miles from home to the R Dart to launch in Galmpton Creek.

First I called at a public weighbridge to get an up-to date weight for the car and loaded trailer as I’m keen to ensure that all is within the permitted legal weight limit for my old car. The last thing I want is to be pulled by the cops while driving and get done for being overweight.   (I don’t mean me personally – although I admit to that. ….)

Maximum permitted for my car 2270 kgs. Weighbridge ticket says 2150kg, so I’m well inside the limit, although the boat is fully loaded with stores and water for a few weeks without having to replenish anything. Much relief, as before the weighbridge visit I wasn’t sure.

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When I arrived at Galmpton the tide was out but I launched onto the dry slipway which is easy to do with my trailer set-up.

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Boat sliding off

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Nearly clear. just drive forwards a few feet.

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Launched onto concrete with no bother. Easy as 123. Just have to wait for the tide.

When I floated off there was a fair bit of west wind, which made getting away from the slipway tricky. Sailed up river to the entrance of Bow creek for my first overnight at anchor..

During the evening there were some little steam boats chugging down the creek, returning from the pub The must have been a steam boat rally there that day.

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Nice little boats and about the same size as a Paradox. I wonder if there are any paddle steamers in this size range?

Next day there was hardly any wind so waited until the tide was ebbing before moving to Old Mill Creek nearer to the River mouth.  I sculled the boat along for a good bit until my arm was getting tired then used the engine intermittently with drifting along under sail in between. Slow progress. I wanted to be nearer the open sea for the next overnight as the following day I intended to sail for Plymouth and wanted to make an early start.

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Not much wind

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Old Mill Creek, my destination for that night.

On leaving Dartmouth the next morning, early, before many boats were out and about.  It was Dartmouth Regatta week-end so most were dressed up in their best bunting

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That day’s weather forecast was for a N f4 or f5, I thought ideal for the 30 mile trip to Plymouth along the South Coast and I set off hopefully and looking forward to a good brisk sail, .but alas the forecast wind never happened. It was mostly flat calm with the occasional little zephyr from hither and thither.. Very disappointing. How can the weather men get it so wrong?  Used the engine nearly all the way, burning 3 litres of petrol..

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The sea like glass on the way to Plymouth. No wind at all..

Eventually arrived in Plymouth Sound and anchored under the high cliffs in Jennycliffe Bay. The evening forecast on the BBC gave NE 4 /5 and 6 for ‘later’ but this too proved to be a false dawn, as what wind there was the next day was SE and light.

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At Anchor in Jennycliffe Bay

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My nearest neighbour at Jennicliffe

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Sunset from Jennicliffe

The next day I intended to sail up the R Tamar to Cargreen where I intended to meet up with Geoff, a mate, who keeps his boat there and next day for us both to sail to Mevagissey on his boat while my little boat was to remain on his mooring while we were away.

So that next day made a side trip to Cawsand  while waiting for the flood tide to whisk me up the river for my meeting with Geoff.

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Passing on the way this old fort where the gun casements have been converted into apartments. Sailed through the gap in The Bridge at  the first of the flood – which by- the -way isn’t really a bridge at all – just a gap in an old underwater defensive barrier. Very confusing for non natives and sorry about that.

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Passing through the Bridge at the first of the flood. Tidal range was more than 5 metres then.

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Under the bridges going up the Tamar.  . Real bridges this time. The rail bridge furthest from the camera was designed by Brunel 150 years ago. The suspension bridge  was built more recently and carries road traffic.

So sailed slowly onwards up the river with the tide assisting and going just fast enough through the water to have steerage way until arriving at Geoff’s mooring at Cargreen. ijn time for a beer at his sailing club.

More later