Sunday, 24 August 2014

Swanwick to Plymouth

8th - 13 June 2104
We arrived in Plymouth on Thursday 12th June in the afternoon as planned after a hectic few months of getting the boat prepared. It was a relief to leave Swanwick on Monday morning with all the works by the shipwright and rigger complete – it was liberating to think that we do not have people working on the boat  and it is just down to us now.

The Sunday before we left should have been relaxing – just finishing off the odd job. Catherine was on the last day of her medical course (she is now qualified to provide injections, stitch wounds and carry prescribed drugs)  and I had to go home to pick up some final things we needed on the boat including the life raft that should have been delivered to the marina but was sent in error to Suffolk. They could only guarantee delivery to a London address and after a few frantic phone calls Andrew arranged for one of his neighbours to accept delivery on the Friday night.  With the help of Sarah who came back with me back to the boat on the Sunday afternoon we fitted the life aft with much relief. Still lots of stuff on the boat that has not been sorted out and stored – decided to leave this for later in the week when we were less stressed and had more time.

Bill of Portland on a calm day!
On Monday we sailed to Weymouth arriving at 5pm. Calm seas and a pleasant day followed by some excellent fish in the local fish restaurant. On Tuesday morning we carefully plotted our course around the Bill of Portland with the fearsome race. Seemingly light winds and good planning had us though the Bill with some ease until the final ½ mile when we rounded the point into a Force 6 and 4 metre steep waves crashing over the boat.

For about 10 minutes we wished we had sailed the extra 4 miles and avoided the race although the boat took it well.  This was followed by beating into a steep sea with 2m+ waves coming at 20 yard intervals. My assurance to Catherine that this was only the end of the race as we rounded Portland Bill did not bear the test of time as it carried on for 8 hours until we reached Dartmouth. This leg of the journey was always going to be a challenge as we are sailing into the wind with wind against tide which throws up the sea.

However Dartmouth is lovely it is was worth the journey. A stroll into town to get food for dinner and a drink in a local pub made up for everything. It was the only microbrewery I have been into where they did not have any of their own beer but any beer in a storm as they say. Wednesday was a beautiful day and we decided to have a day off thinking or worrying about the boat. We took the ferry across to the station where we took a steam train to Greenway to see Agatha Christie’s holiday home – great day. Drink in the pub on the way back to the boat and then off to the local pub for dinner – mainly because we were too late to eat anywhere else.

Waiting for the steam train.

On Route to Agatha Christie's House

Going down to the Boat House

In Poirot's footsteps - murder in the boat house!

View of the River Dart from her house.

No wind on Thursday for our trip to Plymouth and rounding Start Point was simple – no wind and no waves. It was so hot that we put up the Bimini to get out of the sun but then Catherine decided it was too cold without the sun and sat on the back until we arrived in Plymouth about 3pm. Then we paid for our day off, working until 9:30pm on cleaning the boat, making minor repairs and sorting out where we were going to store everything. Underestimated the amount of work to  be done of course but it was worth having the Wednesday off in Dartmouth and it did make us focus. Few jobs still to do before we head off across Biscay next week but all minor.

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