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It's Vince and Malcolm

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 Salcombe to Dartmouth 19th July 2007

18th July. Well what a fantastic harbour to visit  I am only to pleased to have arrived at Salcombe as its superb. The sun is shining the tourists are on the beaches, and the town looks busy too. as soon as the harbour master has collected the harbour dues I will go ashore and explore. There are three Merlin Rockets out sailing, and as one passes close by, I remark to the helm "nice Merlin", I later found out that I had just missed Merlin week. As my first dingy, I am very fond of Merlin Rockets, as I had lots of fun in Wellington Boot which was my boats name. I used to be a member of Redbrook Sailing Club, which is at the top of the A 62 over the Pennines, and also on the Pennine Way. This is where I learned to sail in 1976-1977.

With my harbour dues paid it was time to head for the shore, so I inflated the dingy and rowed across to the jetty where there were lots of tenders tied up, there seemed to be more tenders than there were boats on moorings, so I guess Salcombe is a very popular stopping place for yachties cruising in this area. With my tiny inflatable secured, I headed through town and on up the hill to Salcombe Yacht Club. where there was a warm and friendly welcome, and  good facilities. There is a charge for showers which takes discs bought from the bar, but I was told that I should have been given a disc for every days mooring fee paid, I wasn't given any discs. Somebody at the club complained to the harbour masters office, telling me  they try not to supply these discs to save money, this is very disappointing to hear, as this is such a beautiful place, it seems a shame that the harbour masters office would be so petty. Its not the money that bothers me and the yacht club its the principle.  

The good beer and the friendly members at the Yacht Club soon make up for the disappointment, and life is too short anyway, so I just enjoy the company and food, before leaving to walk further along Cliff Road. The views are excellent from the various vantage points, where you can watch the boats moving in and out of the harbour, (the red hulled dinghy in the picture and opposite is a Merlin). I walk as far the next road junction before turning, and making my way back down Cliff road and into town to rummage around the various shops. Its early afternoon and I return to Anita 'A' and have a hot drink and snack before relaxing in the sunny cockpit, watching the hustle bustle on the water. There is a fleet of kids sailing toppers down tide, then getting towed back up tide before once again sailing back down again. A group of older kids are racing, and as they pass me, and head for the finish line, the winning helm with clenched fist at his side, enjoys the victory. The four dinghies then head back upstream in close formation, the occupants visibly exhilarated by the race, laughing and talking between boats, it didn't seem to matter who won. Brilliant!!

A rib approached my stern and the driver said he wanted a word, he came alongside and told me he had a Contessa 26 which he sailed out of Bridlington which is on the east coast in Yorkshire.  http://www.ryyc.org.uk/ryyc_home.htm Jeff if my memory serves me right told me there was a fleet of six Contessa 26's, at Bridlington, which is nice. Jan's friend Jayne sails there. We arranged to meet in the Yacht Club later in the evening, so I will Have to row ashore again. Its late afternoon, and the harbour is getting busy with cruising yachts looking for moorings. As Salcombe is so busy, yachts have started to raft up, so I am glad I am aboard to assist if another boat wants to raft up to Anita 'A'. Still alone on the mooring, I leave to go ashore to meet Jeff in the Yacht Club. I am expecting to be rafted up on my return. The sun is still shining without a cloud in the sky as I leave Anita, and make my way ashore I am taking my rubbish with me to dispose of in the bins provided, Not too much this time though. With the rubbish gone I make my way to the Yacht Club once again. As I walk through to the bar I  its busier than earlier, with folk sat on the tables outside, enjoying the glorious weather. Today is the best so far this year. I order a pint of bitter, and sit just inside by the door, and its not long before I am exchanging tales with the members. Time passes and I finish my pint, I don't feel like another, and as Jeff hasn't turned up to meet  me, and its well past the designated time, I decide to return to the boat to plan my passage to Dartmouth. I was well down the hill when I met Jeff, he had been held up collecting his children from the beach across the estuary, so I can understand why he was late, I've been there myself, kids are never ready to leave the beach. I didn't return to the club, and said I would be leaving tomorrow on the tide, Jeff agreed to watch out for me leaving, so he could wish me bon voyage on my way out of the estuary.

Back on the boat, and because I like Salcombe, I have decided to leave later in the day tomorrow and push what tide there is, its only 15nm to Dartmouth Castle which will only take 3 to 4 hours depending on the wind speed and direction. It will also give me some more dying out time for my bedding and oilies. I prepared a light meal and relaxed for the rest of the evening, before turning in for the night. I will have most of another day to spend relaxing in Salcombe tomorrow. Thursday 19th July, and another beautiful day. I visit the yacht club again and have a shower and shave, spend some time talking to the other customers, another pint of bitter, and another stroll around town, before returning to my boat to prepare to leave. I drop the mooring buoy at 17.00 and motor downstream towards the open sea, and I am soon joined by Jeff and his family in their rib, they are right on queue to wish me bon voyage, they keep me company until I cross the bar and raise the main. We wave each other goodbye, and I head for the open sea, and Prawle Point  2miles off. With the main and genoa set, wind F2/3 SW course 117deg and engine off, here we go, sailing again. Half an hour later and I am round Prawle Point and heading for Start Point about four miles away. My waypoint is just south of Cherrick Rocks. the wind is only F3 Max but Anita 'A' is doing better than expected and by 18:35 I leave Cherrick Rocks to port and head for Dartmouth. I set a course for the day beacon which is on the hill on the east side of the dart, course 025 deg. I can't see the beacon, its too far off, but when I get close enough it will be a good mark to aim for, its always easier sailing to a mark rather than on a compass bearing. I am looking forward to Dartmouth. The last time I was here was a day excursion from Torquay where I was camping with my wife and daughter. I can remember the year easy it was August 1977. I remember because we were in Torquay when Elvis died. I can remember the chain ferry, and that we took a boat trip up the river almost to Totnes.

I sail over the Skerries Bank,  and about half way across Start Bay before I can see the beacon dead ahead, so the tiller pilot is spot on course, I can also see another larger yacht about two miles astern, and sailing on the same course, but faster. Its 21:00, and I have reached the entrance to Dartmouth without problems, unless you count being passed and left behind by the other yacht. I roll in the genoa and start the engine before motoring into the Dart , past Western Blackstone, and on towards Dartmouth Castle. Once past the castle I follow the river past the Royal dart yacht Club to Starboard, and slow down to go astern of the car ferry, making way across the river. The ferry is a vehicle carrying float towed alongside by a tug, and flying the 'D' flag (restricted in my ability to manoeuvre)  The Dartmouth Yacht Club, and the Harbour Masters office are to Port, with all the pontoons being full. The same applies to Dartmouth Marina, so I continue up river to the pontoons close to the cable ferry, dropping the main as I go. There are a few spaces on the outside pontoon close to the chain ferry, so I manoeuvre into a space between two boats, and jump onto the pontoon with a bow line, and pull Anita's stern in with the stern line, which I had ready prepared, its easy with a small boat. With all lines tied, and the engine off, I walked the length of the pontoon to get my bearings discovering that there was no way ashore on foot, not too bad though because the inner pontoon has access to shore, so I will can row across there which isn't far. One of the Harbour Master's team called for the rent as I am having supper, and asked about the signs on the hull and coach roof. I explain what I am doing and after a talking to him about my circumnavigation, and explaining about Martin House, he said, "long way to go yet then" Not too far as I am going anti clockwise I reply. With that information, he wrote out my receipt, and paid for it! as his donation