A Salcombe Sojourn (part 2)
response to an appeal made at the last A.G.M by Mike Baker for more
article donors to "The Main Sheet" to relieve his over-heated pen, and
as Mike is an irresistible pleader, I thought I would assist by
continuing with the story of a sailing weekend at Salcombe over the
August Bank Holiday 2005, memory permitting.
You may recall that having had a super sail on the 1st
Sept we had resolved to get up earlyish (7am) the next day to try and
repeat the experience before the ebbing tide prevented us getting back
to our drying mooring. All went well to begin with, we rose at the
appointed hour, had a quick cuppa, conned Annie in to driving us down
to the quayside where we once again went through the ritual of
un-knitting our RIB painter from all the others.
then scrambled aboard and motored to our dinghy which was moored about
half a mile or so away up one of the fingers of the main estuary just
beyond the Island Sailing Club vessel, on a drying buoy, hence our
being limited to a couple of hours either side of high tide, which by
now it had already started to ebb.
Again it was a lovely clear morning but as yet
without a hint of wind, that most essential ingredient for a good sail.
In fact as we looked at the flag on the Church tower it was fondly
embracing its pole like a tango dancer does her partner. "Never mind",
I said, "I expect a breeze will get up as the Sun rises and starts to
warm up the land surrounding this sheltered harbour". This statement
being made more in hope than knowledge.
We slipped along the glassy and almost deserted
waterway until we reached our 16ft Salcombe Yawl and determinedly set
about preparing and rigging her - still no wind. Nothing daunted us as
we cast off from the buoy which seemed strangely reluctant to let us
go, but after some severe tiller waggling we eased painfully slowly out
in to the main stream which carried us sedately along on the ebbing
tide past lots of lovely yachts which we now had plenty of time to
inspect and "ooh" and "aah" at.
By now there were more folk about going to and fro
in tenders or other motorised craft and like the boating fraternity
generally would give us a friendly wave or some form of greeting. Some
gave us that sort of wry smile which said "you'll not be sailing far
today shipmates!". And so it proved to be, for by the time we reached
the main lane leading though the harbour to the sea with still no sign
of breeze let alone wind, it was obvious we weren't going to be able to
do any sailing this morning.
It was also very obvious that we wouldn't be able to
get back to our mooring against the ever increasing ebb tide armed only
with a paddle. So, we steered to and grabbed hold of a yacht's mooring
line and waited until a tender came putting along going in our
direction. We hailed him and asked for a tow which he readily gave
(without penalty or salvage rights) though it was a bit of a struggle
for his small engine.
With profuse thanks we bade our rescuer goodbye as
he deposited us back at our mooring buoy where we hastily put our
dinghy to bed and clambered in to the RIB. And not a moment to soon,
for already we could see ominous mounds of mud appearing just beneath
the surface which caused us to pick a route around them and along the
valleys until we reached the deeper water of mid channel where we were
able to breath a sigh of relief and head back to the town quay.
There we were met by our dutiful wives who insisted
that we all go and have a sinfully large fry-up brunch (well, it
was now gone 10am) at the nearby Quay Café. As you can imagine
both Rod's and my howls of protests were inaudible. Having sated
ourselves on a heap of health threatening cholesterol we wandered on to
the quayside and caught the ferry back to South Sands enjoying the
sunshine, views and bustling harbour activities that are Salcombe,
feeling at peace with the World but sorry to have to leave the area.
What lessons did we learn from the morning's
activities? Well, perhaps not to let hope overrule reality and have a
reliable outboard as a standby when like most of us today you're
governed by a timetable. However, at no time were we in any danger,
only perhaps from that breakfast! And lastly, not to be too
disappointed if one good sail is not followed by another, something
which we Aquarians have plenty of practice at. Nevertheless, we
won’t give up trying 'cos that's what it's all about 'aint it?!
Happy sailing in 2007.
Note: to all our regular readers - may I remind you that
the first part of the article can be found on page 5 of the autumn 2005