Autumn 2005
AGM, Prize Giving and Party
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Christmas Is Acoming
Bewl Water in August
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Richard Does It Again
Sail Training Manual
Sailing Secretary Report
Salcombe Sojourn
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South in a Westerly
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Twelve Days Of Christmas
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A Salcombe Sojourn - John Neale
   It's not very often that you have really memorable sailing days but 1st September.2005 was one of them.
   What could be nicer than creaming along in a Salcombe yawl on a lovely warm autumn day, driven by a fair wind and surrounded by beautiful Devon views?
   But I get ahead of myself. So as Julie Andrews said. 'Let's start at the very beginning'.
   We'd been invited by friends, who have a flat in Salcombe, to join them for a few days following the August Bank Holiday which we eagerly accepted especially as he had recently become the proud owner of a Salcombe Yawl.
    'What is a S.Y?' I hear you ask. Well it’s a locally built traditional wooden boat of clinker construction being 16 feet long and about 6 feet wide with a large open cockpit, and a short covered deck of about 3 feet long which extends in front of the main mast to a straight bow on which is mounted a bowsprit of some 18" long which nowadays carries the roller reefing gear for the foresail.
    The cockpit layout is similar to the GP14 with side seats under which  are buoyancy bags. The side decks are approximately 9" to 12" wide upon which there are slatted wooden seats for the comfort of sitting out (what luxury). They also save the blood supply to your legs from being cut off by the 2" high edge coping which surrounds the cockpit to keep you dry (very civilised). The cockpit contains a centre board case which houses a great chunk of metal drop keel of a size to make even Bosun owners envious, especially as it is easily operated via a large drum pulley, so no grunting required.
   The Mizzenmast is stepped on a small aft deck and held in position by 4 stay wires. The tiller passes under this deck and out through the transom, into the stock and rudder, which are mounted in the normal dinghy fashion. The Mizzen sail has a small boom but no control lines so it's able to do its own thing and be forgotten about when sailing.
   The powerhouse of the rig is a traditional triangular mainsail with centre sheeting and, on this boat, was only attached to the boom at its toe and heel but the cut of the sail was very full along its foot and it didn't seem to gap from the boom.
   Surprisingly there wasn't much clearance under the boom, about 2' above deck level so it was still necessary to duck when going about.
All in all a very pretty boat, easy to handle and light on the tiller. However the problem of sailing it was where it was moored !
   Being a new boy on the scene, my friend could only get a drying mooring which left the boat high and dry on mud flats at certain states of the tide which meant we could only sail a couple of hours either side of high tide... and you need something to get you there and back. In this case it was a RIB, which was tied up with 20 or so other inflatable tenders at Salcombe harbour pontoon.
   So the first job is to locate yours, then leap from one to another to get to it, disentangle its painter (making sure not to leave others untied) and then push your way through them all into clear water before daring to start the engine. All of which requires a certain amount of agility and ensures you start with wet feet!
   You then motor through all of the mouth wateringly expensive boats bobbing about at their moorings until you find your mooring. You then ferry yourself around the Yawl wiping off the seagull guano and removing the cover before clambering aboard and hoisting the sails, all of which takes the best part of an hour. And you think you've got it tough to launch at Aquarius eh??
   It was however all worth while for once we'd slipped our mooring and had started to sail down the main channel past the town ferry, the yacht club and all those lovely old buildings piled up through the town from the waterfront, you're in another world.
   We beat out over the bar in a nice 2-3 breeze, though it took quite a while to punch through the incoming tide, but we managed it OK with yours truly at the helm. Once beyond the bar the sea state changed to quite a significant swell as it was funneled into the estuary between the headlands on either side, so we turned and ran before it swapping drivers as we did so.
   This was a much more relaxed sail and we were able to admire the scenery as we creamed along with the wind and tide. We got back far too quickly and decided to carry on all the way up to Kingsbridge which is at the head of the estuary before returning to our moorings at Salcombe, which we picked up without trouble having had a wonderful two and a half hours of sailing in lovely surroundings. I thoroughly recommend it.
   Thus it was that we arrived back at the flat somewhat tired but with feelings of high elation and a resolve to get up early (7am) the next morning to catch the last couple of hours of the tide before we had to return home... but that's a sailors tale for another time perhaps?