Waking up on the first day of the voyage at 0800 and being greeted by a less than favourable shipping forecast was not the most of positive of things to be greeted by. With strong Southwest winds veering West to force six to gale eight, rough and very rough seas, thundery showers and moderate to good visibility, it was not the best of weathers to venture out of the harbour. The sea inside the breakwater of Brixham harbour was a little rough and windblown but the sea the other side of the breakwater was fairly choppy and only one sea going vessel opted to venture out. Even the fishing boats which normally venture out daily decided to remain in the comfort of the harbour.
After getting a bunk sorted out and my things unpacked and sorted we were all informed that due to the weather we would not be sailing out of the harbour, which was a very sensible and understandable course of action from Stan our skipper. Instead we all walked to a local hotel and have cream teas after which some of us stayed behind for a drink and myself and a few others ventured up to Berry Head to admire the views that the old Napoleonic fortifications offered. Sometime later we all strolled back down to the marina and had a really good wholesome cooked meal, of which was cooked by Neil. Neil cooked for us all for during our time on board and the meals were simply fantastic, healthy and very tasty.
Day two of the voyage got underway and with a slightly better weather forecast we ventured out into the deep blue ocean. The weather was grey, a little damp and still rather windy but we had two reefs in the mainsail and a good sided staysail so the ride wasn’t all that bumpy. Later on we put a second staysail up which was a smaller sail in the form of a storm jib. Golden Vanity cut through the sea ever so well and was not really inhibited by the current sea state. Once we go to Berry Head the weather picked up and the wind got a little stronger and the boat was tossed around just a little more. Also someone’s hat was blown over-board, which of course meant we had to find it. Even through the hat was black and the sea state was rough, I managed to spot it and after about eight minutes we managed to hook the hat back! Eight minutes in a man (hat) overboard drill isn’t a bad time all things considering, especially taking into account we were trying to spot a black baseball cap and not a person wearing sailing waterproofs and a big inflated yellow lifejacket! The highlight by far was seeing the dolphins off Berry Head. The dolphins around that area are common dolphins and harbour dolphins. They were swimming around the boat as we passed Berry Head on the way to Dartmouth. Dartmouth was our destination and it was our plan to stay over at the visitors pontoon for the night. It was a good plan as there was much going on during our time in Dartmouth.
The weather started to get somewhat wet so it was rainwear time and for a good hour we had rain. We reached Dartmouth and enjoyed the views of Dartmouth Castle on our way up to the River Dart, once we sailed a little way up, we stopped to have lunch. While we ate lunch we enjoyed the sights of other classic boats slowly making their way up to Dartmouth. Once lunch was over we kept our rainwear on and then motored up the River Dart a little way as we couldn’t take up our mooring alongside the visitors pontoon until a little later on. We motored on past a few historic sites such as an old boat yard and Greenway which was the home of Agatha Christie. Soon we turned around and headed to the visitors pontoon and we passed a steam train which was making its way along the shoreline. Upon reaching the visitors pontoon we moored up and settled down for the night and enjoyed yet another splendid meal by Neil. Some then ventured out and enjoyed a drink and some people stayed behind for a cup of tea and relaxation in the cosy galley of Golden Vanity. Once everyone returned back to the boat we all had an early night after a good day of sailing.
Early the next day we got up and headed towards the fuel barge to top up Golden Vanity’s fuel tank and after that task was completed we ventured out of Dartmouth for some more sailing. The weather had greatly improved and the wind had died down a little which meant we could have the mainsail up with not reefs as well has two large staysails, all of which meant we were really sailing. The destination was Brixham and it didn’t take long for us to reach it either, once again we sailed past Berry Head and saw one or two dolphins swimming about in their normal playful fashion. Once we arrived close to Brixham marina we sailed straight on in under sail without using the motor which is a very traditional and skilful selling technique. Sailing into harbour used to be common place! Once we moored up in the harbour we had lunch and then packed our bags, as that marked the end of what was a really brilliant few days of truly fantastic classic sailing.
Take it easy,
Arctic Tundra Fox
The photographs in this blog are owned by ©Arctic Tundra Fox unless otherwise stated, and not for public domain use, thank you.