25th August …Yealm to Dartmouth

The weather looks set fair for a day but Sunday (tomorrow) is forecasting  gales. The shortish hop to Dartmouth looks like a good plan and we phone ahead for a berth as it is a bank holiday weekend. Just as well…everywhere is rammed as not only have other folk decided that Sunday is no day to be out on the water, but it is also the start of regatta week! The think they can find us “somewhere” but call up on the radio when we get close.

This means an early start for us as we try to get in before lunchtime…the early boat gets the berth or something.

We slip away down the Yealm just as the sun is thinking about making an appearance and try not to make too much noise (although the hacking cough appears to be asleep).

We nose out of the river and turn left once more to be greeted by the sun just peeking above Yealm Head. These are always glorious moments at sea. Somehow, dawn and a new day has more meaning out here…especially with a hot cup of coffee and a decent breeze blowing Heydays along…

The sky lightens and we hug the rugged coast and out across Bigbury Bay…

We even have time for a titter at the shape of some headlands…did they put the chapel on top for a reason, or did they not reckon on two 60 something blokes going on 12…..?

The coast here is not spectacular in a Scottish kind of way, nor magical or even vaguely spiritual like Northumberland, but we keep realising how lucky we are to have this on our doorstep. Soon Start Point is abeam and we turn north east for the run in to Dartmouth.

We take a course outside the Skerries, even though there is plenty of water under our keels. A more intrepid (or local) boat passes going the other way…and inside.

We start to see a number of other boats heading in and start to think about making radio contact to ensure our place in a snug berth…

Sadly, they hear us but we are very broken. They get better reception from us when we use the small hand held VHF…this suggests further problems at the top of the mast. Hmm.

Dartmouth is beautiful as always…

The harbour launch suggests it will come out to meet us, but having chuffed up and down the river for a while…and with boats arriving all the time, we make contact once more and they direct us to the ferry quay on the inside. Although tight, it is within a crab bucket throw of the town centre.

The quay is busy, but when the rain comes tomorrow at least we can hop to the pub without getting our slippers wet. A paddle steamer is plying up and down the river and together with the toots from the steam train on the Kingsbridge bank, we could be back in the 50s…

The little car ferry is also an unusual craft, consisting of a tug which is tethered to the floating pontoon…

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We take the opportunity to have a closer look at the top of the mast. James spends a happy half hour working out which way round the bosun’s chair works much to the fascination of the gathering onlookers on the quay. Fortunately there are no real photo records of this escapade as everyone was either being hauled up or tending winches and safety lines…

We eat on the boat, deciding to treat ourselves to lunch tomorrow…

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