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Cowes to Dartmouth Delivery and Dartmouth Charter
Tuesday 1st September 2009
The Black Knights parachute display team dropping into Dartmouth
This week, our Mate, Oliver Cotterell writes the Captains log...and for good reason!
The weather following Andrews’s departure was glorious in Cowes, which gave the crew a chance to get the varnish brushes out and touch up some of the places that were getting a bit worn. Soon it was time for another delivery though, albeit a much smaller one than previously completed. We had guests joining on Monday the 24th of August in Dartmouth, so early on Wednesday morning we set off in beautiful sunshine with a light southerly breeze. Shane had joined Halcyons’ crew to provide assistance on the delivery and his sense of humour certainly kept morale up
Unfortunately the wind veered round to the SW and so once again we were beating, however the sun was out the sea calm and we were making good progress. Using the tides to our advantage and making Portland Bill before the tide turned particularly foul meant that by eleven thirty we were safely anchored in Dartmouth.
The following few days were spent getting Halcyon ready for the charter guests, provisioning and taking on fuel etc. It was a great surprise on the Monday at about 4 o’clock when I found out who the next set of guests were. Unbeknownst to me, my mother had booked the boat and was waiting for a pick up along with my sister Hannah, Matt (her boyfriend) and Joe (a very good friend of mine from University).
They had driven down from York so the decision was made to stay in Dartmouth for the night and head for Fowey the following day. Initially the forecast had looked favourable for the trip to Fowey then doing smaller jumps down the coast towards Dartmouth for the Red Arrows display on the Friday. However upon getting an updated forecast on Tuesday morning it became apparent that the wind had increased and would be on the nose all the way to Fowey, making the trip just a little too long for relaxed cruising. The plan was changed to suit and we made for Salcombe. Matt, it must be said did exceptionally well on the helm having never sailed before and actually steered the boat for most of the trip…in a straight line! Everyone chipped in and got involved in sailing and Halcyon rewarded us with a lovely (albeit to windward) sail. A gale was forecast for Tuesday night and Wednesday so we went as far up into Salcombe as we could and securely attached ourselves to a large mooring.
My family and I had never been to Salcombe before so were excited about exploring the little town. We were not disappointed; it had a plethora of good little shops and some very nice pubs. The views and architecture were also stunning. A quick look in the realtors’ office confirmed my thoughts that the property in the area was rather out of our price range!
As was forecast the wind and sea started to build in the early hours of Wednesday and by ten forty five we had over thirty knots of wind in the harbour! We were all glad that the decision had been made to stay in port. The DVD’s were broken out and after the excitement of “Master & Commander” followed by some weather watching from the deck house we decided that we would like to have a pub lunch ashore. Foul weather gear was donned and we soon found ourselves in a very nice pub on a hill overlooking the harbour. Mum and Hannah took advantage of the free time to fit in some much needed shopping. As the afternoon progressed the weather started to ease and the forecast was looking good for the following day.
By Thursday the weather had vastly improved and we set out once again this time bound for Plymouth. The sails were put up at the mooring and we gently slipped out of Salcombe having a pleasant and uneventful sail to Plymouth. Once again everyone contributed to deck duties and in no time the boat was put to bed when we arrived in port. As the day was still young Hannah, Matt, Joe and I headed to the cinema for some light entertainment. The timing worked out perfectly and we arrived back just in time for yet another sumptuous three course meal prepared by Annette. A look at the weather that evening was a bit concerning. South Westerly Gale 8! Usually weather of this ilk is avoided with guests on board, however we had to make it back for the Red Arrows display and the guest’s departure in Dartmouth. The boat was prepared for some rough weather with two reefs in the main and the jack stays attached.
Unexpectedly we woke up to glorious sunshine in addition to the promised high winds. This had the potential to be an exceptional passage; the weather would be on our stern quarter so Halcyon should fly. The sails were efficiently hoisted by the crack crew within the protection of Plymouth’s harbour wall and soon we were underway.
Much to our delight the day was truly magical and surpassed our expectations. Joe chose this moment with nearly forty knots over the deck to try his hand at the helm. He did gallantly despite the difficult conditions; however it was not long before he was relieved from his duties by the skipper who obviously wanted to see what Halcyon was capable of in these fantastic conditions. It was then not long before I managed to weasel my way onto the wheel in an attempt to top his personal best boat speed. Gusts reaching fifty knots produced epic boat speeds of up to thirteen point six knots by the skipper which unfortunately I wasn’t able to beat. After averaging eleven knots throughout the passage we arrived safely in Dartmouth by the early afternoon with ecstatic expressions on our faces. Our now well weathered crew made light work of getting the boat to bed so that we could enjoy the entertainment of the Dartmouth Regatta. Various military aeronautical displays including the Red Arrows, a Chinook and a Merlin dazzled us and the large crowd that had gathered for the spectacle.
Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end and on Saturday I had to bid a fond farewell to my family. I would like to thank Rob, Annette and Katie for making my family’s stay aboard Halcyon so special.
We will be heading back to Cowes this week so look out for further adventures in the next Captains’ Log.