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Salcombe 25th July

Yacht Quintet
Visitors' Mooring

25th July, 2005

<-Brixham 23rd July Fowey 26th July->

Didn't want to get up this morning. Cold. Wet. Horrible. But at least the wind was blowing in the right direction.

Yesterday morning we stayed in bed until late and, as it was blowing 25 buckets of shit with cold rain to boot, we decided that a day in port would be good. So yesterday nothing happened, at all. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. So no report. So there!

Click for a larger imageBut this morning in spite of the cold, wet, and horrible morning, we did finally drag ourselves out of bed, and, following a late breakfast and a trip to the yacht club for a shower, we finally cast off and, after refilling fuel tanks, we went to sea. We were a bit nervous about what the weather was going to be like as we had seen a couple of locals putting on their rainwear before walking into town and locals always know the signs of bad weather!

As we left Brixham, it was almost noon. The drizzle paused a moment, but not quite long enough to get a photograph of the sun shining off the rain wet roofs. We headed out to sea, into the grey, damp channel. This was not going to be the highlight of two sailing careers.

Click for a larger imageBored at nothing to look at, crazed at nothing to do, I deployed the fishing gear. Within minutes we had landed a splendid garfish. I have a super recipe for garfish, cooked as sardine and served with tomato and chilli sauce. Dinner could be exciting tonight. But that was about the only highlight (medium light, even low light) of the day. The sailing was just boring. Didn't catch another fish, of any genus. Didn't see anything exciting. So lets get to Salcombe.

We arrived off Salcombe and located the leading lights which would take us safely around the sandbar which guards the entrance to the Salcombe River. We motored up the channel fearing that there would be no available moorings for us to tie to. After all, we had been following half a dozen yachts into Salcombe all afternoon, and there was a veritable armada of yachts behind us, and if they had all booked berths, we might have to park Quintet on the beach for the night.

We hailed a Bavaria but they weren't keen. I'm not sure of the gesture they used but it seemed to indicate that there were two vacant berths further up the river. But all the visitor berths further upstream were already double parked, some of them even with three boats on them, so we returned down river and the harbour master indicated that we should tie up against the yacht on the southernmost mooring, the Bavaria that had failed to invite us alongside on our way in. Fate, I guess.

Clive positioned Quintet alongside the Bavaria beautifully. We didn't even kiss fenders until our lines were secured on the buoy and we started to draw the boats together with breast and spring ropes. Classy parking.

But at this point a rubber duck came racing back to the Bavaria and a young lad bounded aboard and started putting out extra fenders. He explained that they had topsides scarred by another old, wooden boat some time ago and were appropriately nervous. We retorted that poor, old Quintet was probably much more fragile at more than fifty years old than a muscular fibreglass teuton.

Phil, the young lad, graciously offered us a lift ashore, which had much to recommend it over a ride in our dinghy in a current running at that speed. We might have been half way to Guernsey! We accepted with alacrity and rushed below to don team shirts and deodorant.

Phil wasn't sure that we were serious when we told him we were circumnavigating the United Kingdom. He first thought that we were just going down the channel on the French coast and back up the English side. But when we showed him the team shirts with website, he started to believe. I guess that's another reader we've scored.

Once ashore we located the water taxi, what a fabulous service that taxi is, and confirmed that we would be able to get back to Quintet any time up to 11.15, and, relaxed about our return, we headed for the Salcombe Yacht Club.

Salcombe Yacht Club is a large, gracious building semi-detached to Salcombe Library and with views out across the Salcombe River. It's about to become very busy with the Merlin Rocket championships and a schedule of other racing, but it was very quiet tonight. We almost had the bar to ourselves so we bored the bar staff with 'our story' and drank a number of pints of Sharp's 'Doom Bar' bitter.

Apparently, where the River Camel, seriously, pay attention, where the River Camel meets the Atlantic on Cornwall's ocean scarred north coast, a bank of sand, centuries old, known as the 'Doom Bar' protects and calms this beautiful estuary. Legend links the birth of the Doom Bar to the final curse of a dying mermaid who had rejected a sailor's love only to be shot with an arrow from the spurned sailor's bow.

Sailors respect the Doom Bar knowing it to be unforgiving if met with inexperience, haste or arrogance. We know it gets you pissed!

After a three pints we were running out of sailing stories for the bar staff and were starting to fall back on cable testing experiences so we decided it was past time to leave and find some food so we waddled back into town to try a little bistro we had spotted previously.

Click for a larger imageWe considered for a moment when they suggested they could 'probably' feed us in an hour 'or so'. But sensibly chose to look further and, by chance fell upon the Salcombe Coffee Company where the food was good, moules in cider, scrumptious, and crab and langoustine salad also very, very good and accompanied by an excellent and reasonably priced Chilean white wine and served by happy, young, interested waiters and waitresses. It was a delight. And from the look of the staff portrait, they enjoy it too.

Stupidly, we declined the coffee and went to the pub opposite the quay for more beer. First we didn't need any more beer and second they charged nearly eight quid for two pints. Stick to the Salcombe Coffee Company.

We were delivered safely back to Quintet by water taxi. The Bavarians are already asleep.

Oh bugger, I forgot the garfish!

Les Sutcliffe

<-Brixham 23rd July Fowey 26th July->