shoestringsailing.com

Sailing adventure on minimal outlay.

Month: October 2016

The Dart to the Dart.

Having had a glimpse of what the coastline towards the West could offer, I was keen to take another trip to the Dart with Idris and find out if my weekend of scrubbing her bum at Ashes quay had paid off. New sailing mate Bob was keen too, so I decided to make it my first ever joint sailing venture. I’d had a fairly crappy fortnight and so was keen to get some peace once there at a nice secluded spot, rather than using  a town mooring as before. This, it turned out, was exactly what Bob specialized in and so we enjoyed a great sail down (see youtube film “Exe to Dart trip”) before feeling our way upstream and anchoring under the trees at a well known secret spot. A massive amount of early in the season driftwood lined the shore, so we did our duty by pilling it up, lighting it and cooking dead animals with it. We then lolled about drinking cider and talking rubbish until drunk enough to paddle our way back to the boats through the mist. I lit the charcoal stove and fell into my sofa bunk for a  good hearty sleep.

Enjoying our massively oversized BBQ and cider whilst gazzing out over the misty Dart.

Enjoying our massively oversized BBQ whilst gazing out over the misty Dart.

Although I can’t exactly remember what time I got up on Saturday morning, it was pretty late and so we decided to get straight on with the pre-agreed task of rowing to the nearest village for food supplies. Bob uses a kayak as his tender which makes a great deal of sense as he can carry it on deck easily. I’m still using  my increasingly patchy and battered ply cockleshell dinghy which tows on behind Idris and lends itself well to a bit of rowing. Up against a canoe though, it’s a bit of a slug. I worked up a fair thirst trying to keep up with  Bob. Some more beer was going to be needed.

Next morning dawned sunny and warm. Idris came complete with an anchor ball so I took this opportunity to try it out. Looks good, eh?

Saturday morning dawned sunny and warm. Idris came complete with an anchor ball so I took this opportunity to try it out for the first time. Looks good, eh?

Saturday morning trip down river to the shops for food and beer.

Trip down river to the shops for food and beer. Kayak proved much faster than my own rather podgy dinghy.

Another shoreside beer and driftwood barbecue evening completed my weekend of recovery. We moved the boats back down river on the Sunday morning tide to fuel up and dispose of some rubbish in the floating skip, before going our separate ways. Bob was off to the Channel islands on Erin for a week and I was heading back to my  Exe mooring before work on Monday. I felt great though, and was very pleased with this new found pleasure. I’d realized that although It’s great to be independent,  it can also be a lot of fun to share a joint challenge with other like minded folk.

 

 

S.F.C.C Why join a sailing club?

Ok, so now I have little choice but to lie down for a few days due to a stupidly self inflicted back injury, I might as well try to get the site up to date. As I’ve previously mentioned, it has been a busy and varied year. Having sailed “Idris”, my new project boat, back from Poole fairly early in the Spring, I’d created a nice long introductory first year of sailing for us. She was bought as a project from a boat breakers yard and had been sat in the water all year around for a few years. One of my first tasks then, was to dry her out somewhere and check all of her under water private parts for damage or wear. Clearly it would have been best to do this before I handed over the money but there wasn’t the opportunity and sometimes you just have to take a chance in life. Luckily this year I’d decided to join one of the local Exe sailing clubs and had chosen the S.F.C.C as it seemed fairly down to earth, had a good bar, a convenient car park and was near my mooring. It also has it’s own quayside that can be used for drying out, scrubbing off and antifouling….which is nice.

Had to get to Ashes quay bright and early in the morning to catch high water. A pile of anchor chain and water containers on the quayside deck helped her lean in the required direction.

Had to get to Ashes quay bright and early in the morning to catch high water. A pile of anchor chain and water containers on the quayside deck helped her lean in the required direction.

Revealed for the first time and scrapped, scrubbed and scrutinised.

Revealed for the first time. Scrapped, scrubbed, scrutinized and antifouled. Idris seemed pretty good beneath the waterline considering her age. A smattering of osmosis blisters, a depleted zinc anode and a very loose cutlass bearing being the worst of it.

The need to scrub off the marine growth was obvious after a rather embarrassing low speed crawl down to the Dartmouth music festival to meet new friends from the Starcross Fishing and Cruising Club (S.F.C.C). This was our first trip out of the Exe estuary following our harrowing delivery trip back from Poole. Becks and Orla had forgiven me (or forgotten the details) by now and so tagged along for what turned out to be a fabulous weekend of music, beer and laughs. The sun shone, the sea was glittering, the wildlife was abundant and the coastline was majestic. Perfect.

Breakfast time at the waterside. Have to pay a bit more to moor up at the town but in this instance, it really made sense.

Breakfast time at the waterside. Have to pay a bit more to moor up at the town but in this instance, it really made sense.

We met up with some of the other members of the club for a drink and ended up moving from our anchorage mid stream to raft up at the town alongside a chap in a 23ft Westerly Pageant called Bob. This was miles more convenient as we had been hopping on and off the boat all weekend and negotiating our way across the busy river in a frail overloaded dinghy. It also meant that we had a large, two boat platform upon which we could lol about drinking beer, listening to the live music and talking rubbish. This it seemed was right up Bobs street and we left Dartmouth as good friends. Belonging to any kind of organized club tends to go against my natural inclination to get away and do things my own way. There does however, always seem to be someone else there who views life in the same way and the amount that can be learnt from other helpful members is an absolute goldmine. You don’t have to become one of the racing set or go marina hopping with the gang at every opportunity if you don’t want to.

Close in rock dodging can be a risky business without a learned guide. Fortunately we had one, cheers Bob.

Close in rock dodging can be a risky business without a learned guide. Fortunately we had one, cheers Bob.

We followed Bob back along the coast towards the Exe and he guided us in among the reefs and rocks to get right up close to those towering cliffs for some amazing views of the bird colonies. We also spotted some great potential anchorages for future trips that we wouldn’t have seen without his help. Six hours saw us back on our mooring and a quick dinghy ride back to the club car park saw us on the way home without any unpleasant lugging of gear across miles of mud or having to cram a flaccid, wet dinghy carcass into the boot. Yep, I’ll certainly be renewing my club membership next year, it’s a bargain.

Must learn to say no.

Firstly, I must apologize for not posting anything at all for nearly three months. I really don’t know where the time has gone to be honest, I have been very, very busy. Work loads in the building trade tend to achieve a kind of white heat of frenzied activity in the summer as people try to complete their various projects during our short “dry” season. I also try to utilize the good weather and longer days to get any projects of my own done before the dark, dismal season of hiding from the elements puts paid to my enthusiasm. I’ve managed to construct our long stagnant greenhouse this year, rebuild my old classic Landrover ready for Winter and make good inroads on the new road trailer for Idris. I haven’t managed to get much time in front of the computer though, which is why I’ve not detailed much of my summer Halcyon 27 sailing on here yet.

Not a sight I had expected to see first thing on a Monday morning.

Not a sight I had expected to see first thing on a Monday morning. A shabby shackle was to blame it turned out. Luckily the old girl had the sense to lie down in the mud and not on anything sharp or pointy.

The summer hasn’t been completely fun free though, far from it. I’ve had a great time with Idris on the occasional weekend exploring along our coastline or making trips to Dartmouth, Lyme Regis and various coves whenever I could. I’ve made  new friends through the Starcross Fishing and Cruising Club (S.F.C.C) which resulted in an unexpected sail to the Scilly Isles in August which was absolutely fantastic. Mishaps this year have been few, although I did have to make a heart in the mouth dash to the Exe following reports that Idris had taken a solo trip onto the Exmouth shore one fine evening. More of that later on though when I’ve compiled the rest of my summer photos. I promise I will set to work as soon as my actual, real, paid work allows me the time.

Motoring home from the Sidmouth Folk Festival early in the morning to catch the tide over the Exe bar. Captured by Captn Bob aboard "Erin".

Idris Motoring home from the Sidmouth Folk Festival early in the morning to catch the tide over the Exe bar. Captured by Captn Bob aboard “Erin”.