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.