Wandering aimlessly in Dartmouth

Entrance to the River Dart, Dartmouth (kind of obvious?)

Despite arriving at a truly uncivilized hour of the morning, I managed to remain awake long enough to moor safely on the Kingswear side of the River Dart (at the end of the Darthaven Marina visitors pontoon).

A real English pub... Cheers!

That makes two crossings of ‘The English Channel’ for Eileen of Avoca! Hip hip hurray! Now before I get too carried away with partying, it’s off to bed…

At a far more reasonable hour to be conscious (after midday), I formally celebrated my safe arrival in England with a cool lager and traditional pasty in Darmouth proper.

How nice to be back in small boat territory, and what a fabulous holiday atmosphere!

No Children!

Every man, woman, child and four legged friend was out enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. The latter having an especially good time as evidenced by some of the following photos:

Apparently children are best left at home in this town…

Sea dog and child

…or in the tender where the dogs can keep an eye on them.

Dog in a pram!

But never fear, you can still make good use of their perambulator… 🙂

My only criticism of Darmouth is that there really isn’t much to do at night other than dine out or drink (neither of which I enjoy doing alone). Restaurant or pub, take your pick because the streets are completely deserted once the sun goes down (fear of the Banshee perhaps?).

Never mind, after my winter stay in southern Spain, I’m becoming rather acclimatised to wandering about veritable ghost towns.

At least people here were making good use of their boats during daylight hours!

In fact, I was so enthused by all the boating activity, I couldn’t resist visiting all my new sailing neighbors to swap stories.

Tupny, a Colvic Watson

I may have traveled a few thousand miles in Eileen of Avoca but that often pales in significance compared with the adventures older sailors recount.

I tip my virtual hat in respect to the crew of Tupny and wish them well. What a pleasure it was to listening to their tales. If anyone else happens to come across Tupny, be sure to ask about their boats history, the sea anchor mishap and of the penguins of fortune…

Sailing from Camaret sur Mer to Dartmouth

Fog approaching, 'Le Four' France

Chasing a fresh supply of French wines had me running late for my planned 3pm departure from Camaret (to catch the appropriate tidal stream through the “Chenal du Four”), but I still managed to be the first of several yachts converging on “Pointe de St-Mathieu” for the turn of the tide. A few south bound stragglers rounded “Les Vieux Moines” as I approached, and surprisingly, one even stopped to say hello.

It was Damian from Dartmouth on his yacht Simba. I’d met Damian in La Coruna crewing for Riviera Magic, and here he was again sailing his own yacht to Camaret. Small world! I wonder who else I’ll chance upon at sea when sailing back to Portugal in July.

Despite Damian’s warnings of dense fog off Ouessant (also broadcast in a special bulletin on VHF 16), I decided to risk the poor visibility in order to reach England before even worse weather arrived.

My plan was to be well clear of the tidal stream in ‘le Four’ before a forecast breeze of 10 to 15kts veered north. Three other yachts apparently had the same idea as they quickly motor-sailed past Eileen despite my best efforts to maintain our top speed of 5 to 6kts. Shortly after overtaking us, the yachts disappeared into a broadening bank of gray mist to the north.

The forecast northerlies and the fog arrived early, making for an uncomfortably wet ride through mist on agitated seas, but fortunately the disagreeable conditions were short lived.

Curiously, (as the visibility improved), I found that the yachts that had previously overtaken us (off St. Mathew), were now behind us… In just 20 minutes, Eileen of Avoca had outdistanced the lot!

How we managed to pass everyone in the fog remains a complete mystery. I can only imagine that cloaked in heavy mist Eileen must have felt brazen enough to lift her seaweed ruffles and make a dash for the lead while nobody was looking. 🙂

Sunset at Start Point

Thirty hours later I found myself off Start Point enjoying the sunset on my approach to Dartmouth. With Eileen’s lackadaisical pace, I get to see a lot of sunsets, something I’m sure only other Yarmouth23 owners can truly appreciate.

‘Enjoy your sunsets at sea with a Yarmouth23’ ought to appear on the sales literature.

A synonym for ‘don’t count on getting to port before dark in a 23ft gaffer that weighs almost three tons!’ 😉

But at least I arrived in Dartmouth safely!