Friday, 13 August 2010


In the 80’s (yes, it was a long time ago), I was a student in Plymouth… I spent 5 years here, fitting the odd lecture in between visits to pubs and doing a great deal of sailing… In fact I logged over 10,000nm in 5 years… I haven’t been back in 18 years, and not by boat for a good few more… so its fair to say that I was looking forward to a visit..

It was a late start from Dartmouth… not wanting to leave until midday… this meant that we got a nice lift with the tide up to Start point, but then hit the point at slack water… I remember only too well what Start point can be like when it cuts up rough… and the previous few days had seen a decent ground swell coming in from the Atlantic… add wind over tide with a F4/5 forecast, and it added up to a bumpy rounding if I got it wrong….

I didn’t… it was flat as a pancake round the point, and once round, the tide kicked in, and for a while we were making 10.5kts over the ground…. Sadly as we reached Prawle Point and then Bolt Tail, the course shifted to a NW and we were into the wind… so we motored (again!)… we did try sailing, but it was going to stand us miles out to sea… and it had also increased to 18kts…. So with a bump and a crash we plodded our way across Bigbury bay…. Only the ground speed made it tolerable… and we entered Plymouth sound at 16h00… a very fast run…. And tied up by 17h00

I was full of nostalgia as we passed the Mew stone and then Shag rock, and positively delirious as we rounded Mountbatten…. The waterfront has changed beyond all recognition, including the delights of a lock into Sutton Harbour…it used to be a very commercial location, and dried in many places…not now… it’s a very upmarket marina…. but the Barbican is still a delight… and I’m going to enjoy a few days of reacquainting myself with various memories… but wow… even the old admiralty chart agents in their dirty old warehouse is now a wine bar!!!!

Miles logged 35nm
Miles this trip 375nm
Miles this season 753nm
Miles since this blog started 5,333nm

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