Thursday, 19 August 2010


Plymouth has changed beyond all recognition… gone are the ‘down in the mouth’ warehouses on the waterfront where small marine businesses tried to eke out a living to be replaced with a series of expensive and rather soul-less flats. The tired 1960’s shops of the Barbican selling clothing for gentlemen of a ‘certain age’ and the seedy pubs, stacked with drunken off duty matelots have all made way for upmarket wine bars and bistro bars…. Its lost its working nature, but in fairness, has become a very lively place, where no doubt much money is being made.

The two things that struck me most… the old Admiralty chart agents, a place to warm the heart of any true seafarer, with rows of dusty charts from various exotic places around the world, and with a musty smell that I can still recall after 20 years is now a gastro pub…. And the gorgeous working harbour, with its inevitable collection of aging and rusty fishing boats and commercial vessels of assorted colours, now has a large modern lock, and is stuffed full of modern pontoons and modern boats collecting dues from the leisure sailors of the south west. While I can only appreciate the quality of the facilities, I still can’t help but feel that Plymouth, a true seafarer’s city has very slightly sold its soul.

In many other ways the city remains unchanged… sure the shop fronts are different, but it still has street names that evoke memories of its illustrious past…

We’d enjoyed a walk along the seafront… and time on the Hoe staring out to sea, but it was time to move on… we’d met new friends, and enjoyed good food and good company though… Sophie, it was a delight to meet you and your family… we thoroughly enjoyed your company.

We slipped from Sutton Harbour at 10h00, and then enjoyed a peaceful hour across the Sound… There wasn’t much wind, but what we had was behind us, so for the first time this holiday, we had downwind sailing.. it was also lovely and warm, so we meandered out of the sound at a stately 2.5kts, and enjoyed every minute of it. As we cleared the Shag stone, the wind vanished completely, so engine on, and we motored the last 1.5nm into Newton Ferrers. This entance rivals any, including Dartmouth, and drew the expected ooohs and aaars from the crew.

Following the transits ensures a safe passage around the bar, and avoiding the shallows, and we soon found and tied up to a free mooring, for which we were relieved of £19…. And then had to move as the owner turned up!

But, despite this minor annoyance, we enjoyed a short walk ashore, and then a great meal aboard…. Tomorrow we are heading towards the place made famous by its ability to extort funds from yachtsman in a whole raft of new and creative ways… Salcombe… I’ll need a new bank loan!

Miles logged 7nm
Miles this trip 382nm
Miles this season 760nm
Miles since this blog started 5,340nm

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