Arriving in Dartmouth on Monday after a pretty relaxing train journey down country landed me on the wrong side of the river, with no phone signal at completely the wrong marina. Not a good start!! A kindly chap gave me a lift to the ferry (as the water taxi was out of action) and I was back on track.
I knew the boat was a potentially lovely ride, but walking down the pontoon, the view of the bow, it multitude of stainless steel and teak basking in the afternoon sun was enough to offset the inconveniences of the previous hour.
An evening in the pub getting to know the skip and deck hand was fun, both great people with lots of stories from on and off the water passed very quickly after a good feed. We awoke and began the job of inspecting and prepping the boat for the journey north. Some administrative issues held us off getting really into the job, but by 6pm, we were all but ready to go. So a trip for fish and chips, a couple of pints and we were set for a morning departure.
This morning, Dartmouth in summer is almost pretty enough to make me want to remain in the UK, almost. It certainly reminded me how stunning some of this country is! However, after a dash to the co-op for food for the trip we slipped lines and were off onto a glassy ebb tide that shot us west at nearly 10 knots for most of the day.
This boat is a dream! Although most of the day was spent under power on very slight seas, the lines and weight just make the motion so comfortable. Whilst the fit and instrumentation are dated, the quality of build shines through, the more time I spend aboard the more I like this Frer 60, built on the lines of a Mystic 60, but semi-custom. My experience of yachts to date isn’t exactly huge, but I can really see why this boat would have been the thick end of a million twelve years ago. Days like today make me think the move this new career is the right one and all those months in cold, wet, unstable French yoghurt pots was worthwhile.
Rounding The Lizzard this evening, the wind veered and picked up a little and we are now under main and engine in a northerly breeze well on our way to Lands end about on schedule at this point. I short warm front and sector passed over dropping visibility dramatically but only for an hour and watching the sun go down under the low stratus was a spectacle worth the damp atmosphere! Shame the camera couldn’t pull the light out.
Off to bed now for as much sleep as I can get before a 3am watch. This is my worst watch. A 2am or a 4am start I can reconcile, but 3am is just the middle of the night and it really hurts to get up! More probably grumpy writing to come in the morning.
Bit of a gap here as the opportunity to update didn’t happen on the boat. We had a very uneventful trip up the Irish sea with a light beamy wind ghosting us along very nicely. Heading north passed the IOM, the swell picked up thanks to the low pressure shoving about near Iceland, but that soon settled down as we headed up the coast towards Arran.
Overnight the wind picked up somewhat and came round to put us on a very swift broad reach. Reefed down in a F4/5 we shot up towards the Clyde, arriving at the mouth about 3 am as I came off watch. By the time I woke again at 6am to bring the sail down, Matt had pushed us up the river to the marina, so I woke to a lovely morning, cool but dry and we prepared the boat to moor up at Rhu, a small marina north of the Clyde near Helensburgh.
A thorough clean down followed breakfast and we were off the boat heading for the train by lunch time.
All told a quick and enjoyable trip on a boat that is capable of any crossing you’d care to throw at it. It would have ben great to take this on a much longer journey as it would be a pleasure all the way.
There are always more boats, destinations and opportunities out there!