We’re back! To be honest, we’ve been back for ages, but we’ve been so busy galavanting, I haven’t had the time to blog about it.
After a month’s leave from sailing on Di (don’t ask) we couldn’t wait to get back on the water with her, so we optimistically drove to Stoke’s Bay (George’s old stomping ground) for the National 12 open. We had a day of troubles. For the first time ever, nothing worked. The rudder pin wouldn’t go in – it turned out the lighting board had bent it, the mast strut scattered ball bearings all over the floor when we tried to slide it into the track, and the sail wouldn’t go up the mast. We got as far as the beach before deciding enough was enough, and Di just didn’t want to play ball that day.
So we headed home to Shoreham defeated, in order to get Di ready for…our week in Salcombe!
Sailing in Salcombe
We drove down to Salcombe on Friday evening and got Di safely tucked in the Batson Creek boat park just up from Salcombe town centre, at around 10pm.
The next morning dawned sunny and breezy. We were welcomed to the yacht club, and went for a sail with the Solo open, and two other National 12 Salcombe sailors. Local knowledge definitely plays a large part of sailing successfully in Salcombe waters, and the two National 12s left us in their wake. Still, it was a great sail, and we weren’t discouraged.
The next sail was gusty but lovely. It is a beautiful place to sail, and I was struggling not to admire the view as we were sailing along (very naughty).
To hold my hands up, I did really struggle with the gusts in Salcombe (and I’m only crew!). At Shoreham we’re used to relatively constant wind – it’ll shift and generally stay there for a time. In Salcombe, the wind is funnelled down the estuaries, but there are four main arms to the estuary, creating strange and shifty gusts in the main channel. Tricky for a newbie!
We got out sailing three times over our week’s stay, and George even got me steering. With him controlling the jib and the mainsheet, I simply steered and tacked, panic-stricken. Apparently my face was an absolute picture, but we didn’t capsize, and I even began to enjoy it at the end (just wait until George makes me take the mainsheet!).
And yes, I did receive more than my fair share of the bruises. I don’t know how I manage to be quite so clumsy in Di, but hey ho. Lucky I never wanted to be a sock model..
I love Salcombe. I visited it several times as a youngster with my family. We’d cruise down on our Aquastar and moor up in the Bag or on a floating mooring in the main channel.
It’s always a buzzy yet relaxed atmosphere, everyone’s friendly and welcoming, and it’s just a really good excuse to drink too much Doom Bar, really.
We were staying in a self-catered flat that was a minute’s walk from the main high street, and was cosy and comfy. We even had a fire, which we treated ourselves to of an evening.
On the Wednesday we took a long and leisurely walk – roughly 6 miles – along the coastline. The rustic, jaggedy Devon coastline is so beautiful. Our walk took us past the beaches and round the cliffs (up which George immediately scrambled – I couldn’t watch), before curling round and back through the countryside. We ended it with a local crab and a brie & ham doorstop sandwich, respectively.
We treated ourselves to a delicious dinner at The Victoria – mackerel salad and a crab tart, and sea bass and a chorizo burger, respectively. The sea bass was beautifully cooked – crispy and salty without being overcooked, which is quite a feat with sea bass! I’ve since learned, however, that sea bass is endangered, so that will be the last I eat for a while. Painfully used to Brighton prices, the £14 for a sea bass main, and £3 a pint Salcombe prices were a revelation. While we adore Brighton, it does somewhat put into perspective the cost of living here!
We even managed to squeeze in a day trip to Dartmouth – land of the pastel houses and delicious pasties (seriously, our Thai chicken pasty was a revelation).
Then, all of a sudden, it was time to pack up Di and head home. Our glorious week of sailing, walking, eating, drinking and silliness (and not to mention not a single email!) was over. And what a splendid week it was.
Next up, the Northampton National 12 open! (fingers crossed).