trip logs

Down the Tamar

Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers!

The intention of this current trip is to make a one-way passage. I have set myself the challenge (sailing and logistically) of making a trip of a number of days, which starts in one place and finishes in another.

The strategy is to find a suitable launch for Aurora in one place, close to a railway station. We then make a passage of a few days and end up somewhere with a suitable slipway to recover Aurora, but also close to a railway station, so we can travel to collect the trailer and recover the boat.

I decided to start from Plymouth, as this offers a number of good launches, railway stations and is a good starting place for a passage. It also offers plenty of fall-back options if the weather is not kind.

I decided to try a new place and after consulting the excellent “Good Launch Guide” and google earth, chose Saltash slipway as my starting point. This has a good slipway and a waiting pontoon, as well as a trailer and car park. However, when I arrived, I discovered that the parking was free for 12 hours and the trailer park was permit only. However, after asking a few locals, one said, “well, it’s fine to park on the road, but I tell you what, I have some space in the off-road parking at my apartment block. You can leave the trailer there”.

So that’s how it was. I rigged the boat, finishing at low tide, so we (Aimee, Alice and I) explored what Saltash had to offer. A station up the hill, two impressive bridges, a large cross and some excellent local ice-cream, it turns out. Having determined where the former was located, enjoyed the view and sampled the latter, we returned to the boat for tea. Aimee prepared an excellent pasta-sauce-chorizo concoction and by the time we had washed up, there was enough water to launch.

By this time, the slipway was busy with various types of craft from large RIBs to flocks of canoes and most things in between. I asked a canoeist if this was usual and he replied that though he would expect a fair bit of traffic on an August evening, there were lots of people going to see the fireworks.”Fireworks?”, I asked. He explained that the British Fireworks Championships were kicking off tonight. “Championships?”. Yup, it turns out that there were 4 displays in the offing tonight, by way of a competition.

So we found ourselves motoring down the Tamar, having tucked van and trailer in an out of the way spot, admiring the warships and submarines in the naval dockyard and passing another Cape Cutter 19 (“Nonetheless” of Saltash SC) at her mooring, we dropped anchor in Barn Pool.

The fireworks displays over Mountbatten certainly impressed the girls and were incredibly loud, even at that distance. The city, with its brightly-lit fun fair on the Hoe, made a wonderful backdrop to the display.

At 2230 when the display had finished, there was an astonishing parade of boats (well lights and roaring engines) as dozens of craft returned up the Tamar, leaving the anchored crowd rolling crazily in their wake.


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