Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The Ducks: All at Sea

The past few days have been spent at my mum's house, eating, resting, and being generally spoiled! Electricity just magically comes out at the walls all the time, and showers can be uncharacteristically long and indulgent.

However, today we embarked upon a very different kind of boating adventure! My dad owns a 26ft sea-going trimaran, Diva. And while we have been known to mock GRP boats, this one is different because it has the redeeming feature of being a sailing boat. Yes, it has an outboard, but it's only used when sailing is impractical, so we approve!

We had been aboard Diva before, but only while on its winter mooring. Today the conditions were perfect for trip round the bay. We hopped in the little rubber fender at Starcross Yacht Club on the Exe estuary and headed out to her mooring buoy. This is a photo of the same class of boat: a Telstar 26, but its not my dad's boat. I couldn't get a picture while she was under sail, for obvious reasons, so this will have to do.


The Exe Estuary runs north-south and the wind was a southerly so we motored out rather than trying to beat down the channel. Once out past Exmoth an into sea, we turned the engine off. The wind was very light, but we were able to get a little way out into the bay, towards Teignmouth and Dawlish. Our useful friend, George, aka the autopilot, was manning the tiller, leaving us to set the sails (main and genoa), drink lots of tea and enjoy the freedom of being at sea. There was a slight swell, but since we weren't going fast, it felt kind of 'sloppy', meaning that James started feeling a little seasick. So after an hour or so, we headed back for the channel and home, running before the wind. This time, with the wind mostly behind us, we were able to sail all the way up the estuary. The trimaran has a shallow draft, and it was high water, so we took a short cut across the sand-bank. The depth meter showed that we were only in about 0.8m of water at one point, but we made it with grounding at all, and soon our mooring was in sight. My dad headed the boat into the wind, James hooked the grab buoy, and I shacked the mooring line on, all in one swift series of movements, and all without the need for the outboard to position it. Very neat!

Me, George, and my dad

We headed back to land for a mug of hot chocolate in the club house. James had felt less ill as soon as we were in the shelter of the estuary, and it had been a thoroughly enjoyable cruise, but we were glad to get safely back to dry land all the same! We're not used to boats actually moving round such that using the 'heads' is a challenge. Now we have been back home for hours, but Jame is still complaining that he's not got his land-legs back!

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