The weather and sea forecasts for the next couple of days were going to be lovely so as mentioned in the previous blog entry we had, for one reason or another, decided to take advantage and get the circumnavigation completed. Nigel was keen to visit Fowey, we would overnight in Dartmouth and then stop in Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight before cruising through the Solent to Start Me Up’s home berth at Gosport Marina.
We left our berth late morning and made our way up the Penryn River, through Falmouth Harbour and exited the Fal Estuary. We made our way up the Cornish coast on a flat sea in perfect weather. It was only an hour or so to Fowey, which I had visited several times before and known the score re berthing. Fowey doesn’t have a marina but various places where you can pick up a buoy and some floating pontoons which however are not connected to the shore and have neither water or electricity. However, it does have a very nice pontoon at Albert Quay where you can walk ashore and stay for two hours. We decided to try and get alongside there for lunch. Going around Great Britain in an 8.5-metre boat certainly can be challenging but generally, you can get into everywhere with little difficulty. On our visit, there were five boats berthed on Albert Quay pontoon without consideration to other potential arrivals ie lots of wasted space between them. We decided to raft up alongside another motorboat where the owners and their friends were having lunch themselves.
Nigel was despatched to Fowey town centre to buy some pasties and I learnt from our new neighbours that they had trailered their boat down from Kettering and had launched it in Plymouth to cruise between there and Falmouth. I told them our story, which they were genuinely impressed with as Start me Up was a bit longer and wider than their boat but they couldn’t imagine going around the whole of Great Britain in it.
Nigel returned with some delicious pasties, which were voted the best of the trip and were consumed with a cold beer. 45 minutes later we were on our way again to Dartmouth heading directly for Start Point but passing some significant harbours and holiday spots on the way. Firstly, Polperro where Nigel has family connections and had enjoyed many holidays. Next, having passed the famous Eddystone lighthouse, Plymouth the city of my birth and where I still had family connections, not least my oldest sister. Then Bigbury and Bantham where I had spent many happy hours as a boy running up and down the beaches and enjoying the surf. Then we passed Salcombe ( how can we be passing Salcombe?), my families favourite destination aboard a boat, and a very special place, with wonderful boating memories going back 30 years. An hour later we entered the magnificent Dartmouth harbour entrance which never fails to impress and made our way to the town jetty pontoon where we would be right in the middle of things and which are available by 17.00 each day. The only disadvantage with these berths is that you have to leave them by 08.45 as the tourist’s boats resume their trade. If you can get on the inside this restriction doesn’t apply but there might be depth issues if you’re rafting alongside another boat. That being the other disadvantage on the outside as boats raft alongside you as well and potentially three deep. We did have a shark fishing catamaran outside of us in the end, but the boat was well kept and the skipper very friendly, we secured a donation for the charities from him.
We had a great evening in Dartmouth beginning at the Yacht Club 200 yards away, and where, having purchased a token, you could use the showers the following morning. They gave us a friendly welcome had a range of great beers and an excellent restaurant. Another beer on the historic quay at Bayard’s Cove, ( please note Padstow pubs, only plastic glasses allowed outside the pub on the Quay) finishing up at Kendricks Restaurant for a fine meal and bottle of wine.
A nightcap back on the boat and we turned in. We had to get off the pontoon by 08.45 and refuel the boat for our penultimate passage to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, or as my wife, Jen calls it, ‘The Womb’. Tomorrow we would be back in our home waters.