A Dicey Arrival in the Yealm
10 August 2010 | Newton Ferrers, River Yealm
This morning's 7am departure from Cargreen was in thick mist and drizzle. We needed the early start to catch the tide down the Tamar, under the bridge, then around to Cawsand Bay where we anchored for 4 hours and had lunch. So far, there had been no wind, no visibility, and plenty of rain! We needed to stop here for a few hours to give us enough tide when we arrived at the River Yealm to get in to the river as it is very shallow at the entrance. We set off from the protected anchorage at about 1-30 pm, just as the wind began to pick up...and up, and up, and up! Withing 20 minutes, we were in a full blown Force 6, gusting 7, and a nasty sea state of about 2.5 to 3 metre waves. This we did not expect after our peaceful lunch. Moreover, I was uncertain as to whether we would be able to get into the Yealm in these conditions. We had a very uncomfortable, but short, trip over, and the wind was hitting 30 knots from the south west as we approached the river entrance in a nasty swell, albeit slightly smaller. The tide was flowing in to the river at about 4.5 knots as we arrived and the river was packed with boats on mooring buoys. 'Oh my God!' was not the exact terminology that we used, but this was going to be a very tricky arrival. As Tracey was busy rigging fenders and lines, I put the engine into neutral, but with the combined wind from behind and tide, we were still travelling up the river at over 5.5 knots. With the engine in full reverse, we were STILL travelling at 3.5 knots up the river. As we approached the pontoon on our starboard side, with full steering lock and maximum engine power, black smoke pouring out from the exhaust, I managed to turn the boat around the back of the pontoon, missing the nearby fishing boat by not a lot, and motored into wind and tide to come alongside the pontoon. With the engine on full power, maximum revs with turbocharger, we came to a stop next to the pontoon, barely able to keep our position. We tied onto the adjacent boat that we needed to raft onto, shut the engine down, put the kettle on and started breathing again! The Harbour Master congratulated us on an excellent arrival in terrible conditions, then charged us the £18 fee to tie up! Still, not bad for the location with spectacular views. A short dinghy trip to Noss Mayo, a beer in The Ship whilst watching the annual Beer Race rowed between the 3 pubs on the river in fancy dress, then off to the Dolphin in Newton Ferrers for the end of the race. A great day all in all, despite the actual sailing part!