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A Dicey Arrival in the Yealm
10/08/2010, 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!

How much clearance did you say....?!
09/08/2010, Under a low bridge....

The view up under the Tamar Bridge about 5 seconds before we thought we were about to hear a loud bang!

To Plymouth and the River Tamar
09/08/2010, Cargreen, River Tamar, Devon

The forecast for today was right; poor visibility, rain, cold, etc! Our journey today from Fowey to Cargreen was less than 2 Nm from the coast, but we did not sight land once until we actually entered Plymouth Harbour! However, with Force 5 south westerly, we made excellent progress and headed up around Drake Island, and along the River Tamar. Just as we were arriving near the Royal Navy Devonport Docks, HMS Montrose was departing for her tour of duty on anti-pirating duties off the Somali coast so we got a good view of her leaving, with several submarines and other RN frigates in the background. Further up, and under the Tamar Bridge; it looked lower than I remembered. Surely we can get under it? A double check with the chart and pilot guides and there was no doubt whatsoever that we could make it. It still looked very low though in the last 5 seconds of approach....! See the next blog entry photo! We are now tied up on another mooring buoy that we found 'going spare' at Cargreen and about to enjoy and excellent pork thai curry. Well I would say that wouldn't I - I'm cooking it! Oh, and the sun has finally come out, just in time for it to set!

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