Stars and hallucinations
04 July 2011
Stars and hallucinations.
We left L'Aber Wrac'h hoping for a big tidal lift as the water swirls round Cape Finisterre. But it didn't show up. We wanted to go to Plymouth, which is NE, but of course so was the wind. So we decided to sail best course to windward and see where we got. We could sail the course for Falmouth, so decided on that, and had 8 hours close hauled in 15 kn of wind. It was exhilarating keeping her in the groove for that long.
The forecast was E 3 to 4 during the night, but it didn't change – merely dropped a bit. So we started considering Fowey, which was due north. Being new moon springs it was a dark night, and the panoply of God's daisy chain spread across the sky (P.G. Wodehouse). We steered by the Pole star,imagining we were following in the wake of Drake and co. Sailing at night brings on fantasies, but not the hallucinatory kind that you get from snatched half hours of sleep while anxious about the passage. I dreamt we were sailing straight into the open doors of a suburban garage with a big tree behind it. And that a large container ship we had just avoided in the Channel had turned round in order to run us over. And that I had spilt porridge on the computer, so the blog would in future be in Rab C Nesbitt's accent, and need subtitles. Talk about making love to a rattlesnake.
Anyway, at 0530 the wind did go east and picked up so we could make Plymouth after all. We had a close reach, screaming along (for us) at 6.5 kn. It was fantastic – really enjoyable sailing in what you can see was a beautiful dawn. 120 miles in 25 hours, most of it beating, isn't too bad for us.
After we'd tied up in Plymouth and had a kip, we walked up onto Plymouth Hoe and saw but couldn't get onto the bowling green. But looking out over the bay it was easy to imagine Drake there, knowing that he only had to chase the Armada along the Channel. Perhaps he could even see them, but his fleet would have looked glorious in the bay. And there is a huge 'what if'. The Armada was ordered to pick up an invasion army in France, not to attack the British fleet direct. But when they arrived Drake was hemmed in by the tide, and if Medina Sidonia had sailed straight into Plymouth he might have been able to destroy the whole British fleet on a lee shore. Then we'd all have been speaking Spanish until 1944, when we'd have switched to German. Just as well, really.
It's funny that you have to tie up boats. Dogs yes, because they'd run away, but you'd think boats should be free to go where they are blown. Don't be silly.
Marcita will be doing a little bimbling with other club members until the BCYC Regatta in Cowes in 2 weeks.