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Mayday 2012 - Charter from Liberty Yachts, Plymouth aboard "Sea Fox" (Westerly Typhoon)

Updated: 17-05-2012

Report from Steve Worner:

Crew : David Gist , Lis Jones, Simon Stannard and Steve Worner

Mayday Weekend 2012 This year's Mayday Weekend featured Lis Jones, Simon Stannard , David Gist and myself sailing a 1999, Westerly Typhoon going by the name of "Sea Fox". It's a long time since I sailed on a Westerly so was quite looking forward to it.

Sea Fox "Sea Fox", Westerly Typhoon

We met mid afternoon on the Friday and after sorting the formalities out with Liberty Yachts we made ready to leave. Unfortunately we did not get very far as I managed to snag our guard rail on the protruding anchor of one of Liberty's other charter boats so we put "Sea Fox" into a spare berth where she remained until the next morning when a few temporary repairs were carried out to make her safe to sail. Our intention had been to head round to the Yealm and eat ashore at The Ship, where we had a table booked so we jumped in the car and went by road instead of water to enjoy a leisurely meal - we were treated really well by the staff who moved us from an inside table to one right in the bay window as this had just been vacated by previous customers. Whilst there we met up with Ruth Jennings who was staying close by with daughter Victoria and her swimming club as there were regional championships taking place in Plymouth over the bank holiday weekend ( Victoria did well and was amongst the medals with, amongst others, a gold and her relay team qualified for the National Finals).

After a relaxed start, whilst repairs were carried out, we set off mid morning, but only after about 10 minutes of trying to coax the Italian diesel engine into life - this was a recurring problem each morning and points to problems with the glow plugs which Liberty assured would be sorted ASAP. This was the only real problem for the remainder of the weekend, in fact "Sea Fox" was very well equipped, maintained and a pleasure to sail.

Steve at the helm Steve at the helm

The forecast for the weekend was wind from the East with bits of North thrown in so we made the decision not to head too far West as it would be a long beat back into cold winds. This proved to be a wise decision as the downwind sail on Saturday was very pleasant but the up wind leg on Sunday proved very cold.

After a really enjoyable sail in winds of F3 ( 2 reefs in main and full head sail) we ended up in our old favourite port of Fowey and made use of the two hour stay on the visitor's pontoon with a visit to the sailing club showers and a quick drink before taking the boat across the river and Lis expertly picking up a visitor's mooring. We then relaxed on board - well most of us, Lis was listening to the Cup Final and cheering on her Chelsea heros - until it was time to whistle up the Water Taxi for shore leave and the usual quality (and good-value) meal at The Lugger.

Ominous Sky over Fowey Ominous sky over Fowey

Sunday started with the 10 minute job of persuading the engine to burst into life but once fired up it was fine so we motored across to the visitor's pontoon and made use of the facilities at The Gallants Yacht club before heading off out and turning 'left' for all points East ( same sails as Saturday - 2 reefs in main and full headsail). We had planned to head off to Salcombe, but with a cold NE wind we cut the trip short and returned to the Yealm - a very good decision as we had a lovely sail back but were all just beginning to feel the cold and the extra 12 miles would probably have spoilt a great day. The Harbour Master directed us to a vacant mooring and, having already visited the Ship on Friday, we decided we would like a change so first tried the Yacht Club but they were not open on Sunday evening but a further call to the Dolphin secured a table. As usual time goes very quickly so we inflated the dinghy and headed over to the pontoon for a very pleasant stroll through Newton Ferrers to the pub. The food was delicious and great value - 3 local caught fish (Ling) plus one large burger all with great chips for under 30.

Fowey visitor's pontoon Fowey visitor's pontoon

After the traditional fry up on Monday morning the engine was kicked into life and we headed out of Wembury Bay and enjoyed a sail across the front of the breakwater, around Cawsand Bay then up the Tamar River past the Naval dockyards. I think the whole British Navy submarine fleet must have been at home as we counted eight in total.

Fowey Fowey
Having sailed past the docks we dropped the sails for the last time and started down the river only to be confronted by a naval police vessel holding station across the river. Having wondered what rule we had infringed it soon became apparent that two tugs were pulling a Frigate out of the docks so we did a couple of upriver circuits before motoring back to QAB marina. When we arrived at the marina we were unable to re-fuel as a large green catamaran had been abandoned on the fuel pontoon ( much to the annoyance of the marina staff) so we just put "Sea Fox" to bed after a very enjoyable weekend which would only have been improved by a rise in temperature.