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Mayday 2013 - Technology Weekend, Plymouth aboard "Ocean Whisper"> (Jeanneau 37)

Updated: 18-06-2013

Report from Steve Worner:

Crew : Simon Stannard, Norma & Phil Bridge, Lis Jones and Steve Worner

Mayday Weekend 2013 Friday saw Simon Stannard, Norma and Phil Bridge, Lis Jones and myself headed for the regular Mayday weekend out of Plymouth and as the boat ( "Ocean Whisper", ex Sunsail Jeanneau 37) was available early we all gathered at QAB just after lunch and were ready to leave by 15.00. The forecast for the weekend was for good 'weather' and wind in a generally Westerly direction gusting up to 25 kts and this proved to be the case ( well done Met Office!), so we set off for Fowey with the intention of being on the Town Quay Pontoon for 20.00 for a stroll ashore, meal at the Lugger and out to a mooring before we overstayed our two hour limit on the Pontoon. The wind was almost perfect, we were having a great sail BUT not quite in the right direction so we had to put the motor on to achieve our target arrival time - this was to be a recurring theme of the weekend ( perhaps we shouldn't set too challenging targets!)

MayDay 2013 MayDay 2013

Saturday dawned with drizzle ( as forecast) and once there were a few of the crew vertical we dropped the mooring and headed back to the Town Quay where we made use of the facilities ashore and purchased Croissants for breakfast and additional supplies of pasties. By 09.00 we were heading out of Fowey for all points West ( Helford River) and enjoying a great sail with the wind increasing all the time (25kts max), forcing us to reduce both main and head sails when heading for Dodman Point. As the day wore on the wind dropped and we shook out the reefs but it eventually got to the stage where we were again going to be late for 'tea' so we motored for Helford - at that time not having been able to book a table at the Sailing club. Just as we entered the Helford River we managed to raise the sailing club and book a slot for our meal and after a short rest on one of the visitor moorings we blew up the dinghy and Simon acting as boatman, first ferrying Phil and Norma ashore then collecting Lis and myself - the only problem being running out of fuel whilst he was taking us ashore so Simon and I paddled back to the boat to top up whilst Lis encouraged ( threatened us) from the Cox's position. As ever a good meal at the sailing club and freshen up in the 'Unisex' showers - they are currently extending the club so only one set of showers are available but rest assured we did not have mixed sessions!

Sunday saw a bright start with the sun shining up the Helford river and after a leisurely breakfast we headed East with the target of the Yealm and one of its eating establishments for a meal. We set out with the intention of rounding the Eddystone lighthouse and with the wind on the beam made good progress although again not good enough and made the decision to motor fairly early on so as not to be getting to the Yealm after dark. When we were off Dodman we picked up a Mayday and were able to monitor Brixham Coastguard co-ordinating the rescue of a Diver who had come up too quickly off the Gwineas. with Helicopter Rescue 193 from Culdrose collecting him from the beach @ Goran Haven - it reminded Phil, Norma and myself of the time when we did some practice hi line transfers with the helicopters from Culdrose off Dodman Point ( check it out on the KPCA website). After picking up a mooring in the Yealm we headed ashore for food and, with the tide out had a choice of any of the three pubs or the yacht. We chose one of the pubs ( which will remain anonymous) where we had a reasonable meal but I think we all agreed that it would not be the one we chose to use in future!

Monday saw another leisurely breakfast and we left at low water with very little water under our 2.2M keel when we were around the sand bar in the entrance. The wind was perfect, despite our feelings that there would not be enough to sail so we headed across to Cawsand with the intention of anchoring for Brunch but shelved this idea as the conditions were too good to waste and eventually settled for Hot Dogs whilst hove too just outside Plymouth Breakwater. Finally we headed back inside the Breakwater and a brief encounter with a Norwegian frigate who did not seem to know what he was doing ( oh for the courage to give him 5 blasts on the horn!!) we headed back to QAB for a mid-afternoon finish then struggle back up the M5 in the Holiday traffic to home.

Having struggled through this report you are probably wondering about the heading (Technology Weekend) well let me enlighten you. The boat had a brand new touch screen plotter which was so user friendly EVEN I COULD USE IT. From the Home tab at the top you could click on Chart, Split Chart with two different scales, Radar, Split Radar and Chart etc etc and run your digit across the screen to move the chart - I think you can guess I WAS IMPRESSED! But this was not all, Simon had an iPad ( complete with waterproof case and it's own lanyard) from which he could tell us the distance travelled, average speed, maximum speed and even show us our track and how much better a job Autohelm did than the human helmsman ( person). Phil was likewise occupied with his tablet (no not medicine) which performed similar tricks. It all seemed like black magic to me along with the talk of 3G, 4G etc. As I said to Nigel in a text over the weekend ' When I were a lad we were excited if we had DECCA and RDF' - check it out on Google and in your history books if you don't know what they are !! Distance sailed - 110 nm, Avg speed 5kts, max speed 7.3 kts.

All in all a great weekend and what a change from the conditions we seem to have had on every trip over the last few years with strong winds - or fog.