Monday, 11 November 2019

Calstar: June 2018

Note that the post that follows was written in June 2018, and has been languishing in my "Drafts" folder ever since. Why I never finished or published it I don't know; too many other distractions I imagine.

I was just going to delete it, but reading through put a smile on my face, and in two days time Calstar will have been ours for five years; we bought her 13th November 2014.

Time has flown. We've had a few good trips out with her this year, but not as many as I'd wanted. Band commitments, more than anything else, really get in the way. By the end of this year we will have done 41 gigs; a little down on 2018 and 2017, but not by much. I guess the real difference is that she's now two and a half hours down the motorway in Plymouth. A five or six hour round trip does limit the day sailing opportunities somewhat.

There is always a small temptation to bring her back to Cardiff or Portishead. But then we wouldn't have adventures like the Fowey and Falmouth I write about below. Another reason to share an old, unpublished post, instead of just hitting the delete button.

Ten days away on a boat and only four days sailing is a little bit shocking by my usual standards, but is about the pace we usually end up setting when Nik joins us, and admittedly is a pace Dad's really very comfortable with these days.

Remember what I said about journeys and destinations?

It was always our intention to loiter in Fowey for the first weekend. It was the 8th annual British Moth "Sea Championships". That has to be taken a little bit tongue-in-cheek. The Moths have always been an easy going, humorous fleet, at least those I've associated with, and the British Moth being a definite inland boat originally intended to catch the light, fickle airs between the high-sided banks of a river, a salt water event is always going to be amusing.

I'm not sure it's actually a part of their official calendar, though I might be wrong.

In any case, I raced at the first, those many years ago, and have been to each since, with the exception of two. So the intention was always to make this one and catch up with old friends.

In return for taking him out for a a crash course in asymmetrics with his Topper 14 on Saturday, New Boy even lent me his Moth so I could  join in with the racing on Sunday afternoon whilst Nik "went shopping". I didn't do too badly, all things considered. And it was a great reminder of what I love about these boats; close racing, fun to sail, and they try to kill you if it gets too windy.

I might even have managed to secure the loan of a boat for their Nationals later this year. But we'll see, much as I'd dearly love the chance to race at the Nationals again, I won't hold Gary to that.

We ate ashore at the Fowey Gallants on Friday night, had the skinniest grilled mackerel in the world at The Galleon on Saturday night; my favourite Fowey pub, beer and view highly recommended, food not so much.

Friday night we spent on the pontoon at Berril's Yard. Easy access to the shore, and (and this was the clincher for Dad) shore power available for £2.50 a night, the theory is you're not supposed to be on the pontoon before 1600 and off again by 1000. So Saturday 1000 we duly moved off and over to one of the floating island pontoons on the other side of the river, intending move back later in the afternoon.

By lunchtime somebody had beaten us to it, with another yacht rafted up to them, and everybody settled in for the night. The two hour restriction that's supposed to apply between 0800 and 1800 isn't particularly enforced by the Harbour Master (as one of the harbour patrol cheerfully confirmed to us the following morning). The deal seems to be get on as soon as you can, and if you're willing to pay the extra for a shore-connected pontoon, stay there.

Dad elected to relax aboard Saturday, so I ferried Nik to shore in the tender. We timed our return to the boat later that afternoon disastrously, the heavens opened and she and I got an absolute soaking.

To avoid the perils of my ferrying both Dad and Nik back to the boat drunk and in the dark on Saturday night, we forked out a fiver each for the Water Taxi to ferry us across and back. We ate (in my case the afore mentioned skinny mackerel) on the patio of the Galleon and, just as we finished our food, the wind suddenly started whipping down the harbour, heavens opened up once again, and we were treated to the unexpected twenty minute spectacle of an almighty thunder storm battering Fowey.

And better to watch it from the pub than the boat, we all agreed.

The following evening, the boat back on the shore power on the Berril's Yard Pontoon, we ate with the Moths at the Rashliegh Arms looking over the beach at Polkerris. A lovely pub in a lovely setting with lovely company. And lovely food and lovely beer.

It was a still, hazy evening. Would've been perfect for sailing around and anchoring off for the night. A note to keep that in mind for the next time.

The passage from Fowey to Falmouth, and perhaps the lunchtime meal and beer we awarded ourselves with at a harbour-side pub on arrival, wiped Dad out. So Monday evening, Nik and I left him snoozing on the boat and snuck up to Falmouth town for romantic meal for two. I can't remember the last time we did that. After some time spent walking and down the main street trying to decide where to eat, we settled on a South African restaurant called Amanzi. The food was delicious.

On Tuesday, Dad suggested we revisit an old favourite for lunch, The Pandora Inn in Restrongeut. Whilst I was still pondering over tide tables, trying to decide where to drop anchor and ferry the crew in by tender, Dad summarily cut through the logistics and booked the Falmouth Water Taxi to take us.

We enjoyed a couple of hours, and a couple of pints or so, on the pontoon outside the pub before the taxi returned to ferry us back.

Tuesday evening we ate at a restaurant called The Bosuns Mate. One of the specials was a hand made steak burger plus a pint for a mere £7. I don't really do burgers if I have any choice so opted for the fish, but did volunteer to take care of the pint for Nikki. At that price, I wasn't expecting much of the burger (a beer alone was £4.50) but was, hands down, very impressed at what actually turned up on Nik's plate.

Mind you, the fish I'd opted for was also good.

Wednesday was a rain day. We stayed on the boat and read. It really wasn't such a bad deal at all, very relaxing. I got a lot of reading done this holiday, working my way through most of Bernard Cornwall's Warlord Chronicles.

Thursday back in Fowey, Dad, Nik and I ate at Sams. There was an hour's wait to get seated at that time of the evening, but the beer made waiting at the bar a not unpleasant experience, as did the wit of the proprietor, serving behind the bar and managing his staff and customers with flair and good humour. I had bouillabaisse, a rich fish stew, and it was delicious.

After eating, both Nik and Dad retired to the boat whilst I headed over to the Galleon to catch up with New Boy, Olga and the die hard Moths that hadn't yet gone home for the last night of their week away in Fowey. We spent the evening on the pub's patio veranda, overlooking the harbour, slightly damp because of the light rain, but not cold.

Good company, and we drank rather a lot.

[11/11/2019: And the rest remains unrecorded]

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