Splash April 2018

Finally, we are back on the water! The winter always feels very long when you are not able to go sailing. With the snow that hit Devon in March the season felt even longer than usual.

My original plan was to be back in at the Easter Weekend, ideal for spring tides, but everybody was behind and at least four boats were blocking me in so the next set of spring tides were booked and I set about cleaning, polishing and waxing the hull as we finally had some heat in the air.

With the lift in booked for Wednesday the 18th of April the yard called to say that there were still some boats in front of my that were blocking me in and I would need to wait for the first set of springs in May. That for us was a non started, I needed to be on the water on this set of springs as plans had been made for the trip to Plymouth, via the scenic route, time booked off from work for both me and the crew.

After work on Thursday I popped down to the yard to see if Aphrodite had been moved and saw her sat comfortably on the boat lifter third in line to be lifted in and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

I had arranged to meet the chap and his son who I had bought my mooring down the river so I could show him where it was and he could help with mooring up on the Starcross Fishing and Cruising Club visitors mooring where I had arranged to put Aphrodite for a week.

Friday's high water was only 3.70 meters, we usually launch with a 4.00 meter tide so as soon as we were in "Mark the crane" suggested we move sharpish. "Mark the engine" popped down to see that the engine started. Fuel on, cooling water seacock open, battery switched on and I turned the key, the engine cranked over, but did not start - gulp. Guess who forgot to move the fuel to 1/2, tried again and the engine fired up and we were ready.

"Mark the crane" suggested that I had more depth of water if we just reversed off the quay which we did, the first trip of the year is always more stressful than any other as you have not been at the helm for five months, there are a lot of moored boats on the river and usually a large crowd of spectators but we were off, after almost doing a full 360 degree turn, down river on a hot sunny day.

We chugged happily down river, showed the old mooring to the new owner and then went off in search of the club visitors buoy, described as a large skateboard wheel, finally found it and tied up to it. By this time the tide was racing down the river and we took the decision that three in the dinghy was a little bit "enthusiastic" and so waited for slack water.

This is the last time, for the foreseeable future that I'll be spending the winter ashore on the Exe and will be quite sad to leave the river as I have met many good people there, but it is time for a change.

Crew: Sandy Garrity

Trip: Distance: 5 nm Moving Average: 4 kts Max: 5.5 kts

Crew: Sandy Garrity, Mike and his son

Weather Issued: 20 April 04:05 UTC

Sea area: Portland Wind: Wind Variable 3 or 4 Sea State: Slight or moderate Weather: Mainly fair Visibility: Moderate or good, occasionally poor.

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