Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.
Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".

Sunday, 29 May 2016

A trip up the Dart

Half term has finally arrived. It has been a long time coming. Exam season is busy with revision classes ongoing before school, during lunch hours and after school. Long days and normal teaching and marking have to continue around these sessions. So I am ready for some sailing R and R. With that in mind, I have been thinking of sailing on the Dart next week. Don't know the river, never been on it but Roger at the Dinghy Cruising Association told me to work the tides and that it would be relatively sheltered and to beware the area above Dittisham as it is like a large inland lake. All very useful advice.

Working the tides! On the two days I have available high tides are around mid afternoon and consequently low tides first thing in the morning around 8 - 9 ish.  I'm thinking of launching at Blackness point just because I really don't know other launch sites that well and they can store car and trailer.

I'm thinking of sailing/rowing up to Totnes on the flood tide and then sailing back down to lower Dartmouth. My slight problem is finding an overnight anchoring spot before nightfall. I can't see many in the lower Dart area. I was looking at Warfleet Creek. Roger recommended along Bow Creek by the pub.

The following day, if I am in the lower Dart, then a sail back up and call in at either The Ferry Inn or The Malsters Arms sounds rather good before retrieving out at Blackness around four-ish.

However, as always wind and inexperience could interfere. The winds are from NNW on the first day and NNE on the second. Rowing Arwen short distances is fine. Longer distances is hard work and not easy.  But then that is the joy of sailing and my aim this week is to not use the engine at all.
Many would say best way to do that is 'leave it at home'.

If you know the Dart and have any tips regarding pilotage, overnight anchor places etc and feel like sharing them, I'd really welcome the advice.

In the meantime, a few fun hours have been spent poring over charts, asking pilotage notes and sketch maps in my notebook, scanning Google Earth and reading up cruising guides. The halyard bags which I have cut out ready to sew lie abandoned.

SWMBO informs me that I have cut them out wrong! Nough said! She's never wrong!


Bursledon Blogger said...

There used to be an anchorage just below the Nagging Rock south of Dittisham, but I would think there's a bunch of places you could tuck into with Arwen. Stoke Gabrielle is lovely, but I think you would have to dry out on the foreshore near the entrance.

Sounds like a great trip

Stuart said...

The HArbour Authorities produce a booklet which you will find useful. You could try anywhere around the Galmpton side (opposite Ferry Boat Inn). Drying out is OK if somewhat muddy in places, but check out for rocks if you do plan to do so. You could also try just up from the FBI by the sailing club where there's a public car park and you can leave your trailer on the foreshore (so long as you don't block access for others!). Launching there is on the shingle/mud beach, much easier after LW.
In that neck of the Dart, the wind direction can make things a trifle uncomfortable on a mooring, unless you dry out, but there are choices for shelter. The Stoke Gabriel Sailing Club may also be able to help with temporary moorings and advice. Who knows, there may be some vacant buoys you can latch on to and the Visitors' buoys are always available (marked "V" - what else?), although you may find yourself rafted up to a somewhat larger vessel if you pick a busy weekend; it also costs and the Harbour Patrol will be on to you for the fee. VisitMYHArbour website is always useful.
Any local sailors on the Dart will be happy to help with information and advice.
Whatever you do, enjoy it (outboard or not!).

steve said...

Thanks max
Appreciate the tipAt the moment the wind is my main concern
20 kts from NNW with gusts to 30 kts.....this is sounding almost a non starter........unless I just motor about.
Doesn't look like it will drop much either but these are the only days I have

steve said...

Thanks for the tips Stuart. Appreciated.