On the 29th May the Spring Cruise fleet assembled in Portland Marina; 10 sailing and 1 motorboat.  A brisk easterly had been blowing for some time which resulted in the great turnout.  We were all thinking of the planned trip across Lyme Bay so we took a bus to ‘The Bill’ to have a look at the sea state and the location of the yacht traps (aka lobster pot buoys).

Portland Bill

In the evening, The Kitchen restaurant opened just for Newbury Yacht Club and 27 sat down to an excellent meal.

The next day, the plan was to head for Brixham; to get round the inner passage at Portland Bill we needed an early start.  The moderate easterly wind continued to blow, which with no let up on the horizon was good news for those headed west but not great for those needing to get back east later in the week.  As a result a mini-cruise of four boats, consisting of Vega, Navy Blues, Sea Dragon and Bonny, set off back to the Solent.

The moderate easterly wind resulted in a rather uncomfortable following sea across Lyme Bay. However, thanks to the early start the seven boats heading west made it on to the events pontoon at Brixham marina by mid-afternoon.  The cruise was also joined by Indulgence from Exmouth so now the fleet was eight boats.

The 31st May was a rest day in Brixham and our former Commodore took the opportunity to renew his acquaintance with Rosie, the Brixham mermaid.  Ten crew members took a bus trip out to the National Trust house at Coleton Fishacre, the home of the D’Oyly Carte family.  Beautiful gardens and the cream teas in the Café are to be highly recommended!

Getting reacquainted with Rosie (the Mermaid) in Brixham

The east wind continued to blow, making the Brixham berth a bit bumpy and the battle flags flap and, in one case, became detached!  Some ingenious techniques were employed to retrieve it and for some reason has resulted in a new tradition of ex-commodores flying their battle flags upside down!

Errant Battle flag

On the 1st June, we all headed down to Salcombe and once we were out around Berry Head had a very pleasant run down wind.   We moored up on the visitor pontoon in The Bag and there were some great examples of boat handling, particularly from Belrose.  After a few refreshments on the pontoon accompanied by the Galloway’s famous anchovy fried bread, the water taxi was summoned to take 24 to the Royal Salcombe Yacht Club for a dinner in the chartroom.  As always, the food and drink at the RSYC was excellent.  Leslie brought his guitar and after the meal led us in a novel rendition of ‘What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor’ with each boat contributing a verse.  We were also much entertained by Phil Clement’s description of how a croissant and a banana can be fashioned into the perfect snack on the move.  Hopefully our singing and jollity wasn’t the reason why we found the Salcombe Club completely deserted when we left!

Dinner in the Chartroom

The next morning Storm Cloud, skippered by Paul Gill with Teresa and Rod on board, had to return home.  It was great to see Storm Cloud and crew on their first (of many we hope) Spring Cruise.  That left seven boats to carry on to Plymouth Yacht Haven still with a reasonable easterly breeze making for another very pleasant run down the coast under jib.   A skipper’s meeting that afternoon decided that in the light of the forecast of – you’ve guessed it, continuing moderate easterlies – many of the boats would return east after the next day (and night) in Plymouth foregoing the planned visits to Fowey and the Yealm.  This also meant the planned dinner at the Royal Dartmouth YC had to be cancelled.  That evening we all ate supper on Samollu with contributions from all the boats and many thanks to Phillip and Debby for their great hospitality.

Safari Supper on Samollu

The next day, June 3rd, most took a ferry ride to the Barbican for a stroll round Plymouth Hoe and lunch at what used to be the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club.  In the evening an excellent dinner was had at The Bridge restaurant and was declared to be the final official dinner of the Cruise.

Dinner at The Bridge, Plymouth Yacht Haven

On June 4th Southern Hey, Belrose and Chesterton set off back east and home via Brixham, where more fish and chips were consumed, and then on to Portland.  In the afternoon Catry, Malaika, Indulgence and Samollu headed for the River Yealm for a walk over the hills followed by a visit to the delightful Ship Inn.

The River Yealm

The following day saw us all go our separate ways with some heading further west and others back to their home ports.  Twelve boats took part in some or all of the cruise with a total of 33 people on board.  It was a shame for those who had to return home that the wind stayed firmly in the east but for the most part the sun did shine.  In all an excellent cruise and the next is eagerly anticipated.  Thank you to everyone for making it such fun.

27th May – 5th June 2023