Other PicoMicroYacht

Monday, 10 October 2016

PicoMicroYacht's worse lookout blunder

The plan was to exit the river Avon  Estuary past Bigbury on Sea in Devon and make use of an easterly  tide to help PicoMicoyacht down to Plymouth.

The upper reaches of the Avon Estuary are a delightful spot, with wooded slopes and tranquil waters. Except that I had chosen to set off in the middle of a smorgasbord of paddle boarders and sit on top kayaks who had the same idea of launching at high tide.

Added to this this a strap from my lifejacket kept jamming in my seat wheel mechanism (I have fixed this now). As I drifted along trying not to curse whilst I extracted the strap and avoided ploughing into one of the small boaters I missed some of  the awesomely relaxing landscape

Soon the delightful thatched boathouse at the bottom of the estuary appeared.

Finally I was outside the harbour, passing Burgh Island, where Agatha Christie wrote many of her novels. The hotel she used does murder mystery weekends these days.

PicoMicroYacht quickly crossed Bigbury Bay and passed Beacon point where the locals had gathered to watch the Spanish Armada as they passed close to the shore,

The plotted course across Bigbury Bay

PicoMicroYacht was soon approaching the Mewstone outside Plymouth. 

A strong headwind met PicoMicroYacht as it entered Plymouth harbour and I hunkered down, rowing against it at a solid pace, made more difficult by wearing my hood to keep my head warm

I was looking at a square rigged training ship on my starboard bow, weighing anchor and raising sails. I then turned to look to port and there in front of me was a smallish police rib with three officers crammed on board. The the conversation went like this:

"have you seen what is coming?"

Answer: "What is it?"

"there is a large ship coming"

Answer: "Where?"

I peered over my right shoulder and saw a large freighter with two tugs fussing around it and two police launches quite close and bearing down on me.

"We just wanted to know that you have seen it" said the police officer rather plaintively.

It was the MoD Police Marine Unit, here seen testing out their small and versatile ribs,
real gentlemen

It had been my worse navigational and lookout blunder. I had assumed that the east side of the harbour would be free from major traffic, but actually the dredged main channel sweeps round those parts. The tugs were there to keep the freighter on course.

The good thing about Picomicroyacht is that it can turn on a sixpence and it is amazing how quick it can to get up to maximum boat speed if pushed.

Rip Hudner, the Nassau registered freighter, nearly my nemesis

The harbour map - Rip Hudner was encountered a third of the way up on the chart

Postscript: It turns out that the somewhat unusual name is because the ship owner's son, Rip Hudner, was killed in a high speed car crash, his father naming the ship after him.

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