West Country Cruising

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Tue 22 Aug 2006 14:38

River Yealm here we come


We had an idyllic 3 days on the Helford River. On the Friday night, we descended on the Shipwrights Arms for a slap up meal to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary (a day late). We had booked a table indoors, as the weather was cold and drizzly. It was a great position, in a corner, so we could see all the comings and goings in the Inn. We ordered steaks, to be cooked on the Barbeque grill on the terrace. I had  monster T bone and Jennie had a whopping great rump steak. They tasted just wonderful with lots of flavour. After the meal we got chatting to the land lady. It turned out that she was Spanish, although has lived in Cornwall for 12 years. The amazing part was that she came from La Coruna, and it was her mothers wedding anniversary on that day. So we had a great chat and departed somewhat late……………


The next day was Regatta day at the Helford Yacht club. Before that we decided to take the dingy up stream and visit the Port Navas Yacht club for lunch. We arrived just as they were starting a treasure hunt so it was all a little chaotic, but very entertaining.


That night we ate on board and then watched a spectacular fire works display. We were in a prime location and definitely had a grand stand seats, even if it was raining………


Whilst the Helford River is beautiful and we did enjoy ourselves, I have to say the mooring fees are nothing short of day light robbery. £25 per night, just to moor up. No Showers, No Toilets, no rubbish disposal.  Then on top of that you have to pay £2 for every time you land your dingy on the pontoon. Compare that to the Club Monte Real de Yates in Bayona, where the cost per night is the same, but you have a pontoon, electricity, water, toilets, showers, great security and a wonderful club house and restaurant.


The next day we received a text from my daughter Mandy. It transpired that she was coming down to Falmouth the following day for a boat trip cum surprise party for her Boyfriend’s (Phil) sister. She had no idea we were next door to Falmouth. So it was agreed that we would pick them up from Princes pier in Falmouth the following evening.  We had a cracking day sail over to Falmouth and up the river , before returning to the Visitors Yacht Heaven for fuel and water. We then spent a relaxing afternoon on a mooring  adjacent to the pier. At around 1600, a ferry/party  boat pulled into view. Standing next to the bridge was Mandy, waving like a girl possessed. The ferry pulled alongside for a chat, and then they moored up on the pier. I jumped into the dingy and went ashore to collect Mandy and Phil. Once safely on board we gently motored up the river Fal, then into the River Truro. Just south of Malpas we found a quiet, magical spot to anchor for the night. The only sounds were those of the Heron’s; Oystercatchers and Owls hooting in the trees. Just blissful. Jennie prepared a meal with the last of the Atlantic Salmon we had bought in Spain, to be washed down with the last of our Alberino wine and the last of the Taylors LBV Port we bought in Porto. Then a serous round of Pass The Pigs. Mandy was in awesome form and beat us thoroughly right up to the last round when Jennie restored some honour to the Zipadedoda team by running away with the game with double leaning Jowlers and double trotters.

In the morning the weather was once again dreadful, so we leant our guests full foul weather gear for the 1 mile journey by dingy  to Malpas, where Phil’s brother was to collect them and take them off for a day trip to Qweek.  


On my return to the boat we decided to re-anchor mid stream about 200 metres south of the visitors pontoon, below Malpas. We then had a lazy morning and suddenly the sun came out. So we decided to jump into the dingy and head for Malpas for a pub lunch. After which we took a mooch up and about the river, studying some of the splendid properties in the area.


The plan this morning was to get up early, and be off with the tide, to ensure we could clear the sand bars and drying mud banks in good time, before heading off to Fowey for the night.  Due to the fact we had some 35 metres of chain on the anchor deployed, we chose to make a team effort of raising the anchor. ( Normally the crew does that on her own.  Almost as soon as I started to reel in the anchor chain on the windlass, it ground to a halt, with the chain rigid in a vertical stance. Clearly the chain had fouled on something. So I gave it another go and with a screech and a whoosh, the line was released and started to come in once again. Then shock horror, a large piece of cast iron bar cleared the water. (See picture). The anchor chain was firmly wrapped around this 3 metre long bar. It was rusty and bent in the middle. It was also extremely muddy and very heavy. We both wrestled with it to try to twist it off the anchor chain. All to no avail. So I got on the VHF radio and called the Truro Harbour Master to ask for assistance.  After a few goes “Carrick one” responded. I explained our predicament to them and they immediately agreed to send help. About 15 minutes later a HM launch arrived to inspect the problem. They then sent for a work boat with two strong men!  Some 20 minutes later they came alongside and managed to manhandle the cast Iron steak off our chain and we were free. One of the chaps explained that at the end of the second world war, a lot of items were just dumped of munitions barges into the river. Mercifully this item was not explosive! What was really brilliant was that they then stood by to ensure we had no further problems raising the anchor off the river bed. Thankfully the anchor came up a treat, so we immediately set off down stream having made our thank you’s to the team on the work boat and also to the HM on Carrick one.


All just in time, as we had a mere 0.8 metres of water under the keel as we cleared the nearest mud flats!!


The rain then came in big time and the vis was down to about 100 feet at some points as we navigated down the rivers out into the Falmouth Estuary. Given the weather was wet, cold and virtually no wind we decided to change our plans and motor directly to the River Yealm, and miss out on Fowey. Our current position is 50 degrees 14 mins North, 4 degrees 23 mins West, and the Eddystone Light house can be clearly seen from our starboard beam.


The tides are just right for our getting over the sand bar at the entrance to the River Yealm and we expect to be there around 1700 this evening.


Just for a laugh we tried a spot of fishing this morning. Three lines out for one and a half hours. Once again my fishing skills we in fine form and all I caught was aa 6 inch Mackerel that was drowned by the time I reeled it in. Shame I hear you cry!!


So we will have to eat out tonight. I suspect the Ship Inn in Newton Ferrers will be getting a visit…………………………






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