Passage 39, Plymouth to Salcombe

Not a place to earmark for your retirement home in my opinion. Plymouth seems to hold a strong attraction to beer drinking street loungers who’s speech requires multiple insertions of the F word into poorly constructed spoken sentences. And some seem to find the practice of hurling rubbish at cyclists from their open car window a thrill. I found it hilarious as you might imagine.

Having arrived on the Saturday intending to spend the next day sightseeing in Plymouth I quickly lost interest and determined to move on the next day and miss the sights. I walked from the station down to the docks (getting lost on the way) and took a boat taxi over to Mountbatten where my boat was. The yard seemed to have been most successful in fixing up a few bits and pieces on the boat while I was away which put me in a better mood. I then took a ride into town cycling the long way round instead of taking the boat taxi in order to provision up. Quite a hike to get somewhere which was not much more than a stone’s throw away across the water. Laden up with provisions from the Co-op and soaked to the skin from a downpour, I got the taxi back and settled into the boat for the evening, making sure to make full use of the luxurious shower facilities.

I was away by 11:15pm on the Sunday as the sun started to come out. I tried to calibrate the compass on the autopilot as that had given me trouble at the end of stage 4 … but failed. Still, it seemed to work so long as I omitted to use one feature which was a big relief.

What a glorious sail. Shame it was so short. Just 21 miles to Salcombe with a gentle wind pushing me along in warm and sunny conditions. Perfect. I would have executed yet another graceful sail into harbour were it not for the fact that the almanac advised they don’t like boats sailing into their harbour. So reluctantly I took them down just outside and motored not-so-gracefully in.

As you enter the Salcombe inlet, you have wooded steep banks on either side with the occasional billionaires house sprawled out. As you progress to the town the houses get more frequent and down grade in size and quality that only multi-millionaires could afford. The harbour is choc full of boats and the scene inside is most agreeable. Nice looking town stacked up the hill on one side, water ways reaching further inland flanked by pretty countryside. What made it all the more fun was that it was packed out with week-end holiday makers spread across the numerous little sandy beaches in the approach. Dinghies and little motor boats were zipping about all over the place. And the harbour guys were most friendly. Top notch.

So out came the bike (having caught a buoy outside the town) and the harbour taxi brought me and the bike ashore. I climbed the hill to the top of the town and back again. I meandered through the waterside parts passing posh shops and various eateries. All very convivial with loads of people wandering about. Then cycled round to Snapes point which afforded a fantastic view of the harbour and it’s surroundings. I got back to the boat by 7:30pm and spent the rest of the evening musing on my next few passages. Having sussed the immediate surroundings I reserved the next day for wider examination.

The next day it was pouring with rain for most of the day so didn’t get in to town until mid afternoon. No bike this time as the weather was still iffy and I’d run out of time for any serious explorations. So I visited the little town museum and the local yacht club. I informed the latter that they were in the presence of greatness being a solo circumnavigator and they immediately dragged out their commodore and vice-commodore for a chat. Truth be told I was after their shower facilities that I duly got free of charge. Still, nice posh, big club (as befits an affluent sailing community) and they made me very welcome.

The evening turned out quite nice and I returned to the boat and enjoyed the activities and view.


Lovely short sail of 21 miles with a following wind. Sunny and warm. Couldn’t ask for more. Following “exploration” day disappointing as it rained for most of the time.

Passage 40, Salcombe to Dartmouth