Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Enjoying the Calm before the very big storm!

We've been watching the forecasts carefully for the past week as Storm Ciara heads our way. We're now in the thick of it with huge gusts and driving rain.

However, we spotted a couple of days of relatively settled weather on Thursday and Friday so decided we'd make the best of it and actually go sailing for once, with the added benefit of being able to leave Maunie trussed up with extra lines to face Ciara's worst.

We had a lovely, if cold, sail round to Salcombe to find the place pretty much deserted, both on the water and ashore. Unlike the River Dart, Salcombe harbour is pretty open to southerly gales so everyone seems to take their boats ashore for the winter. In the 'normal' sailing season, visiting yachts have to pick up a mooring and use their dinghy or the Yacht Taxi to get ashore but we were given permission to go alongside the Normandy Pontoon for the night, with walk-ashore access.

In the summer this view is full of boats of all sizes

Morning after a chilly night. We were able to plug into shore power, however, so had a 500W electric heater running to keep things cosy down below
The Normandy Pontoon is so names as this was a key embarkation point for US soldiers for the D-Day Landings and the concrete loading ramp that the Americans built is still there.

In the early summer of 1944 there were over 2,000 troops and 66 ships here so the silence when they left for Normandy on the 4th of June must have been acute. There is a good account of the time when this sleepy Devon village was at war on the Salcombe Museum website - click here for more information.

We headed back to Dartmouth on Friday afternoon as the tide turned in our favour. Start Point always promises the risk of some bumpy wind-against-tide conditions but it was the smaller tidal race at Prawle Point that gave us the greater entertainment.

There's a short video of the trip on YouTube here which we hope you'll enjoy.

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