Setting Sail

“Everyone sails in Plymouth. Everyone. We must get you out on the water!”

My landlord, Adrian, loves nothing more than his boats. Specifically ones with sails. That this was the sum of my technical knowledge didn’t bother him. “I don’t expect you do much sailing in Nottingham, do you?”


And so, on a warm and sunny evening, we set off along with Penny, to Sutton Harbour. I’d been here already. Along the harbour’s edge is the Barbican, the centre of Plymouth’s waterside entertainment. But from within the harbour – aboard the yacht Calandra – it looks all the more inviting.

For me, this is a whole new experience. My only previous boat trips have involved cross channel ferries or pleasure cruisers on rivers and in the Mediterranean.

This is the hands on version. Adrian asks the lock master to open the harbour gates. We have to wait whilst another boat comes in. And then, we’re out on the open waters of Plymouth Sound. In the late evening sunshine, it’s stunning.

As far as my hands on goes, I spend a good few minutes dodging Adrian and Penny as they dart around in all directions, feeding and pulling ropes, tying the sails into position, as casually as you like.

“You’d better duck or that’s going to hit you,” I’m told, as the jib of the sails swings back and forth. As a newcomer, this is exhilarating stuff. I’m knackered just watching it.

The sea is calm enough as we make our way further around the Sound, looking back at the bay and moving to more open waters. But, despite thinking I had fairly good sea legs, it emerges that I don’t have a great sea stomach. Lunch is dispatched over the side.

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