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South West: Overnight meet at anchor at Babbacombe

1st July 2017

The sun shines on the Westerlys

In the run-up to the weekend, the weather was rather unseasonal with heavy rains and almost gale force northerlies on the Friday evening prior to the event. However, Saturday morning brought sunny clear blue skies with much lighter winds to the relief of the organisers.

The boats started to arrive at Babbacombe Bay from mid-morning onwards with the last to arrive late afternoon, making a total of six Westerlys plus the addition of a Micro Challenger 18 named Hesperos; the latter boat belonging to my son, John, who sailed her round from Paignton, in order for anyone to experience a taste of sailing a trailer sailer type boat. These French built craft being a cross between a dinghy and a small cruiser.

The attending Westerlys were Bonnie, Diva of Dartmouth, Firebird of Fingest, Sea Melody of Mengeham, Sorcerer and Starquest.

Our hosts for the weekend, Babbacombe Corinthian Sailing Club, provided dinghy sailing and on water activities during the afternoon, along with one of their safety boats (with driver) as a water taxi ferrying between our boats and the beach. During the course of the afternoon some BCSC members came out to visit our boats where they were provided with refreshments to include tea, cake, light alcoholic beverage, and, in one case I understand, on one boat, a full Devon cream tea with scones!

A number of South West group members had hoped to participate in the offer of sailing a Laser 2000 dinghy, with instructor, but as time was running short only Chris and Marguerite Strang were able to take this up. They both found the experience to be very different from sailing a cruiser even in the light winds which had developed by late afternoon. In fact the winds dropped to such a point they had to be towed in to the beach!

By 6 pm we had all been ferried to the beach where we were joined by our South West Group Chairman, John Alker and his wife Gwen, who arrived by Westerly wheels. A BBQ had been set up by the BCSC volunteers adjacent to their boathouse. However, I would hasten to add it was more of a feast with light starters/nibbles, followed by marinated chicken and pork, beefburgers, sausages and a paella speciality, salads, rolls and much more. To top it off, there was chocolate cake, cheesecake, cheese and biscuits and probably other offerings which I cannot now remember. BCSC also went to the trouble of obtaining a temporary drinks licence to enable them to offer the services of a members bar. Further BCSC members joined us at the party where we were entertained by a ukulele band of four ladies one of whom was Jan Hester, BCSC’s Vice Commodore who had been the main co-ordinator in putting the weekend event together. A very big vote of thanks must go out to her for all the hard work she put in. We must also not forget the other voluntary BCSC members who gave their time so willingly.

Sunday morning dawned bright and completely clear…a perfect summer morning. The boats gradually weighed anchor to depart for their home ports apart from Starquest who stayed on an extra night. Two members of BCSC sailed back to Torquay on Firebird of Fingest in near perfect weather conditions.

The weekend was a resounding success and over too soon. Everyone, no doubt, is looking forward to the next one.

Babbacombe Bay is a beautiful anchorage, very well sheltered from westerly winds with very steep wooded hillsides and an unusual mix of red Devon sandstone and limestone rock. It even offers a cliff railway transporting you from the beach to Babbacombe Downs and the Torquay district of St Marychurch.

Paul Moorhouse


1st July 2017
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