Successful yacht delivery Hamble/ Plymouth carried out during the Covid crisis
In the final week of June I had the pleasure of delivering a sweet 34′ sailing yacht from Hamble to Plymouth, accompanied by the boat’s proud new owner. A yacht delivery in unusual circumstances!
The yacht in question is a Moody 336, a fin keeled sloop built in 1989. She had been recently purchased by new owners who were very keen to have the boat close to them in time for a full summer of family sailing fun. Even on first inspection it was clear that the yacht had evidently enjoyed the love of her previous owner – she was in very good overall condition.
Pre departure issues
Readers will probably spot that the delivery was carried out whilst restrictions on recreational yachting were still in force. Commercial activity has continued to some extent during the Covid crisis on the basis of necessity. This trip was planned under the MCA’s Intended Pleasure Vessel Code (IPV Code) and compliance with this was a high priority. The IPV code allows for the commercial use of a pleasure vessel for one-off purposes such as a post-purchase professional delivery.
For the purpose of coding and for basic health and safety reasons, a full audit of the yacht’s safety gear, rigging and other equipment was carried out by means of an extensive pre-delivery questionnaire. Areas of concern could then be addressed by the prospective owner in plenty of time. Of course, in the case of a purchase, this audit was supplemented by a full survey which gave added peace of mind. Happily evidence of thorough maintenance could be found in nearly every detail – see this photo of the chain plates and standing rigging.
A Covid risk assessment had been prepared and we went to great lengths to comply with it. Furthermore prior to departure we worked through the yacht from stem to stern post, checking details and installing the necessary safety equipment, some of which had been purchased that day by the new owner. We also went through the delivery Safety Management System together, discussing details and agreeing actions in the event of certain scenarios.
A passage of highs and the odd low
We also planned out a passage plan and made sure our shore contacts were aware of this. Some phoning around of possible ports of call had already thrown up the likely difficulty of spending a night alongside whilst we waited for the tide to turn. So we fully intended to to pick up mooring buoys or drop anchor en route. Stopovers were planned for Yarmouth, Portland Harbour and either Brixham or Dartmouth. Victuals were laid in accordingly!
Our passage from Yarmouth to Portland was into a SW Force 6, with the west going tide underneath us; just to make it more perfect it was also raining. In these circumstances it is so important to have prepared food and hot drinks prior to departure, and we fully appreciated our wisdom as a long day wore on. We were very happy to slip through the Eastern entrance of Portland Harbour and to find numerous empty RNSA moorings close to Chesil Beach. The owner is, of course, a member of the RNSA.
An 0530 start the following morning allowed us to pass around the tip of Portland Bill on the last of the east going tide. This I think generally works out nicely if you can get really close in for the rounding. From there it was a fine day’s sail: the south westerly had helpfully moderated and the swell dropped away significantly as we headed out into Lyme Bay. We were off Torbay by mid afternoon and decided to press on to Dartmouth.
Dartmouth is one of the prettiest of harbours to make landfall. The entrance opens out with castles on either side and there are no significant hazards. On this occasion the harbour was very quiet and an early phone call resulted in a berth on the town jetty for the night. A very unexpected bonus. We were also blessed with gorgeous evening weather and particularly tasty fish and chips.
The final leg to Plymouth
The yacht continued to show her sailing qualities during the final day’s passage to Plymouth. Rounding Start Point we once again met a sizeable wind over tide swell and the wind approached 25 knots from the south west. We had firmly found our sea legs by this time so the passage was embraced with grim smiles. We cleared the Meon Stone by late afternoon and motored our way into the yacht’s new home port avoiding the exercising warships and large ferry. The proud new owner was able to smoothly berth stern-to in the yacht’s new permanent slot in Mayflower Marina, smiling broadly. Despite the difficult circumstances which prevailed this was a successful yacht delivery made on time with the only issue being a sticking autohelm. Happy days!
Regarding the Moody 336, I admit to being both won over and rather surprised. Not all Moodys of this time sail particularly well and I’m generally not keen on centre cockpit yachts which the larger yachts tend to be. The 336 seems to find the right balance between interior space and comfort, solid build quality and sprightly sailing qualities.
Having read this, if you feel you would also like to engage Graham to deliver your yacht please get in touch.