SAILING THE SEVERN
|Inside out takes a journey down the
Bristol based sailor and ferryman
Rob Salvidge has braved the wild Atlantic and sailed the Southern
Seas, but he still reckons the waters on his doorstep are the best.
Inside Out joins Rob
as he rediscovers the Severn estuary on a journey from Porlock to Sharpness.
Rob Salvidge has been a presenter on Radio Bristol for
30 years, but he is just at home on water as he is on air.
"I've always loved boats," says Rob. "I
grew up by the water
when the chance came up to run the ferries,
I grabbed it."
Rob may spend a his time at the helm of one of Bristol's
ferry boats, chugging along at a placid pace, but in the past, he has
been a bit of a speed demon.
A keen sailor, Rob has raced on the Bristol Clipper and
with Tony Bullimore on his catamaran.
Life on the ocean waves
journeys from Porlock to Sharpness
Rob may have travelled far and wide, but he is convinced
you can't beat the Severn estuary and to prove it - he's taking Inside
Out along for the ride.
Rob's journey begins at Porlock Weir where he enlists
the services and boat of James Adlington.
"I used to come down here every weekend from Bristol,"
explains James. "I said to someone 'when I retire, I am going to
come and live down here.' They said 'why wait until you retire?"
"I thought, 'yes, why?' I moved down here the next
So it seems Rob has found a fellow fan of the Severn,
but no sooner have the pair enthused about the estuary, than they arrive
at the first destination.
Messing about on the river
From Minehead, it's on to Watchet and for this leg of
the journey, Rob is travelling in style. Enter Mike Crump and his charter
Rob and Mike are zipping along at 23 knots, but at two
miles to the gallon, it's not a cheap vessel to run, or to purchase in
the first place!
hitches rides from generous sailors
"It's around £200,000 for a new one,"
explains Mike. "They're expensive. Nothing to do with boats is cheap."
At this pace, it isn't long before the pair arrive in
For years it was a run-down commercial port, but a new
marina has injected new life into Watchet.
All hands on deck
From Watchet Rob secures a passage on an old Westcountry
trading schooner - her first outing in these waters in forty years.
The three-masted schooner began life moving cargoes around
the Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea.
"She was the equivalent to a modern-day articulated
lorry," explains skipper Sacha Hall.
"It was vessels like these that ran up and down
the arteries of the Bristol Channel," continues Sacha. "They
were the lifeblood making the whole system work."
his passage aboard the schooner Rob has to pitch in
Rob's pervious passages have been a pleasure cruise,
for this voyage, it's all hands on deck.
The schooner leaves Watchet as the tide is going out
and they end up drifting with it for 30 miles or more.
"These are some of the strongest tidal waters in
the world," says Rob. "You have to work with them, not against
The halfway mark
Halfway through his journey and Rob prepares for a well
earned rest and a bit of Welsh hospitality in Penarth.
The journey is far from over, but to find out if Rob
completes it, you'll have to tune in next week!