Leaving Salcombe to head west is an act of balancing the tide over the bar against getting plenty of west going tide to carry you across Lyme bay, and timing it all so that you don’t round Portland Bill with the tide in full flight, and hence the worst of the Portland race. It wasn’t too bad for us, as it was a neap tide, so we had enough water over the bar just 1hr after low water, and would then have about 2hrs of foul tide, followed by nearly 7hrs of tide across Lyme bay, before hitting the Bill without too much race evident (although on a neap tide the race shouldn’t be too bad)
So at 08h00 we slipped quietly out of the river (it was utterly peaceful in stark contrast to the previous day’s motorboat madness), and chugged slowly over the bar. It was a bit light to sail, with the wind dead behind us, so we motored for a couple of hours until the wind picked up to 12kts apparent, at which point the sails went up and the engine off… marvelous!
Over the next few hours, it slowly got windier and windier… and by the time Portland Bill came into sight,we had 20kts apparent, (with around 28kts true)… there were substantial rollers charging down the channel, and we were getting huge surfs up to 11kts over the ground… phew… we were also sailing so dead downwind that we were tacking downwind, which means sailing slightly off track and ‘zig-zagging’ towards the destination…. Each gybe was ‘interesting’, and I just reached the point were I was considering ‘wearing round’ (which means tacking rather than gybing) when BANG… the mainsheet exploded….. I couldn’t believe this had happened again… but on inspection, this time it wasn’t the block, but the fixing on the boom…. Heading up, and furling soon had things under control… and a jury rigged mainsheet got the boom sorted (we have a spare fixing on the boom – albeit in a slightly less than perfect position – its fouls the sprayhood slightly), and we continued under genoa alone.
This actually made the remainder of the trip somewhat more pleasant, and we held course,still making 8kts over the ground, leaving a good 4nm off Portland Bill as we were an hour late for ideal rounding (which was a good decision looking inwards towards the Bill), and then cut inside The Shambles and within the hour had the lee of Portland Bill which made life somewhat more comfortable….
Entering Weymouth harbor was straightforward, and we tied up on the outside of an already 3 deep raft… one leaving at 10h00, the next at 11h00 and the third at 12h00… so by lunchtime tomorrow we’ll be on the pontoon!
Miles logged 73nm
Miles this trip 472nm
Miles this season 852nm
Miles since this blog started 5,432nm