Monday, February 06, 2012

Cruise of the ‘Aziz’ a Pioneer 9 Part 20

Tall Ship - the 'Astrid'

I was to stay at Weymouth for four days, firstly because my brother and his wife, along with their son and his family wanted to see me and ‘Aziz’; secondly because I wanted to explore Weymouth, and thirdly because the weather took a turn for the worse. There are two things of note worth mentioning regarding my stay at Weymouth: my visit to Portland Bill lighthouse and my visit to the ‘Astrid’, a tall-ship moored at the town quay. A year after I saw her she was bought by a new owner who took her to Holland, where she was built as a freight logger in 1918.

'Astrid's' rigging and spars

'Astrid's' deckhouse

On Tuesday, 26th August my brother took me in his car to Portland Bill. This prominent obstacle juts out into the English Channel. Sailors sailing along this stretch of the South Coast have to avoid the infamous race that sweeps around the southern extremity. This can be done by going very close to the rocky shoreline, or by sailing at least a mile to seaward of the race.

Portland Bill lighthouse

The next day, Bill with whom I attempted to sail to the Azores in his Eventide 26, and his wife paid a visit to ‘Aziz’. On Thursday, 28th the weather was rather miserable with much rain, but to occupy my time I returned to Portland Bill lighthouse by bus. There was a really strong westerly wind that churned up the waters. Seeing the Race from high up on the cliff gave a different perspective that reaffirmed my desire never to be caught in it.

It was Friday, 29th August. A good many yachts were stationary in the harbour because of the inclement weather. I moved ‘Aziz’ from her inside position to be the outermost of six berthed together. No longer was she trampled on by those leaving or returning to their yachts. As it was unlikely that any would be putting to sea I caught a bus to Dorchester, an attractive town I liked. Famous names associated with the place are Judge Jeffreys and Thomas Hardy. In 1685 the Judge presided over the ‘Bloody Assizes’ when he condemned 74 people to death, all supporters of the Duke of Monmouth who failed in his attempt at a rebellion. Thomas Hardy, the famous Dorset novelist, wrote Pair of Blue Eyes and Under the Greenwood Tree along with several other splendid novels and eight volumes of poetry. He designed a house he named Max Gate which his brother built for him on the edge of the town in 1885 where he lived for almost half his life. There he wrote several brilliant novels and eight volumes of poetry.

I couldn’t be a prisoner at Weymouth forever, so come what may, I resolved to leave the following morning of Saturday, 30th August.

Text for the Day

Psalm 8:9 ‘O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is your name in all the earth!’

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