Sunday, June 26, 2005

Saturday, 25th and Sunday 26th June

There was too much going on yesterday for updating the log.


The forecast north-westerly wind of force 4 to 5 was fine for attempting a Lyme Bay crossing, but the prediction also mentioned the wind could veer to the north east. Such was the case, making it that much more difficult, especially passing south of the infamous Bill Race.

When setting off from our anchorage outside Torquay Harbour, the visibility was not all that brilliant, but I was more interested in taking photos of a rakish French brig anchored further out; at least that’s the term I would use to describe her. She had a square sail in addition to her fore and aft sails. Her mainmast was raked astern considerably and her very long bowsprit was angle upwards.

All was fine until late morning when the wind veered and became almost not existent, which meant using the engine. Indeed from there on, it was a case of motoring all the way to Weymouth, where we tied up to a raft of yachts at 2205.

During the day, visibility decreased until I could only see about one mile. One container ship passed ahead, presumably to anchor off Exmouth. Another made her way up Channel, and during the course of the 44 mile crossing of Lyme Bay, three larger and faster yachts overtook ‘Bumper’.

Sailing in sea mist is not my favourite activity and although I was not anxious, because I had the GPS providing a constant update of the yacht’s position, I can’t say I enjoyed it.

Some relief was provided in the early stages of the ‘voyage’, by the appearance of the French brig, which was en route to Portsmouth for a Festival of the Sea. Sailing as close to her as I thought pertinent, gave me a chance to take some photos, but I suspect we were not really close enough for good pictures.

We arrived off the Bill at precisely the wrong time when the fierce three and a half knot ebb started to run, which only permitted ‘Bumper’ to make headway at around one knot. Steering in the right direction was critical; if I was slightly out, the effect of the current was devastating by putting us way off course. A high degree of concentration was required. I sadly missed the Autohelm which would have done the job well, leaving me free to concentrate on navigation. As it was, topping up the fuel required dexterity.

One thing I thankfully managed to do was to keep south of the tidal race, in the safe zone, but between 1530 and 1800 we only made one-and-a-half a mile’s progress! That shows how critical it is to arrive at the Bill at the right time. I had it all wrong, but there was a degree of satisfaction in arriving at Weymouth after a difficult passage taking fifteen hours.

Today is a rest day, when I am expecting my brother Fred and his wife to pay a visit. I shall do very little, other than recuperate and enjoy the sunshine.

No comments: