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ActivityActivity dateActivity description
Channel Islands - Sark to Alderney 2012-06-04 Leaving the anchorage at Havre Gosselin at Sark through the Gouliot Passage and then via the Alderney Race and into Braye Harbour in Alderney. Some very high speeds when travelling with the Alderney Race and at times steering about 70 to 80 degrees across it to maintain the required course. Average speed an estimate as GPS time data lost.
Sark to St Peter Port 2018-06-02 Round from La Greve de la Ville anchorage on the east side of Sark to the Saigne Bay anchorage on the west side. The Saigne Bay anchorage has some rather dramatic rock stacks (think James Bond / The Man With The Golden Gun - but smaller). The on - via the Gouliot Passage and one of the passages north of the Lower Heads cardinal - to St Peter Port marina to meet up with lots of other Starcross Yacht Club "yotties" for the traditional meal in La Perla.
Newport Trophy yacht race - Exe to Dartmouth 2014-06-14 A very light winds yacht race (or timed rally) from the Exe to the Dart. Such light winds, in fact, that the race ended early on a line from the Ore Stone to Hope's Nose. Interesting "inshore passage" for some of the route between Berry Head and Dartmouth. Overnight stay on a mooring in Dittisham.
Exe to Weymouth 2019-05-15

A sail from Starcross Yacht Club on the Exe via the inshore passage at Portland Bill and on to Weymouth.

Because Portland Bill sticks out into the English Channel and has a shallow underwater ledge that "squeezes" the currents, it has a somewhat fearsome reputation (see here for a Youtube video of when it was "angry" at the end of a storm). Therefore, we needed to be off the end of the Bill at the right time for mostly slack water and a "lift" up the eastern edge. That meant setting off at the hideously early time of 04:30 to allow some contingency for being off the end of the Bill at 14:00. Given that we had to sail and motor (against the easterly wind) over 35 nautical miles, we were pleased to be off the Bill at about 14:15.

Going round the Bill was happily uneventful but the large number of appallingly marked lobster pot buoys still means that great care is needed. The photos show us rounding the end of the Bill with the front obelisk aligned in the nearly in the middle of the red band of the lighthouse (as recommended). On the eastern side of the Bill, the 5 metre depth contour is typically a good guide to avoiding the race / overfalls.

Helford Passage to Padagarrack Cove 2017-07-09 With Winguru and the Met Office differing in forecast speed by about two and a half times, we wanted to avoid the possibility of too much incoming tide against the westerly wind. So we had a short paddle from Helford passage down to Padagarrack Cove and then up past Port Navas.
Portland to SYC on the Exe 2019-05-25

From Portland Harbour, round Portland Bill to Starcross Yacht Club on the Exe.

As ever, a rounding of Portland Bill by the inshore passage required careful planning. In our case, this meant that to get safe and helpful tides we had to be off the end of Portland Bill at 16:30 - a late start given the long sail to the Exe after the Bill.

As we left the excellent Portland Harbour there were fleets of Oppies and Toppers training. We then closed the Bill near Grove Point and the tide helped us speed down the 5 metre contour line to round the Bill. Again, we had the obelisk at the end of the Bill lined up with the red band on the lighthouse (meaning we'd be far enough off the rocks but - usually - not too far off to be in the race).

The biggest challenge - once again - was to avoid the swarms of tiny appallingly marked lobster pot buoys that appeared to be laid out like some minefield grid!

After passing Pulpit Rock on the west side, we started heading off towards the Exe. With the late start, this meant that we'd be going up the Exe in the dark. However, it also meant that we decided to sail in the light winds after it got too dark to see the lobster pots also scattered in Lyme Bay.

The trip up the Exe was OKish. The lights in the fairway are better than when I last did it in the dark - maybe three years ago - but there are still two unlit buoys (numbers 14 and 21 IIRC) in the Exe itself. Additionally there are a few large metal mooring buoys that encroach too far into the marked channel meaning a risk of a serious "ding" to a boat's gel coat without local knowledge and/or someone with a decent light on the front of the boat to spot them. Back on the mooring at SYC at 01:30.

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