Search Results

ActivityActivity dateActivity description
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.

Weymouth to Poole 2019-05-16

A sail from Weymouth round to Poole Harbour.

With the winds continuing to be easterly, this was a combination of sailing and motoring. The two main challenges on this stretch of water are the military gunnery range at Lulworth and overfalls / race at St Albans Ledge. The army claimed to be firing on this day so we went as far as Durdle Door and then went offshore to avoiding the firing range.

At the end of the range (at St Albans Head) we took the unconventional choice of sailing alongside St Albans Ledge in the overfalls (and right past naval gunnery buoys "B" and "C" but happily there was no navy about this day)! This made for quite a bouncy journey.

Anvil Point and Perveril Point were fine and then we sailed past Old Harry Rocks and into Poole Harbour and the most expensive (read "overpriced" given the state of the washrooms) marina of the trip.

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.

Studland to Portland Harbour 2019-05-24

From Studland past St Albans Head to Portland Harbour with a stop at Lulworth Cove.

We weighed anchor early at the Studland anchorage to be able to get past the Lulworth Gunnery Range before the army started firing at 09:30. This meant an inshore passage past the St Albans Head. While not in the same league as Portland Bill, St Aldhams Ledge does have a bit of a "reputation" and the inshore passage doesn't always exist (see here and here for a couple of fun Youtube videos of yachts rounding St Albans Head). In our case we were crossing about mid tide with maybe a F4 against the tide so we could have expected some lumpiness. In fact, it was a pussycat - no idea why! Then on to the circular inlet in the cliffs that is Lulworth Cove. When we dropped anchor there we were the only yacht there - the benefits of early season cruising! Then on to Portland Marina. Built for the 2012 Olympics the place is huge.

Lymington to Studland 2019-05-23

A sail from Lymington out of the Solent past Hurst Castle, past Christchurch Harbour and on to an anchorage at Studland.

After leaving Lymington we sailed past Hurst Castle to leave the Solent and enter Christchurch Bay. We sailed past Christchucrh Harbour - where I learnt to sail 40 years ago - and on past Hengistbury Head.

As we sailed over Christchurch Ledge we encountered a small patch of overfalls. These were no problem in a 32 foot Westerley Fulmar but the experience was somewhat different when I encountered overfalls for the first time at this spot about 40 years ago in my parents' Wayfarer!

We then sailed on past Boscombe and Bornemouth (taking photos of what has now replaced my parents' hotel on the cliff above Boscombe Pier) and then we set a course for an anchorage at Studland.

As we were nearing Studland we encountered three black RIBs with dark clad men on board. Shortly after, a large military helicopter joined us overhead and started transferring men from the speeding RIBs to the helicopter. Although Poole is a major Royal Marine base, I would guess these might have been from the Special Boat Service.

Beaulieu River to Lymington 2019-05-22

A short sail round from Bucklers Hard on the Beaulieu River to the Town Quay at Lymington.

We left the peace and tranquility of the Beaulieu River and after a short sail reached the yachting mega-centre that is Lymington. Because we were so early in the sailing season we were able to tie up at Lymington Town Quay without rafting. Derek's brother and family were keen to try some sailing on his yacht so he took them out for a sail towards Yarmouth. Then a very pleasant dinner at Stanwell House Hotel.

Wooton Creek to Beaulieu River 2019-05-21

From Wooton Creek, past Cowes and Fawley and into the Beaulieu River.

We left Wooton Creek and sailed across the Solent to the Beaulieu River. We motored up the river past Bucklers Hard and towards the top of the navigable river. We then moored up at Buckers Hard marina (which we feared would be frighteningly expensive but was actually quite reasonable when compared with the Poole marina and given the excellent facilities).

Lunch and dinner at the Master Builders and a visit to the rather good Bucklers Hard museum.

Newtown Creek to Wooton Creek 2019-05-20

From Newtown Creek passing Cowes and on to Wooton Creek.

Another sail and motor, leaving Newtown Creek and sailing round the top of the Isle of Wight and passing Cowes. Then on to Wooton Creek and a gentle motor up to the top of the navigable part of Wooton Creek. We then moored up alongside a pontoon at the very friendly Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

Much of Wooton Creek dries at low water and in this case the pontoon we were moored to had a shallower "draft" then the yacht so it was quite a climb back on to the yacht at low water.

Yarmouth to Newtown Creek 2019-05-19

From Yarmouth marina round to an anchorage in Newtown Creek.

We left Yarmouth Marina just after the Junior Offshore Group fleets left. We sailed for a bit in very light winds. The light winds gave us a chance to try out Derek's symmetric spinnaker for the first time. It flew! Albeit that the light winds meant that it didn't completely "fill". Then on to the splendid Newtown Creek for an overnight anchorage.

With a reputation for being very busy at the height of the summer, there we only three other boats in the anchorage we chose. Lots of fading memories triggered as I was last at Newtown Creek maybe 40 years ago when myself and three school friends sailed my parents' Wayfarer over from Christchurch Harbour - it's surprising looking back at it that our parents were so laid back about a bunch of 15-16 year olds doing this!

Keyhaven to Yarmouth 2019-05-18

A sail up through Keyhaven marshes and then across to Yarmouth on the Isle Of Wight.

We weighed anchor and then followed the channel through Keyhaven marshes to the end of the navigable water at Keyhaven itself. Then it was a short leisurely sail across to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight.

Shortly after mooring up at the surprisingly unbusy Yarmouth Marina, everything changed as dozens of yachts from the Junior Offshore Group arrived (and ended up rafting up 4 deep).

Best food of the entire trip was at the Cucinaio restaurant - a sort of bouillabaisse like fish stew).

Poole to Keyhaven 2019-05-17

From Poole Harbour into the Solent to anchor up at Keyhaven.

With the easterly winds continuing, this sail and motor took us out of Poole Harbour (past Brownsea Island and the Sandbands/Studland chain ferry). We then past Bournemouth, Boscombe (where the cliff top hotel I grew up in has been knocked down) and Christchurch Ledge. We took the northern channel into the Solent going past Henry VIII's Hurst Castle and The Trap.

We anchored off Keyhaven to wait for enough tide to allow us to get into the Keyhaven anchorage (which is just north of Hurst Castle). A stunning location, we were the only boat anchored there!

Fish and chips in Morthoe 2019-09-21 Walk to Morthoe and the rather nice (and huge) fish and chips. Some other bastard had our seats at the cemetery overlooking Woolacombe Bay.
Woolacombe Beach 2019-09-22 Dog on Woolacombe Beach. Dog happy.
Camel Trail 2019-09-20 Walked from Wadebridge to Padstow and back. Lots of cyclists! Padstow hugely crowded as usual but fine for a pastie and ice cream. Long walk for us - 12.5 miles.
Constantine Bay 2019-09-19 James Corden was teaching his dog to do "back flips" on the beach (see photos). Walked to Porthcothan and then on to Constantine Bay for ice creams and a bit of Scooby ball chasing. Doubled the length of the walk just to get some wine from the local shops!
Perranporth 2019-09-18 Dog on beach at Perranporth. Dog happy. Dog swallowed so much sea water he puked in the camper van that night. Which was nice.
St Agnes and Trevaunce 2019-09-17 From Beacone Cottage Fram along the coast path to chat to a very friendly chappie in the St Agnes Head NCI lookot. Then on lunch in a cafe overlooking the beach at Trevaunce and then, of course, some Scooby "ball action" on the beach. Back via Sta Agnes and The Beacon.
Godrevy and Trehidy 2019-09-16 Walk along the coast path to Hell's Mouth Cafe. Seafood chowder was excellent again (and the cheesy chips weren't really necessary). Then inland via Trehidy Park (which Liz liked) and then back along a now very misty coast path.
Lamorna Cove to Mousehole 2019-09-15 Along from Lamorna Cover on the coast path to the tourist trap that is Mousehole. Extortionate wraps in a cafe. Home across the fields and the ice cream at the cafe in Lamorna.
Lands End, Sennen and Gwynver Beach 2019-09-14 Had another free day's parking on the extornionate £6 Lands End parking fee. Walked to Sennen and saw lots of yachts doing the "inshore passage" round Lands' End. On to Gwynver beach (because Scooby asked). Ice creams at Sennen and then back to Treen and G&Ts on the cliff top as the sun went down (and the nudists disappeared).
Lands End, Gwenapp and Porthgwarra 2019-09-13 Paid an outrageous £6 for parking at Land's End and then promptly headed off to Gwenapp Head. Watched yacht doing the "inshore passage" round Land's End and then had lunch at Porthgwarra Cafe. Back via an inland route and cabbage fields.
Treen and Penberth Cove 2019-09-12 Walked to Penberth Cove - a Poldark favourite. Past Logan Rock and up through the woods to The Logan Rock pub for a pint. Chicken in residence at the pub.
Portscatho and the Hidden Hut 2019-09-11 20th Wedding Anniversary! Decided to go to The Roseland - Treloan campsite at Portscatho. Walked in the drizzle to beach, Scooby ball chasing & swimming. Lunch at The Hut - tomato soup. Evening spent in the Plume of Feathers pub for anniversary tea - mackerel burgers (delicious) - also very well -behaved Scooby! Walk back along coast path in the dark!
Fowey and Bodinnick 2019-09-10 Headed off to Fowey. First camp-site full up so deviated to Boddinick. Camp-site bit like Sea Houses but very welcoming owners. Walk down hill to ferry, through Fowey heaving with tourists. Walked to Gibben Head. Refreshments of ice cream (DIY effort by hirer of the cottage (Dapher's connection) near the lake.) Watched a very tippy yacht (Macgregor with BIG engine on back). Pints in the Ferry Inn - great view of Fowey in the evening sunshine.
Maker and Cawsand 2019-09-09 Wet start to day - headed off to try & find camp-site @ Bovisand for a different view of the Plymouth Break water, got hoplessly lost so detoured to Maker. Camping back in our favourite field. Walk into Kingsand & Cawsand. Scooby nearly lost his ball but was very brave & eventually retrieved it. Pint in the old Cawsand Bay Hotel area - now called "The Bar." Watched Rame Gig go out & some unusual fishing boats moored in the bay.
Salcombe, Soar and Bolberry 2019-09-08 Walk across fields to Salcombe via aerodrome (with plane landing) Overbecks, steep hills, South sands, North Sands (where Scooby was allowed to swim & do ball chasing). Lunch in Salcombe with rip off fish & chips (definitely paid for the view). Ferry ride back to South Sands (1st ferry trip of many) & ice cream. Long walk back to van -frieindly natives helping with getting past field of cows - mum, calves & some with horns...described as docile. Everyone quite tired!
Bolberry Down and Soar Mill Sove 2019-09-07 First day of hols! Whiteley's off to new camp-site near Salcombe - remember for family happiness mobile signal not great for route finding! New camp-site with very friendly owners.Walked to Saw Mill Cove lots of dog swimming & ball throwing. Views of Rame Head (Liz's favourite headland!), Burgh Island & the Eddystone. Expensive pints at newly furbished bar on way back.
Back to top