Wednesday, 24 August 2016

West country cruise

Saturday 16th July

Poole to Weymouth:  
We had a civilised start time from the club this time... no need to russh about bleary eyed.  Actually heading west is alway easier as there is always plenty of water in the harbour.  I had loaded most of my stuff onto Ciao Bella the evening before so it was just Johns kit to get out there.  We dropped the mooring around 0930 and circled a bit while Lapwing got his sails up.  This gave John a chance to re acquaint himself with Ciao Bella.

There was just enough breeze in the harbour to get us under way but the strength and direction beyond the chain ferry meant it was better to motor sail.  Out towards Old Harry the breeze picked up but still in the wrong direction :)  The trip to Weymouth was quite lengthy and we eventually had to start the engine.   Getting into Weymouth around 8pm we rafted up with two Hurley 22's who were on there way to the BYHH event in Plymouth.  Shortly after we arrived a Seawych turned up with a family of four onboard.. how cool is that :)

Sunday 17th July

We had a civilised start to the day with all the small boats setting off roughly at the same time. We had a bit of a faff before even getting to Portland, Pauls engine was playing up a bit.  I jumped across to have a look. I thought we'd got it sorted but it didn't last long. It had some kind of a fuelling problem.  Would run ok on the internal tank but not on the large remote tank.  

Spindrift and Intrim on route to Plymouth
Underway again and a little behind schedule, we made it around the Bill.  Not long after Lapwings internal tank ran out.. could be a looong day :)  I jumped across again to see if we could improve things.  No joy but I did spot the problem.  The remote tank had the wrong connector on it. It seemed to fit but leaked.  Not much we could do for now so I gave Paul my spare can of fuel and we got under way again.

The only way we'd get across the bay in reasonable time was to motorsail, it didn't need many revs, just enough to give us an extra nudge.
As you cans see it was very relaxing :)  Thank the lord for the auto helm. It was a long old day but we were entertain by a pod of dolphins which came to have a closer look at Lapwing.
We had hoped to get as far as Dartmouth but had to give up on that as the daylight and tide were start to run out.  Time for Plan B so we altered course for Brixham.   Brixham was a good move, A walk ashore mooring right in the town. Fabulous.

Monday 18th July

First job today was to take a good walk up the hill to the chandlers.. why on earth the handlers is at the top of the hill when the boats are down at the water is beyond me :)  However the chap was spot on and we soon found the correct fuel connector for Pauls engine.

After a good breakfast in town and swapping over the fuel connector, we got under way again.  As we'd had to sort other things out in the morning, we didn't have time to get to Salcombe.  So instead we went out past Dartmouth to Blackpool sands and dropped the anchor.  
Nice to get out for a swim ashore.. the sands are not sand at all, more like pea shingle but lets not split hairs.  We had our lunch here before pulling up the anchors and sailing back to Dartmouth.
Dartmouth was pretty busy so we ended up on the Kingswear side.  Nice to try some where different. Kingswear is a nice place to be, it has a couple of pubs and a steam rail station and great views across to Dartmouth.

Tuesday 19th July

We left kingswear quite early to make our way around to Salcombe.  It was much rougher out in Start bay than we had at first anticipated.  We made our way along the coast towards Start point.  The plan was to drop anchor somewhere to have breakfast but it was just too lumpy.

Approaching Start point is the scene of a man made tragedy,  Hallsands was a busy fishing village which, due to dredging further out to sea, got washed away.

I had seen Hallsands from above the cliffs before but it's easier to see from the sea. Click here to read more about Hallsands.

We rounded Start point very close in. It was very rough but only for a very short while so worth staying in close.  The overfalls were only about 20 or 30 yards wide here.

The run into Saclombe was lovely.  One of the prettiest places I've sailed into.

After a bit of a search we found a mid river buoy that we could both get onto.  It worked out really well as town pontoon was a very short paddle away by coracle.. John took the posh option by usng the water taxi.

Wednesday 20th July

After a good night in Salcombe we started to make our way back East again.  We wanted to try to get to different ports on the way back to give us some variety.

Our main target was Teignmouth with Torquay as a back up plan.  We made really good progress, flying round Start point and across Start bay.

The Skerries bank mark with the Dartmouth day mark in the back ground.
All along this stretch were hundreds of Jelly fish,  Dartmouth flew by and we were soon upon Torquay.  There was plenty of time left to get to Teignmouth so we carried on.
Big Jelly fish

Wow, getting into Teignmouth was a rocket ride, the entrance seemed really narrow and fast flowing.  There are no walk ashore moorings here but there are two pontoons just off the beach.  

Although there was room for us both to be along side the harbour master has asked us to raft up in case a mooring holder came in over night. Teignmouth was an interesting town,  pretty busy with all kinds of water activity going on.. Swimming, paddle boards, kayaks, jet skis, motor boats, rowing boats dinghys and sailing boats.

There was even a proper ship in the harbour which amazed me as the entrance didn't seem big enough.  I cooked onboard while John and Paul went into town.  I met them later and went to some decidedly iffy pubs.   John got propositioned by a lovely lady who wanted to take him back to her flat to show him the tide tables.. he turned it down in favour of a night on Ciao Bella :)

Thursday 21st July

Getting out of Teignmouth was even more interesting than coming in.  A lot of engine was required to push us through the race.  Our next target was West Bay (Bridport).  Not too far but we'd not been in here before.

West bay was easy enough to get into but room within was limited.  After a bit of waiting and manoeuvring we got ourselves tied along side a pontoon.  Time to relax and wander into Bridport.

Friday 22nd July
I woke very early and went for a walk to enjoy the view.  The mist came rolling in over the iconic cliff and just hung there until the sun finally burnt it off.  We couldn't go anywhere until we'd got fresh petrol.  The harbour master had offered to drive into town with our tanks to get them filled up for us.
We had plenty of time for a leisurely sail from West bay to Portland Bill.   There were no dramas going around the Bill and made it into Weymouth for early evening.. the is the first return port of the trip.

Saturday 23rd July
Well what can I say.. Our departure time from Weymouth was early morning.  Visibility within the harbour was not too good but once out of the harbour it was pea soup. Almost immediately I got disorientated, not a nice feeling.  Back on track and we followed the compass on a 100 degree course, straining our eyes and ears.  We hoped the fog would burn off with the sun but it stuck with us all the way past St Aldhelms head.  

As the fog lifted the madness of the first summer holiday weekend was upon us.  Streams of motor boats churning up the water and paying absolutely no regard to us small sailing boats.  I'm just glad that we didn't meet any of them in the fog.

It's been another fantastic summer cruise.  Salcombe was brilliant, I thought it would be a busy pompous place but on the contrary, it was calm, chilled and gorgeous.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Moving home

Last week I helped a friend move his boat from Torquay to Poole. The trip started with a pre purchase survey on a Southerly 100 at Trouts boat yard in Topsham which Nick had organised.   Interesting to see the Southerly dangling over the hard while the keel was operated.

With work out of the way we made our way to Torquay,  I loaded the boat with our provisions while Nick stashed the car somewhere out of way.   We settled in for the evening with a tinny or two and Nick rustled up a Chilli and rice.  The third Amigo 'Roger' arrived by train at 9pm.. stepped out of the station straight onto a bus, perfect timing.

Nicks boat is a rather splendid Poncin Harmony 34.. Slightly roomier and a tad quicker than Ciao Bella... BUT I WON'T BE TURNED :)  Torquay Marina is quite nice but it has to be said, the showers and loos leave a bit to be desired.  Smelt like I was showering in a urinal. 
Up at about 6:30 I was sat in the Cockpit with a cuppa when I noticed a Hurley 22 across the marina.

Trying to squint through the sleep in my eyes to make out the name on the transom I could see it was Strider on route to Plymouth for the Bring your Hurley Home event.   As it hadn't been there when we turned in, I guessed he wouldn't appreciate being woken at 7am just for a chat :) We set off towards Portland under sail, the forcast was for a WSW 19 knots.. direction was about right but there was little strength in the wind. We had to run the engine if we were going to make it around the Bill.

We had cut it fine and arrived at the Bill just a little late.  The race was starting to set against us so we moved further south and cut across a calmer section.  We then took a turn north to head fo Portland harbour.  In hindsight we should have motored from here as under sail alone we soon good dragged into the race.   It's not a pleasant place to be and took a long time to motor out of it but the boat never felt like it was in danger, kept it's course and didn't slam.  The worst part was when a wave broke over the transom and soaked me, filling the cockpit with sea water.

It was good to eventually get moored up in Portland, time to dry out and grab some food.  Saturday was a more civilised start to the day, setting off about 9am.   Out off the hrbour and heading east the wind started to build so we put a reef in the main.  Within ten minute the wind had dropped again and and we shook out the reef.  An hour later and the engine was back on again.
Quite an uneventful trip back to Durleston but then the wind picked up again and we were able to see what the Poncin could do.  We had an exhilarating ride back to Poole. Before entering the Harbour we rolled away the jib and entered under main alone.   The boat still felt well balanced with just the main up.

With Omega swinging on her new mooring we had a sandwich and a cuppa before packing up for the weekend..  An enjoyable couple of days with a couple of great mates.  Cheers.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Time for a catch up

Looks like I've been neglecting the blog.  Although the weather has been a bit pants, to say the least, I have actually been out on Ciao Bella a couple of times.

OOh... fast
Back at the end of May Lapwing Paul and myself made our way to Yarmouth, we had intended to go to Cowes but the wind didn't really help and we decided it would be nicer to sail to Yarmouth rather than motor to Cowes.

Lapwing on route to Yarmouth

 The wind was unhelpfully from the North East and ranging from F2 to F1 so had to make big tacks (100 -120 degrees on port & 005 - 025 on starboard) with occasional motoring.
Yarmouth was really busy with it being a Bank holiday weekend.  We were both rafted out but not together.. Paul was four boat out and I was five boats out.  Despite paying for a walk ashore it was easier to inflate the tender and punt between the two boats.
Tender inflated
The tide for the return leg on Sunday was mid afternoon so instead of killing time in Yarmouth we whizzed across to Lymington with a full main and reefed genoa.  The breeze had really picked up and it was a great 45 minute blast.
Rafted up at Lymington
After a wander around the pubs shops and ice-cream parlours it was time to head on back to Poole.
The wind really helped today, much more consistent and nicely on the rear quarter.
Getting blown home

The next trip was not until the end of June, I went for a weekend to Weymouth with John as crew. The high tide at Poole was around midday, which gave us time to help Bede drop his mast and re-step it on the mooring so he could sort out his jamming jib furler.   The weather was, once again, unhelpful.  A F4/5 SW on the Saturday made us take the outer route around St Aldhelm.  It was a bit torturous and we eventually got into Weymouth around 9pm.
There was very little space in the harbour as the Cove was reserved for Squibs which must of been having a substantial meeting. We ended up rafted out five deep again, at least the neighbours were nice :)  After a trip into Weymouth to find some food and a couple of pints in the wonder that is Wetherspoons, we made it back to Ciao Bella for an early nights sleep.

The return on Sunday was at a civilised 0830. This time the weather was with us and we had a cracking sail back to Poole.   As we came flying back into the harbour I even considered  going around the islands but thought better of it. Felt good to be back on board again, seem to be having long periods off the boat this year.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

A new tender for my Bella

I picked up a cracking new tender on a trailer for the enormous sum of £30. 
It looks gimpy but is fantastic... Stable to stand up on, motors lovely with my 2hp 2 stroke, rows pretty well and tracks really well. 

While down at the club I took the opportunity to go for a little potter in the Mirror dinghy... Life is good :)   Thanks to Lapwing Paul for the photos. 

Being a spur of the moment thing I only had jeans as sailing attire so getting along side and not capsizing were important considerations. :)