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.


  1. I was enjoying that until I got to the picture of the legs... :o)) Nah, not really, most enjoyable and well done!

  2. A wonderful set of pins :) It was a great week, just would have been good to have been able to tag on a few more days to be able to get to Plymouth for the Hurley gig.