We followed our intended plan for 2016 quite closely.
Our plan for 2017 is to travel from Southampton down to the West Country, stopping off at some favourites from last year but adding in Yarmouth, Weymouth and Brixham, which we had to miss out in our rush to get to Southampton in time for a university reunion and the Southampton boat show.
During our first long term cruise, this year we knew that we had a few creaking systems and lacked some systems that we would want to install to make life on board more comfortable. We mostly managed, but the old fridge (scheduled for replacement at the end of the cruise) lasted only 2 days before being pronounced dead!
Meeting Friends Parts One to Five……..
You might think it would be more appropriate to feature a sunset at this stage, the end of our trip – but this sunrise over the Hamble is more symbolic of our experiences this year – which was the dawning of a new adventure.
Our winter base is to be in the Hamble River at Hamble Point Marina.
Sunday 11th September dawned beautifully as we departed the river at 6.30am. We had selected a day with some wind but not enough to sail as quickly as we needed to arrive at Portland Bill, 50nm away, at the right state of tide, before turning north to Portland Harbour. Whilst we were at neaps, there is still a strong tidal race created by Portland Island projecting several miles out from the coast.
Mystery and coincidence…..
We had to drag ourselves away from Salcombe and move on. Next stop, just 17.5nm away is the river Dart. Within the entrance busy Dartmouth and quiet Kingswear face each other across the river, and a few miles upstream lies the small village of Dittisham (pronounced locally “Ditsum”) with a couple of pubs and a ferry across to a place of mystery……..
Rubbing shoulders with the beautiful people!
And so we headed for the honeypot that is Salcombe with great expectations. Our friends at Huddersfield Golf Club, Peter and Diane Jagger, had encouraged us to go there several years ago. They had gone year after year when their family were younger and kept a wooden day sailing boat there.
We apologise, dear reader, for leaving you wondering where we have been for a month.
We left Fowey Saturday 16th July 2016 with a good forecast for the 25nm trip to Plymouth. We untied the mooring lines (one taking the strain plus a backup in case of chafe) and left around 10.30, with one hour of adverse tide (but that last hour sees a weakening flow and we were at neaps) and arrived in Plymouth at around 3pm.
We left Falmouth on Tuesday 12th July at a civilised hour – tide times being favourable once again! As usual we had a forecast that would see us sailing most of the way – and as usual we mostly motored. Actually this time we had around one third of the 25nm under sail – and it is so peaceful when the engine goes off. Not that it is deafening – just an irritating drone, compared to the sound of only the wind and water.
Falmouth is a great introduction to the much anticipated delights of the cruising ground of the South West. Pendennis Marina is not a cheap option (most expensive yet at £38.40 a night – plus £2.50 if you want to hook up the electricity) but it is in a great location and the facilities are pretty good. The marina is next to the busy, working Pendennis shipyard, which to us only adds to the interest.
Escorted out of Wales
We awaited the call from the lock-keeper on vhf to proceed to the lock and departed our berth at 8.30 am, Tuesday 5th July. After motoring past the oil terminal jetties we hoisted the sails at 9.30am, off Dale, and exited Milford Haven into a wind-over-tide situation: a biggish sea with 2m waves, heaped up by the contrary tide.