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Week 1 Blogpost

DAY 1 - Sunday 22 May 2022

Four intrepid sailors (Peter, Neil, Simon and Steve) released our mooring lines at 0530 with an ebbing tide.

An unexpectedly early 'man overboard' practice at 0532 with a dropped fender!

Not a breath of wind, but we motored west down the Solent towards our destination 48 nautical miles away - the marina at Portland Bill (where the 2012 Olympic Sailing events were based). At the Needles on the western tip of the Isle of Wight we were met with an enormous fog bank about 200 feet high and crossing all the way to the North Island (as those who live on the Isle of Wight call mainland England).

Our compressed air fog horn came in for some regular use to ensure we were not hit by any other vessel but happily there was very little traffic.

8 hours later we were safely on a pontoon before 13:50.

Day 2 - Monday 23 May 2022

A proper lie-in for the crew - we didn't slip our lines until 07:10. This meant a bowl of porridge with a dash of muesli was welcomed. Again we had to rely on the tide helping us across the vast Lyme Bay - 55 nautical miles today. The arrows on these maps from the Navitronics Boating App are there because of when I took the screenshot this morning. A glorious morning which gave way to unwelcome drenching showers as the tide started to turn against us in the second half of the journey. Reminded me of the sad trial I was involved in years ago when 4 children drowned when an outward bound centre took a large school group on canoeing day across the estuary at Charmouth. The rip tides and bad weather swept the whole party way out to sea: late notification of their problems to the coastguard and errors in plotting their likely location leading to what was then known as the Lyme Bay Canoe disaster. When we finally made Dartmouth it was almost invisible in low clouds and penetrating cold rain. All v bad tempered by the time we moored up at the Darthaven Marina. Our lives cheered, however, by the welcome visit of Steve's fiancee (Paula) who joined us for a great and cheering meal in Dartmouth. The powerful fan heater in El Tiburon turned it into a humid laundry, but we managed to get our heads down to try to sleep. Not a good sleep for a couple of us.

Day 3 - Tuesday 24 May 2022

Turns out Simon had been feeling proper rotten yesterday but we had a shorter 34 nm to do to reach Plymouth and was now in better spirits. He and Steve on the wheel took us round Start Point and Bolt Point, passing the entrance to Salcombe. Today's excitement was the prospect of doing some sailing alongside Charles Row QC and his son Hamish who came out to meet us in Bigbury Bay on his 32' Contessa 'Baltimore Beacom'. A bit of radio comms on Channel 16 with phone messaged co-ordinates of where we each were ensured we could work out which we each were on the AIS screen. Lovely beat back to Plymouth in glorious weather tacking in strong winds. Simon was collected by Sue (to be replaced by John Rew tomorrow). Then a fun coincidental supper party for 7 of fish and chips near the Barbican with Adam Chippindall (judging at Plymouth Family Court) and Anna Vigars QC (defending in an aborted trial at the Crown Court) before the first game of Mammoth on board for 4 of us. Much better sleep for all.

Day 4 - Wednesday 25 May 2022

Sea and wind conditions not conducive to sailing west south west to Falmouth. Besides, we are all really rather tired and need of a rest. John Rew can join us more easily in Plymouth, so all decided to take a lay day. Rain and wind, slow day of cooked breakfast on board a la chef Steve, midday coffee at the Mad Merchant's Coffee House near the barbican, some shopping for supplies and useful items, and a general chilling. Tomorrow we will make for Falmouth where John Rew's friend Tom is to join us for the BIG ONE - a 36 hour journey round the Lizard and Lands End across the Bristol Channel and up to Milford Haven. Pray for us please!

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