28th August 2012 Log 8773
We sat on the boat on Monday evening in Dartmouth wondering if the weather would improve. It was wet and squally, well very wet and squally. The forecast was poor, SW 4-5 but 5-7 later, although the grib files showed a good chance of a pleasant sail in mainly force 4 SW to S until at least 2100 GMT. We decided to get up at 0330 GMT to give the weather a final check and then set off in the dark. It all looked good when we woke so we donned our gear and thought how to extricate ourselves from a 27ft long mooring in a 26ft long boat with a running tide. With a big push we set off quietly down river with a fair tide beneath us. The sky was star lit and the sea relatively calm. We hoisted the main, stay and yankee and got underway. The wind was mainly behind us so we dropped the stay and poled out the Yankee to achieve the desired 4kn in order to catch the tide at Portland at 1500. It is always good to see dawn and after an our or so we were once again the only yacht to be enjoying the day. Actually quite a few yachts eventually took the opportunity to head east while they could and about five yachts overhauled us across Lyme Bay. Amazingly three of the yachts were under power, two with tightly hauled mainsails and one with no sail at all. If you are not sailing with a force four up your stern what exactly are you waiting for?!
Sadly no dolphins or whales but just a cracking good sail across the bay. We hoisted the genoa (which needed drying in anycase) and were making 5-6 kn for a good while. As we approached the Bill, bang on time, the wind picked up a bit so I unhanked the genoa and put the Yankee back up, this time without the pole as the wind had backed 20 degrees. I had decided to take the cautionary approach and go outside the race and the Shambles. With a good tide this was a good ploy as when we turned into Weymouth we once again had the wind on the beam and maintained 5 kn. I tucked away the mainsail 15 minutes before getting to the harbour mouth and continued under Yankee eventually arriving in perfect time for the 1800 LT bridge opening.
This morning it is raining very heavily and Terry rang to say he wouldn’t make our meet up for tea. I had forgotten Terry is no longer driving and the weather was hopeless for a long wait for a bus. We made up for it with a good long chat on the phone and he kindly offered to give the boat a good air while I leave it here for a couple of weeks.
Next week, of course, is the famous Cholsey Classics, where up to three highly tuned clinker 8ft dinghies compete for the reknowned Cholsey Cup.