Log ??? 15th September 2012
I took the train to Weymouth with Nicky, a good friend of Grits. Nicky had completed her Competent Crew course in 2010 but hadn’t had much of an opportunity to use it after a planned voyage had fallen through. Terry Newman, who built Sumara and lives in Weymouth, would join us in the morning. I normally leave my almanac on the boat so I hadn’t had a chance to check the bridge opening times whilst in London. It wasn’t until 0900 in the morning when I realised that we needed to catch the 1000am opening or we would have to wait until 1200. It ended up a bit of a rush. Sumara attract a lot of attention and I had some visitors. Sadly I didn’t have much time to chat. Arthur Meech who had a nice wooden ketch called Noella in the harbour called over to say hello. A bit later Mike Patrick, who helped Terry with the building of Sumara, introduced himself. Mike did the planking and made an excellent job of it. He thanked me for keeping the varnish up to standard! We couldn’t chat for long or we would miss the bridge. The forecast was for a sunny day with light westerlies. As usual the actual shipping forecast was for stronger winds.
The tide was not going to start to run around St Aldhelms Head until 1700 LT so we had plenty of time to slowly sail along the Jurassic Coast with Terry giving us a fascinating commentary. Nicky and Terry did all the helming and I made all the tea. We saw a couple of groups “Coasteering”. This was a new phrase to me until Alexander, my nephew, told me of his exploits. He has sent me a link to his very professional video.
I think you get the idea- it looks great fun.
Interestingly we were a bit early to round the headland but the tide turned about one hour before prediction so our timing was fine. There is a nasty race off St Aldhelm’s but Terry assured me that GOING EASTWARDS it is fine to sail a biscuits toss from the beach and avoid the bad water. We were nearing springs so it could have been a bit nasty to get it wrong. Terry is 81 years old now and has sailed and canoed along the coast all his life so there is a very reassuring feeling as we are whisked past the cliffs at close range. I normally go the long way round!
We rounded Durlston Point and then left the buoy marking Peveril Point on the port and turned up into the wind to head for Swanage Bay. The yacht heeled right over at this point and Nicky was calmly reassured by Terry that this was a normal sailing angle! Sumara does heel rather easily but it is so normal to me that I forget to warn new crew. We rounded up, dropped the sails and pottered over to a nice space to drop the massive Rocna anchor in 4m of water. For some reason I have never anchored in Swanage before even though I used to come on holiday here every year of my childhood. After a nice supper Nicky and I pumped up the Avon dinghy and rowed ashore. We wandered out to the fisherman’s cottages that I used to stay in as a child and then had a pint before rowing back to the boat in total darkness.
The tidal gateway for Sunday was, of course, the Needles Channel. On spring tides this gate is firmly shut if you get there late. We aimed to arrive at Hurst Castle at 0900 LT to give us one hour to spare. It meant an early start. The shipping forecast was giving a F5-7 westerly but it never happened and we needed the motor to assist us most of the way in order to arrive on time. The tide is truly fierce at Hurst Castle and we were swepted past at about 8 kn. Soon all settled down and we headed for Jack in the Basket beacon before mooching up the river to Lymingtom Marina. (about £27.00 per night).
It is really nice that when we arrived a kind man came over to help with the ropes, as it happened all went smoothly and we didn’t need the assistance but I liked the gesture. Furthermore a few minutes later a very kind lady called Fiona and offered to drive Terry to the station! In fact she ended up driving Nicky and me to the station which was a fantastic help. Meeting helpful and generous people like this make sailing so worthwhile.
I hope our little trip refreshed Nicky’s training. I’m sure she must have learned a lot from Terry – I always do!
We arrived back in London early in the evening after a lovely weekend.