Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Heading West

We're off!

We sailed to Portsmouth with Duncan from Oyster Marine who spent three days
with us showing us how to handle Juno. Docking practice in Portsmouth Harbour was particularly valuable and we now feel ready to brave the oceans (and the pontoons) on our own. Lots of friends joined us in Gunwharf Quays for drinks and dinner on Sunday evening and the following morning Fatty and I set off alone for the first time.

From Portsmouth we sailed to Lymington where we had lunch with Oults and Claire and dinner in the evening with Sandy Davenport and her husband Peter Bruce, the famous yachtsman and author who kindly signed my copy of Heavy Weather Sailing. A large and venerable tome that has been by my bedside for over 10 years, read and re-read on winter evenings when this voyage was just a dream.


From Lymington our route took us to Portland Harbour where the Olympic sailing teams were practising for 2012. 

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Around the point from Portland Harbour is the notorious Portland Bill which Peter Bruce tells us is described in the Admiralty chart as 'a periodical commotion of the sea which rages with great violence' and is widely regarded as the most dangerous extended area of broken water in the English Channel. In the event we passed close to the Bill at 7.30 in the morning when the tide was slack and there was hardly a ripple on the water. As the day wore on the wind grew stronger and as we crossed Lyme Bay we had 30 knots of wind across the deck and quite large seas. Juno just ploughed through the waves with her long and powerful gait and we both marvelled at how comfortable and sedate our journey was despite the rough conditions.

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Eventually we arrived in the beautiful Dart river with its picture post card houses lining the hills which stretch down to the banks of the river. 


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Approachingthe entrance to the river Dart



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Dartmouth Naval College





































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To top it all we had dinner in the Rock Cafe which served fresh fish and cold beer in friendly and noisy surroundings. 

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The box of crayons that were supplied to keep young children occupied proved ideal for plotting our routing across the bay of Biscay on the paper tablecloth. 

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Tomorrow we head for Plymouth where we meet Paul and Consuelo.

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