With a later start time today, we left the river at about 08:00 and pushed the tide a little as we had to get the whole tidal push west if we were to get to Weymouth without too much engine. Once we cleared the Needles Channel we turned off the engine and sailed almost right into the harbour. We only had to tack twice. Once to clear Saint Albans Headland and then to clear the Lulworth Firing range (the army practice shooting targets at sea here).
Now tied up in Weymouth, and just about to research the 'inner route' round Portland Bill. This is sometimes called the coastal sailors Cape Horn!! as Portland sticks right out into the English Channel and is very shallow. In the wrong conditions it can be a very dangerous place. The inshore route saves about 15-20 miles so worth a go!
Having had a good rest, we were up early once again to take the tide out of Chichester harbour and head West into the Solent. There was very little wind but we had the tide and managed to sail almost all of the way towards Beaulieu.
For people that do not know, many river entrances have what is called a 'bar'. This is a shallow area near the mouth of the river (perhaps caused by silt from the river) Beaulieu has a an entrance depth of 0.8 metres, so we were a little apprehensive about crossing it at nearly low tide at 1.2 metres. We kept a close eye on the depth gauge and sure enough it started dropping, but held our nerve, and after what seemed like a mile, we were in the Beaulieu river and deep water again.
We followed the well marked channel to a point in the river where we could drop the anchor, just near the edge of the river. It's always nice to get into where you are going a little early and just watch the world go by with a beer in hand of course.
When the tide started to ebb we 'dug' the anchor in as we were going to stay here for the night. As it got dark, we were rewarded by a wonderful sunset with hardly another boat in sight. The wind dropped and the boat hardly moved. I normally get up and check the anchor at change of tide when the boat swings round and has to re-settle but conditions were so gentle that I turned in for the night and slept like a baby ( for those that know me you know the joke!).
Next day we had a training day booked with a famous Yachtmaster instructor/Author, Tom Cunliffe, who turned out to be a charming and very thorough tutor. We were both a little nervous and thought he would tell us we were crap and not to bother, but it was not the case. He has a great eye for detail and noticed that one of the genoa sheets was tied with an upside-down bowline. It would be great to spend a month with him on board. We learned a lot in a short space of time but the day was soon over. The weather had been most kind and we decided to spend the night at Bucklers Hard Marina where we said our goodbye to T.C.
Our original plan was to get the early tide out of the Beaulieu and head straight for Weymouth, but later that day we decided to stay for a second night. As luck would have it, the Beaulieu boat jumble was on the next day with a free shuttle bus so off we went. We had a great day, bought a few bits, and also went to the motor museum. Then we walked into the village followed by the 2 mile walk back into the marina, rather than get the shuttle bus. No chance of any muscle wasting from lack of exercise.
04/21/2010, Chichester Harbour
We left Titchmarsh at 06.00 hrs after a busy weekend stowing and preparing our much loved boat. We had enough food and drink to cross the atlantic and back non-stop. Hence the boat sat an inch lower in the water, with generator and spare anchor to boot. We also enjoyed some quality time with friends old and new, and thank you all for your friendship and good wishes. We hope you will keep in touch with us on our blog and pay us a visit if you wish.
Our first stop was Ramsgate, with few visiting yachts, ferries coming and going, and fishing boats prepared for the next days catch. The shower here was no more than a trickle on a 13 second timer, which is a pain in the arse when you are fully lathered including the long curly mane that nature gave me (on my head that is!). Maybe I should have had a crew cut like Sean.
After another 6am start, we had a cracking sail around Dover towards Eastbourne. Whilst on route, we were stopped by a border control customs vessel to check our details. In Ramsgate we barely had time to come alongside before customs officers were asking to see our passports. Twice in two days! Good to see them doing their job in overcrowded Britain.
We made good progress with favourable winds and sunshine. Sean even saw a lone dolphin near Selsey Bill.
Now secure on a mooring buoy in itchenor reach, Chichester. Looking forward to a lie in after three early starts to catch the tide. I don't do early mornings as years of night duty have turned me into a creature of the night. Having said that, once you are up, it is lovely to see a new day dawn.
How lucky we are to be fit and healthy.
04/21/2010, Chichester Harbour
Pictured above is us leaving Titchmarsh Marina at 06.00 on 19/4
Picture is of us sailing in our home waters after our trip home.
The trip from Ijmiuden to Titchmarch also went without incident. We left Ijmuiden at about 09:30 (local time) for one more overnighter towards Titchmarsh.
By the time we were in British waters the wind had picked up to a good F5-F6 right on the nose, we motor sailed right into the short sharp East coast chop. We had the tide with us so we made good progress.
We were a little apprehensive about getting into this shallow harbour, not having sailed in there before. We timed it to get there on a rising tide, which was just as well because we went aground! Stuck in the east coast mud for about 15 minutes, but no harm was done and we were within shouting distance of the marina. Once afloat again I decided that we should put on to the Diesel barge refuel and ask in the harbour office where we could be berthed.
Steve (the HM) was great, we refueld and he put us on the Hammerhead which was an easy berth to get on to. We were home !!. It was a great feeling to be back and tied up safley........ so we thought!
John had gone to shower and I was stowing the car which I had left there before going to Sweden. Pauline was on the boat getting things sorted when she heard alot of shouting. She went up to investigate when she saw a boat coming towards ours unable to steer due to rudder failure and going far too fast!.
She managed to fend off and no damage was done but we were lucky. Eventually someone more experienced got a line to them, stepped on and took control. A couple of boats were slightly damaged but not ours, thanks to Pauline.
We packed everything away, as I knew we couldn't get back to the boat for a week or two, and left for home. We had done it! It had taken longer than I anticipated but we were home at last.
Now for the next trip!!
Picture shows myself and John sorting out the ripped genoa. In the background you can see the lifeboat and our boat.
With a good forecast we set off for Ijmuiden. The main channel was now like a mill-pond and we could see the well buoyed channel for miles. A complete contrast to how it looked when we were racing in from the severe gale. Who would have thought we could get this so wrong.
The trip to Ijmuiden was an overnighter without incident, mostly motor sailing as we now had very little wind, perhaps just what we needed. We worked on two hour watches which was good for us.
The next morning was bright and sunny with little wind. At about 06:00 myself and John noticed a 'military' looking vessel about 2-3 miles away, then a bit later we saw a fast rib coming towards us. We soon realised it was Dutch Customs and Immigration, and they were coming to pay us a visit. We were not displaying a flag because we lost it in the gale. In no time at all there were 4 uniformed officials in the cockpit.
When they checked our passports, they asked to see the third person, so we got Pauline up. She talked to them about the london fire brigade and her work in intensive care and they were really polite and professional. They had a quick look around and were happy that we were not smuggling drugs or people. Two of them were interested in joining the London Fire Brigade by the time they left us!!
We continued on to Ijmuiden and got into Sporting Harbour and were weatherbound for an extra day. We were taking no chances with the weather since being bitten in the German Bight.
We got the bus into Amsterdam and spent the day as tourists. Then with a good forecast the next day, we headed for home waters and Titchmarsh Marina.