07 August 2011
Leaving Dartmouth early on Sunday a thick blanket of fog filled the river valley and spilt out of the harbour entrance. 45 miles across Lyme Bay lay ahead and as usual the wind was on the nose. After crossing the bay we were undecided about where to stop, maybe Studland Bay or continue on to Newtown Creek inside The Solent. The wind would decide, the faster we sailed the better it looked for heading closer to home.
Visibility was poor on a hazy day it was getting a bit boring with nothing to look at but mist. When suddenly the radio crackled to life with a mayday for an injured diver, quickly followed by a Pan Pan for a small boat adrift in the Portland Race and another for a 23ft motorboat sinking in Poole Harbour. It was all happening for Portland Coastguard.
Then it was all happening for us, less than an hour later a customs and excise cutter appeared out of the mist, circled across our bow and started to follow Taransay as she struggled against a foul tide five miles off Portland Bill. 'not transmitting on AIS' noticed Colin. When a big black rib with 4 men in black aboard launched we knew they could only be coming to see us.
Once aboard the 'Boss' offered us his ID. Colin remarked that it was probably easier to forge an ID than to pinch the Customs Cutter on our port quarter, he took the joke well. Phew! They were disappointed we had 'only' come from Dartmouth. We were not to know that the biggest UK drugs haul ever, found on a yacht off the Isle of Wight, had been discovered only last week. All other questions about drugs, immigrants and vat were answered with out joking and after inspecting the paperwork they jumped onboard the rib and vanished in the direction of Weymouth.
By dusk we were approaching The Needles Light. A big spring tide whisked us up through Hurst Narrows and on to Newtown Creek where we anchored just outside on peaceful Hampstead Ledge at 10pm.