Adventures of Eowyn of Hamble

Log of Eowyn's sailing adventures. Plan for 2021 is sail around Great Britain, if COVID allows enough ports to open!

07 May 2021 | Suffolk Yacht Harbour
06 May 2021 | Suffolk Yacht Harbour
05 May 2021 | Suffolk Yacht Harbour
04 May 2021 | Hamford Water
02 May 2021 | Hamford Water
01 May 2021 | Pin Mill
28 April 2021 | Ramsgate
27 April 2021 | Dover
27 April 2021 | Pevensey Bay
25 April 2021
22 April 2021 | Newhaven
21 April 2021 | Littlehampton
20 April 2021 | Hayling Island, Chichester
18 April 2021 | Mercury Marina, R Hamble
16 April 2021
10 April 2021
09 April 2021
08 April 2021

Reflections

14 September 2021 | Hamble
Martin Crick
So the voyage is over!

I'm now spending a few days staying with my parents in Hamble - haven't been able to do that for over 18 months due to pandemic and being away on the trip. It's great to spend time with them, but feels strange to be sleeping in a bed in a house!

There's a great feeling of accomplishment. I know the likes of Francis Chichester or Ellen McArthur did much more challenging solo circumnavigations, but even though I went around Britain and not the globe it was still quite a thing to have done.

I wish it hadn't been so much solo - thanks to COVID and Brexit for that. Some of the most enjoyable bits were when meeting up with and occasionally sailing with friends and family - thank you all. But equally, getting to Orkney, or rounding Cape Wrath, or up to Top Loch Tarbert solo were definite moments of triumph.

I've met some great people along the way - fellow sailors, harbour and marina staff. Those encounters really enriched the experience. Thank you.

I've definitely got the taste for long cruises, but will in future try to plan a bit better to enable crew to share the fun, and spend more time in the good bits and less getting there and back.

So this is signing off for now, but there will be more Adventures of Eowyn in the future.

Voyage's End!

12 September 2021 | Port Hamble
Martin Crick | Calm; fair.
The Beaulieu River delivered on promised beauty and peace. I had a bit of a lie in - earned after the dash up channel from Plymouth - and then set to packing up ready to return home.

I left Beaulieu at 12:30, and drifted down river under headsail against the flood. Eventually I wasn't making any headway at all, so engine on to get out of the river. Once out into the Solent I made better progress, but the wind died and I lost steerage way so had to roll up the sail and motor. A rather anti-climatic end to a long sailing trip, though perhaps typical of how much motoring I've done! The challenge was now to go slow enough - diesels don't like long tick over. I had two rendezvous to keep. One with my parents who wanted to see me enter the river - see image above. So one appointment met!

The second was with slack water, as my new mooring at Port Hamble is on the downriver side of the pontoon. Sadly this one I was too early for! Going into the berth with flood tide under me meant I had to go in fearfully fast relative to the pontoon in order to have steerage way through the water. Fortunately, in response to my radioed request, Henry from the marina office was there to meet me and take my lines. He did a great job, I didn't mess up too badly, and Eowyn was secure in her new home berth.

Log of this passage

Round St Alban's Head and back to the Solent

11 September 2021 | Beaulieu River
Martin Crick | SW 10-20kts; fair; good
I raised the anchor just after 8am, and was relieved to see I'd anchored just outside a sea grass conservation area - unmarked on the chart, and designated only by a few unlit buoys that I'd seen only in silhouette the night before.

Out of the harbour I found a light WSW and set all plain sail, and spent the next several hours juggling which wide to set the main and the jib to get best results. Eventually, off Anvil Point, we were rolling so much that the headsail was just flogging around whatever I did, so I furled it and carried on with just main held in place by a preventer. Really, I needed the jib boomed out, but my pole is too heavy and awkward to manage single handed.

With a favourable tide, and a gradually freshening wind, I made very good speed past St Alban's Head, Anvil point and across Christchurch Bay. I passed the Needles at just after 2pm, see picture above, and headed up into the Solent.

The Solent was VERY busy! This was a bit of a shock after months of seeing only isolated yachts - here there were fleets! Sailing with the mainsail held in place by a preventer was too cumbersome, so I found a relatively clear area of water, headed up to wind and dropped it. Out with the headsail - and none too soon. As I continued up the Solent, I reckon I used my knowledge of the Rules of the Road more in one day than the previous five months put together!

I hugged the northern shore of the Solent to keep out of the worst of the now foul tide, which meant I had to dodge the many vessels heading into Lymington. Once past them, things were a little less hectic, and I enjoyed being in home waters once more.

And so into the River Beaulieu and onto a mooring buoy for the night. One of my favourite overnight spots - beautiful and peaceful.

Log of this passage

Across Lyme Bay and Round Portland Bill

10 September 2021 | Portland
Martin Crick | SW 10-20kts; fair; good visibility
I dropped the mooring just after high water, and went down the Dart on the ebb quite quickly. I dodged the chain ferry and the lower tug ferry with ease, but then had a few close encounters with another yacht. They pulled out of a marina in front of me, then slowed down, then turned across my bows again to get head to wind to hoist their main. Then raced past me, and got in irons off the entrance. They went round in circles a few times, then headed back into Dartmouth! From the numbers on board, in matching oilskins, I can only assume they were a racing yacht out to practice getting in the way of cruising yachts - at which they were very effective!

There were several other yachts all setting easterly courses, but we inevitably spread out as we crossed Lyme Bay. I was deliberately keeping my speed down to avoid arriving at Portland Bill with a foul tide. This was surprisingly hard - with a SW 15-20kts behind me, Eowyn just wanted to go, go, go! All in all, a wonderful sail and a nice problem to have.

I arrived just NW of Portland Bill at 7:30pm as planned, see picture above, to get the first of the favourable tide around the Bill. The inshore passage was pretty lumpy in the fresh southwesterly breeze, but I was soon through and round into the shelter of the eastern side. I continued the easy sail under headsail alone until I was off the entrance to the harbour, then turned head to wind to motor in. By this time it was fairly dark and the nav lights were on. A far cry from the midnight twilight of Orkney in June!

There were a fair number of other yachts in the anchorage - one with cabin lights but no anchor light. I found a spot that seemed far enough away from others, and set the anchor. I had to guess how long to let out chain - not possible to see the paint marks on the chain in the dark from the cockpit! After what seemed like enough, the boat swung head to wind to the anchor - a good result. On the foredeck, I checked the chain by torchlight and realized I needed rather more out. I really want an electronic chain counter!

All set, and down below for a simple supper of leftovers and so to bed.

Log of this passage

Round Start Point

09 September 2021 | Dittisham
Martin Crick | SE v SW 10 to 2 to 8kts; overcast clearing later; visibility poor becoming moderate
I spent a pleasant week in Plymouth, enjoying walking around the Barbican and the Hoe, eating out, using the laundry, and all the other comforts of a marina! Eventually, the wind showed signs of shifting to the west - but not for very long! So it was time to make the most of it.

I left Sutton Harbour at 06:20 - 20mins late! - and passed through the lock easily as it was on free flow (both gates open) for approx 3 hours either side of high water. Once out into Plymouth Sound, the wind was still at SE, not too strong, and visibility moderate to poor. I sailed south close hauled until the wind died away as it began to veer further south, and the visibility got worse as drizzle began. Inevitably, engine on. I motored around Start Point without seeing it, relying on the chart plotter, AIS and radar.

As I turned north towards Dartmouth, and passed the Skerries Bank, the sky cleared a bit and I got a few glimpses of the shore. Then there was enough wind behind me to sail the last hour or so under headsail only up into the beautiful River Dart. The picture above shows the view of Dartmouth as I approached.

I motored up the river through Dartmouth, past the marinas, up towards Dittisham. My memory of deserted river with isolated visitors' moorings is way out of date - the permanent moorings reach all the way up the river. But in Dittisham pool there were a few vacant mooring buoys. No pickup lines but nice big fixed loops on top, so I had an easy job to feed first a temporary line and later my bridle with chain in its middle through the buoy. I spent a peaceful afternoon relaxing in the sun.

Log of this passage (Sorry about missing first section - I forgot to turn on the logger!)

Round Rame Head

02 September 2021 | Plymouth
Martin Crick | NE 15-20kts; overcast
When the wind is against you, headlands take on new significance - Land's End, Lizard, Dodman and now Rame.

A big difference today was that our course was basically east, rather than north east. This let us put in a long making tack with only relatively short holding tacks needed at the end. With hind sight, however, we might have been better to make shorter tacks and keep a bit closer to the coast, out of the worst of the swell, which stopped us every now and again. But overall this was a more enjoyable sail than the two previous days, and the final tack up past the breakwater into Plymouth Sound was invigorating.

We rounded up and dropped the sails, and Nick took the helm while I called for a berth in Sutton Harbour. They were more strict than anywhere I've called yet, wanting a written declaration by email that I'd been more than 10days out of a foreign port (just!) and that all foreign stores were gone and the boat cleaned (again, just!). They responded promptly with a berth assignment and we came in though the lock, which was on free flow so no need to tie up in it.

The facilities and shelter here are excellent, and it's only a short walk into the Barbican district, with many bars and restaurants. All in all, a great place to spend a few days. That's just as well, as Nick left on Friday and I'm not heading singlehanded round Start Point and across Lyme Bay against strong north easterlies! Looks like the first westerlies are due next Thursday or Friday, so I'll enjoy what Plymouth has to offer til then.

Saturday night was delightful, with dinner at the home of a university friend of mine who's a GP here, accompanied by another GP university friend and their wives. A truly magnificent dinner was served by Fliss - I don't know how Andy remains slim. Thank you both very much!

Log of this passage
Vessel Name: Eowyn of Hamble
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg-Rassy 36 Mk1 1993
Hailing Port: Hamble
Crew: Martin Crick
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