I left Beer with no clear idea as to where I would end up or which route I would take, it would all depend on the weather and the tidal gate around Portland. The inshore (inside) route around the Bill would open after five in the afternoon so would clearly be practical but would probably mean anchoring up somewhere, probably West Bay, to wait for the tide. On the other hand the tide would turn westward on the offshore (outside) route at around twelve by which time I really needed to be past the East Shambles, especially as it was only a day off of the spring tide. That would require an early start and almost certainly given the weather forecast extensive use of the engine.
If I went the inside route I would go into Portland Harbour to anchor, if the outside route my target was Chapman's Pool just before St Alban's Head with Lulworth Cove and Worbarrow Bay possibilities. But if the Lulworth range was active and as I did not want to exercise "my right" to ignore the range and barge straight through disrupting operations (not a few do), Worbarrow would only be accessible with the range closed and Chapman's Pool awkward to get to, although that was likely to be less of an issue as the range tends to close around 17:00 and if there is night firing it reopens at dusk which would be late.
The plan was therefore not to set the alarm and to set off when I woke up and see how things went. As usual at this time of year on the boat I woke early and was off at 05:30 with 12 knots of wind from the north, quickly freshening to 15 knots, with the tide turning favourable I was making good progress but it could be tight for the outside route and I would be very early for the inside route.
This resolved itself when the wind died to almost nothing, did not look like returning and was not predicted to do so on the 07:00 inshore waters forecast. I stuck at it for a couple of hours but if I was going to use the engine I might as well do so in time to make the tide past the Shambles, so when I calculated that it was the latest moment to get through at a sensible cruising speed on went the engine.
|Just west of the Bill as close as you are likely to see it from the
offshore route on a spring tide.
|Just east of the Bill. The ripples on the water were caused by
the tide, not a wind!
|Rounding the Bill, the blue shading to the east is the Shambles Bank.
The westward drift in my track was the tide turning and rushing SW
between the Shambles and the Bill.
|Durdle Dorr (right) and the main beach. I had planned to anchor
off this beach inside of some large rocks but there were paddle
boarders all over the place and it would be noisy so I went to
the east beach.
|Durdle Door, why anyone would want to jump from the arch
I have no idea. It is easy to see why so many are badly injured
and some killed doing so.
|Durdle Door from the east where I anchored, not something to do
unless it is very calm, the bottom is largely rock but in these
conditions the weight of anchor and chain would probably hold the
boat even if the anchor did not bight.
|As I thought, easy to remove by hand its is surprising how weed
can stay attached with the shaft turning. Subsequent analysis showed
that fuel consumption increased dramatically, probably between 30% and
50%, whilst the weed was there. Nice to see little erosion of the zinc
anodes, the Galvanic Isolator doing its work.
|St Albans Head, Anvil Point in the distance.
|Sandbanks and Bournemouth from Studland anchorage.
60 miles in twelve and a quarter hours.