Tuesday, August 16, 2022

2022 Celtic Circuit, Day 3 Portland to Hope Cove

I weighed anchor at 04:30 to get to the Bill as the tidal gate opened, initially I thought there were only two of us taking the inshore route but as I left the Bill there were a lot of boats following behind, either they preferred an hour or two more in bed or they had spent the night in Weymouth and were delayed waiting for the bridge to open.

Portland prison in the early morning light.
Approaching the Bill
To avoid getting swept into the Portland Race, described in the Pilot by Tom Cunliffe as "the most dangerous extended area of broken water in the English Channel, overshadowing even Barfeur, the madness of Ouessant and the Race of Alderney", it is necessary to pass within 300 yards of the Bill, and only then in settled conditions.
My track through the inshore route.
The inshore route can only safely be used in daylight because of lobster pots which are often hard to see as they are dragged under by the strong current and the necessity of passing very close to rocks. Because to fluky winds caused by the land the passage has usually to be done under power, increasing the risk from Pots, as Cunliffe says the possibility of being anchored to a Pot [as the tide increases] does not bare thinking about. On this occasion the wind was from the NE and I was able to sail from a couple of miles north of the Bill when the wind set in, through the route and across Lyme Bay.
A lobster Pot Buoy c 80 yards off the Bill and another much closer in,
these would likely be underwater in an hour or two as the tide increases.
 Note the rock awash in line with the hanging rock, left. The Obelisk
is there to mark them.
Leaving the Bill, the 45 ft boat off my starboard bow overtook
me under power going round the Bill. Equipped only with a
cruising chute she tried tacking down wind, I was soon to get
the symmetrical spinnaker up and was only 1/3 mile behind
her at Start Point, 48 miles further on.
Crossing Lyme Bay with my 60 sq metre
symmetrical spinnaker during a lull in the wind.
I had a fairly quick passage in variable winds that kept me busy sail changing and trimming with some light relief...... 

Dolphins doing what dolphins do approaching Start Point.

Approaching Start Point, often referred to as THE Start, as it
often was the last bit of English land seen on a voyage in a
sailing ship.
Shortly after the picture was taken the wind disappeared and I started the engine to get to Hope Cove, the first anchorage sheltered from the easterly winds west of West Bay (Portland) and in the days of sail often packed with ships, up to 80 being quoted in one source, waiting for a fair wind up channel.
Entering the Hope Cove anchorage. Lots more pics in the
slide show below.

68 miles over the ground in 13.5 hours.

2022 Summer Portland to Hope Cove

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