Tuesday, March 26, 2024

When to leave? Plan B (2).

Its Tuesday and for the past week my start day has been in doubt with forecasts changing daily and with big differences between the models caused by uncertainty as to the track of an very active depression heading directly for UK and the likely aftermath.

ECMWF prediction on Tuesday for 06:00 Thursday.

With several days of winds with east in them likely starting at some point over Easter it is at least clear that I will have to take whatever opportunity presented itself. But it will not be easy to avoid an overnight trip. The optimum day to leave the Solent is Tuesday 2nd April to take the Portland inshore route (Options for passing Portland are described here) on the 3rd or 4th but most models agree the winds are likely to become Westerly for a day or two mid week.

The inshore route is not available in the morning until the Wednesday the 3rd. Using the inshore route on the afternoon of Monday heading to Lyme Regis or Beer would work but with the strong winds lasting till Friday it is unlikely that they will be viable anchorages, Portland to Brixham might be practical using the route on Monday afternoon but it would be a late finish. 

Another option, if the sea conditions permit, is to go to Chapman's Pool (St Alban's Head) and leave early to get past Portland and hour or two before the tide turns adverse then head for Brixham, Hope Cove (again dependant on minimal seas coming in from the south west) or Plymouth. Or to go to Portland and use the offshore route accepting a long trip.

With trains being replaced by busses on Sunday the current plan is to deliver supplies and load the dinghy onto the boat on Friday (hoping that the wind will no be as strong as indicated by some models and that the club launches or the water taxi will be working), travel back to the boat by train on Saturday and sail to Hurst that evening. After that it will be a. 03:30 start at the peak of the ebb tide to get into Christchurch Bay before the tide turns by which time I'll have seen the sea state and will then make a decision on where to head for.

If I had to bet it would probably be that I'll end up in Portland Harbour on Sunday and be stuck there for several days before crossing Lyme Bay but if the weather gives me a break I could be in Plymouth or further west in a few days.

Update Wednesday:

Friday could be interesting πŸ˜’

Click here for the start of the trip.

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