Monday, April 1, 2024

2024 March 30th Days 1 - 2, Hamble to Hurst and Portland.

The objectives of and preparations for the trip can be found here: 2024 - Towards Muckle Flugga?

For the past week the start date has been touch and go, on Thursday it was off but Friday mornings forecast from 6 different models was OK for Saturday and Sunday with a reasonable chance of getting to Brixham or beyond on Monday and Plymouth or Fowey by the end of the week, dodging bad weather. The remaining worry was the very strong wind still blowing but forecast to drop during the day.

One of at least two sails trashed in Thursday nights blow, each
within view from my boat. The other was a seriously expensive
  hi-tech sail, completely shredded, on a 40+ ft boat. And neither will be
covered by insurance as they were not caused by contact with
something other than the wind or water.
The car was quickly loaded and after a visit to the supermarket I was at the club by 12:00. The wind was about 15 knots so it was safe to use the dinghy and the club launches were operating. Two trips to the boat had everything aboard, getting the outboard off the dinghy and onto the boat was worrying when a squall came through and we were bouncing around but the derrick did the job and by 15:30 the launch picked me up and I was home in time for dinner.

On Saturday it was a 3.5 hour journey by train and bus back to the boat which went pretty well although my arthritis is still complaining about the brisk walk from the station to the bus stop. I had largely prepared the boat for sea on Friday so hoped for a quick get away on first high water but when I turned on the electronics the wind instruments were not working, they had been two weeks previously.

I had a pretty good idea what the problem was, a very expensive "waterproof " plug and socket by Aquasignal was not very water proof, it had failed a year ago and I had hard wired the connection and it had worked fine for couple of thousand miles and a winter on the mooring but gave up the ghost at the last minute, but there was 2 good points, it had failed before I left rather than just after and I had taken the precaution of buying a replacement (of a different make) and it was on board with a length of the correct cable.

It was a struggle to get it done quickly but with the timber headlining I put on a few years ago getting access to the tag block under the deck was easy, although I did not get panels back up until this morning (Monday) at Portland. I made it with a few minutes to spare and slipped at slack water on the second high, 15 minutes later and I might not have got off with the ebb tide and a SE wind.

The brisk wind dropped and backed as I passed Calshot and I reached down to Hurst under headsail only, because I could not be bothered to put up the main as I had plenty of time to get there and with the delay there was no question of heading further west. If the sail had not put a shadow over the deck it would have been a pleasant warm sail rather than just a pleasant one.

Dusk at Hurst. 11 NM in 2 3/4 hours

Sunday - Hurst to Portland

I set the alarm for 04:00 BST (BST starting at 02:00) a couple of hours into the ebb tide but was awake at 02:00Z so had the anchor up and was away at 03:30 BST (all future times Local) with a light wind from the SE but more forecast. I motored through Hurst narrows and turned quickly into the North channel to avoid having the Shingles bank under my lea; I generally prefer this route as it avoids the over-falls at "Bridge" and once through the short channel you are clear of dangers, there is then a bit less tide but often you make that up sailing a slightly shorter route.

The wind was forecast to rise so, being close to a run  I did not bother with the mainsail. The wind gradually increased and I made good speed although at some discomfort because the boat was rolling a lot with a following wind and the sea on the beam. I passed St Albans still with a fair tide with the wind now F5 and the sea more behind me life was more comfortable apart from the cold. 

I had thought to head round Portland Bill on the outside route but with the cold and tiredness from all of the rolling it was an easy decision to abandon that when I saw the forecast and I headed for Portland. It was a good decision not to try for more, the wind piped up with a few miles to go and if I had decided to get round the Bill on the offshore route I would have been plugging into 2 - 3 knots of tide with F6 behind me that would create ugly seas. 

Hurst to Portland 40 NM in seven and a quarter hours, averaging
better than 6 knots over the ground if you ignore anchoring time.

After some experiments over the winter, Sunday dinner was egg fried rice with chicken and water chestnuts, new on the boat but so easy it and variants are likely to be regular events, especially at fishing harbours when I can get prawns.
Monday morning was sunny with no wind when I got up
to chase away the crows making a mess on the deck, by the
time I had made the coffee the breeze had set in and by 12:00
if was F4 - 5. 
The forecast for the next couple of days is not pleasant and with the inshore route not viable I am staying put.

Inshore water forecast from Selsey to Lyme Regis at 07:00 Monday.

24 hour forecast: South or southwest 4 to 6, increasing 6 or 7 for a time later. Slight or moderate be moderate or rough later. Showers, perhaps thundery. Good, occasionally poor at first.

Outlook for the following 24 hours: Southwest 4 to 6. Moderate or rough. Showers, then rain. Moderate or good.

And the lunch time one west from Lyme was worse:

24 hour forecast: South or southwest 4 to 6, veering west or southwest 6 to gale 8 for a time. Slight or moderate, becoming moderate or rough. Showers, occasional rain later. Good, occasionally poor. 

The problem is, with the updated forecasts I could be here for a week ☹️, I'm at anchor in about 5 metres of water, with good holding and an 8:1 scope of chain with plenty of water behind me so should be OK in whatever gets thrown at me but it could be gusting 45+ knots at the end of the week by which time I would welcome a shower so will probably pony up for a couple of nights in the marina.

Anchorpro plot overnight, arriving in F6 easterly, veering
to SSW F4 with more to come.

ECMWF gust map for Friday.
Click here for the move to the marina.


  1. Good to see you have set off. The weather this year is being particularly silly!

    Was that shredded main a mast furled one? Never liked that method of reducing sail.

  2. Hi Sandy, rubbish weather, I suspect I’ll be stuck here for another week๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿคฌ I also thought that was a mainsail but it was a headsail.

    1. If only people would tie a sail tie round their headsails!

      Looks like Wednesday (10/04) the weather settles. I am desperately trying to catch up the winter jobs, with the damp weather I've not been able to put in the insulation and van carpet in the fore and rear cabin.

  3. Hi, we're currently in Poole having come from Yarmouth yesterday, originally intending to get to Weymouth. Friday is looking ok!