Had a comfortable night with the boat drying out on the sand at low tide in the early hours, although it had been a cold night. I lit the Vapalux lamp in the evening to give plenty of light for cooking my evening meal and some welcome heat.. I decided to spend a few days having a look around the River Exe estuary before moving on towards Poole.
Next day was Good Friday. I sailed on further into the estuary to visit Lympstone as I wanted a walk to stretch my legs and see what the place was like. With the tide ebbing I picked up an empty mooring near the little town for a while. Later I sculled onto the beach nearby to dry out . Found the beach very stony but by prodding around with my boat hook while the water was dropping managed to find a just big enough patch clear of rocks for the boat to settle.
A good sprinkling of rocks at Lympstone.
I had a walk around the village, bought an ice cream and topped up my drinking water bottles from a public water tap. Some pleasant little alleys there and a small walled harbour.
The local sailing club was having a craning in day.
A load of cyclists appeared from the local railway station and descended onto the pub.
It looked like cheating to me as there are only a few yards from the station to the pub. Perhaps they went for a longer ride later. And I don’t understand why cyclists today carry their stuff on their backs instead of making the bike carry the load.
The cliffs at Lympstone.
When I eventually floated off with the rising tide I moved upriver a mile – just off this house to anchor for the night where I could dry out again
It was another cold night and was glad of the heat from my stove, paraffin lamp and cooker.
The mud on my trousers is from walking on the beach earlier.
The next day I moved up to Topsham and used an empty mooring for a few hours.
Again the the local club was having a crane in day and I had a grandstand view.
A very interesting spherical glazed summer house at Topsham which overlooks the water.
The next day moved down stream to Exmouth to the same spot as before.
Dried out at Exmouth again. This Wharram cat was a neighbour at Exmouth
I walked into the town while the boat was dried out at Exmouth to buy few more groceries to stock up before setting off to sea again to move nearer to Poole.
By 21.30 the boat was afloat again and I motored out into the entrance channel against the last of the flood in darkness. Some of the buoys marking the Exe entrance aren’t lit and had to keep my eyes peeled. To hit one of these big steel buoys in the dark would have been a bad idea.. At the seaward end of the entrance channel I killed the engine and raised the sail. Not much wind then . Just a few vague puffs here and there.
At 22.30 a light westerly set in and we started to get on our way slowly to cross Lyme Bay. I was wondering if I would be able to see the powerful light at Portland Bill before it became light. But no, by dawn I was much too far to the west for it to be visible. Later in the morning the wind picked up to give me a welcome bit of speed.
I eventually rounded the Bill 2 or 3 miles off just after noon which worked out fine as by then the tide was still with me .
After rounding the Bill I skipped across the shambles shoal to make for the North entrance to Portland Harbour. There I picked up an empty mooring off the Castle Cove Sailing club
My usual practise is to make a passage under sail and then take a day or two off, to just relax after and that’s what I did there. Also the wind blew hard the next day which helped to discourage me from moving on too soon. It’s a big artificial harbour and can get rough when the wind is strong, so got bounced around a bit while waiting there. Portland harbour
Some big ships there too.
And had a visitor while there.
Eventually the forecast suggested light winds were coming and that it was about time that I made a move towards Poole, so left in the morning
Leaving Portland behind.
At first the wind and tide were in my favour and I made good progress. Then the wind became lighter and lighter and I slowed to just having steerage way., and as the tide had turned against me I stopped making any headway.
I hate using the engine, generally I much prefer to sail , unless I’m in the right mood for it, so thought that it would be a good plan to anchor for a while to await a couple of hours for the tide to turn and see if the wind would pick up. So dropped the anchor in 30 metres of water. Seriously deep.
An hour later the wind had improved slightly and I judged that I could get under weigh again., but found that I just couldn’t budge the anchor. It must have hooked into some obstruction on the sea bed. Bugg*r.
I tried for an hour or so to raise it, eventually using the engine to drive the boat in all different directions but no go at all. The only thing I could do was to cut the warp and leave the anchor and much of the rode on the sea bed and get going again without it.
Later I noticed that there was a foul area marked on the chart, very near to where I had this disaster. I should have checked that chart first. An expensive lesson for me..
I felt very dispirited after this episode. It had left me without my main anchor and rode and I knew that replacing the loss was going to cost me a lump of cash. So disappointed that I just motored the rest of the way to Poole without even attempting to sail in the light winds. I still had my huge great storm anchor and chain which together weigh 30 kg (65lbs) which is very inconvenient to assemble and deploy and therefore never used and a tiny 2 and half kilo Danforth which I doubt would hold me in a good blow.
As it turned out the wind became less and less as I neared Poole although the forecast on the wireless said that it was to blow hard tomorrow
So I eventually entered Poole in a flat calm under the power of the little Honda and feeling very blue
The light became strange as I arrived there, as if it was some omen of bad weather to come and the sea was without a ripple.
I borrowed an empty mooring that night near Rusty Bow Point as I was short an anchor