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Erm? They're Clive and Les aren't they?
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Lyme Regis 21st July
21st July, 2005
The depth sounder is refitted and works perfectly. Thank you NASA Marine.
So after a late morning, in spite of another awakening as a result of nearly being thrown out of bed by the rolling of the ship, we breakfasted and cast off our mooring.
We had looked at the charts and read the passage guidance notes in the almanac and had decided to go well south to miss the notorious overfalls of Portland Bill. But the fleet of yachts which left before us headed for the inside passage which hugs the shore. As we watched them take the short cut we debated our decision but stuck with our cautious approach. I think we were right, too.
We therefore sailed a bit east of south to clear the East Shambles cardinal mark before we could turn southwest and finally westwards towards Dartmouth, our planned goal for today.
As we sailed past the entrance to Portland harbour it was a beautiful sunny morning but sadly not a lot of wind. It is a huge amount of water. There appeared to be just one supply vessel in harbour today. Bit of a waste of all that space.
We called up the coastguard and got a 'loud and clear' for our radio signal which was encouraging but by no means definitive as we were just a couple of miles from the coastguard station. We would need to try again later from a little further offshore.
It was very rolly poley as we motored south and by the time we were well south of the race, as advised by the almanac, the wind fortuitously came in and we stated to sail westward at a respectable pace.
We called Portland Coastguard again but this time got a cautious clear but only half signal strength. This radio may need some more work.
We had two marvellous hours sailing before the wind faded. We struggled on a bit longer but then switched on the engine to try and make some progress and stop the wallowing. It was about this time that we decided that Dartmouth was too far and, as the wind returned and pushed us further north, we revised our destination to Lyme Regis. This would allow me to visit my friend Gail whom I met when I lived in the marina at Keynsham. Gail is doing a boatbuilding course and building a traditional Shetland boat. I have been dying to see it.
As the wind returned, we hoisted sail again and I lost my first pair of spectacles of the trip, flipped off my face by a whipping sheet. Bet they're not the last. They are titanium so they should survive fairly well at the bottom of the ocean.
By 5.00 o'clock the wind looked as if it was gone for the day so we dropped sails and motored straight for Lyme Regis arriving there a little before 7.00pm. We picked up a visitors' mooring buoy outside the harbour and waved to Gail waiting on the harbour wall. We finally launched the dinghy and I rowed over to pick Gail up and bring her out to see the lovely Quintet.
Gail liked the boat very much and was thrilled by what she thought was a mahogany cistern over the toilet, until we pointed out that, with the whole ocean, a sea toilet had little use for a cistern. It was, of course, our wonderful folding wash hand basin.
We shared a bottle of wine before risking all three of us in the dinghy at the same time, to go back ashore for dinner. We had been debating where to go. Gail had originally suggested the Harbour Inn but, once ashore, changed her mind and, having described the aforementioned pub as, I think, 'bollocks posh' or some such expression, suggested the pub next door, the Royal Standard as being better value.
Clive had a chicken salad and rated the chicken well below the salad content. I had a fish pie which was pretty good but bizarrely including chips or potatoes in spite of it being 50% mashed potato anyway. Gail enjoyed her pasta with rocket. The IPA from Palmers Brewery could not be faulted.
After possibly too many beers we wound our way back to the harbourside to find our dinghy hanging from its mooring ring. Tomorrow I must do Navigation lesson 2: Tides.
And tomorrow Clive and I will be visiting the 'Boat Building Academy' where Gail has almost finished her year's course and will shortly be declared a 'professional boatbuilder'. Isn't that exciting?