Trussed up like a pack horse I headed to Weymouth, meeting up with Trina along the way for the start of our 10 day holiday.
For anyone wishing to get dinner in Weymouth, be aware that hardly anyone serves food after 9pm! We eventually found solace in a tapas restaurant, god bless the Spanish for imparting their culinary skills and late opening hours on the good people of Weymouth.
On Saturday we got stuck into some important pre-departure boat jobs. I installed new usb plug sockets, red LED lighting above the nav table, and Trina painted a smelly cupboard under the sink. Thrilling stuff!
We ventured into town for some supplies, and came across a propa butchers, and had a good yarn with the owners. I used to work in a butchers when I was a kid, so going into a village butchers always brings back fond memories, making sausages out the back in the summer was one of them.
I was pretty disappointed with the chandlery and fishing shops. That’s all I’ll say about that.
The winds predominately blow from the west, so it seemed like a sensible plan to do a long slog to Falmouth and then have a leisurely sail back east, stopping off at places such as Fowey, Salcome and Dartmouth. The forecast for our trip was light westerlies, picking up a little later in the afternoon, and then dying.
From memory we worked out it would take a little over 25 hours from Weymouth to Falmouth. This would be our longest trip together and we were raring to go! Flasks of tea were made, chilli con carne was cooked up the night before. A new head torch for Trina was purchased. Excalibur was squared up and ready to go! 😀
We got the 8am lockout and topped up with diesel. We met some St Gustin navy guys who were off to Exmouth, and listened to their force 8 sailing exploits coming out of the Solent a few days earlier.
The sea sickness tablets we took before heading out were not sitting well with either of us. Cotton wool mouth and a dodgy stomach is no way to set off. Either the tablets were off, or the tank water was…
Dave was sailing to Ireland and was on his way from the Solent, so we hoped to see each other at some point.
We decided to take the outer passage around Portland Bill (3 miles off). I hadn’t fully done my homework to feel comfortable taking the inner passage, which sees you pass just 300m from the coastline. Turns out if you’re crossing the bay then there’s not a lot to be gained from taking the inner passage, a yacht that took the inner passage passed in front of us as we made way.
The sun was out and we got a little bit of sailing in, sailing out of Lyme bay, and then back in.
After a while I noticed the stern hung rudder/tiller had some excessive play. The stern hung rudder hangs on a hinge, the hinge (male part) attached to the boat is called the pintle and the female part on the rudder is called a gudgeon. I think I’ve got that right. It looks like a spacer, like a cylindrical washer possibly called a bushing has come out. I called up the great minds of my whatsapp sailing community, and Trina did some research on her phone. There wasn’t anything we could do, and as I had the Hydrovane as an emergency rudder so we didn’t panic.
The clouds started rolling in and the sun disappeared. I put the old mantra of “if you’re thinking of reefing, reef” into practice, and woke Trina up so we could get a reef in. Normally Trina does the mast work, but we did a switch-a-roo and changed roles, it’s good to switch around sometimes and keeps us both sharp.
I tried sleeping down below, but whilst neither awake nor asleep I heard a quiet but excited voice call down “Dolphins”. I came up and saw a pod of dolphins playing with Excalibur, WHICH WAS PRETTY BLOODY EXCITING!! We watched them for some time, slipping and sliding under the boat and back up the other side, some were enjoying the waves and would leap out catching some air. Some were so close you could almost touch them. Eventually they disappeared and I went back down for some shut eye.
Whilst resting down below, one particular wave smacked Excalibur…”right! what’s going on here?!”. I got up and stuck my head out to survey the landscape. The wind and waves had picked up and we were going along at a miserable 3 knots. Whilst the waves were not enormous, or threatening, the outlook was bleak and all of a sudden it seemed pretty darn lonely out there. The sea was grey, birds raced along the tips of the waves. I was surprised at how quickly things had changed and was thankful we reefed early. We’ve both been in bigger weather so we just wedged ourselves in and sheltered under the spray hood. I think this was the closest experience I’ve had since Biscay, where Excalibur was lifted up by a wave allowing us to survey the seas before being dropped down. Excalibur took everything in her stride, and seemed to kick off any unsightly waves she didn’t like the look of.
Unfortunately the out of date sea sickness tablets wore off, and Trina succumbed to sea sickness. If there were to be a low point of this holiday, it would be holding on to the spray hood with one hand, and gripping the back of Trina’s lifejacket with the other whilst she fed the dolphins (4 x sweetcorn voms). This was not the dream holiday either of us were expecting. But this is sailing, the dreaded mal de mere isn’t selective on who it picks on.
We had earmarked Torquay as our pit stop of choice should we decide to cut the leg in half. We weighed up the options, and as we didn’t have any phone reception to check if the weather forecast had changed for the worse, and as we both felt rotten, we agreed to call it a day and seek the comfort of a nice warm marina. Sod this summer sailing business!
As we headed to the marina the boisterous seas subsided, and a little hole of blue night sky appeared through the dark clouds above. I managed to speak to Dave and confirmed they’d not had it any better, they pushed on and reported things were indeed calming down. By now we were making our way into the bay. Looking around, it looked quite erm European, quite nice from afar. Torquay Riviera!
Our approach was trouble free, we’ve built up a good repore, whereby Trina digests the Shell Pilot coming in to port, and I scan over the chart plotter. A few years ago I would have re-read the shell pilot 50 times before heading into an unfamiliar port. I think I’m more comfortable these days now I’ve got a bit of experience behind me, and Trina’s sharp eye!
We creeped into the marina looking for our berth. My hearing was pretty shot after our windy trip “YOU’LL HAVE TO LOOK AT ME WHEN YOU’RE SPEAKING AS I CAN’T HEAR A BLOODY THING” I shouted to Trina who was on the bow looking for pontoon numbers in the dark.
Once we found it “SORRY CAN YOU NOT LOOK AT ME WHEN YOU’RE TALKING TO ME I CAN’T SEE A BLOODY THING” or words to that effect, as her new state of the art head torch blinded me.
The contradictory instructions were not lost on either of us. I found it quite funny, and I still have a girlfriend so I think we’re all good 🙂
I had a bit of a faff getting into my berth, and had a (blinded) guy pull my bow line in. There’s certain scenarios where I should just motor past the berth, spin round to make getting in easier.
We ate and went to bed tired.