Who's doing all this sailing?

It's Vince and Malcolm

Click to read more about Vince Click to read more about Malcolm


For charity of course

Click to find out more about Martin House

Click to find out more about the RNLI

Voyage Map Sponsors Home

 Dartmouth to Weymouth 22nd July 2007

20th July 2007. I lay awake just snoozing when the chain ferry started operating. Times of operation are 06:30 - 22:45, Monday to Saturday, but  starting at 08:00 Sundays. I listen to the rumble of vehicles as they board up the ramp of the chain ferry, and I can see now why there was only room at this end of the pontoon, although the noise doesn't bother me as I am usually awake early anyway. The sun is already up and it looks like its going to be another nice day.

I just lay there snoozing, and listening to my personal radio, rocking gently as the wash from passing traffic causes Anita to roll a little. 07:20 and I decided it was time to get moving, I packed my bedding away as always and put the kettle on, Tea and cereal for breakfast, and a check in the food store under the bunks, to see what I have to buy today, bread and milk are always on the list, along with what ever fresh vegetables I need, steamed puddings are another favourite, sweet and savoury, they are easy to do in the pressure cooker. for my first venture ashore, I decided to row all the way, which was a mistake, as the tide in the river is quite strong. First call are the public facilities in the park on the river front, and I must say that they are very good, including the showers. I noticed that there were a couple of motor homes parked close by and they too were using the facilities, including the showers. 

While I was shopping My Mobile rang, and it's Helen ringing to ask where I was. Malcolm and Helen are on their way to Rock which is opposite Padstow. They are going to spend a week on holiday there with some friends. Helen said if I was close enough they might be able to visit me. They are on the A30 just west of Exeter, and when I said I was only thirty odd miles away in Dartmouth, They decided to divert, and take the opportunity to meet up. I told them I was on the Dart Marina side of the river, and moored very close to the hotel, so we could meet in the Dart Marina Hotel car park, which would be easy for them to find. I completed my shopping and returned to the boat. I had enough time to store everything, and return to shore via the inner pontoon, much easier.  I hadn't been ashore long when I spotted their car arriving outside the car park, they spotted me heading their way and parked close by on the road. Malcolm decided we should have afternoon tea in the hotel, so that's what we do. Malcolm and Helen are eager to here about some of my tales of the trip so far. Malcolm also confirmed that he had managed to let the two warehouses, and that the lease was still progressing. We finish our afternoon tea which was very nice, after which it's time for Malcolm and Helen to leave for Rock, as they were now behind schedule, after having made what would be about a fifty mile detour.

21st July 2007 My sister Teresa is arriving today and I give her a call to let her know exactly where I am, and its a good job I did, as she thought I was in Weymouth, and was about ready to set off. Teresa is also pleased that I am in Dartmouth as it's only half the distance, and she could spend more time with me. I ventured into town taking my salopettes with me to see if the sail loft in town which has a repair service can repair the crotch, which has been letting in lots of water during the wetter days, but I am out of luck, and return to the boat to await Teresa's call. 

Teresa arrives, and calls me, she parked her car before giving me a call, and is on the Kingswear side. I tell her to take the ferry across the river and to walk up river, and I will walk down to meet her. We meet at about half way, hug, and return to the boat to catch up on what's been happening in our lives lately, and also to have a drink and something to eat. Teresa seems taken with Anita, and I suggest that we should go for a sail. Good idea she said I've never been sailing before but I would like to try it out. I knew she would, so after a short safety talk we let go the pontoon and make our way down river and out into Start Bay. I let Teresa take the helm while I raised the main, and unfurle the genoa, I asked Teresa to turn off the wind and to my surprise she turned the boat the right way, and as the sails filled I trimmed them  before turning off the engine. Teresa's impressed by the peace and quite, just the wind and the swish of the water, she also likes the fact that there are no emissions polluting the atmosphere. We are about to return to Dartmouth, and as we approache the entrance, the Earl of Pembroke a three masted barque is motoring out, so I came about and followed her, I thought she might just be coming out for a sail, and I was right, she set some sail and continued on to cruise around the bay. Teresa takes some photo's one of which is above. Its a shame about the rib on tow which spoils things a bit.

Time is getting on so we head back. I asked Teresa if she wanted to go for a meal, but she said she had better get home as she had lots of homework to mark, and roll on summer holidays. (English Teacher) Teresa took the helm again as I started the engine and dropped the main sail. As Teresa's car is parked on the Kingswear side, I decide  to stop at the Royal dart YC if there is a space on their pontoon, then we can have a drink, and use the facilities, before she drives back to Exeter. We had our drinks and I was telling the bar man about Martin House, when the phone rang, he picked the phone up, and walked to the other end of the bar, then he returned and said the call was for me. Strange I know, but the call was from Geoff Weyman someone who had emailed me during the voyage. He was returning to his mooring in Dittisham after a few days away, and had seen Anita on the pontoon and wondered if I was here. On confirming that I was he came back to meet me. We had a drink together, Teresa went home and Geoff's friend suggested I try a mooring further up the river at Dittisham. Back on the pontoon we inspected each others boats before casting off, and heading for Dittisham. Geoff's boat was unusual as the woodwork is teak which makes for a lighter saloon, and as always time and alterations by new owners make the slight differences. We set off up river passing the now moored Earl of Pembroke, and reach Dittisham after 2 plus miles. Geoff picked up his mooring buoy, and I bid them farewell as I motored off to find a spare visitor buoy. The only buoy available was close to the bend in the river opposite the village. I am surprised at the size of the two river cruisers that are passing close by, thankfully though there isn't a lot of wash. I spend a peaceful evening  passage planning, and have an even more peaceful nights sleep. The morning brings another sunny day with a good weather forecast. I am almost finished breakfast when there is a squawking noise at the stern , and on investigation I discover a single duck in the water, "where's my breakfast"? I threw the last of the bread over the stern, which the duck makes short work of, and without a second thought she returnes to the cover of the bank climbing out of the water and waddling off. I was talking to a local yacht skipper yesterday who had just arrived from Weymouth in Company,  two Hallberg Rassys' He suggested the inner passage around the Bill which he uses regularly. I will use their local knowledge and head for Chesil beach and round Portland close in avoiding the race. This is also suggested in Reeds Nautical Almanac.

Its 07:15 when I start the engine release the buoy and head down river. There is no wind and the river is silky smooth with the moored yachts reflections clear in the water. I need some bread, milk, and water, so I moor up on the commercial quay, and rush into town. The CooP is open this early, and I am soon back aboard and motoring out of the Dart. So its goodbye Dartmouth Hello Sea. 08:40 and just south of Mew Stone I set course for West Bay, where I will anchor and wait for the tide to carry me round the Bill. The sun is out with some clouds in the sky, wind F.4 SSW engine off and going fast under full sail. I can hardly believe the log which is working for a change, so I check the GPS which matches more or less up to 8kn yes eight knots at times. I check my position on the chart and if I keep this up I will have to alter course and give Portland Bill a wide berth. I had planned on a slow passage across Lyme Bay, with a break in West Bay, before rounding the Bill to Arrive at Weymouth before midnight.

Ten miles east of Berry Head and I decide to alter course to a point five miles off Portland bill, and missing the tidal race altogether. 11:00 Course 85deg oilies off and enjoying a brilliant sail, I should have the tide with me for the next six hours which will help some but we are close to neaps, which is better for rounding Portland Bill. The tiller pilot is working perfectly so I have plenty of time to make sure the sails are well trimmed, and I get maximum speed through the water. I also have time to cook dinner, and make plenty of drinks, always remembering to keep a good lookout. I am about 17 miles out in Lyme Bay so there isn't any traffic to see. I can see the two halves of the British registered container ship MSC Napoli, which has just been parted in an attempt to salvage as much as possible from the wreck, and to prevent pollution of Lyme Bay. Less than four hours later and I am at the waypoint five miles off Portland Bill, having had what was the best days sailing I have ever had. There is nothing to report during the sail across the bay except passing close to a fishing boat trawling across  the bay on the 50m contour line. New course 27deg to leave the Shambles West Cardinal to Starboard. from where I follow the shore keeping about a mile off, before heading for the east ship channel of Portland Inner harbour, following the harbour wall round to Weymouth Harbour entrance. I call the Harbour Masters office on CH 12 and am clear to enter, I am also told that there is room on the pontoon at Cove Quay in the cove, just before the bridge. After a brilliant days sailing. its 18:45 and I am rafted up with one boat inside of me. 56 miles in just over ten and a half hours, less time if you take off the time mooring. But I am well pleased, and today's sail will last in my memory for a long long time .