Sunday, 30 June 2019

Harwich to Weymouth

We stayed at the very comfortable Royal Norfolk and Suffolk yacht club in Harwich with a fabulous Edwardian Clubhouse, and a loo cistern made of copper with a Latin inscription. In the opinion of some club members things had gone to the dogs as only the cistern itself was polished and not the copper pipes coming off it. Dave and Andy went home after surviving a lot of sailing . Nigel Clay and Richard Lewis  arrived raring for action. We crossed the narrow channels of the Thames Estuary, cutting a few corners when the wind was on the nose and watching the depth sounder anxiously. We spotted the North Foreland of Kent and the tide took us round to Ramsgate. It's a seaside town that's had a revival with artists , quirky shops, and naval history all cheek by jowl. The gunpowder stores for the fleet were stored in caves burrowed into the Rock above the harbour. Mr Grayling has recently  had the channel dredged in preparation for a no deal Brexit, and we nearly ran aground on some uncharted spoil just outside the main channel!

A short hop to Dover where we were visited by old Friends Jane and Richard Phillips together with Janes younger sister whom I hadn't seen for over 40 years. ,it was great to catch up. We visited a micro pub where you could have any local Kentish wine or beer , got a kiss from the landlady on arrival and woe betide you if your mobile phone went off. Verboten!

On to Sovereign Harbour Eastbourne in a stiff 25 knot Easterly with the mainsaIl on a preventer and the foresail poled out goose winged, trade wind style. My cousin Stephen ,his wife Annemarita and my Aunty Marjorie came aboard for drinks . Stephen is the doctor on the Easbourne lifeboat , and we had a poke round as she was berthed next to us. The engines are enormous and deafening when the throttle is opened.

Another windy day along the Sussex Coast past Brighton saw us speeding along and going up the small boat channel to Haslar Marina ,Portsmouth where we had a very pleasant fish supper on a retired lightship in the harbour. Amazing to think that there was a crew of 7-8 men just to maintain the light and do a few weather observations. It's all automatic now!

Friday's run with the tide allowed us to shoot out of the needles channel like a cork out of a bottle and anchor peacefully up the South Channel in Poole Harbour on a very hot day. It was lovely having dinner on deck and then a musical session watching the sun slowly set. Went for a swim off the boat . The water was quite warm.

On Saturday We Rounded St Albans Head and rafter up to a number of other yachts in Weymouth harbour which was packed with tourists enjoying the sun. On inspecting the engine we found that the alternator belt was cracked and hanging by a thread. Wouldn't have been good if that had happened at sea! After a bit of huffing and puffing we fitted a replacement and I went up the mast the next day to fix the anchor light on which we finally found a poor connection at the bulb.

Richard leaves us tonight after a tough weeks sailing which he survived very well with no seasickness, and we will be joined by Fraser Longbone ready for a long sail around the notorious Portland Bill with its tide races and accross Lyme Bay to Dartmouth tomorrow.
The Needles Channel on a lovely sunny morning

Richard enjoying a sundowner on the anchorage in Poole Harbour

 The alternator belt - split in 2 places and hanging by a thread

Wells harbour near the sea and a Norfolk Wherry


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