Brixham and East
Last night at Turf Lock in the Exeter Shipping Canal, what a magical place.
We locked out of Exeter Shipping Canal at 9.45 on Wednesday 7th September, half an hour before high tide and close to neaps, much less windy and calmer, in every way, than when we came into the estuary the previous Thursday,
it was foggy all day, but there was enough wind to sail. We back-tracked to Brixham for a night, so that we could get an early start for the long sail round to Weymouth, or Poole if things went well. Brixham was nice, we would have liked to stay longer, the coastal walks, a visit to the replica of the Golden Hind which lies in the harbour, the huge fish-market are all on our list of things to come back to do. We managed a twilight walk up to Berry Head as the sun set, the fog finally having lifted at about 5pm.
Sunset over the sea water swimming pool in Brixham
Up before 6am on Thursday, the forecast was for a brisk westerly, going round to south-westerly. We had a strong westerly, therefore a dead run, gusting occasionally up to 35knots A reef in the mainsail, and as the wind picked up, furled the genoa and still averaged close to 7 knots, with brief spells of 11 or 12knots with sunshine and clear blue sky; cracking sail. Giving Portland Bill a wide berth of 4 miles to avoid the overfalls we realised that we were making such good time we would continue on to Poole. We rounded Handfast Point with the famous and awesome chalk cliffs of Old Harry and Old Harry's wife, we briefly considered using an anchorage just inside the bay overnight, but even the 200 - 300 feet hills offered little shelter from the force six/seven ,occasionally 8 , which was still blowing, instead we chose the luxury, and expense, of a night in Saltern's Marina, inside Poole Harbour, where there is very little room for manoeuvre, catering mainly for motor cruisers with bow-thrusters to assist their parking. There was no time to plan a perfect approach and with strong sidewind Chris did his best, I wasn't quite quick enough leaping aboard the pontoon with bow and centre lines, unfortunately there wasn't a central cleat on the pontoon so by the time I had cleated the bow line Bliss had blown over to neighbouring boat, we were well fendered as was she so no damage, eventually I heaved first the bow, then got the stern close enough for Chris to jump over to help and we secured her. Eleven hours and 76 miles, a good days sailing.
As we moved south marina prices increased, in Scotland it was about £20 a night for a berth in a marina with excellent facilities, Cornwall was £30- £35 and Saltern's was a new record at £44! The showers were fantastic mind, and we had a marvellously quiet night's sleep, worth every penny.