Waiting for the storm to pass...
So - an update on Griselda's progress since Portsmouth...
The next day a brief hop across to Cowes to meet up with lifelong friends of Nic's parents, lunch at the Island Sailing Club (Nic had a crab salad - the crab nearly won!) and 'shopping' for 'exciting' items such as a lifejacket personal MOB (Man Over Board) device and a set of new flares. Purchasing of the MOB proved to be an experience in itself as it was not something the Chandlers had in stock, but needed to be obtained from the lifejacket manufacturer (which happened to be in Cowes), who also very helpfully organised for it to be fitted into the lifejacket at their factory on the island. A lot of sailing 'essentials' unavailable "due to Covid, innit?"
Friday saw us motor-sailing to Weymouth, where we found the first signs of the 'Covid and Brexit' effect on leisure boating.
It seems that 'everyone' has been buying boats for their staycations and parking them willy-nilly in the West Country. Plus all the Brits who had boats kept in Europe have brought them back to UK to avoid paying double VAT!
The result is that there are almost no marina vacancies to be had (I know, a bit of a first world problem, but still!)
So we were alongside the harbour wall in Weymouth with three boats rafted outside of us - great fun when we wanted to leave first at 6 am yesterday!)
Had a lovely day out with Friends Ian and Annette - visited Portland Bill by land to recce the narrow inner boat passage - about 20 metres from the cliffs it's calmer than further out where fast tides make for rough seas.
Come the day of our departure from Weymouth towards Plymouth we decided not to use the inner passage!
We felt the need to test ourselves on a longer passage to Plymouth (some 80 miles / 16 hours) and to get some night sailing. The forecast was for good wind strengths (12- 18 knots) although the direction more from the West than we would have liked.
Well, having rounded 'The Bill' well offshore, we got about a third of the way across Lyme Bay when the wind started to rise. At 20 knots we put in a reef. (Reduced the mainsail) At 25 knots we put in another reef. the wind went from South West almost to West and dropped to 13 knots. We took the reefs out.
The wind went up to 25 and then 35 knots (40 mph) - we put those reefs back in a hurry. And reduced the jibsail. Wind was now fully West and pushing us up into Lyme Bay. We tacked out. And kept tacking till we rounded Start Point (Salcombe) when the wind dropped and went back to South West.
(in hindsight it was a classic low pressure frontal system, but seemed to be completely unforecast).
Strangely, we didn't take any photos yesterday...
All that mucking about added 30 miles to the passage, and meant we didn't get to Plymouth till about 2 am. Challenging to pick our way up the harbour without dinging into the breakwater, parked ships or channel buoys.....
Managed to find a berth in Plymouth Yacht harbour but only for last night, and then moved to Mayflower marina this morning where we will now stay until the approaching storm has passed.
Note to selves - make sure to pre-book marina berths in these post-Brexit, post-Covid times!
Next passage - either to Spain, or Falmouth, depending on the weather window