Position: 50:36:44N 02:27:12W
I love the power of the English Channel current and a good wind working
We had to leave Lymington quite early in the morning (like, 5.00 am!) to
make best use of the current out through the Needles and then use the westerly
current towards Weymouth. The wind, whilst only 10-12 knots most of the way came
mostly slightly aft of the beam – so the boat just flew effortlessly. We
averaged SOG of 8 to 8.5 knots most of the way without trying, arriving at
Weymouth early in the morning and way ahead of our plan! (Even though we took a
W-I-D-E berth around St Alban’s Head and dodging the bullets from the firing
ranges along the coast.)
We are beginning to build up a love/hate relationship with the English
It certainly needs a lot more use of the grey matter than most other places
we have been and it’s a lot more interesting having to use all the
current and tidal tables for getting places and anchoring out. But it does also
control what you can do and when it will allow you do it and that is not always
when you actually want to do it!
We are also noticing that our boat is not the best boat for the little
inlets and small fishing villages around the English Channel. Our boat needs 2.3
meters draught so we have to be cognizant that we need greater depth than most
yachts and our choice of marina berths, anchor sites or coastal inlets is
considerably reduced meaning a very close look at charts to see just what fits!
The cost of getting it wrong and stuck is not on my ‘bucket list’ of things to
We wanted to visit Weymouth to retrace childhood memories of many local
caravan holidays, buckets and spades and sandwiches with sand in them. Oh yes,
and just to let the local organiser's know that we would be available for racing
during the Olympics if some of the team didn’t turn up for some reason. As it
turns out they felt they could manage but thanked us for our concern and
suggested that we talk to the ‘Admirals Cup’ organisers.
The harbourmaster's office for Weymouth quay is fantastic! Several of the
team were waiting to welcome us at the dock and help us with our lines despite
the rain! In fact we had a really fun time in Weymouth in general, retracing
steps, sampling the excellent fresh sea food and walking along the stunning
cliff tops. Of course most days it rained! It is the English summer remember.
The Old Quay is a great place to stay as it’s full of activity, from fishing
boats unloading at all hours to holidaymakers wandering the old streets and
stopping at the numerous pubs and restaurants. There is a lot of excitement here
as the town readies itself for the world’s visit to Weymouth in mid July – the
2012 Olympic Sailing Venue.
By coincidence during the week, Discovery had their first ever ‘Owner’s
dinner’ and as we were still relatively local we just had to take the
opportunity to meet some of the other owners. What a great bunch and we pick up
many many tips and advice. We had heard that Discovery owners tend to really
‘use’ their toys to explore the world and so we weren’t surprised to note that
most owners attending had tens of thousands of miles behind them and were “just
back” for a few months before rejoining their boat temporarily moored in far
flung exotic parts of the world. We of course had made our own epic journey back
for the dinner, from Weymouth – hmmm? not quite the same ring to it as say,
Auckland or Bali but it’s a start.
We found the caravan site from my childhood (now a flashy 5* resort),
retraced our footsteps to the beach and I of course, “..felt the connection
with childhood days gone bye”. Hmmm, I seem to remember rain then
Reluctantly, we felt we should move on after a week and explore yet more
exciting exotic locations further west.
..but we now had to go around ‘Portland Bill’ and the famous ‘race’. Often
quoted as the most treacherous headland in the English Channel with swirling
currents of up to 7+ knots and rocks just waiting to grab an unsuspecting boat
and smash it!
..best double check the sailing directions, almanacs, local fishermen,
cruising guides and Madam Zara (the clairvoyant along Weymouth