Preps in Plymouth

Thu 29 May 2014 11:30
50 21'.78N 04 10'.03W

Portland Bill let us slide over its uneven depths (varying from 20mtrs to over 100mtrs and called The Race as it grows in tempestuousness with the ebb and flow of the tides) comfortably in light airs. We passed 50mtrs or so from the rocky promontory with its three lighthouses. At other times it can be a furious maelstrom to be missed, especially in strong onshore winds. 

Psychologically it felt good to get passed Portland, leaving behind more of our land-born tags and settling into the different pace of life at sea.

The next bay west, Lyme Bay, provided an unexpected and pleasant sail with little sign of the Force 4/5 forecast. The low pressure system in the Thames area, moving slowly west and giving most of the country a grey, cool and wet Bank Holiday at least didn't rain on us. We passed 5 miles south of where we popped mum's ashes, in her little cardboard cylinder, into the water a year ago. I plotted the position at the time and found she was right next to the tidal diamond (G) for granny and within a firing range area! Mum always liked the odd flash of excitement.

Dartmouth was so quiet, as indeed was Portland, you wouldn't think it was a Bank Holiday or school half term. A reflection of the weather and financial state of the industry I guess. We stayed aboard, alongside an island pontoon and under the wise gaze of the Royal Naval College. We laid down to the sound of the ebbtide slapping and gurgling around the stern under our heads.  £22.50 paid up for the night and we set off and had another pleasant sail under the incredibly slow moving low which decided it was our turn for some rain. 

With a tack I planned we should be able to sail into Plymouth Sound, but then the wind veered so it was sails in and in the company of a frigate and another warship we headed for the port and into Mayflower Marina. After a tasty supper at Jolly Jacks we walked around to the Royal William Yard where all the business of our past naval industry, with the cooperage sheds, clearance buildings, the brewery and barracks etc housed in magnificent Georgian granite buildings are now home to many restaurants on the ground floors and apartments in the floors above. When Rob and I retire from the sea, in our 90s, maybe we'll buy one!

Have a good day