13 July 2018 – Further than planned

Start position
River Yealm
Start time
Start engine hours
Distance travelled
Finish position
Finish time
Finish engine hours
  • E1 – S1-3
  • Mainly sunny
  • HW Yealm 06:40, 5.2m
  • LW Dartmouth 12:50, 0.5m
  • HW Dartmouth 19:20, 5.0m
  • Start Point turns West 11:00
  • Portland Bill turns East 18:30
  • Hurst narrows turns West 23:30
New faults
Np->Sp %
We’re up early to get past Start point before the tide turns against us. The Yealm is tranquil this morning at high tide. We’re motoring under mainsail and making quicker progress than expected – around 7kts over the ground. Unexpectedly we realise that not only will we easily make the Start Point tidal gate, but that the next gate at Portland Bill is also an option, with the Needles behind and Yarmouth reachable by midnight. There’s little wind forecast over the whole route, so it will be a long, dull, day. There’s not much enthusiasm for this plan, but we can’t come up with a reason not to keep going. We’ve joined various other boats motoring East. They all turn North at Start Point, while we carry straight on.
We adopt 2hr watches, more to break up the monotony than to provide rest. Our 7tks over the ground drops as tide turns against us. We’re briefly down to below 4kts, then the wind swings further to the South and freshens slightly. We unfurl the yankee jib, but keep pushing under motor. We’re back up to 7kts as we pass Portland Bill, well offshore, just as the tide swings in our favour. Averaging 7kts from here will get us past Hurst on the tide. The tide continues to build under us. There’s an hour of concern as swirling fog envelops us. There doesn’t seem to be any traffic about, but we get much less warning on the fishing buoys. We furl the jib again. The fog clears as we approach Anvil Point. We’re up to 10kts over the ground, just before sunset.
There’s a slight delay as we keep out of the way of a ferry heading for Poole. It takes so long that there must have been space to cross in front of it, but a little prudence makes sense. Then it’s on towards the Needles, with its array of lit marks. As ever it’s not quite as calm as the rest of the route, but we bounce through the conflicted water and continue on our way. We’re back up to 10kts over the ground as we pass Hurst, just after 22:30. We’ve made better time than we could have hoped and are tucked up in Yarmouth Harbour just after 23:00.
We’ll have to move to a new mooring in the morning, then an early ferry and train home. We’ll be back on Friday for the Taittinger!
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