Trip on Lady Emma starting 2014-07-10 in BSAAug14
“Lady Emma” West Country Cruise. 10th to 18th July 2014 – report by Bob Buchanan
THURSDAY. We all met up on Lady Emma except David (he was joining us at Dartmouth) and had a meal on board ( coq-au- vin, thanks Caroline), before slipping our moorings at 18.00hrs for a nice evening sail in a S/E F3 over to Cowes yacht haven for the night. We moored up at 20.30hrs went into town for a drink, then back to the boat for an early night. £34.43 including electricity and harbour dues.
FRIDAY. We left Cowes at 10.00hrs to catch the west going tide. We were coming up to springs, and with a N/W F4 we shot through the Needles hitting 11.1kts. We had the main and no.1 genoa up. We then headed for a waypoint to clear St Albans ledge. It’s a few miles south of Anvil Point and keeps you out of the race that can get very lumpy if you stray into it. We then headed towards Lulworth Cove. The gunnery firing ranges along that part of the coast stop firing about 12.30hrs but we radioed in to them to confirm it, just to be on the safe side. We got to Lulworth Cove and dropped the anchor; there is no windlass on Lady Emma, and so we had to measure the chain out on deck then drop it by hand. There was only one other small yacht and a little cabin cruiser in the bay and it was very peaceful there that night, we had a few beers and a few bottles of wine that night then had a meal on board again (spaghetti bolognaise)
SATURDAY. We upped anchor at 09.45hrs, motored out of the bay and put the sails up. The wind was S/SW F2 and we headed for the East Shambles cardinal. My plan was to head south west frpm there to the southern tip of the Portland race, then go west towards Dartmouth. Colin, who has sailed and dived around Weymouth/Portland for many years said “let me take you on a different course where you can get a closer view and feel of the Portland race that you are ever likely to.” With that, we rounded the East Shambles cardinal, and then headed towards the tip of Portland. As we got closer, we could see calm water all the way to the tip of Portland, but to the south of it, we could see the white horses of the race. The calm water we were in started to become a little bit choppy, then Colin said this is as far as we go, let’s put a tack in. We put a tack in and Colin said to me, watch our speed go up from here. It went from 5kts as I first looked at my G.P.S to 10kts in next to no time. I saw 11.2kts but my G.P.S recorded 11.8kts. The sea on our port side was very calm, but on our starboard side, the side of the race, it was like watching a boiling saucepan, not the place you would like to be in, even on a very nice warm, sunny day, with light winds, like today. Past the southern tip of the race, we tacked, and headed towards Dartmouth. With the wind on our nose, we could only sail to a point north of Torquay. We put the engine on and motored the last miles into Dartmouth (spotting lots of dolphins on the way) we tied up to the town quay at 22.00hrs, went over to the yacht club, then back on board for a meal. The charge for a night’s stay on the jetty was £26.65, of which £9.75 is Dartmouth harbour dues. These dues are payable wherever you stay in Dartmouth.
SUNDAY. We left at 08.30hrs (you have to be off by 08.45hrs) and motored out of Dartmouth to do a bit of fishing. Kevin caught one mackerel; it was just about the size of his bait he was using, so he threw it back in. We gave up fishing, headed back into Dartmouth and radioed into Dart marina if we could have a berth for two nights. The marina manager said there was a berth that we could have, but the tide was running out very fast, so get to the entrance, have a look and see what you think. We got to the entrance and had a look. My first thought was, I am going to give this a miss, I had to keep the engine going at quite a few revs to stay parallel to the entrance. We radioed the marina manager to tell him, and he replied the berth available was the end one, and the tide was nowhere near as fast as it was at the entrance. And if we could come up to the end of the pontoon, throw him a line, he would cleat it on and the tide would do the rest, he had obviously done this many times before. We all agreed, so we put out fenders on our port side. We circled around and entered the marina keeping upstream as far as we could, with Colin calling out the distance to the pontoon, we stopped about two feet away, Colin passed the bow line to the marina manager(he didn’t have to throw it) he cleated it and we all sat there and did nothing. The tide slowly pushed the stern of the boat around parallel with the pontoon and the marina manager let out the bow line until we were exactly in position. With the boat tied up the first thing I had to do was to visit the launderette, in Lyme Bay we shipped a lot of water over the bows and the forepeak hatch was not shut properly, and a lot of water had leaked in. my sleeping bag was wet, also most of my clothes. I dried my sleeping bag out on the way over by hanging it from the spreaders, but the rest had to go to wash & dry. Caroline came and gave me a hand as I am useless at working washer/driers. After loading the washing machine it said it will take one hour to wash. Ok, let’s go to the Dart Marina hotel for a beer while it washes. After a couple of beers, Caroline said, better check your washing, we started to walk out of the hotel through the restaurant, when we were stopped by the waiter/manager. He said, can you leave by the bar exit as the hotel guests are having their breakfast, we said ok but keep your eye on our drinks as we will be back in ten minutes, we knew we looked in a bit of a state but not that bad. After taking my washing out of the washer and putting it in the dryer for an hour it was back to the hotel to finish our drinks and have some more. When it was time to get my washing, we were both a bit wobbly. I got my washing out and we both walked back to the boat. On the way back along the pontoon I said to Caroline, don’t drop my washing over the side as we will have to do this all over again. The rest of the day was spent in town with a visit again to the yacht club , and being joined by David; he arrived by the steam train from the other side of the river, got the ferry across, then walked up to the boat. That night we had another meal on board.
MONDAY. We had a lazy day, everyone doing their own thing; we all met in a pub just outside of the marina for a beer and snacks, we had oysters and a bowl of clams in a garlic sauce. Later, we all met up in the yacht club. That night we had another meal on board.
TUESDAY. We left Dartmouth at 08.30 hrs. and headed for Weymouth. It was light S/SW and we had full main and No1 genoa up. Later with the wind dropping we pulled down the genoa and put up the cruising chute. At 13.30 hrs. the wind had just about disappeared, so we had no option but to put the engine on. We took the longer outside passage around the shambles and berthed at the town quay at 21.00 hrs. We had a few drinks and another meal on board.
WEDNESDAY. We spent the day just lazing about and walking around Weymouth. That evening we were joined on Lady Emma by friends who live just over the bridge in a cottage up the hill. After a few drinks we all went out for a meal, our first meal ashore (it was to be our last one as well). Paddy and Lucy, our friends, recommended the Red Lion, back over the bridge. We all had a very good meal and we would also recommend it. We paid £65.00 for the two nights
THURSDAY. We left Weymouth at 10.15 hrs. for Yarmouth. We had an easterly F3 wind so had main and No1 genoa up. At 12.30 hrs. we were met by the firing range patrol, south of Lulworth. They asked us to go south and clear the coast by five miles. At five miles off, we changed course and headed to a waypoint that clears St Albans ledge. No sooner than we changed course the firing range patrol boat came on the radio to say the template(the area they fire into) had been reduced to one mile. About half an hour after that, they came back on the radio to say all firing was finished for the day. It was about two o’clock, and firing usually goes on until about five o’clock. At about 17.00 hrs. the wind had died down and we had to put the engine on. We got to Bridge at 21.00 hrs. and put our nav lights on. Behind us the sky was very black and we could hear thunder and see lightning. We entered Yarmouth quite quickly as the tide was running east at a good few knots and we didn’t want to berth against the pier. Inside the harbour was packed full, so we tried tying up to a yacht just past the fuel pontoon. By now the wind had picked up and the thunder and lightning was almost overhead. Somehow we could not get both bow and stern lines on so had to abandon it. The boat was now going in sideways between all the other boats. After a lot of shunts forward and reverse we managed to get the boats nose into the wind and back up to the entrance. We had a good look around and decided to moor on the fuel pontoon. We know you are not supposed to moor against it but there was no other place to berth, and also we were very low on fuel and we would be first in the queue in the morning. It was now half past ten so we decided to go over to the Bugle for a beer. We came back for a drink and some snacks then into our bunks.
FRIDAY. At half past midnight the wind had picked up a bit more, and the mooring lines were starting to snatch. Colin and Caroline were still awake, so we got our wet weather gear on and loosened off the lines, we also put another stern line on, just in case. We got back in our bunks and tried to go to sleep, David, in the forepeak was sound asleep, and Kevin was snoring his head off. Just as we were dozing off, a massive hail storm started and went on for about half an hour. When the storm passed we thought that’s it for the night we can get to sleep, but then we heard a lot of voices on the pontoon and the life boat start its engines. It went out and came back in at three in the morning, with more talking and shouting until all the lifeboat men had gone home. I said to Colin, that’s it for the night, nothing else can possibly happen. Well it didn’t for a whole half hour. There were a few loud bangs on our boat and someone calling out Lady Emma. Colin stuck his head out of the hatch to be met by the man from the fuel pontoon. He said that we could not moor there and we would have to leave. We explained that we were very low on fuel and had to have some and also there was nowhere else to go. He agreed with us but said that a tanker was due in at 06.00 hrs. so we would have to go by then, he also said he would be back then to make sure we did go. By now it was 04.00 hrs., Caroline said she would put the kettle on and make a cup of coffee for us, except for David and Kevin who were both still out for the count. We had a drink and just lay down on our bunks with most of our wet weather gear on, until 05.30 hrs. when a tap on the boat let us know the fuel pontoon man was back. We asked him if he could refuel us first, but said no, we would have to come back later when he opened. When asked what time he replied 09.00 hrs. We decided to leave Yarmouth and go to Cowes to refuel as we had the tide with us. We asked how much we had to pay for the night, and he said that he could not charge us as we were not supposed to moor there. We started the engine and motored out of the harbour. As we got out Kevin stuck his head out of the hatch and asked why we were leaving so early, we said just to catch the early tide. We asked him if he slept ok last night, fantastic, out like a light was his reply. With that, David poked his head up through the hatch and asked if anyone would like a cup of tea or coffee, he does not usually ask where we are going or what time we are leaving, he just does his own thing (well he is almost eighty). That night was the worst I have ever spent on a boat, ever. About halfway to Cowes the engine spluttered to a halt, we had run out of fuel. We pulled up the genoa to give us some steerage while Colin put some fuel in from one of the two spare cans. We got the engine going and motor sailed the rest of the way. We got into Cowes and onto the fuel pontoon about 09.00 hrs. The opening time was 10.00 hrs. But the man that runs it was there and he said he would open up and refuel us. We filled the tank and also the spare can, a total of 162 litres. We then crossed the river and tied up to a visitor’s pontoon. Colin, Caroline and I put our heads down for a few hours, while Kevin & David went fishing as they were not tired. We had a bite to eat before we left for Haslar at 13.00 hrs. We had a good sail over, cleaned the boat and filled the water tanks ready for the next crew.
We did 34 hours on engine and covered 268 NM.