Thursday, 21 June 2012

Bound for Poole

Yarmouth in the morning sun

The rain overnight had cleared. It was time to be on our way.  At 09:30 on the following morning, we set sail for Poole. The sun was shining and the wind was from the South West, directly up the Needles Channel.  The forecast was that it would back to South later on.

Leaving Yarmouth (and it's ferry) in the morning sunshineRather than tack in this tideway, we motor sailed out, disdaining the coastal channel to slide past all the gravel grounds on the West of the Channel to the last buoy in the sequence. I thought this would put me in a good position for a long tack to Poole entrance. I was in the company of several other yachts, (well, being overtaken really) and they all tacked off to Port, making for Cherbourg or the Channel Islands. For a moment I was tempted but sense prevailed and we turned to starboard and flew along at 6 knots (speed over the ground) due West.

Leaving the Needles astern

 So we left the Needles astern.

You can tell when Vagabond is flying along; her wake chuckles with delight. It was a glorious morning. The sun shone on the Needles and the cliffs to the south of the IOW. A flight of Guillemots swooped over the bow, flying low in company with us.  They remind me a bit of puffins, their flight seems a triumph of optimism over poor aerodynamics. A lone Gannet plunged gracefully (but, as always looking a bit disjointed on entry) into  the sea off the starboard bow and emerged with a fish struggling in its gullet.
Away in the distance we could see the beach huts at Mudiford (one sold for more than £140,000 this week - good views, no services) and then Christchurch and the houses and flats of Bournemouth.
We hove to for lunch and then resumed out Westward progress. By about 3pm, we had to tack once, to bring us south to the entrance to the Poole Channel.

We suddenly met traffic - a fast Ferry and a lovely old timer.

Here I made a mistake. As the wind seemed to have shifted to blowing up the channel, I dropped the main and drifted up the channel on the minute jib. It took forever and the tide had turned so that Poole harbour was starting to flow out through the narrow channel at Sandbanks. The b++++y chain ferry messed me up too, I had to do a full turn to avoid it and it’s chains. On came Freddy and he pushed us up against the tide to the Town Key Marina. We were both a bit exhausted by the time we reached it and I grabbed the first pontoon I could find. I was asked to move immediately, for a large, brand new, motor yacht had earmarked the pontoon and was even now manoeuvring into it from the shipyard some small distance away.
I looked round and realised that the posh Ferry was really this motor yacht. £11 million to purchase (as I found out later) and burning 1000 litres* of diesel an hour.
And I think my domestic heating bill is high!

Vagabond was allocated a much more menial berth that was quite tricky to get into. Once Vagabond was secure I went off to forage for food and find out where I could buy some petrol. Portland beckons.

* For my trans Atlantic readers, 100 litres is about 250 gal (US)

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