In the Sandown Bay of the Isle of Wight we were well anchored when Mathias noticed that the bridle had come loose. In order to fix it back on, Mathias pulled some of the chain up again. When he was finished, we noticed that the anchor had slipped during the process. But at the new spot the water level was also deep enough, so we stayed. Now we were quite close to the shore, at low tide almost in the surf, you could see the surf very close to the ship. Next time we’ll rather anchor further out again….
After a day of rest the loose batten was successfully fastened and we started the trip around the Isle of Wight – through the Solent.
The trip through the Solent is a beautiful route, there is a lot to be seen. In addition it was the Cowes regatta week. So there were many sailboats out and about and we frequently drove through a regatta field. Mathias had lots of fun, as always 20-25 knots wind, beating against, 2 reefs in the mainsail + jib, tacking many times, ferries to avoid and always some other sailing boats in the way, topped by the passage past “The Needle”. Mathias excels with such challenges, I wasn’t allowed to disturb him ☺
Next stop Swanage Bay.
We spent another day at anchor in Swanage Bay. Protection from the strong wind was good and it was comfortable in the ship. If you stuck your head outside, you felt the drizzle and the wind.
In the afternoon it got really grey and it rained hard – this is no weather for summer! Even for English standards this was unusual. During our time in Cambridge we had so many beautiful summers. Well, the weather forecast announces improvement….
Next step was only a short distance (about 19 nm) to Portland. Portland Harbour is a whole bay that is shielded by breakwaters. The marina is located in the southern corner of the bay. Guest jetties are right at the entrance. We had registered by radio, so we knew where to go and were already expected. Since it was quite windy (25 knots) the help at the jetty was much appreciated. The mooring manoeuvre was good again, the next day it was more difficult. We were in a wide lane and wanted to go out driving backwards. The wind pressed the nose of the ship around and we had no other chance but to turn on the spot. Fortunately the ships form the opposite jetty had already left. So we had enough space. The bow thruster makes a loud noise and from the last ship still moored at the opposite jetty a sleepy crew member looked out of the hatch. He didn’t look very happy that we had turned past his ship in such a confined space. Always stayed about 1.5-2 m away from him.
The harbour area of Portland is run down. Many empty buildings, an unfinished apartment building ruin, the Jolly Sailor Pub is up for auction. One doesn’t want to know what it looks like from the inside. If you go further into the town, the houses and front gardens become prettier. The place is very hilly. Too many meters of altitude for me, I am used to sea level (and up to +5m on the mast steps), everything else is mountainous! Nevertheless we made it up hill to the church and the well-assorted Coop shop. Downhill was easier again – the shopping trolley pushed me. The shops here all had disordered boxes and bags in the shop windows, the sidewalks were extremely narrow, not a very pretty place, but there was a small theatre. We had stopped in Portland to fill the fresh water tank. Mathias had been busy during the trip setting up the water desalinator in order to test it before our stop in La Rochelle. So far it is not running successfully. Troubleshooting has started.
In the evening we took care of the faulty toilet in the guest’s hull, I spare the readers the nasty details. We had to deal with some highly unpleasant work for several days and all of this only because Neel did not install the seals on the supply and sewage pipes properly.
Although repetitions are not a good writing style, the wind came from the west, 25 kn, 2-3 m wave, and we were beating against it. On top of that there was the unfavourable current. Meanwhile it is spring time of the tide with accordingly strong currents. From Portland towards Torquay there was no other chance but sail against the current, otherwise we would have had to start during the night. We made a long swoop, which deviated from the actual course, in order to get back to our destination with a better angle to the wind when the direction of the current changed. It took us until 4 a.m. until we reached the Tor Bay and had the anchor down. We chose to anchor near Brixham. There were already some boats there. Only one of them had an anchor light on, the others were only visible when you were almost next to them. Nevertheless, anchoring in the dark worked quite well. A quiet night followed and – again a stylistic repetition – a repair and cleaning and washing day at anchor. ☺
We liked the bay and stayed one more day. My colleague Martina had contacted us. She is currently on holiday in southern England. She and her partner set off from Bristol to meet us in Brixham. They left after breakfast and I started to prepare the shore leave after breakfast. I packed my camera stuff, looked for waterproof bags, prepared the dinghy. Mathias tinkered. Around noon we had the dinghy in the water, when Mathias remembered that it might be a good idea to refill the tank. So I crawled into the garage again, put all the fenders out of the way and conjured up a canister of fuel. We arrived on shore just in time. But our friends weren’t there yet, traffic and looking for parking spaces still takes longer than getting the Dinghy ready.☺
Brixham was not at all the sleepy little harbour town that one had expected according to the map and the view from the water. The streets were full of holidaymakers. In the harbour area there are a lot of cafes and restaurants. The main shopping street has all kinds of shops not only the usual charity shops. We stocked up on fruit and bread. Thanks to mobile phones Martina managed to find us in the crowd. We had a nice afternoon together and went out to the boat together. With a very speedy dinghy ride.
The next day actually brought a change in the weather! Wind is still blowing against us, but with only 8-12 knots: Full sails up and the sea is calm. Enjoying the ride……
Some additional thoughts: When I went into a shop, I thought: “Oh, now the “looking for words” starts again, French, Dutch?”. But then it occurred to me that we are in England and I can just chatter away (even my German accent will be understood). Not only that, it’s also all “lovely” and “jolly good” – It’s nice to be here again. ☺
Update of the story of our ship papers: The originals of the papers have been sent to the old address in Alvesen, despite repeated reports of the new address. But they never arrived there. Meanwhile the lawyer has requested new ones and personally put them in our mailbox in Hamburg. (Honestly, I don’t think that up!) Only the documents of the Federal Network Agency are still missing, so far we only have provisional ones…..