Cruise to Portland and Poole (25-28 June 2009)

Thursday 25 June 2009

We assembled on Bagadeus, a 34 ft Bavaria, at Hamble Point Marina by 1900. Dinner in Ketch and Rigger where the Ketch Burger won the popularity stakes. Little wind forecast for the days ahead. We agreed on objectives – namely Portland and Poole – and an outline plan for the weekend.  The state of the tides meant that we needed to arrive at the Needles at around mid-day, and providing we had made sufficient progress by late afternoon we would press on to a new marina in Portland Harbour for the night and the make for Poole the following day.

Friday 26 June

After light breakfast we slipped from berth I2, raised our mainsail and motored out of the Hamble.  We headed west along the north of the Solent to minimise the effect of the still rising tide.

Once we were through Hurst Point Narrows and clear of the Needles the wind become more favourable and we made good progress in the direction of St Albans Head.

After negotiating the overfalls around the headland we dispensed with the Genny and motor-sailed towards Portland. We had Lasagne for supper while on the move. We neared Lulworth as the sun was setting and we entered fog so the approach to Portland was done with the assistance of RADAR and GPS.  Once within the harbour wall, the challenge was then to find the new marina which was not accurately shown on the charts or the chart plotter. This turned out to be more difficult due to missing bouys, but by 2250 we were alongside ‘N’ hammerhead in Portland Marina.  We found excellent facilities in the marina which is being readied for the 2012 Olympics.

Saturday 27 June

Next morning we were all up at 0730 for breakfast – bacon and eggs and fried bread for all. The fog had made way for brilliant sunshine and a light breeze.  Our initial destination was Lulworth Cove where we anchored amongst a small number of other boats for a morning snack. lulworth panoramic 2008 We left Lulworth and soon entered fog again. We had sandwiches again on the move.  The fog cleared in time for the overfalls around St Albans Head and we then enjoyed the spectacular cliffs leading to Old Harry’s Rocks and Studland Bay before entering Poole Harbour.  Unfortunately the Town Quay Marina was full so we had booked a berth at Cobbs Quay which is 30 minutes beyond the Swing Bridge in the town.  This only opens for about 15 minutes every 2 hours except for commercial traffic.  Approaching Cobbs Quay, the charted depth reduces to about 0.4m; however, we made it through with a minimum of at least 1.5m below the keel.  In the evening we wandered into Poole town centre and enjoyed a good meal at a pub on the Town Quay.

Sunday 28 June

A 0500 departure from Cobbs Quay was called for to ensure adequate water in the river and to catch the bridge opening at 0530.   By 0630 we were clear of the harbour and entering fog for the third time. Breakfast was very traditional – sausages, tomatoes and scrambled eggs for all. Sausages and tomatoes were baked on a tray at top of the Bavaria oven (no grill). Attempted to make toast on the tray below – but directly above burner burnt the bread straight away and elsewhere it was not quite hot enough to toast the bread properly. The fog eventually cleared as we approached Christchurch.  We sailed close-hauled past the Needles, through Hurst Point Narrows and up the Solent towards Cowes.  We then anchored in Osborne Bay for Lunch before returning across East Knoll to the Hamble for refuelling and cleaning.All in all, it was a very enjoyable cruise in which we achieved all our objectives, we saw some of the most picturesque coastline on the South Coast, we all learnt lots and most importantly of all: we all returned safely.  Thanks to Andy and the rest of the crew for what turned out to be an excellent weekends sailing and good preparation for our forthcoming charter in the Ionian.James and Thomas Savage

29 June 2009