Due to a spot of bother with diesel bug off Lands End a year ago, we so never made it to the Scillies on the tour round the UK. This year we are trying again and also hope to include a few of the harbours in the South West which we have not been into before.
The summer so far has been hot and sunny with plenty of easterlies to drive us westwards. We haven’t been able to go earlier due to a combination of other events including poor family planning by daughters who give both Chris and John as well as Yee Tak and James beautiful granddaughters, as well as previously booked holidays and nephew’s exams etc… Our trip is broadly planned for around the 7th to 28th August or so and true to form, the weather finally breaks on the preceding weekend. Wind in the traditional SW and some general nastiness create some initial doubts, but we are made of sterner stuff and have done Orkney so what could go wrong?
Tuesday is leaving day but as we motor down the Lymington river the boat is sluggish and wont go above about 1500 revs compared to the usual max of 2500. We try the usual tricks of going forward and astern to remove what we suppose is a piece of rope or plastic, but without success. We debate the options of drying out to see what the problem is, but end up booking a lift out at the marina as they can squeeze us in and we can hopefully get going the next day. While we are waiting we change the diesel filters just in case the dreaded bug is back, but all seems fine so far….touch wood.
As Heydays is lifted out, the problem is clear…we have some incredibly severe fouling on the propeller.
The yard get as much slime and grunge off Heydays as possible with the power washer, then after that it is scrapers and wire brushes to get the prop shiny and new again. As always there is lots of divided opinion about what to do with props. Some swear by propspeed (as did we) but at £150 a pop (prop!) for a coating that lasts just two years its seems on the excessive side…and no-one locally has it anyway. Others recommend lanolin, but we are fresh out of local greasy sheep and so we opt for the simplest…shine it up and then dry out a couple of times a season to shine again.
Back in the water and £150 worse off, Heydays scoots along at 6 knots with just 1500 revs and a top speed over 7.
Another pub meal (in John and Chris’s local, The Smugglers in Milford on Sea) and we resolve to make an early start in the morning.
Wednesday 8th August…Lymington to Weymouth
Oddly, given its proximity, none of us has ever sailed into Weymouth. We slip our lines in Lymington to catch the morning tide west and motor off down river into a gloomy sky with a light SW wind. By the time we are abeam of the Shingles bank there is a steady drizzle and we motor sail with just a main to supplement a very flukey wind and to give us a reasonable course in a vaguely westerly direction. By mid-morning however, the sun is out and there is a bit more wind, albeit still on the nose. We tack in towards Swanage and then by midday we have a good stiff F4 or 5. We tack out past Old Harry Rocks and St Albans with a couple of reefs in the main and a reduced genny. We follow the wind shifts past Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove and gradually start to believe once more that the huge lump of Portland really is joined to the mainland!
We close the shore and the fading grandeur of Weymouth and the promenade are left astern and we head for the new Weymouth Eye which sits uncomfortably close to the fine old bandstand…
Weymouth is rammed both on the water and ashore but the harbour crew are incredibly helpful (if slightly disorganised). We moor up next to the funfair on the quay and soon another boat rafts up next to us with a couple of seemingly inexperienced sailors. We get all our lines eventually snug and sorted…and then another boat comes in. It turns out they want to stay for two days, while we will be making an earlyish start and so once more we untie all our lines and dutifully trundle up and down the rive while they get sorted. Eventually the three boats are in the right order of leaving and we settle in for an evening in Weymouth. Weymouth round the harbour and away from the usual chains in the high street is charming. The old tramway in the road to the old ferry and cargo dock is still there and useable, but with the ferries all gone it is just another sad reminder of what Weymouth once was …or perhaps still could be. The crowds don’t suit us however and John is shouted at for not jumping into the road while two ladies and a man with pushchair take up the whole pavement… Dinner however with our friends Nigel and Sue who have come down to say hello, is lovely at a great fish restaurant called les Enfants Terrible. John gets shouted at again, but this time it is a friend (Connor) who is moored up on a boat a short distance away. After some wine and the odd rum back on board, even the funfair doesn’t stop us sleeping.