Brixham is another of those places we have never visited and is something we hope will be different from just another marina. There are precious few safe harbours in Lyme Bay and we set off up the east side of Portland with a light NW…looks promising for a reasonable sail across the bay. We debate the passage round Portland. The pilot books and chart warn of the dangers of the race round the Bill and convention for first timers is to go at least 3 miles out before turning west. There is an inside passage very close in (around 50m or so) which is Ok in fine weather and visibility. We have around 6 other boats around us and it almost seems as if we are all waiting to see what the others do and what happens.
In the end we make the decision to take the inside route and follow another yacht and a small fishing boat close inshore, almost within spitting distance of the rocks.
Others follow us! There is certainly heavy breaking water outside us and we are glad for the company. …and soon enough we are round…
Out across the bay and the wind turns once more to the west (of course). In a steady F3 or 4 we make two big tacks across the bay. The red cliffs of Devon shine brightly in the afternoon sun and then disappear. A huge cloud with rain approaches and we can sea the sea being whipped up into frothy peaks.
We hold on tight and then the squall hits. The wind shifts through over 900 and gusts at over 30kt…F7. The boat is over canvassed and we douse the genoa but leave the main alone for now, not wanting to risk a bucking deck.
Almost as quickly as it came….it went! We are back on course for Brixham in sunshine and a wind so light we need the motor. With about a mile to go this time we are ready…another squall hits and we use the motor to take the sting out of the wind by rounding up. On the final approach we drop the main and motor gently into the harbour as if nothing had happened.
Folk are on the prom eating ice creams and wandering about in T-shirts while we are now sweltering in full wet weather gear. We avoid the marina and instead opt for the harbourmaster’s pontoon (at half the price) and moor alongside a lovely old Brixham trawler…and set off to explore the town.
It is a bit like Scarborough in some ways…a bit touristy among a still working fishing port and redolent of earlier times. After a couple of pints in the pub, we wander out to watch the town brass band and a male voice choir doing some passable renditions of old WW1 favourites…and some Queen (the Freddie M type not HRH)!