Wednesday 15 June

So, the first day of our little June cruise to Devon. The plan is to get to Plymouth on Friday so that we can have a look round the Green Boat Show. In the early stages of planning, it looked as though there would be something other than unremitting sou’westers. Sadly, things have changed and while we don’t have F4 on the nose, we have some very variable light airs. We catch the first of the ebb out of Lymington around 1pm and get shot out through the Hurst Narrows like a cork out of a bottle.

The Needles and the light and Alum Bay are always glorious even though we have seen them a zillion times and then we catch the first of the afternoon sea breeze.

The sails fill and we switch off the old lump of iron which we carry around and just enjoy the silence except for the chuckle of water gently running alongside.

Our favourite lunch-on-the-go of avocado sandwich with lots of salt, pepper and olive oil sets us up for the next few hours…and some cake!

The Dorset coastline and headlands pass by with no sign of the overfalls or breaking water which can often be found close in. The sun lights up Old Harry Rocks and it is easy to forget how unforgiving this stretch of coast can be. We even disturb a big flock of gulls diving on a shoal of fish for their tea…

Anvil point, St Aldhelms Head mark the last of the ebb, and by the time Lulworth is abeam we are plugging the first of the flood…and the sea breeze gives up the ghost (almost). There is nothing for it but to make the iron work for its living and we motor-sail the rest of the way.

During covid, Weymouth Bay was littered with anchored cruise ships with nowhere to go and no one to take. Now there is just one gas tanker and a small coaster lying offshore. Portland, with its distinctive shape and slope to the south, looms ever larger with its decaying prison, decaying naval port remains and a few rusty ships.

A very incongruously smart and fat cruise ship sets out in the early evening (not entirely sure what the passengers make of being taken to a prison/immigration detention centre) as John serves up dinner…not quite what the cruise guests are having, but I bet we enjoy it more!

Portland in the evening and it is still light as we anchor peacefully at 9pm…the joys of June sailing with the long daylight hours.

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