Portishead to Portland

By Stu Phipps, PCC Cruising Captain

After a fun bank holiday cruise in company up to the Severn bridges, it was time to move my boat, Segeta from Portishead to Portland.

Leaving Portishead, Martin and I had a brisk South Westerly on the nose and fairly lively conditions until we got to Ilfracombe later that evening. Overnight, the wind disappeared and we motor sailed. As the daylight returned we enjoyed sunshine all the way down the Cornish coast until Lands End which we reached in the late afternoon. Perhaps this was our reward to see the chimney’s at St Just in full sunshine after our ‘spicy’ start leaving the upper reaches of the Bristol Channel!

Rounding Lands End, we spotted fellow PCC members who had left Padstow earlier in the day and were heading just round the corner to Newlyn. Our course though was to continue to Portland and so we set about organising our overnight watch shifts. After a few hours without much breeze it soon filled in so we turned the engine off and sailed our course.

During Martin’s watch he thought he was seeing things on the AIS but in fact we were in the middle of a French yacht race with approximately 14 boats heading for us and the bobbing green and red navigation lights were headed in our direction. We were well clear of them but gave them a wave as we continued on our way.

The following morning and we were just off Dartmouth and the wind filled in on our stern quarter. This meant we could power across the significant distance of Lyme Bay and make the tidal gate around Portland Bill at 16h00. As we approached I thought we were close enough to the land for the inner route but as the tide was running fast we drifted into the edge of the race for 5 minutes. This was enough of a nudge to ensure that next time I’ll get even closer as we experienced 6 – 8 feet waves which were extremely confused!

After a successful rounding, we headed into the Boatfolk Portland Marina and were allocated a visitors berth for the evening. As ever, the staff at Portland, a sister facility to Portishead, were very helpful and came to meet us. We’d radioed them and explained we were sailing short handed and very tired having been going for 49 hours. Of more concern was the strong wind coming off Chisel Beach into the marina which made berth hunting much harder. All tied up we headed to Portland and found a local pub which although not serving food, allowed us to bring back a Chinese takeaway to enjoy with a well deserved pint. A good end to our trip!

Portland Bill. Source: Wikipedia, By Simaron.
Posted in Cruising Story, PCC News.