8 August 2010

Down to Swanage 21nm (382 nm total)

Down to Poole after work. Quite a grey, drizzly evening. I off-loaded a mountain of superfluous stuff. I seemed very slow at the Raid last week and it may be due to the tons of junk on board. Then went out and anchored in the lee of Brownsea Island for the night. Set off early towards Swanage, trailing the ferry Contentin out of the harbour. It is the biggest ship coming in here now.

Down to Swanage for the first time this year. I had meant to go further, but the swell was high and the wind blustery so I just pulled in to Swanage and anchored off the beach. A couple on a Wharram cat called out "What a pretty boat." Their's was too, although I don't really fancy catamarans. Then the most almighty noise burst out as a beach side festival kicked into gear, with massive amplification. It must have been apalling on shore. I upped anchor and headed back towards Poole.

On the way I got a wonderfual display from the Red Arrows, who were clearly doing Swanage. They flew and spiralled for over half an hour. Really an impressive show. Then they moved on to Bournemouth. I carried on round Old Harry and sailed down to Studland. I dropped anchor just below the cliffs (and into half a ton of weed I discovered when I pulled it up).

I noticed one of the tourist boats, the  Solent Scene, was in behind Old Harry, which was unusual. It seemd to be hanging around there. Then over the VHF I heard them putting out a message to the Coastguards saying they had gone aground with 34 passengers on board. Three lifeboats were sent out and all of the passengers were moved to another trip boat by the Poole lifeboat. Then they put out a heavy kedge anchor and one of the lifeboats anchored alongside to wait for the tide to rise before they tried to heave it off. A huge crowd of small boats gathered around to watch.

After that I sailed back into the harbour and packed the boat away carefully as I may not be back down to her for a couple of weeks. One change I have made is to replace the the bottlescrew on the forestay with a lanyard. The screw kept coming loose and once the slack stay got caught up into jib when I furled it. I feel much happier with the lanyard. I can see if it is tight and it doesn't slacken off.

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