24 May 2010

Long weekend in the sunshine, at last. 56nm (105.5nm total)

Daisy Grace sailing herself off Handfast Point, May 23, 2010.

We had the best weekend of the year so far, so I spent two nights on board and took an old friend out for a sail on Saturday. On Friday evening I sailed up the Trent River to Wareham, stopping off there at the top of the tide for a quick drink in the pub. The river winds about 3 miles from the mouth to Wareham, through glorious reed beds and past endless rows of moored boats. Wareham is a delight. One of the few public quays where you can just tie up and stay. No charges and you are directly alongside the market place, with good pubs and restaurants overlooking the quay. Not for deep keels but ideal for Swallows. I anchored overnight back down in the Harbour in the Wareham Channel, surrounded by swans.

In the morning sailed back to my mooring to pick up an old sailing friend to show him my boat. After lunch we sailed out through the harbour mouth into Poole Bay. First time out this year. Light winds heading us and a foul tide, so we didn't get far, but sailed around to Old Harry Rocks, out to an anchored ship and then back into the Harbour. After dinner at the Life Boat College, I got back on board and motored in a flat calm out to Redhorn Quay and anchored there for a second night. I used battery powered navigation lights for the first time as it was getting quite dark. I felt very brave. The night was not peaceful, there was a very loud wedding reception going on on Sandbanks, and they clearly wanted to share their appalling choice of music with the whole of Dorset.
Sunday morning was wonderfully sunny. The previous dawn had been thick fog, with nothing visible bar the swans. After a fattening breakfast (cooked on a flat fender laid across the cockpit, these fenders really are versatile) I sailed back out to sea. As the video above shows, I hope, she is extraordinarily well balanced.

Sailing on the wind, I lashed the tiller and then sailed for about two miles without touching it. A just made a couple of corrections around obstructions by pulling in the mizzen and then letting it out again. By the end of the day I was sailing as a matter of course by jamming the tiller and letting her get on with it by herself. Not so sure downwind, but across and into the wind she just sails on a rail. I was going to sail down to Swanage and beyond, as the tide was in my favour, but the wind died and I didn't want to motor, so I drifted onto a beach and went for a walk. Before I beached I had a very cloes range view of a gannet fishing. Just a single bird (I have never seen one off Poole before) which circled my boat as it dive bombed fish below. A beautiful creature.
Then finally I motored back into the harbour in a flat calm. I bought the boat for weekends like this.

Sadly, half the population was sharing teh coast with me, so it took me hours to drive home through the traffic.


  1. Andrew Bristow24 May 2010 at 19:50

    Julian. Great work on the blog. Always good fun to read. I definitely like the look of Wareham town quay. That's perfectly positioned to the pub!

    My BC20 is still being loving crafted by Matt and his crew. I have mentioned this is prime sailing time but he claims you can't rush craftsmen ! Who am I to disagree, but I'm definitely looking forward to getting her in the water.

    Anyway I'm planning on being down in The Solent during the English Raid which I think you are both participating in, so it is very likely I will see you during the weekend at some point (hopefully waving to you from my boat).

    All the best

    Andrew Bristow

  2. I saw a BayRaider for the first time in Poole on Saturday, but I never found out who it was. You'll love your boat when you get her. Wareham is worth a visit. Last time I was there two years ago I tied up alongside a smallish sailing cruiser. I told the skipper I had just come from Rockley, about three miles away. He replied he had come single handed directly from Brittany. I felt a bit feeble.

  3. Fantastic... isn't that the kind of weekend we all bought our boats for - I certainly did!

    Very jealous, my little 19 foot'er is currently ashore waiting for a mast replacement... :o(

  4. Nice looking boat Pops!