Wednesday, 23 July 2014


SV Passat II - Postcard From Portland, UK

Happy Canada Day!

Our Canada Day was an exercise in futility.

This was supposed to be the day we traveled from Portland to Poole.  We awoke to a brisk breeze (10 kts building to 15, with gusts to 20 as the day progressed), but it was on the nose.  The current on the East side of the Bay was favorable so we tacked back and forth, along the coast, for most of the morning.

At mid day it was obvious that we would not make St Alban's Head before the turn of the tide at about 2 pm.  This headland has a wicked current and races that extend out for 5 miles, so getting there at the right time is critical.  So we started the Iron Genny and motor sailed along the coast.  As we reached Lulworth Cove we were approached by a "Range Safety" boat.  They advised that the firing range just ahead was active.  We had to turn and go 3.5 miles off the shore to avoid "friendly fire".  We opted to anchor at Lulworth Cove.  The cove is tiny and has a narrow entrance.  As we came close we noted one boat already at anchor and the wind against current 4 ft seas would be on the beam as we entered.  That and the cruising guide notice that the anchorage was unsuitable if the winds shifted south convinced us to move on.

We motor sailed out the 3.5 miles and set a course to round St Alban's Head.  We were now going straight into the wind and steep 4 to 6 ft seas.  Progress eventually slowed to less then 1 kt.  Did the math, no way to make the turn of the current.  Headed back to Portland.  What took us 8 hours outbound, took 2 hours inbound, as we surfed our way downwind at 7 to 8 kts.

Anchored in the outer harbour, had a stiff drink.

On a positive note we did get to sail most of the day.

Wishing you all fair winds and calm seas.

At 02/07/2014 05:19 (utc) our position was 50°35.39'N 002°27.48'W

SV Passat II - Postcard - Poole, UK

We had a great passage from Portland to Poole, with speeds up to 9 knots in favorable current.

Anchored off Brownsea Island.  Had a great walk around the Island.  Reminded us of Sidney Island, with the remains of a tiny village and Pottery Factory (rather then the brick factory on Sidney).  As at Sidney Island the main surviving structure is the dock.

In addition, Brownsea Island has a castle, a church and a surviving village.  To top it off, it is the site of the first Scout camp, which was one of the reasons we stopped here.  There is a monument at the site and a modern Scout camping area nearby.

Next up is Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight.

Wishing you fair winds and calm seas.

At 03/07/2014 06:46 (utc) our position was 50°41.79'N 001°59.16'W


SV Passat II - Postcard From Yarmouth, UK

 Happy Independence Day to all our American friends.

WOW what a day on the water, yesterday!

We had SW winds and an easterly current.  We flew along the rhum line averaging over 8 kts from the entrance of Poole Harbour to the Needles Channel, off the Isle of White.

Now the Needles Channel is an "interesting" piece of water.  Narrow (1/2 to 1 nm wide), with the "Shingles" shallows on port creating "Breakers" and the rocks of the "Needles" to starboard.  With the turn into the channel we were down wind, the wind dropped as we entered the lee of the Isle.  We shared this space with no less then a dozen sailboats, one freighter, several power boats and two fishing charter boats camped at the choke point.  All the sail boats were jibing there way back and forth.  We barely maintained steerage through the water, but the current carried us forward at 5 to 6 kts.  We reduced sail to just the main to make it easier to manage the constant jibing.  No reduction in speed.  In fact we were keeping pace with some 65 footers, with full crew, racing alongside us.  I guess our full keel was doing all the work, with the current acting as our propellant.

The skies were blue the sun was warm.  Other then the freighter squeezing us closer to "Warden Ledge" race than we would have liked it was the most fun on  the water I have had in a long time.  Not so much for Sandra.  She expressed a decided preference to the boredom of an off shore passage.

We picked up an outer mooring buoy in Yarmouth and treated ourselves to a great late pub lunch curried pork.

Shortly we slip the mooring and head for Portsmouth.

All is well with us and we hope with you.

Wishing you fair winds and calm seas.

At 04/07/2014 06:37 (utc) our position was 50°42.53'N 001°30.35'W

SV Passat II - Postcard From Portsmouth, UK

 Portland; 12 hour; Iceland Low slowly SE; 7 later to 8 SW; Moderate; 998 Falling Quickly; Change.

Sounds like a code out of a Bond movie, but it is a British marine weather report.

This one means:  Portland Area.  There is a low off Iceland moving SE at less then 15 kts; Winds/Seas Beaufort Scale 7 going to 8 within 12 hours (Near Gale to Gale within 12 hours)wind 28 going to 40 Seas 4 going to 8 ft from SW; Visibility 2 to 5 miles; Air pressure 998 and falling at 3.6 to 6 hPa/hr; Barometer indicates "Change".

It took us a long time to understand, even with the help of our Cruising guides and the notes provided on the back of our Imray Charts.  It is like learning a new language.

Speaking of language.  Apparently it is us who have an accent and unusual idioms.  What's with that, eh?

We had a great sail from Yarmouth to Portsmouth, downwind in 10 to 15 kts of wind and with 2 to 3 kts of favorable current.  We put out just the foresail and were making about 5 kts.  We passed a Hunter 36 with the same sail configuration and only boats flying spinnakers passed us.  Passat II seems to do well in these conditions.

Here Sail boats outnumber Power boats on the water by about 15 to 1 (Power boats are fewer and seem to stay on the dock).  In Canada I'd say the sail to power boat ratio on the water is close to 1 to 1 and in the US (particularly Florida) there are 2 to 3 Power boats on the water for for every sail boat.  This may be due to fuel prices, but I think it is also a cultural thing.  I am sure there is a Sociologist (or even Psychologist) that could make a life's work out of this, given adequate government funding.

The British actually sail their boats.  We see them sailing in conditions that would have Americans and Canadians turning on the "Iron Jenny".  Again, economics or culture???

Lastly, the boats here are, on average smaller.  Passat II has moved from the "runt" of the litter to slightly above average in length and definitely bigger than average in weight.

Made it safely to the marina before the wind and rain arrived.

Will be tied to the dock for the next 3 days as we visit the sites with son James and daughter (in law) Maria.  We are very much looking forward to seeing them.

Also, hope to find time to update the blog.

Wishing you all fair winds and calm seas.

At 05/07/2014 05:24 (utc) our position was 50°47.52'N 001°07.06'W

SV Passat II - Postcard from Eastbourne, UK

 We had a great time in Portsmouth and Brighton and arrived here in Eastboure last night.

Portsmouth has the greatest naval museums I have ever seen.  We took in Victory (Nelson's ship), Mary Rose (King Henry VIII warship) Warrior (the first iron hulled sailing battleship, with steam auxiliary power), the first British sub and a WWII sub and more.

In Brighton I discovered that you can get propane in England (but not Europe).  It is called "Calor Gas".  You rent the bottle and exchange your empty one for full ones at suppliers throughout the UK.  The fittings look the same as the NA fittings, but are not.  So we spent most of one day tracking down a source for an adaptor.  Mission accomplished.  We can now keep supplied with propane while in the UK.  We also got the fittings to convert to "Camping Gaz" which is available in most of Europe.  Camping Gaz is not good in cold weather as it does not vaporize in low temperatures.  We decided to stick with propane for now as we are wintering in the UK.

Our trip from Brighton to Eastboure yesterday was the wettest and coolest so far.  In fact it got down to 12 C last night.

Today is rainy and cool so we are taking it easy.

All is well with us and we hope with you.

wishing you all fair winds and calm seas.

At 11/07/2014 09:17 (utc) our position was 50°47.50'N 000°19.56'E

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