Itchenor to Brighton, England: a cold, windy delivery trip    
Europe 2005


Depart Brighton 12th July 2005


12th - 13th July 2005
Cowes 13th - 14th July 2005
Yarmouth 14th - 15th July 2005
Dartmouth 15th - 22nd July 2005
Falmouth 22nd - 31st July 2005

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21st July 2005: Brighton to Dartmouth

It is now one week since our departure from Brighton and the beginning of our trip. Our time has been spent failing, winning, having fun, getting frustrated, but most of all learning.

On Tuesday morning before leaving we wandered around the marina at Brighton expecting to feel something deep and spiritual at this significant moment; the beginning of our voyage. If fact it felt like walking around the marina - we cut it short and got started. We left around 1000 and had an uneventful passage in light winds to Gosport near Portsmouth. Wednesday morning it was very warm and we worked on the boat while waiting for North Sails to do some adjustments to the new sails.

Around 1400 we left for Yarmouth in light winds but before long we were motoring into quite a breeze. The engine began to overheat and stopped at Cowes to fix the problem. The following day we waited for a fair tide and set off for Poole. It was another hot day and as we passed the moorings outside Yarmouth we couldn't resist stopping and relaxing for a few hours. It was a lovely spot and we decided to stay for the night. Friday morning we rose at 0400 and swept out of the Solent on a fair tide and into the dawn. Light westerly winds forced us to motor most of the way and I had to solve a charging problem as we went but we had a glorious sail for the last six hours into the sunset. Nat cooked food to be ready for our arrival at 2100 and, as we ate black bean chilli, chips and rice, we felt pretty pleased with ourselves.

Saturday we stayed in a marina for a few hours while we had a shower and got some provisions then motored up river to anchor just south of Dittisham. This was our first time using the anchor and we felt we deserved our beer once it was set. Sunday we just relaxed then went ashore in the dinghy to have a pint. Everything seemed to be under control.... Monday morning reality hit.

We woke at 0530 to check the forecast - while we had relaxed a depression had formed and breezy conditions were forecast for the next few days. Emerging from the boat at 0800 we realised to our horror that the change in wind direction and strength had dragged our anchor over a steep ledge and the boat was now slipping downstream. We grabbed some clothes and motored the boat out of trouble. After showering and eating ashore in Dartmouth we came back to try anchoring again and came to the conclusion that the anchorage was untenable. Unfortunately all the good places to anchor had been filled with moorings so we gave up and picked up a mooring (5 per night to anchor, 10 per night to moor). Tuesday and Wednesday we decided to get off the boat and went for great walks along deserted footpaths - River Dart Trail, South Devon Coastal Path, Grove Woods. Thursday, with stiff legs, we left our mooring and went to Dartmouth for water and provisions and to get ready for our planned passage to Falmouth the next day.

Leaving Gosport

The sun sets on our way to Dartmouth

Commisionning 'Dude the Dinghy' on the River Dart

22nd - 29th July 2005: Falmouth

We left Dartmouth early Friday and motored/sailed in light winds to Helford River arriving just before dark to find the place jammed with boats. We managed to find a spare mooring and relaxed with a glass of wine. Once my favourite spot, this pretty, quiet river is now full of moorings and looks like a boat parking area. Although the number of boats cruising seems similar to five or ten years ago, everywhere along the south coast of England is simply jammed full of permanently moored or berthed boats.

Saturday we moved early to Falmouth (only a few miles) and managed to persuade the full marina to give us a proper berth so we could work on the boat. Shortly after our arrival at Falmouth the rain started and continued with only brief pause for the next week.

During this time we worked on the engine and water maker, and completed lots of paperwork. Dad arrived on Sunday evening and left on Thurs helping us greatly. The high point of the week was a chance for the three of us to get off the boat and relax during a visit to the Eden Project on Wednesday.

Today is Friday again and the weather seems much improved. We plan to study the weather and leave tomorrow or as soon as the weather looks suitable for La Coruna in NW Spain. This is our first big passage and signifies the true beginning of our trip.

Eden Project, Cornwall

Mark and his Dad John at the Eden Project


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