ChrisGFandango's trip to the Med

N 50° 48' W 00° 49'

Weymouth to Chichester

July 04, 2010

A disturbed nights sleep was had, due to the Cougar sea cat moored at the ferry terminal behind us, their generators ran all night with a low rumble. Being deaf is sometimes an advantage and i slept soundly, Chris on the other hand had slept badly and awoke somewhat jaded.

If you are contemplating a visit to Weymouth my serious advice would be to avoid the area near to the ferry terminal. Avery nice place to visit was spoiled by the noise from the ferry.

We departed quietly at 7am and made our way through the moored tankers anchored in the bay, the wind was SW at 10 knots but we had a strong tide with us and our progress was respectable.

We had been advised by the very helpful harbourmaster to avoid the Lulworth Cove firing range so we made for Lat 50-30-00N long 02-12-12W which took us outside the range and on a favourable course to St Cathrine’s point on the outside of the Isle of Wight, we had chosen this option as it eliminates the need to meet the tidal requirements of the Solent on the inside of the Isle of Wight.

We again made good progress and soon past The Needles light house which was visible in the distance as we past the most westerly part of the island.

As we past St Catherines point I had retired for my nap when Chris called me on deck to advise me that we had hit a fog bank and were now in another ‘Pea Souper’ 

Both on deck straining to hear approaching craft, it was my opportunity for the first time to use our radar in anger, I split screened the chart-plotter so that both our course and radar could be used together we finally emerged from the fog near to Shanklin.

Our course continued around The Island, and again we were met with more fog at the top end of the island, this time I was concerned as we had seen some tankers maneuvering off Portsmouth prior to the fog reducing our visibility. However my concerns were unfounded. As we entered the Solent the fog lifted and we set a course to ensure we avoided the tankers.

As we passed into the Solent we saw the Brittany Ferry cruise ship enter the Solent.

We made way towards Nab Tower which was our waypoint for Chichester, a strong southerly wind caused a very bumpy ride into Chichester, being used to the bar at Porthmadog was something of a hint of this entry, but for about 1/2 hr we battled the deep waves through the shallow channel  and finally found settled water as we made our way up this very picturesque estuary, through a plethora of expensive yachts moored in the various anchorages. A very long river we finally arrived at Itchiner, where we called the lock-keeper for permission to enter the lock into Chichester Marina.

The approaching low tide posed a problem on our final approach to the marina getting stuck at its entrance we retried and after following the lock keepers direction more accurately and with a 10th. meter clearance we finally entered the lock.

A very large but picturesque marina, we were directed to Pontoon A50 a large pontoon Fandango looked small.

The wildlife here is varied and interesting, a family of shell ducks and a swan with 3 signets made their way across the mud flats outside the Marina.

In the marina Sea terns follow craft as they exit the lock picking small fish from their wake. A black swan visited us on our pontoon, with red beak and jet black feathers she was an unusual sight.

We are here until next Thursday awaiting the fittting of our bimini and the recutting of our sprayhood, so there is nothing else to do but to enjoy this wonderful area. Ah Well!!! ! 

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N 50° 48' W 00° 49'

Brixham to Weymouth

July 03, 2010

Leaving Brixham at a respectable 8am we set a course past Berry Head for Weymouth. The wind was southerly as we ran between the moored tankers in the bay and out to sea.

Conscious of the need to be at Portland Bill for 1330hrs to catch the low tide around this infamous area, we pushed on with the engine running at 1500 revs. The tide was strongly with us as progressed at a very respectable 7 to 8.5 knots all the way. 

Our arrival at Portland Bill was punctual, but as we approached we were alarmed by the number of yachts approaching us from the opposite direction, supported by what seemed to be dissapproving looks from those yachts that passed close enough for us to see their occupants, we began to question our calculations.

Arriving at ‘The Old Bill’ all seemed well, the confused water was well out to sea as we passed close to the rocky headland. Almost by chance a coach party was stood close to the rocky headland welcoming our successful passage through this notorious area. Turning the corner we passed through choppy water against a foul tide which reduced our progress to 2.5 knots.    

Soon our speed picked up as we passed Portland Harbour and made our way into the estuary leading to Weymouth.

We were directed to moor against a Moody 33 which was the second boat out from the pontoon, the first boat being much smaller than us both.As we arrived a man from the first boat popped his head out of the companion way, he introduced himself as ‘Yan’ from Holland, he had sailed his little boat all the way from Amsterdam, on his own.

We later met Phil and Avril from the Moody 33, dinghy sailors. they had  owned the Moody for just 4 weeks, they were sailing to Dartmouth from Chichester so we swapped notes on both our journeys, myself reassuring them about Portland Bill and they gave me some tips about the delights of Chichester.

As it went dark we bid eack other well and i joined Chris who had already hit the sack, 

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N 50° 32' W 04° 56'

Padstow to Falmouth and on to Brixham

June 28, 2010

At 4am on Friday morning we departed Padstow for Falmouth.

A very clear morning turned into a ‘Pea sooper’ as soon as we left the wall and entered the estuary. We were followed by Ritzy and Lipstick who were also going to Falmouth. My track on the chart plotter came in handy and helped me to navigate Doom Bar and the exit into Padstow Bay.

The ‘Pea sooper’ stayed with us past Trevose Head and beyond but eventually the sun burned through and saw off the mist to reveal a lovelly sunny day but sadly a northerly wind running at around 5/6 knots, not much to make progress on.

The journey to Lands End was aided by the flood tide which took us around in relatively short time.

Motor sailing was the order of the day but our 86 nm was covered in 16 hours when we took a well earned haven at the Falmouth Yacht Haven.(Town Quay)

We recouperated for the following day and on Sunday morning left Falmouth on the hottest day,(heat wise and football wise) for our trip across to Brixham.

The 68 miles to Brixham took us 12 hours in a Westerly force 2 wind so motor sailing was again imposed. Passing the Edistone Lighthouse in the middle of the bay, as we passed we were aware of an eary presence, and soon realised that a RN Submarine was surfaced about 1/2 to our starboard side, probably witnessing the demise of our National Soccer Team(what a pathetic attempt at a game of football)

However, as we rounded Start Point the wind lifted to 20 knots, and we enjoyed an energetic reach across the bay to Berry Head and our eventual arrival at Brixham marine.

Many years ago when we found our beloved ‘Splatz’ in a yacht brokerage in Brixham we tried to get a look around Brixham Marina but only now, years later did we get the opportunity to look around as a visiting yacht.

We are having today off and will continue our trip tomorrow when we transit the notorious Portland Bill, hopeful at the right time, otherwise we might be visiting Brixham again.!!!!       

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N 50° 32' W 04° 56'

Milford to Padstow.

June 22, 2010

We booked out of Milford Marina at 0020hrs on Monday morning and tied up in the lock for the night. This was at the end of freeflow so the outer gate was left open for our departure at 8.30am.

After a very comfortable nights sleep we left the lock and by 1000hrs we were at the mouth of the Haven just in time to see ‘the Waverley’ enter the Haven. A magnificent sight.

Our passage across the Bristol Channel was progressed by a 12 knot North Westerly wind which meant our engine usage was minimal.

Eventually passing Lundy Island, we were joined by pods of ‘Common Dolphin’ they danced around Fandango for the rest of our journey into Padstow only leaving us on the last 5 miles of our approach to the harbour, a wonderfully entertaining sight.

With the twilight we entered the approaches to Padstow.

Arriving at the pool we found that all availble moorings had been taken by others, so we stemmed the tide until it eventiually pushed us towards shallower water. On our second circuit around the pool, Freddy and Lyn, the occupiers of ‘Carriad of Barry’a Westerly Oceanlord, invited us to raft up with them until the gate was opened, we spent a very convivial 3/4 hrs chatting.

At 2320 hrs the lock was opened and we made our way onto the South wall outside the Custom House.

We intent to stay here for a few days until the tidal times are more sociable, in the meantime we are enjoying the delights of Padstow and the company of Freddy and Lyn 

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N 52° 54' W 04° 04'

Porthmadog to Milford Haven via Fishguard.

June 18, 2010

We departed Porthmadog on the morning tide on Tuesday for Llanbedrog where we intended to spend the night.

The wind was favourable in the north as we rounded the Islands, but as we approached the wind lifted to 20 knots; so we diverted to the Warren beach side of Llanbedrog; where; with others, including Merlin, a very nice Fisher 25. We spent the evening enjoying the sunshine and relative calm.

Wednesday morning we left bound for Fishguard, a lovelly morning, sunshine, smooth sea but unfortunately no wind,(it was supposed to be NW 3-4)We plotted a course through the islands passing through Aberporth range directly to Fishguard.

Having contacted the Aberporth Range Marine control we were advised that live firing was to take place as we arrived at the nominated area, and that a 12.5 nm exclusion zone had been imposed obliging us to change our course inland.

Our arrival in Fishguard was extended by 2 hours and a further 10 nm. We arrived at 8pm and as the wind was in the North we decided to go behing the breakwater to ensure a decent nights sleep.

We left Fishguard at 9am struggling against a 4 knot spring tide round Strumble Head we hardly made a knot at times.

Ramsey Sound was in a kind mood and let us through without arguement, we transitted St. Brides Bay encountering only one tanker at anchor.

We arrived into Milford Haven at 4pm and was welcombed by a gusty 22 knot wind which took us all the way into Milford Lock, where we tied up and went to visit the Milford Marina office where we werre allocated berth H03.

The lock gates opened at 1930hrs and by 1945 we were safely tied up and secure having dinner.

As the tides and lock out times are not favourable for an early departure from Milford we have arranged to meet up with Terry Davies, wife and daughter . Terry a friend from Wyboston days lives locally and we weill be enjoying the delights of the England second qualifier in Martha’s Vinyard.

We hope to lock out early on Sunday morning for Padstow.

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N 52° 54' W 04° 04'

Finally underway

June 13, 2010

With the house cleared and friends and finally greeted goodbye at our bar-b-que a home. We left the house for the last time last Sunday, only to return on Monday morning briefly to put some forgotten belongings into storage and to rreturn the hire van.

Chris, (Carolines husband) drove us back to Porthmadog later on Monday morning and it was only on our arrival the realisation that we had finally made the break hit us, along with some serious fatigue, the long hours spent clearing the house and doing all the things we needed to do finally hit us. We both spent the next 2 days re-couperating and chilling out.

Then it was to the major task of sorting out the prop on Fandango which was seriously screwed up. So on wednesday to the drying pad at PSC we went, due to tidal restrictions we were unable to make it earlier so this was our first opportunity to get stuck in. With the invaluable help of our PSC friends  Steve Pierce and Mike Cook and telephone consultations with Malcolm in France we finally cracked the puzzle of the intricaces of the furling prop on Saturday night, unfortunately it meant missing the ‘big game’but the benefit are obvious and from what i hear of the game we missed little and gained much. COME ON ENGLAND!!!

We are indebted to Steve, Mike and Malcolm for their time and effort on our behalf, the measure of a good friend is clear to see, THANKYOU.

We can now start planning our departure and hope to be away on Tuesday taking advantage of the approaching high, so our adventure REALLY starts from here!!!!

God Bless with good winds and a safe sea.

We can now start the process of planning with the weatheer

Many thanks to Steve, Mike and Malcolm, im grateful for your help.

We hope to take advantage of the high which is approaching us and set off on Tuesday.    

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N 52° 54' W 04° 04'

Were getting there

June 05, 2010

This week has been a busy one, last weekend we went to Fandango for the first time since my accident, the auto-stream prop proved to be a problem as the settings resulted in going forward in reverse and vise versa, that problem resolved, we now find that the pitch is incorrect resulting in Fandango moving through the water ‘very slowwwwwly’ and with great effort from the engine, blue smoke etc. So next week will be dedicated to resolving this problem but hopefully with the help of Malcom’s template she will be returned to her old self.

Here at home we have finally got to grips with moving all our belonging to the storage facility, a very hard few days both physically and mentally, getting rid of items we have had for years is very emotional, (too materialistic)

Both our cars have been sold, Chris had a little tear in her eye as she waved goodbye to her beloved ‘Yaris’

Today is about getting the final jobs done and picking up a hire van for the journey to Porthmadog. Son in law Chris, Caroline, Meghan and Izie are joining us to bid us goodbye and Chris will return the van on Monday morning.

Last night we had a bar-b-que for friends living locally and neighbours, an opportunity for us to say goodbye and for them to meet their new neighbours, Caroline, Chris, Meghan and Izie.

Meghan acted as ‘Mine Host’ greeting guests and dispensing drinks, its not often that red wine is served chilled. Bless her she was relally good.  

The adventure is about to start- but we are too tired to appreciate it right now, so it will be nice to spend a few days in Porthmadog chilling out and reflecting on recent events.

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N 52° 54' W 04° 04'

Getting there.

June 02, 2010

Last Friday’s visit to the hospital resulted in me being signed off.

My ankle is still sore and quite swollen but I am able to get around and ‘hop’ onto the boat so our plan to visit Porthmadog and ‘FANDANGO’ went ahead.

An early start on Saturday morning loaded with some but not all of our belongings, we set off for Porthmadog on a rather cloudy and rainy morning.

We arrived in Port early and our new dinghy and outboard were delivered shortly afterwards allowing us to make our way to Fandango.

She appears to have weathered the past 8 weeks well and looked smart in her partial new livery, we had not been ablew to fit the new sail handling system; a job still to be done.

Given the wet weather and John and lindy’s new Southerly 110, we acceeded to their request to go onto the drying pad before us, so we enjoyed re acquainting ourselves with Fandango.

Sunday morning we made our way to the drying pad gingerly in the knowledge that the propellor was not set right and uncertain how it would behave, but our concerns were unfounded and we got there without a problem.

Our next day and a half was spent loading and fitting the sail handling system, sails and rigging only to discover that there were no slab reefing points fitted to the system, another job for C and J when we arrive in Chichester.

Some time was spent on resetting the propellor;a wait for the water resulted in an improvement in the performance of the prop as we now could go forward and reverse correctly.

As this weekend was a working one our job was done and it only remained for us to try out the porp settings and get back to our mooring prior to our last visit home to complete our house clearance ready for a departure around 7th. June.

Our ‘sea trial ’ didi’nt go quite to plan as it soon became clear that the feathering on the prop was too fine resulting in us making the progress of a slug to our mooring.

So another visit to the drying pad is planned for next week despite the threat of being neaped.

We are now at home and the packing is progressing, my beloved BMW has been sold and Chris’s Yaris will go on Friday.

The storage company pick up our furniture on Friday and the Local Authority pick up our scrapped setees.

Our family and local friends Bar- B-Que is on Friday night before we leave for the last time for Porthmadog.

So it is full steam ahead, our next report will be once we are underway our first sailing blog is not too far away now. So here we go.2nd 

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N 52° 54' W 04° 04'

Casting off the cast- freedom at last

May 08, 2010

My visit to the fracture clinic yesterday was another long wait but this time Christine was able to be with me and the news was positive.

Mr. Doyle the consultant greeted me with the news that the fracture had healed and that the cast was to be removed and replaced with a ‘brace’ which was duely fitted.

My ankle is very stiff and sore and will need some work which i hope to make a start on immediately. but it is clear that my recovery is not going to be an overnight affair and will need some work, but now at least im on the road to recovery and our hope of being underway by late May early June is more of a reality.


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N 52° 54' W 04° 04'

Not what I was hoping for!!

April 23, 2010

My visit to the fracture clinic last Friday was dissapointing, the wait was shorter than previously but i was apprehensive about what the doctor would say.

following a further x-ray i was seen by a doctor, one I hadn’t seen before, so i had to explain my future plans in the hope that the brace could be fitted.

Upon viewing my x-ray the doctor stated that the fracture hadn’t fully repaired, the upshot of this disappointingly is that i will need to stay in the cast for a further two weeks.

It is clear that to push my progress further at this stage could result in further aggrevation of my injury. So regretably I will have to spend another two weeks as a ‘chair cabbage’ for a further two weeks with my leg up.

We are still hopeful that we can start our adventure at the end of May/early June.

We are currently working on dry storage facilities and accommodation in Gruissan area for the winter. There are some hopeful signs that we will have storage and accommodation in the Marina at Gruissan.  

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