May 26th Portland to Brixham – round Portland Bill 60 nmiles
Portland Bill has a reputation. I did not feel brave enough to venture the inshore passage, so my passage plan was to pass the East Shambles buoy to starboard, pass about 5 miles south of the Bill and then haul straight across Lyme Bay towards Brixham.
With light westerly winds the first part went to plan but then south of the Bill I was of course headed by the wind again. Later with winds more from the SW, I thought I was on a favourable tack for Brixham but made a classic mistake and closing the coast near Teignmouth I ended up both down-tide and downwind. Some tedious tacking saw us gain Brixham at 1.30. No time for niceties just pick up the first suitable free mooring for the night.
May 27th Brixham
The days forecast spoke of S or SW F5-7 with rain, it persuaded me to stay in Brixham.
May 28th Brixham to Plymouth 47 nmiles
The wind had veered in the night, forecast was NW F5-7, but in the lee of the land the sea state should not be too bad.
By late morning having rounded Berry Head, I had the Mewstone abeam but the wind was no more than F2-3. Then the heavens opened with torrential rain and we were in a flat calm. Progress was stop start, motoring awhile then the wind would return but from a different direction, then more rain and calms. Off Salcombe the wind had settled down to a more or less steady westerly so I put a reef in the main and took a roll or two of the yankee and briefly considered putting in here. With that wonderful thing hindsight perhaps I should have, instead I pressed on for Plymouth.
Nearly dusk and Great Mewstone looked fairly close at hand. I would have motored but the engine cooling water shrieked in alarm. Seeing nothing obvious obliged me to proceed under sail. So it much later through the dark night and rain that I ran into Cawsand Bay under yankee and anchored off the beach.
May 29th Plymouth to Fowey 18 nmiles
In the morning light the problem with the engine cooling was soon revealed to be a loose water pump belt. I cursed myself a little for missing seeing that yesterday. Still no harm done and a good test of character to anchor singlehanded under sail in the dark at a place I had visited once 10 years or so ago.
The day was calmer, overcast at first with a gentle NW breeze, so a relaxing sail along the coast. Later as the sun emerged the wind died so we motored into Fowey and picked up a visitors mooring. Plenty of time to relax, soak up the sun, eat and generally recharge the batteries.