Weymouth Harbour Entrance from the sea
In Penzance – another Willis favourite – you can buy a chocolate stiletto of any hue, though I’ve never seen anyone eat one. Not to be outdone, Weymouth can offer you a Penang curry or 3 bean chilli – for breakfast. I have an iron constitution but …. mind you, sautéed jelly fish might be just the thing. Instead, it was porridge and raspberries that morning, though I think I could be on to something as my porridge would need minimal additives for use in plugging holes in boats.
Weymouth Cross Harbour Ferry – ALL Other Vessels Give Way!
I am sorry, but one cannot do the touristy bit anywhere, without lengthy walks to take masses of photos, though the best ones are taken without the lens cap still in place I have discovered. So it was that I strolled to Nothe Fort, in itself of no consequence except that I met a volunteer called Mary, who whispered lest others hear, that I absolutely MUST go into the basement to see the matchstick fleet.
Not expecting much, I descended into the bowels of the fort and wended my way down twisting narrow passages until I met volunteer George, guardian of the fleet. I sensed Mary might have tipped him off with her secret walkie talkie, for he seemed to be expecting me. What I saw laid out on platforms was astonishing. It was a mass of models of the Royal Navy through the 20th Century in perfect miniature, down to tiny aeroplanes, helicopters and flight deck trucks, all made with nothing but matchsticks and match boxes. George demonstrated the miniature F111 swing wing fighter plane mechanism, twirled a helicopter rotor blade or two and pointed to minute letters, all painted by hand without glasses. There was not a matchstick to be seen, yet the detail on every vessel, plane, helicopter, truck and gun was perfect, all made by an 89 year old gentleman, who had been building for 70 years. I was totally gob smacked and pleased to have it all to myself for a good while – thank you Mary.
One day the boys came to town – 9 Service boats arrived having raced from Cherbourg as part of the Joint Services Regatta. What was particularly exciting for me was that 6 were Victoria 34s (same boat as Pippin minus the wheelhouse), arriving ahead of the other 3. I say exciting because I am a boat nerd, happy to look at boats as a twitcher is to watch birds – I started young with the purchase of the Bristow’s Book of Yachts 1972/3, essential bed time reading for the juvenile Willis. I like to ruminate over a yacht’s vital statistics, things like the Comfort Factor formula (Pippin very comfortable) and hull speed, calculated through a brief flirtation with a square root and multiplication of waterline length – Pippin 7.2 knots. It does mean I can be a bit of a marina bore, but do I care?!
STC Victoria 34s (picture taken only after brief visit to camera shop to discover which wrong button I had pressed rendering the zoom feature defunct)
I can write light heartedly of this and that, but passage planning is something you should take very seriously indeed, for it is the time you sit down to reflect upon the hazards and dangers of the next part of the journey. I do not worry too much, or I could never sail far solo, but you need to be aware that to fall overboard as a solo sailor is to make an appointment with your maker. It is not a case of if you fall, but when, which is fine so long as you don’t go over the side; you strap on and always keep one hand holding onto the ship. Inside and out in rough weather, I wear a canoe helmet and lifejacket to protect head and ribs, not elegant but, thus far, effective.
It is also important to take due note of tides and weather, particularly for headlands like Portland Bill. Get these wrong and you will probably go backwards, whilst being bashed up by a great big bully of a sea particularly with wind against tide. Fortunately, I like passage planning and enjoy spending very agreeable hours at my task. So far, Pippin and I have managed to reach somewhere sometime in our own steady way at a stately average of 5.75 mph (= 5 knots). That .75 is very important. Think of a 100 mile sea journey; 20 hours at 5 mph but you save 2.6 hours at 5.75 mph – that’s a lot when you are exhausted.
Meanwhile my sister visited again and splashed out on fish and chips and a crème egg each – as you do. If you think that weird, we could have had them fried in batter! My sister says there is only one way to eat a crème egg but I won’t elaborate – she’s a physio, so not squeamish and blunt.
I can only sit still for so long, but a gale is due shortly, though I can spy a weather window on the other side, which has given me a departure date to plan for, so its time for a list of boaty things to do and shoppy things to buy – like toilet rolls and ever lasting white bread, which makes excellent slightly burnt toast for my Gentleman’s Relish and Angie’s homemade marmalade.
I’ll be heading west. Farewell from Weymouth.