I really wanted to have a weekend of boat camping in beautiful Lyme Regis harbour this year. It’s a great little town and they put out pontoons in the summer to make life easier for visiting boats. We’ve had some great weather in early June and so I figured I’d take a couple of days off and head east for a change. I believe it was at the very moment I made this decision that the weather changed.

Funny looking "changeable weather" sky.

Funny looking “changeable weather” sky.

The end of June and the beginning of July brought with it some rather more unsettled stuff. Nothing too serious you understand, just variable winds of variable strengths mixed up with the odd thunderstorm. No matter, I thought, I’ll just go on out on a nice day and see what happens. Thing is, when heading east from the Exe, there are no sheltered harbours or estuaries accessable at all tides until West bay…. and this is the only one before you get around portland bill. My first attempt was going well enough but for the winds being light and from the east making it a slow beat. I got three quarters of the way there before I heard the strong winds warning and contacted the Lyme harbour master. He told me that they were taking in the pontoons as they would get damaged in the large swell expected from the east! My concern was that I was clearly not going to make it in time to enter the harbour (it being a drying harbour) and would end up stuck outside in this rough weather all night. I reluctantly turned tail and ran gently back to the Exe for the night.

Not an inspiring sky even now.

Not an inspiring sky, even now.

My next attempt was a couple of days later when the easterlies had dropped a bit and the swell had decreased. I filmed this trip and put it up on youtube. ( https://youtu.be/En7sYFMBkkU )  Not a big success either I’m afraid due mainly to very poor visibility.

I’ve learnt a bit from this. It seems that our stretch of coastline is fairly well set up for sailing in westerly winds (the most frequent direction here). As soon as the winds turn easterly, there’s hardly any sheltered hidy holes, either man made or natural, to head for. A good thing to know about before you get caught out at low tide in a nasty rising easterly. Think I’m going to try it again once the weather settles down to blow from the west for a few days. That way, even if I can’t make it back from Lyme in time to cross the Exe bar, at least there’s a few places I can anchor for the night in sheltered safety and wait for the tide.

In other news, I’ve had the old pile of seagull bits on the workbench of a rainy day and managed to free the piston from the cylinder block and remove the remaining seized bolts. Still not sure if it’s worth trying to save this thing from a financial point of view but I expect I’ll probably end up trying just for the challenge.

A very, very rusty old seagull block.

A very, very rusty old seagull block.