Grand Tour day 2: Haslar Marina to Weymouth

Missing Link log 18 April 1999
Crew: Kim Hollamby and Alex McMullen.
From: Haslar Marina, Gosport, Hampshire.
To: Weymouth Marina, Dorset.

Port engine start hours: 261.0. Finish hours 266.1. Hours run: 5.1.
Stbd engine start hours: 263.0. Finish hours 268.1. Hours run: 5.1.
Log start 2737.6nm. Log finish 2809.6. Nautical miles run 72nm.

Navigation log
Pay for berth at Haslar Marina ??14.61 inc 15% discount.
1020: engine start.
1030: cleared Portsmouth Harbour entrance. Weather bright sky, calm sea, light and variable wind. In company with Fletcher 18 Chuckles. Remainder of MBM Cruising fleet ahead of us. Opened up to 20 knots once clear of the speed limit area.
1055: passing Aqua Star 38 October Star to the east of Cowes.
1135: dropped off the plane half mile to the south of Jack in the Basket ready for entry into the Lymington River.
1140: 6 knots entering Lymington River.
1155: alongside fuel quay at Lymington Yacht Haven. Top off tanks with 277.17lt diesel at a cost of ??69.29. Engine hours port 262.5 stbd 264.5. Meet MBM’s photographer William Payne.
1250: engine start and underway. Wind F3 SW and building.
1305: clear of Lymington River and heading for waypoint 103 NE of Hurst 50 42.70N 001 31.70W at 6 knots waiting for Bayliner Ciera Stroll On to catch following a delayed departure from Southsea.
1310: MBM control boat Aqua Bell 33 Castaway reports that conditions closer to Weymouth are still favourable, although the overfalls are building off St Alban’s Head.
1330: increase speed to 20 knots.
1340: arrive wayoint 104 S of SW Shingles buoy 50 39.30N 001 37.30W. Early signs of wind against tide in the Needles Channel.
1350: 1nm W of SW Shingles. Chuckles decides the waves are a bit too lively and wants to head off for Poole. We turn to escort at 16-18 knots. Stroll On continues on original track at appr 20 knots.
1425: arrive in the East Looe channel and leave Chuckles to enter Poole Harbour. Turn and run out on main fairway channel.
1435: open throttles to 20 knots at port-hand Training Bank buoy.
1450: 1.5nm off Anvil Point. Seas have picked up with 1m-1.5m short and sharp waves. Wind now F4 SW. Reduce speed to 16 knots to keep things comfortable and to allow Alex to continue work with the chart plotters we have on test.
1520: back on original track and turned at waypoint 105 S of St Alban’s Ledge 50 31.00N 002 06.50W.
1540: 8.5nm to run to waypoint off Weymouth 50 37.00N 002 26.00W. Increase speed to 20 knots and then 23 knots as we get into the lee of Portland Bill.
1610: enter Weymouth.
1615: tide height allows us to pass under bridge.
1625: alongside F pontoon in Weymouth Marina.

Haslar turned out to be something of a perfect first stop thanks to an impromptu yarn-swapping dinner par excellence onboard the Princess V39 Play D’Eau owned by Piers du Pre. After that a real wake-up call was required in the morning but the marina’s distinctive green lightship Mary Mouse plays host to some excellent facilities for showering, so all was well. Even the tide and ship induced swell which can invade one’s sense of well being at Haslar was for the most part absent.

It is something of a surprise to find ourselves in Haslar’s sister marina at Weymouth tonight. Given the weather forecast, we thought it likely that Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight would beckon but a gloriously bright morning enticed us out of the Solent.

Leaving Hurst NarrowsA requirement to drop some test gear in Lymington and then to escort the smallest boat in our Cruising Club fleet into the calmer waters of Poole Harbour saw us take the long route. Consequently we started to pick up on the afternoon’s stronger winds that resolutely failed to shift northwards from SW as the tide turned. Missing Link got dowsed in her first serious salt spray of the season, although being safely ensconced at the lower helm station, it didn’t matter much to her crew. We did however vow to fit a freshwater windscreen wash system, if time ever allows.

Our 30 knot Sealine F36 is capable of sitting quite happily at 14-16 knots, given a bucketload of trim tab. It’s a good way of riding out the short and sharp waves that are so often a feature of English Channel cruising. The longer swells of the Atlantic beckon Missing Link westwards.

Alex had his first real chance today to get to grips with the bench full of chart plotters we have on test. No names, no pack drill at this stage for we aren’t quite sure who or what to blame yet, but we’ve already had failures on two out of five. We’re feeding the quintet, plus a laptop PC, from one GPS via an NMEA 0183 amplifier so the cabling alone is quite impressive.

We are already in need of some serious amounts of extra time to check and recheck everything on the test bench; it is also very difficult for Alex to get to grips with the electronic cartography and software protocols that differ quite significantly from unit to unit.

By rights we should be looking to break for Torbay in order to stay with our Grand Tour schedule, especially as we would also like to respond to an invitation to visit Topsham on the River Exe. But the Cruising Club fleet may well have to turn tail tomorrow for Poole in the face of a developing weather depression. Chances are we will temporarily retrace our steps and go with them there tomorrow.

Tuesday and Wednesday 20-21 April are the dates we have set aside to photograph the plotters, so Missing Link will become a studio for those days in addition to her growing number of other roles. If the wind really gets up, Poole will give us the shelter needed to get the job done. It also has plenty of things to colour the charts, such as buoys, islands and a mix of deep and shallow water.

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1999 Grand Tour circumnavigation of Britain by motorboat index.

This article originally appeared on the Motor Boats Monthly website.

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