Rounding Portland Bill this weekend

bdh198

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This weekend I will be taking our Hanse 370 west from the Solent to Devon. The plan is to sail to Weymouth on Saturday and then cross Lyme Bay on the Sunday. I've rounded Portland Bill a couple of times, but that was always from a safe distance off. This time, because we are leaving from Weymouth I've been considering taking the inshore passage, but am a little bit hesitant because of the spring tides.

My current plan would be to leave Weymouth at about 11:30 (HW Dover is at 13:10, and HW Devonport is at 07:30) and reach the inshore passage about 13:00 as the tide sets to the west around the Bill. The weather is forecast to be sunny without much wind.

Is this a sensible thing to be attempting this at springs, and if so is there anything in particular I should be keeping an eye on? I'm aware that the southerly tide down the east side of the Bill is likely to be fast and I need to watch it doesn't carry me straight into the race.
 

superheat6k

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Just make sure you are at the bill as the tide turns, then head north up the west coast of the bill for 1/2 mile or so before bearing off on your preferred westward heading. Might be worth a re-think if the wind is above a 4 westerly as the wind over tide could be unpleasant as the tides builds to the west.

If the race is running you can clearly see it and the calm water around it. The gap is quite wide, but aim to be apple core throwing distance off as you round.
 

Seajet

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It's likely to be a motoring job, should be fine if you have a cutter on your prop' ?

Still watch out for pot markers, likely to be dragged just under the surface by the current.

One thing to factor in, is don't get gits rafted up outside of you delaying your departure, when you say " we're off at 11:30 " make sure they believe you and haven't b******* off to the pub !
 

Racecruiser

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I think it will be fine with the likely forecast and you can tuck in quite close - as already said at slack water or just after should be no issue. Later on Sunday the Fastnet boats will be coming round - the fast ones inshore and the slower ones offshore depending on where they are when the tide turns.
 

johnalison

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If the weather is good enough to want to cross Lyme Bay it is good enough to do the inshore route. Much of the concern comes from reports from the past, when boats were mostly small and had unreliable engines. A boat of your size will have no problems. The distance off is not absolutely critical; it just needs to be close enough but sensible.
 

Champagne Murphy

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Did it a few years ago (East cast sailors) and the guy in the HMs office was very helpful. Gave us the start time and a load of other good stuff. Well worth asking.
 

Hadenough

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I'd be aiming to get to the Bill at 1hr before HW Dover. You are then carry the tide to the Bill from Weymouth and will be at the Bill at slack water. You will have a contrary tide for a short while once you are round but will soon pick up the west going tide. Oh, and phone Portland Coastwatch 01305 860178 before you set off and they will tell you what the current conditions are.
 
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jwilson

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This weekend I will be taking our Hanse 370 west from the Solent to Devon. The plan is to sail to Weymouth on Saturday and then cross Lyme Bay on the Sunday. I've rounded Portland Bill a couple of times, but that was always from a safe distance off. This time, because we are leaving from Weymouth I've been considering taking the inshore passage, but am a little bit hesitant because of the spring tides.

My current plan would be to leave Weymouth at about 11:30 (HW Dover is at 13:10, and HW Devonport is at 07:30) and reach the inshore passage about 13:00 as the tide sets to the west around the Bill. The weather is forecast to be sunny without much wind.

Is this a sensible thing to be attempting this at springs, and if so is there anything in particular I should be keeping an eye on? I'm aware that the southerly tide down the east side of the Bill is likely to be fast and I need to watch it doesn't carry me straight into the race.

I've been through the inshore passage several times in light/moderate winds well outside the "perfect" time. Sometimes had to plug against tide for a bit, sometimes absolutely whooshed through. The race is pretty obvious if it's bad enough to worry you. Last time I went through was westbound in about F5 southwesterly, hatches shut, lifelines on, the Bill was easy, but by Start Point it was F7 and pretty vile. I hate sailing to an airport timetable, as we were.
 

Foxy

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Done both but if you worried, just go outside. If you get the tide right you will be scooped out to the shambles and round the rest in a jiffy, in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really take an awful lot longer and is more relaxing though less 'interesting' . Went round a couple of days ago and had rotten bumpy ride all the way to Salcombe (despite light winds) before flat calm to Falmouth.
 

bdh198

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Thank you all for the replies, there's some useful suggestions, and I now feel more confident about going for the inshore passage.

It'll also be interesting to see the Fastnet boats come past. Two years ago I was on one of them!
 

Skylark

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DSCF0338640x480_zps6bf1d7b2.jpg


We had a safe inshore passage at slack water and this distance off.
 

prv

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I've been through the inshore passage several times in light/moderate winds well outside the "perfect" time.

My first time through the inshore passage was last week, from west to east. The Channel Pilot doesn't give a time, just general advice about strength of tide and not being set south. So I looked at the tidal atlas and picked a time when there was no race shown and the stream round the tip was going our way but not at full strength.

We had some moderately large waves on the way down the western shore, caused simply by the fetch across Lyme Bay rather than the tide I think. The actual passage was calm and smooth and no trouble at all.

That evening I happened to look at the Fishwick pilot book, and found that he gave an exact tidal recipe based on high water Dover. And it was many hours away from the time that we actually rounded the Bill. So as jwilson says, there are other possibilities beside the "ideal" time.

Pete
 

lw395

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As Pete said ^^^^.
The main thing is, do not get in the race (or the lumpy bits East of the Bill) in a wind vs tide situation.
The other thing is, I normally want a good blast of West-going tide, to take me to Dartmouth. So rounding as early as possible is usually called for.
Coming from Dartmouth to Weymouth, you don't want to round the Bill to meet a big wedge of South-going current taking you on to the Shambles.
I've found the Fishwick book clearest for describing what happens when.
 
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