What are we doing?

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We were pleased to leave Plymouth we had both been looking forward to going home we made an early start because it is a long way and we had several headlands to get around not least Portland Bill. At 6am I was up like a shot and at around 6:45 we had cast off whilst the rest of the marina were asleep.

As we left the marina we had a beat to the first headland Bolt Head, it was grey and damp and the water was still moderate bordering rough, goodness knows what it would have been yesterday. As we passed Bolt head heading to Prawl Point and the Start Point we turned down wind and conditions improved immensely. The plan was to head to Studland or keep going to Hamble but that was likely to be too ambitious. Our new berth is way up river and will be a challenge in the dark as it is quite short and the piles are often proud, our old berth was a landing strip so dead easy at any time of the day. The computer was predicting an arrival time of midnight so Studland was the plan…

Seconds later Linda's phone buzzed, then I heard the sound, whoosh as Linda replied with a cat like smile I was informed that we were going to Portland. Our friends Nick and Maz on Bolero had just left the Hamble going in the opposite direction and were coming for dinner! A quick adjustment to the course meant I had to make a decision to go offshore around Portland or inside both against the tide. going inside was undoubtedly the shortest route but my concern was simply being stopped as the tide rushed around the headland. I decided to go outside with a plan to go between the race and the Shambles (A shallow Bank).

Soon we spotted Batfish V on our AIS they were about 5 miles behind us and clearly going inside so this would be very interesting to see if Bill had made the better call. We carried the tide with us all the way from Plymouth until we were about five miles from the bill and then it turned… boy did it turn although we had kept to three miles of the headland it was very lumpy and we had more than three knots against us. I could not want to make the turn into Portland. Whilst we battled the tide batfish V made good progress to the bill clearly taking miles out of our lead but would he be able to round the headland? We left the Shambles to starboard and headed towards Portland Harbour and as we did so we could see Batfish pop up again on our AIS as he made it round the Bill and was now two miles behind, he had made the correct decision.

As we approached the entrance we could see Bolero two miles east of us heading towards the entrance. We were soon tied up with enough time to take their lines as they came in. it was a lovely re-union as we hadn't seen them since we were sailing on the BVI's together earlier in the year.

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