The whole of England is covered by a high pressure zone which means sun and blue skies – and no wind except a sea breeze in the afternoons and evenings. So in Gorran Haven we slept late and lifted the anchor at eleven in the morning. The wind was very light so until late afternoon we drifted across the bay but at least we were moving nearly two knots in the correct direction. Later the wind picked up so we decided to continue through the night.
As we approached the Eddystone Lighthouse the sea breeze dropped and the wind swung round from the south to north necessitating much sail adjusting and a jibe just to ensure we didn’t hit the lighthouse (on the only rocks for miles in every direction).
Just before sunset I went for a sleep and left Heidi “in command” for the first time with instructions to call me if she needed any help. At midnight I woke up and asked if all was OK. She had needed to reset the genoa and main sail, adjust the wind steering and run up the AIS system to ensure we were going to miss a monster ship. And this from the lady who is still not sure if she is really a sailor.
As soon as Heidi went off to sleep, the wind started to drop and turn so instead of enjoying the stars and Milky Way, I was resetting sails and looking for wind. Eventually at about three we were becalmed and floating under the moon off Start Point so I decided to motor to a bay and anchor. The motor woke Heidi and her presence ensured that the wind restarted. Sails set, motor off and Heidi was sailing towards the sunrise while I slept.
By mid morning we were in the middle of the English Channel with no wind slowly drifting towards France. So motor on for an hour until the wind came back and allowed us to head back into English waters under sail. The plan was to reach the tidal gate at Portland Bill before the tide turned but, moving at just over two knots, that wasn’t going to happen so we made for Lyme Regis instead.
We reached the harbour in the evening and anchored just off the breakwater after 110 nautical miles and over 30 hours.