27-29 July: In Portland Marina

Friday: After another very bumpy night, we set off at 7am from Lyme Regis.  It was clouded over and not as warm as we’ve become accustomed to.  On went jeans and windproof jacket.  There also wasn’t much wind so we had to motor sail almost all the way.  There were some swells coming up towards Portland Bill, and they continued across the Races.

Not the best photo but that is Portland Bill and the lighthouse in the distance

We saw the most enormous flock of herring gulls congregating across the Races.  Presumably they were there for fish, but none of them actually dived into the water, but all just sat there companionably!  We punched the tide between Portland and the Shambles, but it was not too bad at all.  Dominic hadn’t been to the new marina in Portland Harbour, so it was new to us both as we approached, scanning the sea wall for our North Entrance.  There were some enormous tankers from Moldavia anchored just outside.  Portland marina was built for the London Olympics in 2012 and it’s all very fresh and new.  When we arrived at our berth a man from the boat in the next berth took our lines and he actually said, about me, ‘oh I see you’ve done this before’ – well that’s a first!

Our good friend Juliette was supposed to join us for the weekend at Portland but unfortunately, she had to cancel which was a great shame.   We settled in for the afternoon by ourselves and as the sky was very dark we didn’t feel like making any excursions.  When walking up to the marina office we were approached by a very friendly lady who invited us to a pontoon party Saturday early evening.  Obviously we said yes!  After the marina office visit and paying our dues, we walked further along the quay in search of a sail maker to strengthen the opening on our rib cover for the davit shackle.  We found another very friendly person, Steve of Moatt’s Sails, who said he could do it for us for tomorrow and also invited us to their open day tomorrow Saturday; burgers and beer.  Two invites in a matter of hours, we like this marina ha ha!

Laundered towels etc, Dominic worked on the problem we’ve had with a bit of a whiff coming from one of the toilets.  He spent quite a bit of time on checking out the toilet,  and looking at all the pipe work and outlets and inlets.  And he worked out what the problem is, and it should be covered by the warranty.  We’re very happy that it doesn’t involve actual sewage problems!

I tried very hard to see the lunar eclipse and the blood moon, but after many weeks of clear nights, tonight of all nights there had to be thick cloud.  Ah well.

Saturday:  Very windy overnight and we were happy to be in a safe marine environment.  We had listened to the shipping forecast yesterday and they specifically said no gale warnings in the next 48 hours. Well things have changed!  Now high winds forecast all Saturday so no Lulworth Cove visit.  I’ll get there one day!

We walked up to the Co-op in Fortuneswell for a few supplies then walked through the narrow streets with amazing sea views down to Chesil Beach.

Looking south towards Portland Bill
Looking north along Chesil Beach with Weymouth in the background

The waves pounded the pebbles with ferocious strength.  Dominic reminded me that this would be a good sailing day for the hardened sailor who wants to go east.  And I reminded him that I’m not a hardened sailor!  I really enjoyed walking across the pebbles and thought how I still haven’t read ‘On Chesil Beach’.  I really must do that.

Waves pounding the pebbles of Chesil Beach


As it’s so near, and as we’ve just taken out membership of English Heritage, we walked over to Portland Castle.  Not really a castle, more of a fortified gunners’ point.  That said, we really enjoyed our visit.

Portland Castle
Dominic admiring one of the big cannons

Then we went to Moatts Sails to collect our rib cover and enjoyed taking part in their annual bbq where he was also fund raising for a school’s project in Madagascar.  We talked to lots of really friendly people!  And we were very pleased with the work Steve had done on our rib cover.

We put our now finished rib cover on the rib and put it all back on the davits.  It’s already very windy and it’s going to get worse, so we tied up everything really well.  Then we popped across to the pontoon party!   Several owners had festooned their boats with whatever colourful flags they had, and there was plenty of ‘bring a bottle and some snacks’ kind of food and drink.  Again, we had a lovely time talking to boating people from several countries, some marina only people and others far more adventurous.   One with a cruiser, another with a 20-year old, 53ft Hallberg Rassy.  Really interesting!

Pontoon party in Portland Marina

Sunday: Very windy – a near gale even here in the shelter of the marina.   Idun was leaning over and being forced on to the pontoon by the strong winds so we adjusted the fenders. We’re going home after lunch for a few days, so we cleaned and tidied the boat.  Couldn’t do the outside as the rain pelted down.  Will be back in a week or so!




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