20 July Weymouth to Dartmouth – we have finished

By | July 21, 2012

It is the last day of the trip and the weather is perfect to actually sail, rather than bash to windward motor-sailing, as we have done for the past week. It will still be a beat to windward but not into big seas and strong wind as we have had to do recently.

After testing out the new, still under construction, 'Olympic showers' in Waymouth harbour; which strangely enough were in the crypt of the local church, we left at 11:30.

We left Weymouth in full sunshine and light wind. The local boats were dressed in flags in readiness for next weeks Olympic sailing events.

We started sailing right away and had a gentlemanly beam reach for the first time in weeks as we sailed a few hundred yards off the shore to round the inner passage off Portland Bill. The engine was used briefly to complete the rounding as the tide race is right next to you as you go around.

Rounding Portland Bill

Rounding Portland Bill

After leaving the bill and sailing again, on starboard tack and with full right of way, a boat called Mucky Duck II, on the opposite, give way tack, came right at us and we had to take quick action to avoid a collision. The other boat was on auto helm and without anyone on deck or any lookout! We shouted our protest but no one heard.

There was still 45 NM miles to go in a straight line across Lyme Bay but we would be doing nearer 60 after tacking. As usual the wind was right on the nose. It was full spring tide as well so it was going to be late when we arrived at Dartmouth.

About 15NM out from Torbay it was very busy with tankers heading for Torbay and was almost as bad as some of the larger ports we had passed earlier in the main journey.

The Rescue

As we closed the coast for the last few miles into Dartmouth there was a stunning sunset and we were sailing in the dusk towards home. Right next to us and on a parallel course was a classic 40 foot wooden sailing boat called Rubicon.

Approaching Dartmouth after sunset

Approaching Dartmouth after sunset

The plan was to get onto the Royal Dart pontoon so we would have in time for a drink at the club bar to celebrate our return. Just then Rubicon put out a distress call to the coastguard saying she had engine failure. At night, with little wind and strong tide this was not good.

Rubicon -  the yacht we rescued

Rubicon - the yacht we rescued

We responded to the distress call and offered to tow her into Dartmouth. This turned into a full coastguard incident, as the local Dartmouth coastguard team were summoned to come and assist to help Rubicon with her lines as we dropped the tow alongside the town quay in the dark. All went well and after being released from the incident we continued up river in the dark to our mooring at Noss.

Home at Last

We tied up at 23:30 on July 20th, having set out on May 5th, some 76 days earlier. The total distance run was 1938 NM and we stopped overnight at 45 different places. There were 22 days of bad weather and 8 rest days. The actual timing of the trip was very close to the original passage plan.

A big thank you to all of you that have been following us on the blog during our Round Britain journey. Thanks especially to Bob and Jean on Bella Rosa in whose company we spent some great evenings as well as sailing together along the coasts of Scotland.

Here are some post trip observations and lessons learnt.

See a map of the whole journey plus a spreadsheet of the daily passage stats

Final days Passage Details

  • Weymouth to Dartmouth: 65NM in 11 hrs
  • Sailed 9 hrs and motor-sailed 2 hrs
  • Total and final distance run: 1938 NM
Weymouth to Dartmouth

Weymouth to Dartmouth


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1 Comment

Bob and Jean on July 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm.

Well done Joe, David, Dawn Treader and all who have sailed in her, and what a way to finish!
We’ll miss your blog. Hope we can get together if you come up our way or we come down yours.
David, we’re thinking about around Ireland next year so prepare to come on board again for a G&T or two!
Once again, enjoyed sailing with you and great to have done Cape Wrath together.
All the best
Bob and Jean and Bella Rosa


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