In the Baltic, the season is over at the end of August. But here there can be lovely sailing in the autumn if you can avoid gales and fog.
We returned to Antipole on Friday 8th October and have just enjoyed a week of lovely weather.
One task aboard was to try and sort out the problem with the autopilot. Suspecting an airlock in the hydraulics, Tony brought lots of hydraulic fluid and polythene piping to bleed it thoroughly. Unfortunately, this did not resolve the problem and we remain without the autopilot. We managed to get an appointment with Platinum Marine – marine electronics specialists in Poole – for the Tuesday.
On the Saturday there was no wind and so we motored down Poole Harbour and through the Ramshorn Lake channel to the west of Brownsea Island to anchor in South Deep – a favourite spot we have not visited for years.
With light northerly winds, on Sunday we had a very pleasant sail westwards to Warbarrow Bay. Warbarrow Bay is in the Lulworth Military ranges. Technically we have a right of passage and firing has to stop if we enter the zone but that is extremely unpopular and we would be harassed by the patrol boats and right of passage does not include anchoring. With the ranges closed on Sunday, we were able to anchor under Warbarrow Tout in a spectacular spot. We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon and a swim before watching the sun set over Portland Bill.
On the Monday morning we returned to Poole Harbour, setting off early to catch the flood around St Albans Head and to clear the ranges before firing commenced at 9:30am.
We were thus well positioned to take Antipole to Parkstone Marina for our appointment with Platinum Marine. The problem has been diagnosed as a failure in one of the outputs of the course computer. The faulty component has a ridiculous price, repair is uneconomic, we were told, and a complete replacement of the course computer is required. This will take time to source from Furuno.
The large Christchurch harbour lies between Poole and the Solent. It mostly dries and has a notorious narrow entrance through The Run , where the tide reaches 5-6 knots. In the 17th & 18th centuries, Christchurch was a booming centre of smuggling, said to be because the Revenue feared to enter the harbour without local knowledge. We have always sailed past at a safe distance. But with light off-shore winds and convenient times for high water, we made our first visit.
The entrance this year is in a different place to that shown on our charts but is well buoyed. We proceeded up harbour to the confluence of the Stour and Avon rivers and berthed on the pontoon of the Christchurch Sailing Club. This is a splendid and friendly club with excellent facilities. We discovered lots of boating activity and riverside dwellings. Christchurch, at least the older part, is situated between the two rivers and very attractive. Uniquely, a mill fleet runs from the Stour and discharges into the Avon, where it once powered a medieval mill. We enjoyed lovely walks in parks along the river banks and a visit to the magnificent priory church.
On Thursday we needed to depart at the crack of dawn to catch the high tide and slipped down the harbour in the autumnal mist. Once outside, we waited for wind and then had a pleasant sail back to our mooring on the River Frome.
You can see our track for the week here.
This will be our last sail of the season before we lay up for the winter.
Ynskje & Tony