Portland Bill^

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Mark R
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Portland Bill^

Post by Mark R » Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:40 pm

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Helen M
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Post by Helen M » Sat Feb 03, 2007 10:14 pm

They look like piddly little waves! ........ BUT, having seen 'piddly little waves' in photos (when I was there) I can associate!

Looks like a great day out.

H - x

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Sat Feb 03, 2007 11:10 pm

Helen M wrote:They look like piddly little waves! ........ BUT, having seen 'piddly little waves' in photos (when I was there) I can associate!

Looks like a great day out.

H - x
I think you can be forgiven for missing the point slightly Helen - they launched inside of Portland harbour (breakwaters extending 2 miles out to sea forming a roughly square sheltered compound with 3 entrances) and found that much surf there. Chesil beach is only 100 yards away (or a good few miles around the Isle of Portland), but is a fully exposed steeply shelving shingle beach. The surf would have been much bigger there and very powerful in nature (could easily break boats). There is also the other point that the race off of Portland bill itself is notorious and whilst there is an inside passage (sneak route) I dare say that it takes on a new dimension with good swell running and breaking waves making much of the passage a surf zone.....

I haven't had to use the phrase for a long while so just to satiate Knees, "I haven't done it but...."

I have sailed in Portland harbour and Weymouth bay a lot when I was a kid. We were never allowed to go round the Bill so I don't have experience of conditions therebut I've seen photographs. I have seen Chesil beach many times with big dumping surf annhilating it, but never paddled off of it, I do know it's a bad place to be with surf!

Looks like a good day for it except for the surf!

I wonder how many useless facts I can recall about Portland harbour????

Jim

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Post by Mark R » Sun Feb 04, 2007 8:10 am

We paddled inside and out of the harbour. John has a map...

http://lifeboatscrapbook.blogspot.com/2 ... d-men.html


Swell wasn't huge, but too big for our exposed trip. Heading back to shore I did find myself running along the face of the biggest wave I've surfed in a sea kayak.
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Post by runswick2000 » Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:03 am

MarkR wrote:We paddled inside and out of the harbour. John has a map...

http://lifeboatscrapbook.blogspot.com/2 ... d-men.html


Swell wasn't huge, but too big for our exposed trip. Heading back to shore I did find myself running along the face of the biggest wave I've surfed in a sea kayak.
And I found myself upside down!
Last edited by runswick2000 on Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Zoe Newsam » Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:26 am

The surf on Weymouth beach was excellent fun- long, straight runs & the waves not too steep- perfect for sea kayaks.

All in all, not what we'd planned to do, but a very pleasant day all the same!
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Post by Mark R » Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:29 am

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Post by tizereyes » Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:53 pm

My maiden voyage was far more 'interesting' than I had anticipated!

I'm sure I could be heard to issue a couple of squeaks courtesy of the larger waves.

Surfing a sea kayak...who would have thought?

Also discovered that sea kayaking requires lots of tea drinking. Off to find my beard now...

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Post by Jim » Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:08 pm

Aha, I figured you'd been out the South entrance, thought I saw a wire accross in one of the pictures. As I recall the reason for that is that HMS Hood was scuttled in the entrance during the war to stop U-boats firing torpedos into the harbour, the entrance is therefore closed to shipping. Can't recall if I actually sailed through the entrance, I have certainly been to it and got told off on returning because I was about a mile beyond my authority - oops!

The majority of the breakwaters were constructed during the Napoleonic wars using a labour force made up of prisoners of war. Kind of a sobering thought when looking at the ruins out there, they must have been a construction site and a prison at the same time!

How do you get on with local beurocracy off Weymouth beach? We used to sail off it until one day we were told in no uncertain terms that it was now a designated bathing zone and we weren't welcome. Had to lauch at Pontins on the other side of the bay after that, although for a while we had some boats at the sailing club on the river. That used to be a bad place to sail from, several times I've had tense moments with the wind dropping and the hydrofoil ferry chasing us into the harbour - I think it runs from somewhere else these days?

There is a reef off Pontins, always made it a bit more interesting launching and landing because you had to find the gap so as not to smash your centreboard, that might produce surfable waves in the right conditions?

Jim

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Post by Mark R » Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:20 am

Jim wrote:How do you get on with local beurocracy off Weymouth beach?
Didn't encounter any, apart from a fairly rude and grumpy fellow who owned the car park where we offloaded.

Bertie said that apparently you need a permit to bimble around Portland Harbour, no one appeared to demand to see ours, though.

We did attempt to paddle close to an RFA vessel in dock, and got shouted off.
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Post by Bertie.. » Mon Feb 05, 2007 6:02 pm

Hi Jim,

I wouldn't be surprised if it was me telling you to clear off - I used to be captain of the beach lifeguards and for as long as I've known it the beach has been divided into sections for different users, and there are two areas designated bathing only. Weymouth is good for beaurocracy.

We launched from Overcombe Corner, over the reef, then headed across the bay into the harbour mouth. The cable across South entrance is actually a power cable, but it also acts to keep boats from trying to enter - you can sneak under it in a kayak, although Zoe did comment that she thought I was going to be caught up in it as the swell rolled under it.

The main problem of the day was the ESE'ish swell would have made any thought of return along the eastern side of Portland interesting with the wind/swell slightly opposing the race off Grove Point, so we decided not to go beyond this point.

The landing back at Overcombe Corner was around low water, and being a spring the reef from their to Bowleaze Cove (where Pontins was) was exposed. They weren't the biggest of waves there, but it is the best spot for surf in over the reef, and as ever the piccies don't do them justice. Just as were arriving back there, Mark & I had to accelerate to get out of the way of a breaker, which took Zoe on a bit of a bongo slide.

All in all, a good day out on the water.

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Post by Mark R » Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:01 pm

Bertie.. wrote:Mark & I had to accelerate to get out of the way of a breaker
Erm...actually I was trying to catch it...

Good harmless break for sea kayaks, as it all fizzles out before reaching the beach.
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Post by Jim » Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:04 pm

Bertie.. wrote:Hi Jim,

I wouldn't be surprised if it was me telling you to clear off - I used to be captain of the beach lifeguards and for as long as I've known it the beach has been divided into sections for different users, and there are two areas designated bathing only. Weymouth is good for beaurocracy.
I think what confused us most was that we were launching in the same bit that I'd seen solings parked up in for a world championship a year or 2 earlier! Our Bosun used to live in Weymouth and had launched there all his life without problems, apparantly.

It's difficult to determine time lines for things so long ago, we did definitely land on the beach a couple of times without getting any hassle, one time we were supposed to have a pursuit race back to the club but our bosun got stones jammed into his centreboard slot and by the time he got off the beach I was nearly back having stomped the mirrors before the first mark (could be he miscalculated my start time for the miracle).

My most interesting experience would have to be a day out of Pontins (I don't care if it's not there now) where I was belting around on my own in a topper, once again leaving mirrors for dust (is that right in sailing terms?). The interesting moment was about 2 miles east, probably SE from Pontins, with the other boats at least mile the other side, I gybed around a buoy, got tangled in my boom and capsized. I have never been quite so committed to righting and getting back on board a boat before it sailed off without me!

Does this have anything to do with kayaking anymore? Sorry!

Looks like you had a cracking day, it was mostly nice in Scotland over the weekend although a bit misty. We just went down to Macrihanish yesterday for a spot of surfing, and don't beleive big Neil, the forecast was spot on as far as I could tell, we just didn't bother to check the tides out. It was getting quite good as we left.

Jim

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Post by Mark R » Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:22 pm

Bertie, I'm writing something on the Purbeck Coast right now. What/ where would you recommend as the best launching/ landing spot in Weymouth? Beach? Within the harbour?

Or are they better off out of town at Bowleaze Cove?

Cheers,

Mark
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HMS Hood

Post by Chris Bolton » Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:12 pm

OT, but only in response:
Jim wrote:As I recall the reason for that is that HMS Hood was scuttled in the entrance during the war
It wasn't HMS Hood, Jim, she was sunk in battle with the Bismark and Prinz Eugen in the Denmark Strait.

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Re: HMS Hood

Post by runswick2000 » Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:24 pm

Chris Bolton wrote:OT, but only in response:
Jim wrote:As I recall the reason for that is that HMS Hood was scuttled in the entrance during the war
It wasn't HMS Hood, Jim, she was sunk in battle with the Bismark and Prinz Eugen in the Denmark Strait.

Chris
You are both correct in a way. It is HMS Hood sunk in the entrance. Just not the one which was sunk in battle with the Bismark. It was the previous ship to have the name HMS Hood.
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Permits for Portland Harbour

Post by helen_m_t » Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:32 pm

I'd be willing to bet that needing permits for Portland Harbour would have been from when either the Navy base or Bincleaves (the defence research place) were open. Whether or not anyone at the MoD remembers this may be another matter. If you really want to find out, I would imagine that the Sailing Academy would be a good place to ask these days.

When I worked at Bincleaves, the guards could be very hot on having permits to land at jetty at the Short Range.

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Re: HMS Hood

Post by Jim » Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:20 pm

runswick2000 wrote:
Chris Bolton wrote:OT, but only in response:
Jim wrote:As I recall the reason for that is that HMS Hood was scuttled in the entrance during the war
It wasn't HMS Hood, Jim, she was sunk in battle with the Bismark and Prinz Eugen in the Denmark Strait.

Chris
You are both correct in a way. It is HMS Hood sunk in the entrance. Just not the one which was sunk in battle with the Bismark. It was the previous ship to have the name HMS Hood.
Quite, I deliberately didn't mention which war because I had a feeling it might have been the great war but I honestly can't remember!, I can't beleive the old dreadnought* was still kicking around waiting to be broken up when her more famous replacement was in service. The Navy do re-use a lot of names, except obviously those applied to shore bases, they tend not to get sunk or decomissioned, then again, in current politcal climate...????

Jim
*Here my memory could be screwed up, I think Hood has been a common warship name since the days of sail so I could be wrong about the one in Portland harbour being a dreadnought, it is definitely a Hood though!

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Re: HMS Hood

Post by Jim » Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:36 pm

Jim wrote:*Here my memory could be screwed up, I think Hood has been a common warship name since the days of sail so I could be wrong about the one in Portland harbour being a dreadnought, it is definitely a Hood though!
Well I was close, according to Wikipedia she was a Royal Sovereign class pre-dreadnought battleship, superseded 15 years after she was built by Dreadnought. It appears that she was only the second of 3 Hoods, the first was indeed a ship of the line, so my memory isn't doing too badly! Oh yeah, she was scuttled in 1914 so I was right about the date too!

What was that research thing in the harbour called? HMS Crystal? That was a big scary looking thing, I never went too close to that!

Jim

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Post by Pelagic » Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:41 pm

*Here my memory could be screwed up, I think Hood has been a common warship name since the days of sail so I could be wrong about the one in Portland harbour being a dreadnought, it is definitely a Hood though!
Help you out young Jedi I will.
HMS Hoods were.
1859 second rate ship of the line
1891 Battleship (Royal Sovereign class) sunk as a blockship 1914
1918 Battlecruiser...............sunk Denmark Straight etc.

Bet you wish you had been a sea cadet Jim, eh? You were totally right about the Hood though. The only Dreadnought class built was actually HMS Dreadnought although it was commonly used by the press to describe any large battleship.

Phil

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Hoods

Post by Chris Bolton » Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:58 pm

OK, Jim, I'll back down on that! I did know about the other Hoods, but since you wrote "the" war I took that to mean the most recent (or the most recent one with U-boats). That's my excuse anyway...

Chris

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Post by ChrisS » Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:26 am

I'd be willing to bet that needing permits for Portland Harbour would have been from when either the Navy base or Bincleaves (the defence research place) were open.
Portland Port's Tariff includes £3.50 per day harbour dues for recreational craft which is applicable to canoes and windsurfers. My brother goes windsurfing there a lot and as far as I know has never actually had to pay anything.

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Post by James F » Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:40 am

MarkR wrote:Bertie, I'm writing something on the Purbeck Coast right now. What/ where would you recommend as the best launching/ landing spot in Weymouth? Beach? Within the harbour?

Or are they better off out of town at Bowleaze Cove?

Cheers,

Mark
In the harbour there is a slipway behind Debenhams. There is a car park very close. Launch straight into the marina and paddle out under the town bridge.

Overcombe corner, as you know.

Sandsfoot beach past Castle Cove actually in Portland Harbour is good.

Bowleaze also has good access from near to a car park.

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Post by Bertie.. » Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:22 am

Mark, I'd go with the ones James has identified. Though it's worth noting that Sandsfoot Beach is technically private access, it's never a problem. Parking however can be.

Another alternative for a shorter trip around Portland is to launch down Chesil beach, then paddle round the island returning to the slip at Portland Castle. This is the preferred route round as it doesn't involve a dumping landing on Chesil.

Bowleaze Cove can be busy with jetskis, if launching from that end of Weymouth Beach always go from Overcombe Corner (where we did) unless you fancy being target for 'unguided missiles'.

Launching from the beach is fine out of season. During the summer months, always ask lifeguards for advice - it's RNLI lifeguard territory now. They'd probably suggest one of the other places. Lifeguard coverage extends to the rock groyne at Greenhill.

Asides from that it's worth pointing out that local byelaw regulations split the bay into different zones, e.g. bathing, jet skis, windsurfing etc. There's also a waterski access zone near Greenhill, again something you probably don't want to get caught up in.

Fees still do apply for Portland Harbour. I pay my dues for my sailing boat, however I've never bothered with the kayaks. Keep out of the way of anything big, esp. navy, and avoid any sailing races and you're generally okay.

Hope that helps.

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Post by Zoe Newsam » Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:35 pm

After our aborted effort at the weekend, I decided to walk round Portland- which I did, today. I'll post up some photos later.
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Post by Speciman » Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:47 pm

I'm a bit late with this reply.....

Nice report looks like a fun day out. As a kayak fisherman I sometimes fish the Portland area in and around the breakwater. We usually launch from Castletown slipway near the southern entrance. Free parking there if you are lucky. Most of the time we are.

I've only launched from Chesil Beach once. On a number of occasions I've headed down there only to abort. A good place to launch & land is tucked right in the corner of Chesil Cove. On the shingle just before the rocks it is not so steeply shelving. (its shown in one of the pics in the reports linked below). A period of settled weather coupled with a northerly wind helps flatten it off down there. The distance from car park to launch is not far at Chesil Cove compared to other parts of the beach. Pulling your kayak over the shingle beach is hard work though.

If anyones interested here's a couple of fishing reports from the area which include a few snaps of Portland Harbour and Chesil Cove.

Portland Harbour - daytime
http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/forums/inde ... opic=71345

Chesil Cove
http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/forums/inde ... opic=68278

Portland - conger fishing
http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/forums/inde ... opic=69043

Portland - squidding
http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/forums/inde ... opic=69048

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Post by Mark R » Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:47 am

Thanks all for the launch spot advice for Portland, it proved good yesterday...
http://southwestseakayaking.co.uk/2007/03/17/chalk/

Paddling past Ringstead, I couldn't tell how easy it is to access the water here. Is there a car park? Anyone launched from here?

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Post by Chas C » Sun Mar 18, 2007 10:08 am

Yes you can launch from Ringstead, I paddled with Southbourne CC to Lulworth and back last summer.

There a car park and nice tea shop, you will need to pay to park but its not too much.

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Ringstead

Post by SeaSpirit » Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:42 am

Mark

I have used Ringstead to launch from a number of times and its ideal; car parking is £4.00 for the day (well it was last year). Access to the beach is via a road leading past the tea shop and strictly speaking the road is for for residents of the beach houses only. However, I've never had any problems with driving down the road and off loading the kayaks and gear at the top of the path leading down to the beach. Just dont leave the car there or you will upset the locals! At low tide a lagoon is formed and its best tracking in/out parallel to the beach unless you want to scrape the hull! The tea shop is well worth a visit at the end of the day and serve a variety of meals.
David

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Post by Dave Thomas » Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:27 am

Ditto to all of that!
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