Paddlers: John Christmas, Ian Hackworthy, Barbara Browning,
Hugh de Iongh, Jon Massey, Clive Joyner, David Cotgrove, Jim
Lloyd, Stew Burdis
The planned paddle for this date was from Kimmeridge to
Lulworth and return. It became increasingly obvious in the
days leading up to Saturday that it would be too windy and
rough, as the remnants of tropical storm Lee battered the
It has been a very windy year so rather than abandon
paddling we went to the relative safety and shelter of
Portland Harbour. The Harbour is well protected from the
south and south westerly winds, as it shelters behind the
Isle of Portland and Chesil Beach. Portland Harbour has been
a strategic military location since the time of King Henry
VIII in the 16th Century. Construction of the modern harbour
began in 1849 when the Royal Navy created a breakwater to
the south of the anchorage, made of blocks from local
quarries on the Isle of Portland. This was completed in 1872
and provides protection from south-easterly winds.
Nine paddlers launched off Sandsfoot beach at 10.30am. The
windspeed when we launched increased to 23 knots and it
rained heavily. This didn’t stop Hugh enthusiastically doing
a quick roll as we got underway. We headed into the wind
towards the causeway and then as the squall went through,
the wind eased a little and it stopped raining. The weather
settled down as we reached the Mulberry section to a mean
speed of 21 knots with gusts of up to 31 knots.
As we approached the South Ship Channel it was obviously
quite rough outside with plenty of breaking waves. Once we
had cleared the channel and the associated tidal flow the
sea settled down again. However it was a bit of a slog into
the wind as we headed up to Grove Point. The tide race off
Grove Point was working well with wind over tide conditions.
Large breaking waves were evident and most opted to stay
close to shore and avoid the big stuff. We battled on
towards Church Ope and although we had the tide going our
way it wasn’t much fun battling into the wind so we turned
tail and surfed down the waves back to Little Beach near
Grove Point and stopped for lunch.
It was much easier going with the wind and waves behind as
we made our way back to the South Ship Channel. There was
much whooping and hollering (mainly Jon Massey) as waves
were successfully caught and surfed. Once back in the
harbour David was given an opportunity to demonstrate a
rescue when Ian conveniently staged a capsize. (NOT a swim).
Although the water around Portland Harbour is familiar to
most of us this was quite a worthwhile outing in conditions
that we wouldn’t usually choose to paddle in. It gave the
group good practice of paddling into a strong headwind. The
rough water off Grove Point gave us relatively safe
experience of wind against a couple of knots of tide. Most
importantly, there were 2 types of cake at lunch time. The
paddle home was good practice of a following sea.
In conclusion, we would have much preferred to be off the
wonderful coast between Kimmeridge and Lulworth but in the
conditions we had, it was good to be out.
Sorry...no pictures in this report. Barbara forgot her camera...DOH!!!