Gone with the wind – Editor’s letter September 2021

Snorkelling amongst kelp, anemones, and spider crab just a few miles from home was a rare treat, and one we may have missed on a more adventurous endeavour… Theo Stocker introduces the September 2021 issue of Yachting Monthly

Our cruise plans this summer were initially ambitious, to make the most of new-found freedoms.

A cross-Channel dash to Guernsey was thwarted, however, by the intricacies of post-COVID travel regulations.

So we resolved to head west.

Our newly mobile mini crew-member had other ideas, though.

He made it clear from the outset that beach days and ice cream were permitted while long passages were not.

For the first few days, we settled for Studland Bay.

With a forecast of flat calms and soaring heat, we nosed around the corner to Chapman’s Pool and the Jurassic Coast.

I have never seen the English Channel so still for so long, as ripples lapped meekly at the oft hostile shore, day after day.

Snorkelling amongst kelp, anemones, and spider crab just a few miles from home was a rare treat, and one we may have missed on a more adventurous endeavour.

Continues below…

Katabatic at Mupe Bay, Dorset

Ken Endean finds that fine weather can turn violent after dark

Eco mooring at Studland Bay

The charity The Seahorse Trust and the marina group boatfolk have joined forces to install 10 eco moorings at Studland…

Skipper Toby Heppell

Yachting Monthly experts and seasoned skippers give their advice on a whole range of issues for the cruising sailor

Tean Sound off St Martin’s

Tean Sound off St Martin’s is sheltered from the west and east but anchoring room is obstructed by moorings. Credit: Ken Endean

Scilly in Easterly winds

Ken Endean describes a similar experience in the Isles of Scilly a year or two ago (see p62 of this issue), when the raging Atlantic fell silent, allowing him to explore the otherwise exposed west coast of these gorgeous islands.

It’s good to take these opportunities when they arise;

on his return this year, Ken sat out Storm Evert as others’ anchors dragged and moorings parted.

At the other end of the spectrum, Graham Sykes aborted a westward cruise, and his circuitous route prompted a Border Force escort back to harbour (p42).

A decent autopilot can be essential in these circumstances; calmly taking the helm while you tuck in a reef or shape a new course.

Even an old autopilot may be far more capable than you thought.

Knowing how to get the best out of it can make it an indispensable crew member, letting you go where the wind blows.

Source: Yachting Monthly

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