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Old 12 June 2004, 12:15   #1
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Passage around Portland Bill

Can anyone recommend the safest passage around Portland Bill? We shall be travelling from Poole at Spring tide for the powerboat racing at Plymouth in July. We are not sure how far out to go to get a safe & comfortable trip. I realise it depends on the prevailing conditions, but is there a generally accepted route?

Many thanks.
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Old 12 June 2004, 12:30   #2
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Hi this may shed some light on it!

Littlehampton Cruise Sunday 23 May

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Old 12 June 2004, 12:37   #3
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Nick, I think Brambles may be a little bit off course if he goes round Selsey Bill - unless he's going round Britain!
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Old 12 June 2004, 12:42   #4
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Hard day at work I'm off home! Well I did get the Bill bit Wright
Sorry
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Old 12 June 2004, 12:53   #5
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I reckon the old advice "keep land on the right" would have stopped a major error!
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Old 12 June 2004, 13:16   #6
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Brambles

I have been in Email contact with AshleyD about this, but just for the forum, I recommend staying in close to Bill ( <100m ).



On the East side there should be enough water even at low water springs for you to make safe passage.



Cheers



Mark
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Old 12 June 2004, 13:20   #7
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Tuck right in close like Mark says, it's calmer there.
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Old 12 June 2004, 14:48   #8
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That's the way I'd go too. The cliffs drop straight down at the waterline so you can go right in close.

The other option is to go way offshore, but it's not my preferred route.

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Old 12 June 2004, 15:17   #9
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Watch out for the lobster pots(can be old orange juice containers),they get pulled under by the strong tide around portland and can be very difficult to see.
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Old 12 June 2004, 16:09   #10
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Lobster Pots!

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Originally Posted by timboli
Watch out for the lobster pots(can be old orange juice containers),they get pulled under by the strong tide around portland and can be very difficult to see.
They also have BLACK lobster pots in this area - absolute buggers to see"!"

Pete
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Old 12 June 2004, 18:19   #11
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Been round quite a few times, all be it with big white triangular things in the air. Close in is best. Other option is 5 miles off. As above, less than 100m from the rocks is smoother, you will see when you get there.
Strong wind against tide will kick up something rotten. Do not under any circumstances be 1m S of Bill in these conditions. Pick your time to pass and you will not even know that there is a race there (HW or LW +/- 1.5 hrs).
It can also be a bit lumpy over the Shambles (or is it the Shingles, must get memory fixed) to the east of the Bill.
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Old 12 June 2004, 18:37   #12
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So far, none of the options take any consideration of the wind direction.

Would you make a passage close to the cliffs with an on-shore wind (ie a lee shore)?
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Old 12 June 2004, 18:46   #13
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Yup, regularly go round Portland bill to the dive sites on the East side. Normally skim round the bill within 30 yards of the shore.

The dangers are swimmers actually spear fishermen after bass, pots and other boats including charter fishing boats drifting, oh and idiots shore fishing casts of 150 yards with 6 oz lead weights.

Keep an eye ont he echo sounder as you round the bill, it drops to 100 plus meters which would be a great dive

The bank to the East, Shambles I think should be avoided but its marked with a cardinal at each end. It comes very close to the surface (3m) and waves will break across it. Its just single so not much cop for diving unless you want a ride in the fast lane underwater.

It would have to be blowing a good 5 before I would consider a different approach.

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Old 13 June 2004, 03:54   #14
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Rounded The Bill in a sailey thingy some years ago via the "close-in" passage. I seem to remember the owner having palpitations regarding the nearness of the cliffs but all OK.

Hopefully down in Weymouth next w/e. Rumour has it that a trip round The Bill is planned. Will try and get piccys and track from plotter to post.
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Old 13 June 2004, 10:28   #15
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"Kiss the Cliff" at all states of the tide and wind direction you will be OK
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Old 13 June 2004, 17:33   #16
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Years ago (about 20 I think), my old yactmaster instructor told me to be close enough to be able to throw a digestive biscuit ashore. I have rounded it on numerous occasions without mishap and it only costs a packet or two!

I did speak to a yachtie in weymouth a few years ago who was repairing his forehatch, on enquiring as to the reason for the damage he told me that a standing wave off portland had broken free his anchor and dumped it through the forehatch!

Something to think about...

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Old 13 June 2004, 18:21   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ribald
Rumour has it that a trip round The Bill is planned. Will try and get piccys and track from plotter to post.
Will try to make sure we go round there then. Problem is, everytime I take anyone round there to show them correct inside passage - it's totally flat and uninspiring!

Best advice, is that if kids on shore can hit you with stones, you are about the right distance out. You have to be *really* close in in rough conditions, and most people make the mistake of getting concerned how close the cliffs are, and stay further out
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Old 13 June 2004, 18:31   #18
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From Poole, if heading out across Lyme Bay, easiest and most comfortable trip is to head out, and stay 5 miles off St Albans, and at least 5 miles off Portland. 6-7 miles off Portland may be more comfortable in wind over tide conditions. Otherwise plan the trip around slackwater conditions off the headlands. Don't forget Start Point once you are across Lyme Bay, it can be equally uncomfortable, and again stay a good few miles out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brambles
Can anyone recommend the safest passage around Portland Bill? We shall be travelling from Poole at Spring tide for the powerboat racing at Plymouth in July. We are not sure how far out to go to get a safe & comfortable trip. I realise it depends on the prevailing conditions, but is there a generally accepted route?

Many thanks.
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Old 13 June 2004, 18:34   #19
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Thanks

Thanks for all your input everyone. Kissing the cliffs it is then.

My only worry now is how good the local kids are at throwing stones. I suppose we could always chuck packets of digestives back at them...
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