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Thread: Lyme Bay

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  1. #1
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    Default Lyme Bay

    Kinda following on from the 'How far' thread..Just how nasty can Lyme Bay get. If we were to hug the coastline, it would add roughly 20 odd miles to the journey (??) but if we went straight across and the weather suddenly turned what's the worst case scenario? It looks fairly innocuous to me on the chart but I've not done it yet so I was just interested to hear any horror stories.
    L

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    My own experience of Lyme Bay is limited to fairly benign conditions, and on a yot, at that

    I don't think there's anything particularly de trop about the weather in Lyme Bay - when it's horrible, it's as nasty as anywhere else that has no immediate shelter. The problem is more that there's no real port of refuge, particularly if the wind is onshore. West Bay (Bridport) has what looks like a nightmareish entrance between two lengthy breakwaters and, though I've only seen Lyme Regis from ashore, I don't think I'd like to try getting through the entrance in any kind of a sea. Plus both are tidal (I think? Certainly Lyme is).

    It's a psychological problem as much as anything. If you go straight across, you're out of sight of land for quite a long time and quite a long way from shelter. If you hug the coast, at least you can see land, but you're still miles from shelter and it may make for quite an uncomfortable feeling if the weather is tending to push you towards terra firma .

    I seem to recall that Robin Knox-Johnson was navigator for Shelley Jory a couple of years ago, in the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes race and he opted to go inshore, in quite rough conditions. They fared rather better, and were quicker, than people who went offshore.

    Purely imho. Someone who really knows what they're talking about will be along in a minute.
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    beejay190 is offline Registered User
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    Just wait for some settled weather and there is nothing to worry about. Made my first trip across straight from Poole to Torquay in a 19' Fletcher . Last year we we spent the night in Weymouth , left at 06.30 and were in Brixham by 09.00 in time for a mega brekkie.. Came back leaving Torqauy at 07.00ish and were past the Bill by 08.30- approx 40nm. Winds tend to be light early in the morning which makes for a comfortable criuse

    PS: I am not the someone who really knows what he is talking about as referred in the previous post !
    Last edited by beejay190; 09-04-12 at 12:49.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisilou View Post
    Kinda following on from the 'How far' thread..Just how nasty can Lyme Bay get. If we were to hug the coastline, it would add roughly 20 odd miles to the journey (??) but if we went straight across and the weather suddenly turned what's the worst case scenario? It looks fairly innocuous to me on the chart but I've not done it yet so I was just interested to hear any horror stories.
    L
    Lyme Bay, i have crossed it quite a few time, normally Portland bill to Torquay or Brixham or Dartmouth. and have had it so calm that a 25 knot passage with not bangs or bumps was had, and I have crossed it on a 52 targa that at points was being bounced around like a rag doll, and that boat has a great sea hull.
    A lot depends on the wind direction and force and how long it has been blowing for in the same direction, and what the tide it doing, if you have had strong winds with any south in it and a spring tide against, [ebbing], I would not cross it,[unless I had to and then only in something with some weight behind it], I would preferably wait for the tide to turn and then access situation.It would not be a fun crossing, image being in a moving washing machine on a roller-coaster ride is the closest I can describe it.

  5. #5
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    Lyme Bay is fine, the bit to be careful about is rounding Portland Bill, either inshore if from Weymouth or Portland or offshore if from Poole or the Solent. Inshore you need to time the tides for slack at the Bill turning west and watch for the pots. Offshore go 4mls (or more) off and just pass by with the tide (even on a mobo, the tide offshore could be 5kts). Unless the winds are light try to avoid wind against tide conditions, but otherwise Lyme Bay is just a bit bigger than Poole Bay so you are out of sight of land for a while. PB to Dartmouth is 42mls, probably no more than a couple of hours for you but 7 hrs at 6kts for a saily boat! I would avoid the detour to Weymouth or Portland personally and go straight from Poole or say Yarmouth if in the Solent. Denting a seahorse head in Studland as a stopover anchorage works well too in westerly winds.
    Sermons from my pulpit are with tongue firmly in cheek and without any warranty!

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    IDAMAY is offline Registered User
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    Default Lyme Bay

    As others have said it all depends upon wind direction and tides. We did it one January in a Sealine T47 from Weymouth with winds NE F7. We cut inside the race at Portland Bill at approx slack water and then direct to Brixham. I can't say it was a lot of fun but downwind and tide in a Sealine T47 it wasn't a problem. We didn't drop below 15 kts all the way. In benign summer conditions (if we get any!) it is more boring than problematical.

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    rotrax is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisilou View Post
    Kinda following on from the 'How far' thread..Just how nasty can Lyme Bay get. If we were to hug the coastline, it would add roughly 20 odd miles to the journey (??) but if we went straight across and the weather suddenly turned what's the worst case scenario? It looks fairly innocuous to me on the chart but I've not done it yet so I was just interested to hear any horror stories.
    L
    Think you might find it a bit more than 20 NM longer if you hug the coast.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rotrax View Post
    Think you might find it a bit more than 20 NM longer if you hug the coast.
    Yes, certainly I would never do that, see no point; absolutely no 'port in a storm' pretty well all that route. I'd have to be desperate to try to get into one!

    Think we've crossed from Poole to Brixham about nine times now - three crossings last year. Try to get the tide with you between St Aldhams Head and Portland Bill. The whole journey usually takes us six or seven hours. Best not mention the cost of the diesel used!

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    On a good day, it's quite good fun to stick to the coast and stop for a beer at Lyme Reggis, especially if the wind is blowing off shore. The main problem about Lyme bay is, it's just boreing, but there are the occasional bits of rougher stuff, for whatever reason. But with a decent boat they wont be a problem. So if you get about 5 miles past the bill and it gets a bit rough. Dont worry, it will calm down again.

  10. #10
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    Thankyou all for your replies. Good to know all views coz I've a feeling we will be crossing it at some stage this season.
    L

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