Our first voyage

April 1st 2017 Bristol harbour to Portishead Quay Marina

After wintering outside the Arnolfini in Bristol, it was time to move on. Our entire pontoon had been full of boats on winter moorings, so everyone’s time was up. It was a little sad to see it gradually empty as everybody moved on.

There had been some bad weather warnings on the run up to the trip, but apart from a few early morning showers the weather was perfect. Locking out of Bristol and heading towards the gorge is no simple task: we have two tall masts and so several bridges had to be swung to let us through. Apologies to anyone who is reading this who was caught in the traffic jam be caused at Cumberland basin!

We motored along the gorge. It turns out that there is no better way to see the suspension bridge than from below – it is an incredibly dramatic view. There is some great wildlife spotting opportunities too: we saw a tree filled with grey herons, and a flock of small black and white birds skimming over the water. Everyone was in good spirits. I took the opportunity to take to my favourite spot – sitting on the base of the bowsprit – as we hit the channel. I half expected it to get a bit choppy but it was incredibly calm.

Once we were in the channel we decided to set the jib. It is by far our smallest sail, but it added over a knot to our speed. I can’t wait to try out the others! It was so beautiful that we were tempted to continue on our bearing, as we were headed (more or less) towards the Caribbean. Unfortunately, although the entire crew had bought biscuits along, we didn’t think we would have enough food for an Atlantic crossing, so we stuck to our voyage plan and turned in to Portishead.

Crew: Bob, Keith, Annie, Paul, Hugh, Roger

10:12 342(T) SOG: 3.7knots – Passed under the Bristol Suspension Bridge

11:00 323(T) SOG: 4.0knots – Passed under the Avonmouth bridge

11:10 312(T) SOG: 5.1knots – Set the jib

12:15 – Locked in to Portishead

Time completed: 4 hours and 50 minutes

Days run: 10.8 nautical miles

Average speed: 3.84knots

Maximum speed: 6.77knots