Deja Vu 2 - A New Team Member

 Day 11 – Budleigh Salterton to West Bay – 31st May – 22.7 nm

Another early start, but yesterday’s early stack meant I got some sleep last night so I'm feeling good this morning.
The weather was going to go bad for the next few days so we were trying to get whatever miles we could. The day’s forecast had a window for a few hours before lunch but then worsening, with swell and strong winds coming in early afternoon. 
Though the tide ran out around lunch time too it was less of a concern, it was neapish tides and bar a few cliffs there were no significant features on this stretch. I also was getting to feel that the book didn't tell the full story on the tides. 
If the forecast was correct I was not going to progress along Chesil Beach, so it looked like a return visit to West Bay.

Looking out from the beach at Bud it was choppy; to launch I was going to use my friend the stream, to dodge the dump on the beach once again.  The first hints of the swell were crossing in the far distance but thankfully they didn't look interested in reaching too far into Lyme Bay. We were going to push up close to the changing  weather so this was going to be another ‘options day’ – ticking off Sidmouth, Seaton, and Lyme Regis on the way. It could be West Bay or it could be a 5 mile day. Either way it would be 'close in' day.

I packed the boat in the muddy lagoon under dark skies and rain. Then it was a mini-log flume ride down the stream, followed by a sneaky gap through the rocks, and away to quickly get around the headland, nicely named ‘Danger Head’.

Once around the headland conditions were smoother, there was a different flow there and it held much of the swell out, nice. I made quick downwind progress, confident enough to skip Sidmouth and head straight for Seaton.

Seaton looked inviting in the grey distance but things were still ticking along nicely, so a quick call to the Team Manager and onwards once again, for another 5 miles of cliffs, leading to Lyme Regis.

Short of Lyme Regis the wind started to strengthen, the sky grew dark and the swell picked up, but I was on a roll. I surfed around the corner into perfectly tranquil Lyme Regis with a smile on my face and a little urgency from last night’s Biryani.

Time out to assess the conditions with the Team Manager, who arrived slightly stressed from big van – small roads syndrome. As we had a brief lunch, things looked not too bad out there, the swell was growing a little but the wind was not changing much.

Off I set again, now with a mascot, in the form of Lego Man Larry from Lyme Regis, who was waiting patiently on the beach. (Larry was to stay with me through thick and thin for the remainder of the trip, well, until he finally went overboard on the very last day.)

More cliffs, more downwind.

About a mile short of West Bay things changed, it got lumpy with a nasty rebound from the harbour wall. I didn't even consider the dumping beach. The Harbour Master wasn't answering the radio, but like it or not here I come! The swell followed and I watched it break on perhaps the world’s worst designed slipway -” hmm... pontoon looks good to me”.

Every day there is a sting in the tail.

Later we took a drive down to look at Chesil Beach. Pascale remarked that it was steep enough to ski down, which I reflected was not the best of criteria for a lumpy weather landing beach.

All things considered, better miles than expected.