The Road To Plymouth

May 4, 2012 posted by admin

May 4, 2012
If you look at a map you will see that England is nicely located just a little north of France.  Seems like a simple route.  Head out of the Bay of Biscay, head north and stop when you get to Plymouth.  Well there are a few complications along the way.  The first priority is to make sure that we go in a good weather window with enough time to get to Plymouth.  We’re required to be there by the 9th of May.  The weather is very important.  The Bay of Biscay shallows up very quickly to 400+ metres of depth.  There’s a ridge that runs somewhat north south across the bay and makes a great opportunity for waves.  The Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current also make an excellent eastward route for all weather systems blowing across the Atlantic.  Then with the help of the Azores hi, the Atlantic lows funnel straight into the Bay of Biscay. It makes a perfect recipe for 40+ knots…on a regular basis.  Our weather window is going to give us 10-15 knots of wind.  Initially the wind will be light and shifty as we are moving into a big hi weather system.  Then it will settle a little and swing around from the south and steady in around 15 knots.  There is a new low moving in by Wednesday, and since it’s only 250-270 miles to get to Plymouth, we should be in by Tuesday morning or afternoon.  The reason it’s 250-270 miles to Plymouth is because there are actually two routes to be chosen from.  As you round that big hump of land at the top of France…just before crossing the English Channel, you may notice a teeny little island just off of the main land.  In fact that is a string of islands and rocks jutting out from land.  There are twochannels to go through.  The Raz De Seine is the first.  The second is the Channel Du Four.  There is a nice little channel to pass through allowing us to stay close to land and keep the miles down.  With the current generated from the tide, the Raz De Seine can generate 5-6 knots of current running north and south, depending on hi tide or low tide.  If we get to the Raz De Seine with a southbound current, it’s almost worth waiting 6 hours for the current to swing north and then head through.  If the weather is rough and it’s too risky to go through the one mile wide channel, then we go around to the west.  That adds twenty miles to the route.  Hence the 250 – 270 miles.  After the two channels and their outlying obstacles, then we’re off to one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.  It should equally match the activity I saw in Miami.  Plus it looks like we’ll be crossing at night.  This will be tricky, but not the end of the world.   So much for sleeping the last night!  After crossing the English channel, it should be a fairly simple run past Eddystone Rock into Plymouth, and it will be daylight, which will be really nice.  Approaching ports at night with all the conflicting lights of the city can be a nightmare to say the least!  I’ll have the tracker on for the delivery, but there’s no cell phone.  You can also keep an eye on the weather as I go with .  It’s a great grib file program, and you can see all of the hi and low systems as they move their way along.  I should be off the dock tomorrow around 0900.  See you on the other side!


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