Anchoring in Mupe Bay

I’ve always wanted to check out Lulworth Cove ever since a work colleague (Struan) introduced me to a film called Nuts in May, which used the location in one of it’s scenes. The weather forecast for the weekend was a light westerly on Saturday and no wind come Sunday, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity for a weekend visit.

The plan was to drive down Saturday morning and meet Trina in Weymouth.

Here’s what a typical weekend worth of supplies of food, clothes and boat projects looks like. Glad I had the car!

Weymouth marina has a bridge that opens every 2 hours (not 1, thanks Tom Cunliffe 😉 ), so we had a rush on when we arrived with just under an hour to get Excalibur ship shape and ready.

I heard the best yacht name whilst getting ready “Wake Wakey this is Weymouth Marina…”

There’s no waiting pontoon in Weymouth marina, so the trick is to leave your berth just as the bridge is opening. The challenge here though, is that everyone else also has the same plan. Fortunately it wasn’t very windy, and keeping Excalibur steady wasn’t too much of a problem this time, but I’d hate to try doing this in a blow! Boats along our stretch reversed out, and an orderly queue was formed. We didn’t have any drama, and we left Weymouth under the scrutiny of pensioners either sucking on their 99’s, or extending their phones out at arms length to take pictures of the procession of boats.


We got the main up, and sailed down wind towards Lulworth Cove. Let’s just back up here and take a moment, we arrived at the boat at 11, left at 12, without any issues, and we were sailing to our intended destination, AND this was our second weekend of good sailing in a row!! This doesn’t normally happen! The sailing gods have been kind, so this can only mean one thing, hurricane winds and storm force gales for our up and coming holiday! 😀

On our way we heard a fishing boat had fowled their prop, with good conditions he wasn’t in a whole lot of trouble. You can tell you’re in Doreset, the accents have a good dose of Doooooorset in them. For anyone who’s interested, I recorded the conversation. Here’s what a typical shout out to the coastguard sounds like.

We turned up at Lulworth Cove, beautiful as it is, it was smaller than I thought. Not a problem, we nipped over to Mupe Bay, which I read about in Yachting Monthly (Thanks Tom Cunliffe). One boat overtook us, and ceremoniously planted his anchor in the bay, followed by Excalibur. The bays beautiful! and we were perhaps a bit naive to think we’d have the place to ourselves.

After a while a couple more boats turned up, and were soon fishing off the back of their boats. This seemed to be the thing to do here, so out came the rod.

Having no clue how to fish, or  set up a reel I just wacked on a weight and a spinney shiny thing and in it went. Nothing happened, after a while Trina put some sweetcorn on, and before long we caught our first fish off the boat! The saddest looking fish appeared on the end of the line, it didn’t even put up a struggle. I couldn’t tell whether I had caught it, or if it had intentionally committed suicide. All hell broke loose, screams of delight and fear rang throughout the bay, as lockers were emptied at breakneck speed in search of buckets, fishing knives etc. Instructions were read out on how to kill the blasted thing. I had read cheap alcohol into the gills does the job. Trina pulled out the cheapest looking bottle from the drinks cabinet, which happened to be luminous green ottoz elixir genepy, which I brought back from a trip to see Ben and Steph in the Aosta Valley, good times! I ended up pouring the whole bottle in the bucket, and the poor fish slowly passed away in the green herbal luminous mixture.

Ottoz elixir genepy is described as:

A herbal liqueur produced by L. Ottoz between 1949 and 1959. Elixir Génépy is traditionally made using alpine herbs, which gives it connotations of refreshing mountain air, crystal clear springs and other such Alpine novelties.

But for the fish it tasted like death!

Trina read out line by line how to prepare the sad and sozzled fish. By the time I had finished chopping his head off, gutting and filleting I had nothing left. This poor fish gave his life for nothing. We later learned that we’d caught a wrasse, an inedible fish with no real meat to speak of. RIP Rasse.


We conversed with another boat on the finer points of fishing, and so began a bizarre exchange of words. First the praise “She’s a lovely looking boat” then the question “What is she?” then “What a nice weekend boat. Do you get out much?”. I just went along with it, but was tempted to tell him this weekend boat sometimes weekends in the Caribbean…we’re still not quite sure whether he was taking the mickey, so bizarre “Do you get out much?” Well now we bloody do! lol

Later that evening Trina caught another bloody wrasse, filled with guilt and remorse she set him free, free to live another day, or morn the loss of his rasse #1.


The anchorage was pretty roley, and a combination of hangovers, touch of seasickness and an achy tummy saw us retreat to bed for an early night. It wasn’t all bad though, least we know what rattles. Wood needs wedging to stop some creaking, and there’s something rattling inside the mast, but I haven’t the foggiest how to solve that!!


Sunday morning was super sunny and warm. We blew up the dinghy in a matter of minutes, thank you awesome electric pump. None of this whistling foot pumping nonsense. It’s not cheap, but I seriously recommend everyone gets one of these bad boys . After pumping up the dinghy, within minutes, we spent the next 15 minutes searching for the oars. I have no idea where the oars are. Boats are cavernous beasts, but I think the oars have vanished. Cue the beach tennis rackets. We tennis paddled to shore, much to the amusement of onlookers.


I definitely recommend a stop at Mupe Bay if on a westward passage. Even from the Solent it’s really not that far, but feels like a lifetime away from the delights of Gosport! I wish we could have spent more time hiking and exploring, but Weymouth bridge waits for no man.


After successfully paddling back with our beach bats, we had lunch and then began our motor back for the 4pm bridge opening. As we were leaving we could hear a boat on the radio to the Solent Coastguard with a fouled prop. Just as we departed the coastguard put a call out, so we turned back and asked if they needed a tow. They decided to wait for a nearby diving boat.


After that delay, we gunned it nearly all the way, and knowing there would be a queue I slowed down. Things always appear closer than they are. I misjudged the distance to the entrance, and thought we’d missed the bridge opening. Once we got into the entrance, we saw the queue backed up, and a radio call to Weymouth Harbour confirmed the bridge wouldn’t close until the last yacht was in. PHEW!


We had the same berth, and with no wind we glided in nicely. I quickly rushed over to a boat that was behind us, who were having more of a challenging time and helped them in.

Two hours flew by as we tidied up the boat. Packed up, got in the car, and drove back to Reading.

Happy days!

Next weekend we’re off on holiday. First off we need to get round Portland Bill, which has a terrific write up.

Where we go after Weymouth I’m not sure. We could either bomb it down to Falmouth and then make our way back slowly, or pootle along and fight the prevailing westerlies…on our weekend boat.

Author: Tim Butler

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