After our early start we didn’t do a great deal once safely berthed, showers, cold beer and dinner ……. Barry took a quick look around the motorbikes on the sea front on his return from getting clean …… the bike display is a weekly event, sometimes they get up to 10,000 on these evenings, that include some rare and beautiful machines! We contacted Ray & Sandra regarding the folding bikes we’re looking at buying and will see them on Wednesday morning at 10am.
The motorbikes leaving later that evening didn’t affect our beauty sleep, with only an occasional rock from leaving fishing boats’ wake, to assist our slumber! Another beautiful day dawned and after breakfast Ray collected us in his car, the two folding bikes they were selling are in a fair condition, Ruth found them very easy to ride …….. and as they need a little work and a service, our offer was accepted, after a brew Ray then took us back to the marina with our latest assets. We had a quick bite to eat and then went for a good stroll along the sea front to Parkstone Marina, where we stopped for a cake and a drink in the cafe ……. not the cheapest place, especially as Ruth was charged 40p for a splash of milk in her coffee!!
Back around to the marina and sea front we had a couple of drinks before having a shower and then going out for a steak dinner ……. which was absolutely fabulous. During the late afternoon Barry had also contacted Chichester Marina again about ‘winter berthing’, only to be told there was now no room for us, but we could go on the waiting list! Bearing in mind it was less than a week since he’d previously been told there was room, we were fairly disappointed and immediately sent e-mails to other marinas about their availability to accommodate SW for the winter.
Thursday morning we decided to go ashore for a cooked breakfast, before departing across Christchurch Bay, through Hurst Point and in to Newton Creek for our last night before going home. After our fry up Barry was prepping the boat when he had a call from Premier Marinas, yes Port Solent could accommodate us for the winter and also from now until the winter package starts on 1st Oct …… a great relief all round, as we’d both had a disturbed night following the previous day’s let down!
We’d also noticed for the first time on this trip two other F-Ribs ….. on slightly larger yachts than SW …..
It was another fairly breezy day 12-20kts from NW, once prepped we slipped out of the marina and once the decks were tidy, set a full Genoa and the Main with a small reef, almost directly outside the marina entrance, sailing down through Poole Harbour and out through the entrance, taking the inner shallow channel towards Hurst Point! Lowest depth was 2m …… given that we draw 1.85m, however, it was on a rising tide, so if we’d touched we wouldn’t be stuck for too long!
There was another yacht going in the same direction, not that we were ‘racing’ but judicious use of the gusts enabled us to gradually overhaul them and over the next hour or so put some distance between us, it was still a beautiful warm day, with decent wind and then we reached Hurst Point, with the tide helping we quickly popped through the narrows and overfalls with 10.6kts SOG, a first for Ruth as she’s never been through here before.
Past Yarmouth, we had by now decided it was pointless stopping in Newton Creek, originally planning to stop to make it two easy legs to Chichester rather than a long one, as we were now going to Port Solent and were still making great progress at over 9kts SOG, we just kept going. Our speed dropped a little going past Cowes as the tide was not directly with us,
but once clear and past Osborne House, things again picked up.
Next we were past Lee On Solent,
heading to Portsmouth Harbour entrance,
as we turned to port in the small boat channel we were head to wind, so quickly furled both sails away. We’d possibly had one of the best sails of the whole trip and a worthy end to our adventures ….. we motored in through the entrance and past the big marinas of Gosport & Haslar, continuing up Portsmouth Water and channel that leads to Port Solent, some 4.6Nm from the harbour entrance. As we neared Porchester we passed one of the Joint Services Victoria 34 boats ‘Syrinx’ ……. fond memories for Barry, who sailed on her in 2003 when he did his Day Skipper Course and again in 2004 with an incompetent skipper when they went to Brighton in a F10 gale!
We then called up the Port Solent lock, although it was virtually ‘free-flow’ we would need to stop to get berthing instructions and key fobs etc, Syrinx joined us in the lock as they were staying for the night. Once through we took the lazy option of driving bow in to our D01 berth,
right next to the facilities and Summer Wine’s home for the next 7mths.
After a celebratory cold beer, we started packing things up, had some dinner, then Ellie came down for a cold one on her way home from work …… she was slightly surprised we didn’t want to go home and were staying for one last night on the boat. She would return on Friday morning with the big car so we could start getting everything home. After showers we belatedly departed for the local pub ……. another Weatherspoon’s establishment, but the beer and Prosecco were good.
So that was our trip around the UK safely accomplished and one for Barry to cross off his ‘bucket’ list! Just over the 3mths duration, 2160Nm, 48 nights in marinas, 10 nights on buoys, 38 nights at anchor, ok a bit too much motoring, but some great sailing too. On the plus side the wildlife we’ve seen was absolutely fabulous and people we’ve met have been great too …… in another few years time, we may very well go back up to Scotland again, this time the other way around!