Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Cowes Raid - Sunday 15th July...

Sunday 15th July

Beautiful still early morning after a good nights sleep - maybe the four pints of IPA the night before had helped.. Anyway, it's just the most beautiful spot first thing..  very still, very quiet... 

I see Steve's still sleeping...
We'd talked about what time to leave the night before, and decided on a fairly early start, so after tea and bacon butties (cooked on the pontoon - very sociable!), we headed for the harbour entrance at about 8:30'ish...




...me first, Mudlark next... looking fine!


..and then Phil..  also looking damn fine despite the weed moustache (which is new this year by the way..  apparently conditions in Poole have been pretty rubbish this year and Phil tells me constant swell has caused the growth).....

Mudlark with Steve getting the camera ready..
Beautiful morning..  you could almost imagine it was July..!

Just down from the pontoon we found this Fantasie... I just caught the name (started with T I think) but can't remember it! Unusual model...  twin fore stays, and double spreaders on the mast...

What does he think he's going to catch...??



..and so to Cowes itself...   first of my "after you" moments of the day...  thought it best to wait!


....at which point in time we had the second excitement of the day when Mudlarks engine cut out right in the middle of the main channel...  happily no ferries coming in but blimey, outboards do pick their moments...  happily I still had my mooring ropes handy so flung one over to Steve and took him in tow...  no idea what the problem was as Steve managed to get it going 5 minutes later...  either way, the two parties then separated at the small boat channel, where I headed east for home, and they headed west...

Thanks to Steve for this one...
Now I knew that it wasn't going to be easy, as the eastward tide wasn't due to cut in until about 1400'ish, but conditions were far from perfect for passage making...  little to no wind, adverse tide, and what wind there was was westerly. so coming from directly behind where the main was masking the jib...  ended up rolling the jib in as it was flapping in that irritating manner they have....

Not good...  not enough fuel to motor all the distance back (full tank and then 5 Litres in the can), but as no progress was being made I fired up the donk anyway...

An hour later and the breeze started to fill in so I returned to sail power...  and so it was for about the next 3 or 4 hours; running dead downwind with steadily increasing breeze, goose winged for much of the time - difficult in the swell, but enjoyable in the sun until the weather started closing in...

Just before Portsmouth, I had my second "after you" moment of the day...  I wasn't going to argue with 100,000 tonnes doing 17 knots fresh from refuelling at Fawley... ("NYK Orpheus"; she's currently in the English Channel, having left Le Havre, now heading for the Suez Canal/Port Said, by the way - t'interweb is a wonderful thing!) 


...I hurtled past Portsmouth at about 13:30 at which point I knew in my bones all was going to be well - no reason to think otherwise, but at this point I was on to known ground from a previous trip which always takes some of the trepidation out of the situation...

I took the middle entrance through the submarine barrier, and was off Langstone by 14:00 when the wind started to drop but the tide cut in...  it then took me an hour to drift across Hayling Bay before finally reaching the West Pole Beacon at 15:00'ish.... just as the wind kicked in with a vengeance!

From zero to F5 in almost moments, I took the decision there and then to drop the main and motor in - a mad 5 minutes followed in which I lost my hat getting the main down, then a charge into the harbour and a leisurely run up the harbour, and I was on a spare mooring just off  Northney by 1700...

With no water on the mooring until at least 18:30/19:00'ish I had some time to "waste" so used the time to tidy up, watch the world go by, read, eat, drink tea and then finally snuck up the channel and on to the mooring by 18:30 - real skin of the teeth depths, but three and a half hours before the high...  astounding...

Track for the second day...



Distance: 24.85 miles; 8 miles less than yesterday's tacking..! (cumulative total in the 2012 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Started Force 1, built to Force 4 gusting Force 5 .. westerly
Sail Plan: Full main, full jib..
Speed: GPS says max speed was 5 knots which was under sail on the way back somewhere between about Ryde and the submarine barrier I reckon. Average speed of 2.6 knots (not bad given the very light conditions at the start of the trip)

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