After a lot of false starts due to weather I finally went sailing on Saturday 15th April, a month later than hoped for and after a tedious trip down by rail the day before, going via London because the mainline between Oxford and Didcot was closed due to problems with a bridge over the Thames. I was disappointed to find that the Hamble COOP had no chicken and only one pack of pork on its sell by date so I left relying largely on tinned food and cured meat.
On a neap tide the start was at 05:45, it would have been a bit earlier but I had to wait for enough light to see the lines in the water, particularly important as there was a brisk NW wind also making it tricky to get off of the trot mooring without hitting the boat in front of me even with the tide pushing me into the wind and away from her.
Not unusually just before high water, there was shipping to avoid, a big cruise ship, a container ship and a car carrier so I was close to NE Gurnard (East of Beaulieu river) before I switch to sail, just the headsail in the gusty F4 – F5 north westerly wind until past St Albans head, but making good speed through the water although I did not pick up any significant favourable tide until past West Lepe, then it was at least 7 knots or more over the ground until past the Needles.
|Hurst Castle now with new sea defences and rebuilding of the |
collapsed northern casements well underway.
|Approaching the Needles.|
Sea breaking on the shingles bank despite a moderate F4 wind, rather a rocky ride due to over-falls at "The Bridge".
The Lulworth range was inactive on the last weekend of the school holidays so I was able to keep fairly close in to St Albans, but not so close as to get significantly less wind and with the early start I was well past before the tide turned adverse and I made Portland under sail at 15:00 to anchor in solitary splendour until a sport boat turned up for a couple of hours then a yacht that arrived after dark.