Autohelm at work
The wind was stronger than forecast at force 5 from the NW. Getting out of Cowes against the wind and the incoming tide was possible with the engine running at three-quarters throttle. I kept an eye open for the car ferries and the fast catamaran. When ‘Ladybird’ was clear of the number one starboard hand buoy I shaped a course towards the entrance of the Beaulieu River. Almost fully reefed, the boat was very comfortable. The easiest way of finding Lymington is to follow the six metre line which will bring you to the entrance where the ferries use the dredged channel. This I did without difficulty.
The eight mile trip was mostly on the wind to allow for the ebb. Two miles from the Lymington Fairway I took in sail, prepared the lines and tied fenders on either side. The engine needed fairly high revs to make over the ebb and against the wind. The ferry was leaving just as I arrived at Lymington Yacht Haven; therefore if steered a course through the moorings to keep clear of the vessel. I was given permission to berth at Oscar Nine, but finding it was not easy, because the sign for the Oscar pontoons was missing! An exchange of information via the VHF on Channel 80 eventually helped me to find the pontoon which was right at the end of a cul-de-sac. I was pleased that the wind eased as I manoeuvred ‘Ladybird’ into the slot.
When I had tidied the boat I phoned a friend who sails at Keyhaven. He generously offered to show me the way in to the harbour tomorrow, if all goes to plan. I’ve always avoided Keyhaven because the tides are not regular and the channel is narrow. Unless a boat is kept to the channel she will dry out. Therefore it is essential to know where the to let the boat settle.
This afternoon I took a stroll through the centre of Lymington and along the river front. A street market was taking place and there were many holiday makers. On the way to the town centre I noticed that Francis Chichester’s old yacht, ‘Gypsy Moth 1V’ was for sale at the Berthon Boat Company’s boat park.