Typical Dinner cooked in a pressure cooker.
Today I had the best sail of the cruise so far. ‘Ladybird’ left Brighton Marina at 0600. The wind was from the SE at about Force 1; therefore I kept the engine running until the wind increased to force 3 within the hour. The boat could hold a direct course of 225 for the E Borough Head buoy, just over 19 miles away. Dark clouds brought the first rain, and from there on intermittent showers persisted as the wind backed to the south, causing ‘Ladybird’ to be on the wind. The barometer continued to fall throughout the day and the wind increased to a Force 4 or 5.
Half way to the E Borough Head buoy I set about making a coffee. At that moment the selfsteering gear played up. It could not cope with the waves and wind. I reduced sail, but that made no difference. The event was insignificant, because I mostly steered the boat to spare the Autohelm which was working overtime. I turned the gear off and switched it back on again, to no effect. I then took the gear off its mount and pressed the auto button. This did the trick, so that it worked perfectly well. I only used the Autohelm when plotting the ship’s position and when preparing hot drinks.
As usual, ‘Ladybird’ was overhauled by bigger yachts, but this was advantageous to me, because they became pointers, showing me the way. Gradually the sea built up with breaking crests and I shortened sail to less than a working rig with the equivalent of one reef in the rolled mainsail. By the time we arrived at West Pole Beacon, marking the entrance to Chichester Harbour, the wind was a good Force 5 from the south and the last of the ebb was flowing out to sea, causing the waves to increase in height.
East Head Anchorage, Chichester Harbour
A rather fine gaff ketch with tan sails was leaving the Harbour as we were entering. She was followed by a large white plastic yacht. Running northwards past Hayling Island Yacht Club to port, required my utmost attention to prevent the yacht from gybing. Before reaching East Head where I intended anchoring I turned on the engine and took in all sail. I also prepared the anchor and chain in readiness for anchoring. Three other yachts were anchored; one of them was a just a little bit bigger than mine. I therefore chose a spot in about the same depth of water at 2 metres a cable distance away from the smaller boat. The time was 1440, and having sailed a distance of 37 miles, ‘Ladybird’s’ average speed was a tad over 4 knots.
My intention is to remain here for the night, and if the wind continues from the South I should have a peaceful sleep.