This Sunday morning at Lymington Yacht Haven there is a dead calm and the sun is shining. The time is 08.10 and I am ready to go, but the ebb does not allow departure until 10.30 at the earliest, because it is a spring tide and the flood will be making around Hurst Point.
The distance to Hurst Point is 4 miles, and from there to the waypoint buoy for Poole Harbour it is 15 nautical miles. The inshore forecast gives NW, backing W 3/4, increasing 5 for a time, backing SW later, fair, good.
Now that's not the best prospect for going to Poole, but I'll give it try. 'Sandpiper' must average 3 knots. Alternatively, if I can't get into Poole I could anchor in Studland Bay.
Continuing the blog at 20.20
As I anticipated the going was hard. Towards the end with Sandbanks in sight, the wind did veer to the west, giving a head wind. Finally the tide turned against us. I put the engine on and started motoring. Bournemouth Pier was to the north. Once again, as off Southend many days ago, the petrol ran out before I refilled the tank, and I couldn't start the engine.
I tried sailing to windward against the tide, but I could make little progress. At that moment a squall threw the boat on her side and water came over the coaming. That was enough to make me try the engine a second time and to my relief it started.
Several fast launches overtook us as we went through the East Looe Channel towards the western end of Sandbanks. Making way against the very fierce ebb at the entrance to Poole Harbour was touch and go. In fact the place was bedlam. Maniacs were powering their craft through the race with no concern for anyone.
I can't say I've ever seen such hectic happenings on the water. The chain ferry crossed between all the traffic, and sightseeing boats we taking passengers for a look, but they soon turned about for the security of the harbour.
I was relieved to reach the North Marker where I headed 'Sandpiper' SW for South Deep. Once through it between the sands on either side, the water quieted down.
There were several yachts and motor vessels anchored off Goathorn Point, and I joined them. As I sit here the evening sun is about to set, marking a memorable day.