Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Wednesday, 11th May

The early morning forecast was very good: North Easterly 3 to 4, veering Easterly 4 or 5; weather fair; visibility good.

Tuesday night was eventful. After uploading the ‘blog’, ‘Bumper’ broke out her anchor, which meant some quick work in pitch darkness to get the boat back to a safe anchorage. It was exceedingly cold and I failed to have a good night’s rest.

After doing all the usual preparations before sailing, we set off from the East Head anchorage with a fair wind out to sea. For some reason I could not get the windvane steering to work, which meant hand steering to the West in the direction of Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

Since I last sailed in the Solent I noticed a change to the landscape of Portsmouth waterfront which now has a huge symbolic building in the form of a sailing boat sail. It’s really tall and when the sun shines on its glass structure the reflection is dazzling.

Our course South of West took us to No Man’s Land Fort, which is to the South East of Spithead, where the Queen is due to review the Fleet on 28th June, with further celebrations until July, 3rd.

While sailing up the East Solent the windvane gear decided to work perfectly which made having lunch easier than if I had to hand steer. All around was a spectacle because so much was going on. In addition to the various ferries crossing from the mainland to the Isle of Wight there were large ships navigating the deep water channel and several impressive yachts racing.

At 1240 we passed by North Sturbridge Buoy which is north of Ryde Sand, where the hovercraft zooms to and fro between Portsmouth and Ryde. A large yellow catamaran ferry belonging to Speed Link noisily hurried by astern on her way to Ryde Ferry Terminal. Global Challenge yachts were racing to the west, while a large blue ketch belonging to the Bulldog Trust lay at anchor close inshore.

Near the entrance of Cowes Roads a large work boat was laying buoys and by contrast at anchor therwas the most beautiful Danish motor yacht, complete with funnel, raked mast and guilt work on her cutter bow.

I had first thought I would take ‘Bumper’ into Newton Creek, but because one is restricted to sufficient rise of tide for getting in and out I decided to anchor a couple of miles to the east of Yarmouth where some small cliffs called Bouldnor Cliffs provide a little protection from the wind. The anchorage was indeed peaceful while wind and tide were together. There I made a welcome meal from rice, bacon and onions.

Listening to the evening Shipping Forecast I was somewhat surprised to hear there would be East or North East winds of 5 to 7, perhaps gale 8. Without hesitation I made all speed to Yarmouth, where I tied ‘Bumper’ to number 11 A, Red Pontoon.

I’ll have to see what tomorrow brings, but I would really like to call into Christchurch where Derek Munnion will demonstrate his super lifting keel day boat. Furthermore he intends to let me try her out. Christchurch is not the easiest of places and finding somewhere to moor may present a problem. Apparently it is not permitted to anchor in the channels; therefore one must allow the boat to take the mud at low water.

Another cold night is in store. I can feel it as I type this entry for my ‘blog’.

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