With me for a few days around the Solent on this Bank Holiday Weekend 27-29 August were Judith, Marcus and Beth. We departed 0930 BST on Saturday 27 August an hour or two after high water, headed for a mooring buoy on the Beaulieu River, a little upstream of the marina for a pleasant lunch in tranquil surroundings. We arrived around 1300 BST had a leisurely lunch and departed 1500 BST for our intended overnight anchorage in Newtown River on the Isle of Wight. Wind had been slight for most of the day so travel required the assistance of the motor!
We arrived at Newtown River anchorage about 1730 BST to find it quite crowded but managed to locate a nice sandy spot in 3m depth with sufficient bottom clearance allowing for the tide. Instead of the recommended anchor chain deployment of six times the maximum anticipated water depth, I deployed half that amount, expecting that the anchor would still hold, in spite of the two or so knot tidal current. By late evening at high tide, the anchor still appeared to hold nicely, so, having set my anchor alarm at 50m radius, I though nothing more of it, and retired to my berth for a fitful sleep. However, I was in for a surprise the next morning. Baybreeze had dragged anchor about 30m farther upstream with the incoming tide! The yellow yacht we had anchored next to was some distance away and thankfully we were still quite some distance from other yachts, so a collision was avoided – and hence a gracious way to learn a lesson! Six times the water depth it is and never less!
We departed at 1000 BST at high tide and headed for Cowes Yacht Haven. Although against the tide, the wind was a moderate south-westerly and so we arrived and was at the berth by midday. That left the remainder of the day sight-seeing followed by an evening’s restaurant dinner with friends Rosemary and John who live on the island.
The next day, Monday, was the best of the three. The bow thruster was playing up and so I had to ‘spring’ off the berth reversing out then forward and out of the marina without a hitch. Because the wind was light we had to motor to our next destination, Osborne Bay, for a swim and lunch.
As we left Osborne Bay, the wind started to pick up to F4-5 nicely again from the west and we sped north with full genoa and main across the eastern side of Bramble Bank in sunny conditions, the below-keel water depth sometimes reaching a low 1.5m. Great sailing weather! As we entered Southampton Water, the sail training square rigged vessel Stavros motored out. Alas, the wind soon died and we had motor up Southampton Water back the Baybreeze’s berth at Shamrock Quay.
It was Beth’s first sailing experience and it appears we have a new enthusiast!
Distance logged, 48 nm; engine hours, 8.2.