Bank Holiday Solent Jaunt

When I checked it before the Channel Islands trip, the anchor light wasn’t working. With the help of Judith’s two ‘boys’, Aidan and Marcus, I was hoisted up the mast in a bosun’s chair with a replacement bulb – a LED light this time using only 1.5w as opposed to 20w. Succeeded in replacing it after a few minutes of figuring! Lovely view, even if a tad breezy.

Departed at sunset at around 2000 hours Friday 22 August from Shamrock Quay. Sailed and motor-sailed down Southampton Water. Had to dog-leg it at Calshot Spit because of an approaching high-speed passenger ferry. Arrived Osborne Bay 2215 after two hours night sailing. Anchored with W-NW Force 4 winds. Not particularly well-sheltered. Set smart phone anchor watch. Had a lovely chilli con carne supper, prepared before departure. Failed to check that anchor had grabbed so only had moderate sleep. [There must be a lesson here!]

A filling pre-sail English breakfast of sausage, bacon, egg with bread and coffee. We planned to sail with the tide to Hurst Point, taking the turning tide back to the Beaulieu River to anchor overnight. Headed off at 1100 hours. Forgot to log boat’s track until 1415 hours, so track till then is estimated. Arrived 1515 hours and found a dozen yachts anchored at Hurst Point – obviously a popular spot under the prevailing conditions. Many yachts in Needles channel and in North passage.

Arrived Beaulieu River entrance at 1745 with sufficient tide to negotiate the two sandbars and then to the first anchorage but failed to secure boat in a tight location. Moved 200m further upstream and successfully anchored at 1840. This time checked that the anchor had grabbed by reversing under anchor. Led to a very secure and restful night under calm sheltered conditions.

The next morning, with very little coaxing, Aidan and Marcus went for a pre-breakfast swim off the boat in a 1-2 knot flood tide with a water temperature of 13.5 degrees Centigrade. Brrrr! Judith and I didn’t join them as we thought it only fair to hold towels and prepare hot drinks …

Departed Beaulieu River anchorage 1115 hours amongst an exodus of boats. As we motored in windless, partially cloudy conditions nearing Calshot Spit, we spotted two Lancasters flanked by two Spitfires flying  in formation. The Lancasters were low and close together whereas the Spitfires skirted them at a much higher altitude. What a treat!

The world's two only properly functioning Lancaster bombers over the Solent, 24 August 2014.
The world’s two only properly functioning Lancaster bombers over the Solent, 24 August 2014.

Motored until half way up Southampton Water when wind picked up sufficiently to set all sails. Furled all sails when we reached the mouth of the Itchen River and motored back to the marina. Total distance logged 87 nm, including 2 night hours.