Yesterday morning was warm and sunny, and I had mild sunburn by 10am. The crew were up and about earlier after a more restrained evening. I had to call the coastguard after I saw a flare being let of 210° from East Cowes Marina. the coastguard phoned me to say the flare had been let off over land, so not sure what was happening.
Had a good sail across to Chichester Harbour, which has an interesting navigation: lots of buoys and marks and it would have been good, challenging fun to sail this at night. The pattern of buoys didn’t quite match the chartplotter or the charts. We sailed goose-winged most of the way from East Cowes.
At Itchenor we moored up on one of five swinging buoys. Our first attempt was a bit premature and we bashed into one of the other boats. We gave up on that buoy, and tried another joining on as the fifth boat onto a raft. After we tied up we were told to ‘please leave’, because the buoy was overburdened for the strong wind and tide conditions in Chichester Harbour. I agreed. During this time the Commodores, Reggie and Ray, arrived with Bob and Steve, and moored on an almost empty buoy that we hadn’t spotted. After a few attemps to pick up the buoy in the strong wind they managed to safely moor up and we joined, rafting alongside them.
Later we were joined by a couple of other S&CA yachts so there were fours boats in total. We had drinks aboard Aurora, before Reggie and Ray towed us ashore on our tender. The row was required as we were missing the handle of one of the oars. We could have paddled but the tide was very fast (springs).
We had drinks and ate at the Itchenor Sailing Club. Lovely club house with a self-service restaurant with paella, which we ate outdoors (the wind had died down a bit). We got thrown out the Club House at 10:30 and, one prop-wrap-in-the-dark later, three of the boats were partying on Northern Spirit. it turned out to be Ross’ 28th birthday. The booze was a bit limited because we’d planned to stock up in France, so we literally drank the boat dry. Our boat emptied out at 2, and partying shifted to Aurora.
Today was another great start. I was up a couple of hours before the others again and read yesterday’s papers, slowly grilling in the sun on deck. Guy made a great fry up. Easy off the buoy and a slow sail / motor around to Gosport. We went through the Dolphin Channel (gap in the WW2 submarine nets. The wind was N-NE but fell well short of the F4-5 forecast.
Frantic scrubbing of boat, and heads, and a big slab of home-baked apple pie before we headed off. Left Haslar Marina about 5. All tired on train back to London. Had a good chat with Tim (who’ll be sailing with our flotilla in Croatia in September). I was able to connect with 30 secs to spare onto the 19:52 to Cambridge, which was good going. Looking forward to getting home to Michael, and supper is waiting 🙂