Sunday, 17 June 2012

Bound for the Isle of Wight

Vagabond and I had intended to stay in Haslar marina for a couple of nights, whilst I went off on the Ferry to Portsmouth on Wednesday morning to meet with the Elder Sister and her husband for lunch to catch up with family gossip. 
By about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I was back with Vagabond, wondering what to do. I could go to the submarine museum and see if had changed in the 20 years since I was last there
But it was such a lovely afternoon. The sun was shining and playing on the water and the wind was gentle and from the East. It was almost too good to miss. A quick check of the tidal currents showed that there would be tide in our favour all the way to the Needles once we got into the Western Arm of the Solent.
Go for it – or was this the liquid lunch doing the thinking? Of course not. It WAS too good to miss.
Jostling with hovercraft and ferries
Hoist the sails in the marina, scoot through the narrow harbour entrance, jostle with the ferries and hovercraft through the “small boat channel” and turn west, between the Isle of Wight and the Ryde bank.

Passing Cowes to port

The wind was dead astern, so Vagabond was goose winged again and we drifted along at about 3 kn over the ground until we had turned the corner and were abeam of Cowes. Now we were on a broad reach, the tide was under our keel and we were rushing SW at about 7 knots in glorious sunlight. Few commercial craft were about (apart from Ferries);  this compensated by a plethora of mid week races taking place along the edges of the waterway. All too soon, it seemed, we were lowering the sails, firing up Freddie (Mercury 6HP) and turning into the harbour at Yarmouth.

I hadn’t been in there for about eight years. How it has changed. Several new  pontoons with shore access. Solar powered showers! And, for the first time in my cruise so far, boats with people on them!
Sadly, the forecast for the next few days was atrocious, so on Thursday  Vagabond was put to bed (so to speak) and I let the train  take me home to see the Owners Agent,  to  cut the grass and the hedges and even find time to view a possible property (rubbish).
Back to Yarmouth on Sunday., where I discovered the marina was almost empty. "Everyone went home this morning", said the harbour master. "They've been cooped up here by the weather and couldn't wait to leave. It blew 55kn on the pier yesterday afternoon".
I was pleased I'd been home! Now to plot the course for tomorrow. And it's started raining heavily again.

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