.. Bumpy ride!
This old saying certainly rang true as we crashed out way out of Chichester Harbour on Sunday morning!
We’d left Portsmouth around mid-day on Saturday and headed out, keen to true out the newly laundered sails properly, into the Solent. We had near enough full sail, and gybed round Horse Sand Fort before heading towards Chichester Harbour. On reaching the harbour entrance we continued up the channel to a pontoon floating in the middle of the harbour. Finding it full we moored alongside a yacht named Polar Bear, flying a naval ensign.
It was a lovely evening and mum and dad sat in the cockpit as I cooked dinner – chilli and rice – and then we sat chilling in the saloon until bedtime. We had the VHF radio on heard a lot of calls to the coastguard this weekend. The first was a PanPan call from Ouistreham, so they obviously weren’t calling out to the Solent! We then heard about a jet ski which had gone to the Isle of Wight, experienced engine difficulties and was thought to have been returning to the mainland in early evening, but hadn’t turned up. The Gosport ferry ‘Spirit of Gosport’ called in to say they may have seen it, and then several people called in to say they hadn’t… not entirely sure of the point of that but hey ho. The next morning there was also a PanPan for some kayakers who were in trouble – 18 or so of them off Calshot spit. Now that really was unfortunate but it was a windy day so one would have thought it was a brainless idea to go kayaking in those conditions anyway. The Coastguard were having a whale of a time this weekend… I’m going to take this opportunity to point out that the government are threatening to shut many of the coastguard stations around the UK – which is the worst idea since mud, so you can find out more here: http://coastguardsos.com/
Or follow them on twitter ;)
On Sunday morning we awoke to beautiful views over Chichester Harbour. The sun was shining and the sea was like glass as the birds swooped over the mud flats.
However quiet it seemed inside the harbour, it was likely to be a different story on the outside. A quick conversation with the neighbours confirmed this.
‘Have you heard the weather forecast this morning?’
‘No, but it’s not a day one can linger…. [To his wife] Darling, I think we’ll need the storm jib today!’
Ah. So that would be the strong wind warning then. *Gulp*
We moved down to a bouy for breakfast to allow the Polar Bear to leave, and then decided to head back to Portsmouth before the wind got too strong.
The tide was ebbing out of Chichester and the wind blowing back in, creating a great, rolling swell. The boat crashed through the waves and then we turned right past the bar, heading back towards Portsmouth. The waves were hitting the port bow at this point so we put a pit of genoa out to stabilise the boat. Then a bit more. And a little bit more….
The sea looks far too flat in this photo…
The sail made us really zoom back across the Solent, it was so exciting! :D Anyway we made it through the submarine barrier and back to Portsmouth, where we did a few chores on the boat, and then went home and stopped at the curry house on the way :D