12th - 13th August 2019
Harwich to Ramsgate was a passage we’d
made on several previous occasions, either on family jaunts or when delivering Fatjax II to the south coast for racing. The trip through our nautical stomping ground was all too familiar, especially with the rain. However, unfamiliar, was the sense of surreal serenity shrouding the moment - brought on by nostalgic reflections of the area we were leaving and the knowledge we would not be returning any time soon (by boat).
We continued under engine and as the afternoon drew to a close, fresh breeze arrived making for relatively comfortable sailing. The forecast for the next few days was predicting strong southerlies. Stopping overnight as planned would mean - a) sailing/motoring into nasty weather the next day, or - b) staying in Ramsgate for the next few days. Neither options were favourable.
With this in mind, we decided to press on. Destination: Cowes, Isle of White. A scenic sunset at Dover lead us comfortably into the night. We took 4 hour watches, accompanied by rain, Desert Island Discs, and caffeine. An uneventful night: the usual navigation of other vessels was successful (we didn’t hit anything), and Stephen Fry's DID was everything I hoped it would be.
Fatjax arrived and anchored in Osborne bay at 1300 the next afternoon, a 24 hour passage in total. A larger and slightly more taxing first passage than was initially planned, but after we'd caught up on sleep we were glad for it. Cowes week was still in full swing (another reason to press on at Ramsgate), so there were no berthing options available in Cowes. We weren't complaining. By day we had a front row view of White Group racing (Dad and myself could stare at boats, a favourite past time) and by night, we regally relished being the only yacht in a bay fit for a Queen, overlooked only by Osborne House.