15th - 21st August 2019
The next few days consisted mainly of boat jobs and getting used to on board living. We had spent extended periods of time on boats in the past, but always for a holiday or racing. This trip doesn't have a finish date so naturally there is a feeling of wanting to properly bed-in to our new carbon fiber home.
(As all yacht owners know: ’the list’ of boat maintenance jobs is ever looming and never ending. This means any moment not spent sipping gin and tonics is probably devoted to some form of boat maintenance. On board life revolves around the list, without it we are lost - it offers purpose to an otherwise futile existence. Not quite, but it is important to keep the boat operational.)
There were jobs on the list that needed tending to and the anchorage in Osborne bay was becoming more uncomfortable due to an increasingly lumpy sea state. We sought refuge in the river Hamble as there was still no room at the inn (Cowes). Here, we cracked on with various jobs and had a pleasant mooring on a floating pontoon. Again, our positioning near the mouth of the river was prime for boat watching. After 2 days of ogling passing boats, it became apparent that shorter crew members are actually unable to see out of the saloon windows, perhaps explaining why Mum is always commenting on the colour of the sky and never the surrounding landscape.
While moored in the Hamble It was a treat to have our own fly over from Rupert who happened to be flying in the area - who needs the Red Arrows?
Beloved brother, Alasdair, and dearest girlfriend, Fenella were scheduled to join us in Cowes, so we needed to nip back across the solent to meet them. I really enjoyed this sail, we passed the refurbished tourist steam ship ‘Shieldhall’ and sailed circles around them which was fun. There was a strong breeze blowing down the Solent from the West giving us a reach into cowes - the boat screamed in and we seemed to be there in seconds. After being on mooring for a few days it felt good to be shifting again. This set the tone for the next few days.
Our guests joined us and we enjoyed dinner at one of Alasdair’s old haunts. The plan for the next day was to gently cruise down to Portsmouth to have a look at HMS Prince of Wales, the Royal Navy’s newest carrier. The wind was from West again so we headed downwind just under jib.
Alex Thomson's brand new toy was out for sea trials and we were able to keep pace, sailing alongside the IMOCA 60 for about 5 minutes until they opened up the throttle and foiled into the distance…A great opportunity to have a glimpse at the black and pink space ship hoping to claim victory for Great Britain in the 2020 Vendee Globe.
All was in order in Portsmouth harbour. After we had finished ogling vessels of varying shapes, sizes and historical significance, it was time to head back into the solent and upwind towards Southampton water where we had a berth for the night. The wind had built slightly and we were greeted with 30 knots to the face. With only our genoa flying, we thundered upwind into it. The boat maintained speed and its ability to point - a consistent 9 knots. She goes very well to windward but this had never been tested under only the foresail - fantastic. (footage below)
Ocean Village Marina in Southampton: wide pontoons, very clean. We had a swift visit from Rachela and Lorenzo. Dad was struggling to get his head around an issue with the cable master motor so it was a God send to have Lorenzo on hand to help out with that (below).
We slipped our mooring lines, destination: Weymouth.