Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Beaulieu to Portsmouth : 25th October

Sue's birthday started well with a most spectacular sunrise over the river. We left the berth at 10:50 heading upstream towards Beaulieu until we ran out of water. With high tide at 08:00 the water was rapidly disappearing. There was no wind, a beautiful sunny day with a little misty autumn haze. By 12:15 we were exiting the river at Lepe.

One of many photo's taken of the sunrise. 

Heading towards Beaulieu on a glassy smooth river.

 A very average local property!

Bucklers Hard. 

Heading down river towards the Solent.

Once out in the Solent again, we turned east and headed for Portsmouth, dodging the Red Funnel and Wightlink ferries on the way. More birthday excitement was to come as we entered Portsmouth, a Brittany Ferries vessel was entering the port followed immediately by a Royal Navy frigate being towed/escorted out to sea by fore and aft tugs. While these large vessels were obviously in the main channel, we kept to the small vessel channel on the west side of the entrance passing close to an outgoing pilot boat.

 A busy harbour entrance.

Queen's Harbour Master HQ Portsmouth. 

Sharing the small vessel channel with an outgoing pilot boat.

A quick call to Haslar Marina secured a berth for two nights near the entrance to the marina, just inside a hammerhead. To finish off a nice day on the boat we had a walk and in the evening celebrated Sue's birthday with a meal onboard the converted lightship 'Mary Mouse 2'.

Moored in Haslar Marina.

The Spinnaker Tower across the harbour. 

Looking back towards the entrance from the marina. 

What a lot of boats!

Mary Mouse 2, Ex lightship now a restaurant for the marina.

October in the Solent

It was good to be back on the boat to enjoy some late season sailing in sheltered waters. On the 18th October we left our berth at Chichester marina at 15:00 to move up the harbour and anchor at Pilsey island for the night. The next day we headed into the Solent on our way to Hamble Point Marina.

Great excitement on board! when we spotted the Land Rover BAR AC45 foiling catermeran out practicing. Slight consternation when we realised that we were potentially on a collision course, with us as the stand on vessel on starboard tack, and very little time to make a decision. Should we keep clear of this high tech projectile? The decision was taken away from us when the AC45 tacked.

Land Rover BAR AC45. 

We had two nights in Hamble Point Marina. I was amused to look round some of the brokerage boats at Nordhavn Motor Yachts with an eye to continuing our aquatic way of life when we are too doddery for this sailing lark! 

Whilst in the marina we washed the decks and discovered the source of a leak which had been plaguing us since our rough passage to Dover. The rear starboard pulpit fixing had come loose and was allowing water to get into the forecabin leading to wet clothes and other items. We had investigated the waterproof hatch into the chain locker to no avail so were relieved to find the leak and get it sealed.

From Hamble Point we headed further west down the Solent and had one night in Yarmouth, one of our favourite destinations. 

Happy sailing on passage to Yarmouth.

Heading for Yarmouth.

On Sunday 23rd October the 0600 inshore waters forecast was for E or NE 5/7 so we decided to leave Yarmouth and head over to the shelter of the Beaulieu River. A fine beat up the Solent was had and 'Norman James' performed admirably against larger competition. Tweaking the outhaul to flatten and de-power the mainsail worked a treat allowing us to carry the full sail. Sue was in her element on the helm! No pictures as we were busy at the time. Also, no leaks, Hip Hip Hurray for us !!!  

We motored up the river to Bucklers Hard Marina where we booked in for two nights. Being so late in the season it was very quiet. The next day we walked to Beaulieu and had an excellent lunch at the Montagu Arms, a very fine home made Scotch egg and Ploughman's lunch was enjoyed.


Montagu Arms Hotel.

Path along the river from Bucklers Hard to Beaulieu.

Bucklers Hard Marina.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Bembridge and the Solent : 9th - 12th August

With Sue's mum out of hospital we returned to the boat to sort things out and make the most of a few days aboard. We left the marina at 11:40 and with only 1.9m of water in the approach channel the keel had to be raised a little to prevent us grounding. A quick stop off at Itchenor pontoon allowed us to pay our harbour dues and was followed by lunch on a visitor mooring. At 13:45 we left the mooring and headed off to Bembridge harbour on the Isle of Wight. 

We arrived in Bembridge at 16-20 and moored on the inside of the pontoon at Duver Marina. In the evening we walked across the dunes to the Baywatch Cafe for supper with excellent views across the harbour and Solent.

'Norman James' moored on the inside of the pontoon.

 Walkway from the pontoon to shore.

View across the harbour from the Baywatch Cafe. 

The next day we took the ferry to the other side of the harbour and had a lovely walk along the shore to the lifeboat station and beyond. We were delighted to find another excellent sea shore restaurant ( The Lifeboat View ) for lunch right next to the walkway to the RNLI station.

A glorious day at Bembridge.

Bembridge Lifeboat Station.

 Along the beach towards Foreland.

 Bembridge Ledge from the lifeboat station.

After walking further along the coast we returned by ferry to the boat. Just before 15:00 we left the marina on the rising tide. An hour later we were anchored in Priory bay for the night.

Leaving the pontoon. 

Motoring down the buoyed channel 

At anchor in Priory Bay to the east of Ryde.

The next day we had a little beat up the Solent to look at all the action. We hadn't realised it was Cowes week and it was fun to see 'Phaedo 3' successfully defending the Artemis Challenge.

The Solent Fort Hotel. 

Ferries and Hovercraft to dodge. 

Phaedo 3 beating up the final leg to Cowes. 

Downwind Racing.

At Osbourne Bay we turned east and headed back to Chichester harbour to anchor at Pilsey Island for the night. The following day we returned to East Head to dry out so we could walk on the beach; such are the joys of owning a Southerly! After about five hours we refloated and were moored in Chichester Marina at 16:40.

We needed to return home so Sue could be close to her Mum. Mary passed away a month later.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Chichester harbour : Monday 18th July

Leaving Brighton marina there was very little wind and warm, hazy sunshine for most of the 40 or so mile passage to Chichester harbour, a motor sailing day it was! 

An easy day at sea.

Approaching Chichester harbour.

The weather was pleasant and with good timing of the tide we decided to dry out 'Norman James' on East Head, just inside the harbour, and scrub the beard of weed that was growing along the water line. 

'Norman James' on the beach.

 The anchorage off east head was busy, but we worked our way through the boats and ran up onto the beach with the keel raised, then dropped the keel to anchor the boat in position. It always seems a little bizarre watching the water disappear but we were now on the beach, and projected to re-float just after 19-00. 

We worked quite hard for a while cleaning the hull, after which I had a swim which was very refreshing. 

Moby Dick? A Beluga Whale? No, just me!

We didn't actually re-float until 20-40, but then just motored the short distance to Pilsey Island, where we anchored for a very peaceful night.

Peacefully at anchor off Pilsey Island.

Moonlight on a calm anchorage.

In the morning we got a message to say that Sue's mum had been taken into hospital, so we moved into Chichester Marina, and organised a hire car to get home as quickly as possible.

Brighton : 15th - 17th July

We had an uneventful passage to Brighton, motor sailing for the first 90 minutes or so, then sailing for the remainder with a good tide under us. 

We had missed Brighton on our trip around the country in 2012 so wanted to make sure that we visited this time. Three nights in the marina were booked to allow us to do the tourist thing for a couple of days. 

The weather was sunny and hot, and this brought out the crowds out to play ( it was the weekend in the middle of summer after all ), making the whole area very busy, which isn't really our thing at all! 

The marina is some distance from the town, but is close to the Volks electric railway which runs to near the pier. Taking advantage of this, we squeezed our way through the crowds along the pier to get views of the 'beach' with the town behind, then retreated back to 'Norman James' to recover! 

Brighton Pier.

Brighton from the pier.

After a pleasant walk around the marina in the evening we had a nice meal in one of the local Italian restaurants.

Giant marina!

Brighton is one of the largest marinas in the UK, and actually feels like two large marinas built side by side within a huge sea wall. At the eastern end ( furthest from the entrance ) there is a lock which connects the main marina with private moorings associated with the apartments behind the marina itself.

Having felt that Brighton had been adequately explored, we decided it was time to have some peace and quiet, so we headed out for Chichester Harbour on Monday 18th July, leaving our berth at about 10-00.

Brighton from 'Norman James' as we left for Chichester harbour.

Eastbourne : 13th July

We weighed anchor at 09-45 and left Dover via the western entrance heading for Sovereign Marina, Eastbourne, and by just after 10-00 were sailing under full main and genoa. The wind dropped out about 11-00 so on with the engine while we listened to a border force vessel 'Seeker' harassing a selection of non UK flagged yachts on the VHF. The genoa was furled as we approached Dungeness head as there was no apparent wind by now but a little entertainment was provided by some porpoises which appeared briefly. By 18-00 we were moored in Sovereign Marina after a passage of just over 45NM. We had two nights in Sovereign, leaving after a pleasant lunch in the marina complex bound for Brighton marina about 15NM to the west.

The view back towards Sovereign marina.

Following the convoy.

Beachy Head.