Club sail 3-6 May – You should have been there!

The intrepid sailors Robert with Victor and Neil as crew had what some might regard as a routine sail around the Solent taking in the pleasures of East Cowes and Gosport, but had been very lucky with the weather – the only rain was when we were asleep. The winds were F4 and 5′s with the occasional F6 from round and about a Southerly / South-westerly direction, making the engine virtually redundant. For me – this was the essence of (p)leisure sailing – with the exception of Robert putting Solace and muttering crew through their paces.
Outbound we departed Chichester on Sunday morning as early as Solace’s draft would permit and at West Pole aimed for the gap in the submarine barrier. One tack and a few hours later we were in East Cowes, double parked against a very well presented Bavaria 42.
We tucked into a pleasant dinner at the marina’s pub, The Lifeboat. On Monday morning, we sailed, yes, sailed, down the Medina and, after a few tacks and a good view of Ryde Church, moored on a buoy at Hardway in Portsmouth Harbour. We had lunch, sailed off the buoy and explored the far reaches of the harbour on a rising tide and following wind. The return journey comprised a long series of short tacks plus the occasional iron sail into the teeth of the wind to come back down the narrow channel in Fareham Lake to get back to Gosport marina. We ate at The Castle Tavern just outside the marina.
On Tuesday we started early from Gosport and goose-winged from the forts to cross the Bar about an hour before low tide and were gently running up the Chichester Channel towards Thorney Channel under full sail. It was one of those glorious moments when, as we said at the time, it’s virtually impossible to capture the full 360° beauty with a camera. We were on the last leg of the club Early May Bank Holiday sail.
The sun was beaming on the sand hills at East Head with its deserted long strand of white sand. There were just some dogs running on the beach throwing up spray. We had the water to ourselves, in near total silence; even the sails weren’t fluttering, just a quiet gurgle of hull through calm water. Back to reality, up the fairway to the lock with zero depth under the keel (that was a bit close), fill up with fuel, park the boat, lock up and go home,
Tuck it into the memory bank and keep it close.
Neil, Robert

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Portsmouth Tides