Our plan a was to sail over to Cherbourg for a few days, but the forecast promised very little wind for the first couple of days, so we decided to sail “slowly” on Thursday up to the Hamble river. This really was a win win as the berthing was free due to us visiting another MDL marina which offer complimentary berthing for vessels from sister marinas AND we were about 5 minutes from Steve & Helen from Allegrini who berth at Swanwick. They have been a great source of information in our preparation and meeting up again for the afternoon and a fantastic evening in the Navigators pub and restaurant in Swanwick turned out to be every bit as alcoholic as I’d hoped/feared, we certainly didn’t feel the cold in the dinghy back to our marina! We’ve always felt the cruising life would be very sociable, we are not wrong!
The forecast showed strong winds coming in on easter Sunday so we decided to return to Poole on Saturday, however the forcasters got it slightly wrong and we had 22-32kts on the nose all the way back. With a double reefed main and genoa we absolutely flew back at an average 7.5 kts plus 2-3 kts of tide catching some rogue waves which reached the cockpit… much to the amusement of Caroline! The riggers who fitted the new standing rigging said there may need to be some tuning, judging by the leeward flex in the wire they weren’t wrong so we’ll need to get them down to tighten everything up as it was slightly worrying seeing the rig so loose. We also decided to test out the RiB mounted on the davits to see how much movement there was, the sail back being a good test. We were really pleased, we just need to use some ratchet straps to make it quicker to tie down.
The entrance to Poole harbour is narrow and can be tricky, certainly when wind and tide are against you. As we motored towards the entrance we were flagged down by a yacht trying to sail in. It turned out their engine had overheated, so we managed to get a tow line to them and took them up to the entrance to Parkstone yacht club inside the harbour. We radiod the Sandbanks chain ferry who waited at the southern side until we’d passed even though it has the right of way, and thanked them once we’d cleared. The next day we received a lovely email from Nick & Janine who must have googled us as we’d not exchanged names at all, to thank us and tell us about their lovely Contessa 34. We would like to think anyone able to would help us if we needed it and there wasn’t a moments hesitation from us to offer assistance. The only annoying bit during the tow was a motor boat which went past well in excess of the speed limit creating waves which put unnecessary strain on the cleats…. upset was an understatement!
We’re also going to investigate the cost of a replacement bimini to incorporate full drop down sides with windows, this will give us extra covered space for when we winter up in cooler areas, it does very much depend on price though….