I'm currently on a two week trip out on Live Magic. The plan was to head west as far as possible in the first few days and then stroll back at whatever pace. Unfortunately my brother Steve and I left Emsworth Marina on Saturday and we've had constant westerly winds ever since. We had a cracking sail all the way from Emsworth town quay all the way over to Bembridge on day one. We then tacked and headed for Portsmouth still with the intention of heading towards Cowes. By the time we got to Portsmouth, however, it was clear we probably couldn't make it that far west and so decided upon Haslar for the night. Entering the harbour entrance against the tide we were making very little progress. Little progress is better than none, so we persevered until the engine cut out about half way into the entrance. I tried to restart a few times but quickly it became clear that we would not make it and so I unfurled the headsail (the main was still up at this point). The harbour master came over to help since we had been drifting in the channel witout steering. By the time he got there we were under control and declined his assistance. He seemed happy for us to sail back out but did point out the continental fast cat followed by a continental ferry coming right for us. When I say right for us, they were actually going sideways in the current!
Thanks to the strong tide we sailed back to almost the pier in the five minutes it took us to get the engine started again. It then took over an hour to motor into Haslar.
Day two saw us sailing from Haslar to East Cowes Marina again against the wind. We were not in a hurry so sailed all the way with long wide tacks accross the whole solent. We arrived in plenty of time for a sizzler at The Anchor and a pint of Fuggle De Dum.
Day three, we headed for Lymington against a strong westerly. We were with the tide so only took around 3 hours to get tied up in Berthon Marina. This marina has the absolute best facilities in any marina I've seen, only Portavadie comes close although Emsworth aren't bad now they've opened the new block.
Day four the plan was Poole. This plan stayed in place right up until we got out of the channel and saw the state of the Solent! Instead we headed to Yarmouth which took 2 hours and some motoring against the tide since I had left early to line up for Hurst for when the tide turned. Yarmouth I am not fond of for many reasons. Once ashore it's a great place and I have no issues there. It's the marina/harbour I don't like. We are for some reason rafted up despite there being plenty of space around. We didn't get clear instructions on where to go despite the fact that the berthing master is in a boat and could have shown us. We were also charged just £3 less than Berthon, a difference which will easily be made up by the pay per minute showers. The toilets are also in appaling condition - why not use some of the extortionate fees on a cleaner!?
Oh well, easterlies predicted for tomorrow so fingers crossed we might make it to Poole after all.