As well as woodwork, last weekend I took Live Magic to Beaulieu River for the first time. A friend and I had discussed this earlier in the year and never made it, and neither of us had been before. Alan was also somewhat new to anchoring - something we all suffer from in the Solent due to the relatively few anchorages and many marinas and moorings available. So, in the pub on the Friday night following a very warm day and with more forecast for the weekend we decided the time had come. The following morning I checked the tides to find that we didn't need to leave until 11am. This is new to me, having berthed in Emsworth behind the cill for three years I'm now able to leave any time I like and plan around tidal streams. It turned out that we left at 11:30 and slowly made our way down Portsmouth Harbour - I sailed most of the way but with a southerly wind ended up motoring the last bit which is also a requirement when leaving Portsmouth Harbour anyway.
Once out into the Solent we sailed west and caught a storming tide. I had 1kt through the water and 4.5 over the ground most of the time.
Since the wind was behind me, and due to speed and direction was very light indeed, I cooked dinner while sailing towards Beaulieu. I'm kind of lucky in that I can just take my cooker on deck and cut veg and stir the pot while also sailing if it's calm. Unfortunately this means when it's rough I have no gimbals and no hot food but it's a fair trade off.
Once we arrived in the river we were expecting chaos. It was the best weekend of the year so far and all reports say that this river is packed all the time. As it turns out, the anchorage was virtually empty, with only a single other yacht when we arrived. Once we had anchored, I inflated my dinghy and Alan launched his. We didn't need two, but I don't get to use mine very often and he was testing a new to him engine. We motored against the current for a while in some of the most beautiful surroundings I've seen on any boating trip - this is what boating is all about! We met with the harbour master who gladly took out £5.50 anchoring fee each in exchange for some knowledge of the river. On we went to tie up at Bucklers Hard and a quick pint in the Master Builders pub. This dinghy journey had been around an hour including a refuel stop (not planned :o/ ) on the way so we only had one pint in the lovely beer garden. In future I may skip the Spag Bol in favour of their barbecue burgers which looked great, but on this occasion we were both very tired so sped back to the boats in the dinghies this time with a little tide, and steering with body weight (a far more exciting way to steer the boat!).
Once back on board, I reheated the bolognese and cooked spaghetti (only realising at the last moment I have no colander on board). While cooking I poured a glass of cold Marlborough white wine and deflated the dinghy and put the engine away.
After dinner Alan and I chatted between boats on deck for a while until sunset while listening to the twitter of the birds on the Island and the gentle lapping of water against mud on the bank.
The following morning I awoke to paradise - another sunny day and still water.
I cooked bacon and made tea then did the washing up before we headed for home. With the wind from the south east against the east going tide it was a little rough on the way home but a fun sail nonetheless. Finally got back early afternoon and washed the boat down before heading home for a rest.