During the previous evening a yacht had rafted up against us on our berth whilst we were having dinner on Sunday evening in Cafe Rouge. We found out at 10.30pm that night when we returned to our boat. The rafted up boat was deserted so we could not speak to them about our intention to leave the next day at 9am. Anyway it resolved itself when Mike spoke to their Skipper just before 8am… and they departed soon after.
We left at just gone 9am from Brighton… having said our farewells to Mike the dive boat Skipper of “Sussex” wildcat. Our passage plan was to head from the marina direct to the Owers south cardinal buoy. Motoring out into the morning sun, we passed a lady skipper in another Southerly ( a 35 ) with child on board. We shouted greetings as we went passed heading south west to Selsey Bill.
The sea was oily, glassy calm and so so flat… not a breath of a breeze. So up to 3,200 rpm on our trusty Yanmar and once the tide turned in our favour after an hour, we motored at speeds of up to very nearly 10 knots. We reached the Owers Buoy… a huge yellow and black floating marker in 3 and a quarter hours… some 26 n.miles from Brighton. Then headed west, avoiding the dangers of rocks and shallow water of the infamous Selsey Bill… the “graveyard of ships gone by” including Ted Heath’s “Morning Cloud” in the late 60’s or early 70’s.
By navigating by a technique called “bouy hopping” Mike on the helm… we motored across to the Nab Channel which is a major shipping lane… and on the outside followed the coloured buoys round to a point opposite Bembridge on the Isle of Wight where, looking right and left, we crossed over the shipping lane. Two huge cargo ships came past not ten minutes later.
Working our way round the NE side of the Isle of Wight… still little wind and a slight sea…we passed Osbourne House and the royal bathing beach…. Christine took a great interest in viewing with the Steiner binoculars….”somebody” retold the story of Lucy Worsley holding up Queen Victoria’s knickers on a BBC4 history programme. They were big, big knickers!!
We berthed at the marina in West Cowes by 3.45pm … some 51 n.miles from Brighton..6 and three quarter hours later. We have always had a warm welcome at the Cowes Yacht Haven and today was no different. We tied up on pontoon 10… a long 90 feet straight berth. Very busy Bank Holiday Monday and half term…. so lots of children plus three sailing school boats. Busy, busy. After putting the boat “to bed” and a well earned rest for our trusty Yanmar… nearly 7 hours non stop, we relaxed!
Dinner was taken at 7pm in Murray’s Sea Food Restaurant in West Cowes High Street…. wonderful food and good company with Brian and Rita… friends of Mike and Christine. Cowes Yacht Haven marina…. very busy as expected… the Solent being a major UK sailing centre… but well organised. Good showers and toilets…. a strong 7 out of 10.