We departed Lymington marina at 10.50am this morning… a grey, cool but not very windy day. Visibilty was not perfect… we could only just see the Lymington – Yarmouth ( Isle of Wight ) ferry in the far distance. Christine, on the helm, guided Poli Poli out into the West Solent.
We put up both sails after going head to wind… and did our very best to sail down towards The Needles famous red and white lighthouse. The wind died to a miserable 4 knots North Easterly… so little progress made. To sail properly and make real progress Poli Poli needs at least 10 knots of wind. There is no better sound in sailing… than the moment , with sails filled with wind… you switch the engine off… and you hear the rustle of the bow wave as she picks up speed. That sound signifies the power of nature… 15 tons of man made machinery being moved by nature. Not today though.
Poli Poli motored down past the castle at Hurst Point on the western side of the Solent channel…. then through the gap at Fort Albert. Visibility was not good and it was not long before we could hear the boom of the Needles lighthouse with its fog horn warning blaring out.
A mile off the Needles can be treacherous and is a veritable graveyard of ships… the passage from the actual lighthouse to a west cardinal bouy called the Bridge. You have to plan for a fair tide here and make sure your passage plan works! When you get it wrong, the sea boils in anger.
Turning west on 270 degrees just passed the SW shingles red bouy, we headed out across the expanse of Poole Bay. No wind at all now… turning the sea from “slight” to a glassy, oily looking “smooth.”
At about 1.30pm…. in the gloom of a mixture of fog, fret and haze we could make out the famous shapes of Old Harry and the Dorset cliffs…. namely the various limestone cliffs… Old Harry as a stack and then his many wives. We had crossed the bay east to west.
The green No. 1 Bar buoy was soon spotted and we commenced our entry northwards into Poole Harbour. Christine helmed by techniques of bouy hopping, pilotage and her own ( and Mike’s )local knowledge.
Christine “revved” up a bit when we thought the chain ferry was about to put up it’s black signal ball… and cross over in front of Poli Poli from Sandbanks to South Haven. Navigating around two different fleets of small dinghies belonging to local sailing clubs ….but which had spilled over into the shipping channel… we finally berthed at the Town Quay marina at 2.30pm.
It was Christine’s birthday… so we participated in suitable refreshment and good company in the evening at the Banana Culture restaurant overlooking the marina. By 9pm thick fog had descended but a good time was had by all.
Today was a short journey… 25.4 nautical miles but it took our total distance since our start from Eastbourne… to over 100 nautical miles. So to date we have travelled 110.7 nautical miles…. only 3,890 to go….. hey ho…. onwards.