Our Big Adventure 2010: Round Britain Trip in Spartan
Saturday, 1st May 2010. Christchurch to Salcombe: 90 miles
Leave 1000hrs from marina at Christchurch. Arrived at Portland at 1200 - (fairly choppy through St Albans overfalls). Arrived Salcombe 1530. Bumpy crossing of Lyme Bay against headwind, mostly F4/5.
Dave was feeling sick after dodgy breakfast, so was asleep for much of the time. Went to tourist info office who got us room at the Harbour Inn (£100 B&B).
This hotel had unusually comfortable beds and a good view from the rooms. Had meal at Catch-Italian bistro. Boat left on swinging mooring, but suffered disgrace of having Harbour Master tying it up more safely. Mooring cost £12.50. Boat hit by Fowey Yawl sailing dingy, but no damage beyond a scratch or two.
Boat notes: Compass on GPS seemed to be intermittent, trim tabs worked well to smooth ride, albeit at cost in speed and fuel. Only achieved 20 knots max speed in beam seas with fairly large waves. We observed some misting up of engine instruments. Noticed lack of storage space around helm for sun glasses, etc.
Sunday, 2nd May Salcombe to Fowey: 38 miles
Really nasty weather … cold and with heavy drizzle. Went shopping and then left at about 1200 for Fowey. Took 1 hour and 25 mins in rough cross-sea. Max wind about F6 in bay off Plymouth.
Moored on pontoon in town. Excellent lunch at the Ship Inn. Cleaned up boat and went for short trip down river. Saw large china clay works. Left boat on shore pontoon for cost of £14 per night. Stayed in another good room (£50 B&B) at King of Prussia pub. Had drink in sailing club and then supper in very average Bistro. Couldn´t find a good chandlers in Fowey.
Boat Notes: Got very wet in F6 side sea. Instruments working better. Fuel consumption high in rough water. Lost one flagpole on this leg. Bought new flagpole!
Monday, 3 May. Fowey to Newlyn: 50 miles
Good night in hotel for me, less good for David who had the bar´s loud speakers directly below his room.
Set off at 0945 on way to Scilly Isles. OK to Lizard, arriving at 1115, but wind increased after that. So we abandoned trip just short of Wolf Rock and went into Newlyn. Very hard slog for this last hour as we were going into the wind/sea. Estimated Force 6/7. Arrived at 1315 hrs. Needed a drink to recover equilibrium.
Typical … Newlyn was very run down with a lot of closed shops and rather grotty pubs. Had good lunch in Dukes Cafe recently opened by optimistic young couple. We avoided the Swordfish (apparently England´s second hardest pub). Newlyn pontoon good and we shared with fishing boats and a small number of yachts from Ireland on their way south. Booked into boutique Hotel called &lsSummer Place’ in Penzance (£100 B&B after negotiation).
Met a typical pair of American ladies in hotel, plus rather enthusiastic teacher type who was ‘getting away from it all’. Super in ‘Sophia´s’ just near the hotel, with average fair but came with nice owner who told us about the problems of the area (lack of investment, declining fish etc).
Over supper, we decided weather was making it heavy going, so we decided to look for a place to leave the boat and return home until weather was warmer and the wind was in a more favourable direction. The ride experience, the scenery and stop-overs were great, but the constant bad weather was wearing us down. We decided that the beginning of May was possibly the wrong time to have started the voyage!
Dave found his drysuit was not warm enough most of the time. RB found three layer system worked well but had problems keeping hands warm and dry.
Boat notes: No problems this leg, but we both got cold and wet within a couple of hours of starting out. Need to rethink what clothing gear to continue in. Compass on Simrad was playing up again. Need method of retaining things on console top. Non-slip perhaps?
Tuesday, 4 May. Newlyn to St Mary´s Scilly Isles: 36 miles
Where to leave the boat? Newlyn was not an option, so spent some time investigating Penzance. Found it was only possible to leave it in the water and have the harbour master shuffle it about. Not ideal. Hit on idea of St Mary´s (Scilly Isles) which looked good. So decided to press on there. Had to get a small quantity of diesel in cans (tedious) but met genial VC of some Welsh Yacht Club who David befriended, who kindly offered the use his Club for showers if/when we got there.
Left Newlyn at 1145 and had an excellent hour and a half ride to St Mary´s. Best voyage of trip so far. Beam seas and reduced wind but still very cold. Tied up alongside the quay and arranged lift from Richard Hands and a long term storage rate out of the water with the Harbour Master (only £28.45 a week). Everybody very genial and helpful.
Spent night in the Tregarthens Hotel at reduced rate of £100 for bed breakfast and evening meal. Good value and nice room but very much a three star type hotel with elderly clientelle.
Wednesday, 5th May. Cleaned up boat and beached it on shore on the other side of the harbour from the harbour wall. Richard H could not handle the boat with his crane so had to get his competitor with larger truck to lift it. Left on helicopter to go back to Penzance (£45) and then by train to London (£118). Got home at about 1015.
Boat Notes: A few more storage boxes are needed in the boat. Better storage of life saving gear and flares would be good. Rubber gloves with liners are the answer to keeping hands warm and dry. Panasonic Camera proved not so good with poor battery life … so no photos of St Mary´s.
LEG 2. Monday, 28 June. St Mary´s to Padstow: 70 Miles
We both Flew back to the Scillies via Southampton. All very easy. Arrived in St Mary´s to find we were famous. Even our taxi driver knew about the RIB and its abandonment on the island for six weeks.
Found rib on the arranged mooring and all was well, apart from non-functioning Navigator and VHF radio. Couldn´t find any one to repair aforementioned. Had lunch in small cafe, paid our bills, and then departed for Padstow. Navigation was based on course worked out on iPad. Trouble with compass mis-reading, so hit coast a bit far south. No real problem and got into Padstow at about 1900. Parked outside the Old Custom House where we were staying.
Padstow Harbour is very attractive and surrounded by a wide choice of eating places. Not surprisngly, failed to find any available tables in a Rick Stein restaurant, so settled for fish and chips in local pub. Hotel turned out to be average and rather expensive for what it was (£100 each per room). Still, what else do you expect in Padstow in the middle of the season?
Tuesday, 29th June. Padstow to Milford Haven: 85 Miles
Fuelled up and left at 0930 the next morning. First stop was Lundy for lunch. Good anchorage and sunny weather. Left Lundy for Milford Haven and managed to miss it by about 20 miles to the East. Visibility was bad and estimating course was difficult. The iPad had stopped working, so used iPhone to navigate to Harbour mouth. On the way, we were stopped by Range Protection vessel as we had strayed into Army firing area.
Moored up at Dale Marina who provided someone to look at our instruments. They diagnosed a faulty (corroded) relay which was ordered for the next morning. Obtained B&B suggestion from Marina. Were collected by owner in his old Merc. B&B owners proved to be a rather odd couple who just loved company. They took our photograph for their records and then drove us to local pub for supper. This was not very good as regards quality but they served large helpings of everything. B&B cost £80 each which was expensive, but it did include a few ‘taxi rides’ and a pressed on us after dinner drink.
Boat Notes: With failed GPS and VHF we relied on iPad, which then crashed its software. Had to rely on iPhone which only had large scale charts of the area. All very crude and made more difficult with unreliable compass. A bit unseamanlike really and lesson learnt.
Wednesday, 30 June. Milford Have to Holyhead: 120 miles
Managed to have the relay replaced and left Milford Haven at about 1000 (harbour entrance). Rough with overfalls and very dull weather off the Isle of Skomer as we went around the corner of Wales, but then became very calm with a pleasant hazy sun as we went across Cardigan Bay.
Porpoises often seen and unfortunately managed to run down some guillemots who were not fast enough to get out of way. There was a lot of sea birds mostly puffins and guillemots. This was by far the most enjoyable run to date with consistent cruising above 30kts in the flat conditions. We decided to miss the Wales resorts altogether and concentrate on getting north to our first real destination which was the Scottish Western Isles.
Stopped for lunch off Bardsey Island (impossible to see where to land) and then went on to Holyhead.
Went into marina and parked by lifeboat. Booked into ‘The Boathouse’, which was described as quirky but it cost only £70 per night. Had supper in rather poor Indian Restaurant. Holyhead was very run down with many shops boarded up. This we found out was due to the shutting down of three local factories and the opening of a large Tescos in a local retail park. This combination had killed off the smaller local shops near the harbour.
Thursday, 1st July. No progress
Today was a total washout, with strong winds and heavy rain all day. Went to Tescos/Homebase and got lots of cleaning bits for the boat. Andrew and Sue joined us for the evening and we had a good meal at the White Eagle. Stayed again in the Harbour Inn.
Boat Notes: We stocked up on cleaning materials and storage boxes for the various items on the boat (e.g. book/chart box, cleaning material box, food box etc.) Sponges provided a cure for items sliding from behind the screen. Putting bilgex on the instruments seemed to leave a coating which was difficult to remove!
Friday, 2nd July. Holyhead to Peel, IOM: 60 Miles
Andrew has now joined us for the run to the Isle of Man. Large following sea made progress quite exhilarating. Our onboard bird expert claimed to see many different species of birds on the trip. Gannet, Manx Sheerwater, Guillemot, Common Gull, Fulmar, Razorbill, Cormorant, Puffin, to mention the few I could remember.
Went into Peel and tied up on new marina. Found that it was impossible to get fuel before the following Tuesday due to a mixture of a complicated token system run by the Manx Fish Producers Organisation and public holidays. Gave up trying to beat the system and retreated to pub for lunch and watched Wimbledon on TV. At least it wasn´t raining.
The town was very quiet and past its sell by date. It could be pretty as it has a lot of cute cottages and narrow streets, just like a Cornish fishing village, but it had been deserted by the tourists and no one had seen fit to gentrify it yet.
Decided in view of forecast (bad gales and rain) and lack of fuel we would leave the boat and return to the UK. Disappointing for Andrew, but best to get back to England from the IOM rather than try from some small port in Ireland, which was our next planned next stop. Went to Douglas (no hotels in Peel!) and booked into Empress Hotel for £68 per night. Good, if small, rooms. Saw some of the Island and was generally impressed. Flew home to Southampton the next day.
15th July, Peel IOM to Ballycastle Ireland: 83 miles
Arrived the night before departure, so we were able to get an early start from the Empress Hotel. Had a wander around Douglas before setting off back to Peel. Found the boat was all OK and set about finding fuel. This was in the gift of the Manx Fish Producers Organization which was run by a Mr Moore. He was one of the most unpleasant of men with a surly attitude and a jobsworth insistence on checking all our documentation so that we could get duty free fuel. In complete contrast was the personable harbor master who in the light of our inability to obtain fuel only charged us for three days in the Marina, which left us with a good impression of the IOM people. We left at about 1230 and headed for our next planned stop, Bangor. Made good progress in slight seas and ran into very heavy rain just before our destination. When it cleared the wind dropped and we had a flat calm. We then pushed on to Bally Castle, which was a bit further north.
Booked into the convenient Marine Hotel for a reasonable £55 per night each. Had supper in the Central Wine Bar which was good. Bally Castle was attractive with lots of pubs and restaurants to cater for tourists, many on their way to see the Giants Causeway.
16th July, BallyCastle to Crinan: 62 Miles
We woke to a very wet and blustery day so decided to wait until rain stopped. Although Force 4 or so, the direction meant that it would have been a big slog to windward to see the Causeway. So we gave that one a miss. The passage around Rathlin Island and between Ireland and the Peninsula of Kintyre was very bumpy (possibly the largest seas on our trip so far) due we thought to the previous nights high winds and the unfavorable tide direction.
It got better as we headed north and we got our first sight of the mountains of the Western Isles in Jura and Islay. Crinan looked attractive and we locked into the basin at the outlet to the canal that cut through from Loch Fyne.
Expensive mooring at £28 and a relatively pricey hotel which we had prebooked. (£140 inc dinner). The hotel was obviously past its heyday, which must have been when there were paddle steamers coming down the canal on their way to the Western Isles. It was run by an elderly laird and his younger artist wife. There was an exhibition of her´s and other local artists in the hotel. We were not tempted to buy anything. When I commented to the owner that rain was forecast again for the next day he replied "it rains every day here, but we keep it in the small print". I was left with the impression he might be right.
The hotel was staffed by very smart polish girls in attractive kilts. Quite what sort of life they had so far from any town was a mystery to me. Rooms were nice with stunning views. Met amusing crew from an X-40 boat which was making its way north.
Boat notes: All going well with no problems.
17th July. Crinan to Kyle of Lochalsh: 92 miles
My Birthday! The weather was wet and windy again as we picked our way north around the Isle of Mull. Whenever it stopped raining and the visibility improved we had some stunning views of the mountains.
Progress was good because of the calm waters between the islands. Got to Tobermory for lunch. This was really tourist central with the attractive good looks of the town and local malt whisky distillery attracting coach loads of tourists. After walk around town had lunch in pub and introduction to Culleen Skink - a haddock soup with potatoes mixed in it. Very tasty.
After lunch we set off for Mallaig and rounded the north west corner of Mull and had a very rough few miles. Got to Mallaig at about 1600 hours and stayed about ten minutes! There was nowhere to moor conveniently and it all looked a bit dismal, with no obvious nice places to stay. As conditions were good we decided to press on north. We had a really beautiful run up to the Kyle of Lochalsh near to Skye.
Smooth water, stunning views and narrow passages between the Islands to test our navigation. Moored up outside the Lockalsh Hotel on a small pontoon containing about a dozen boats. Booked into hotel for a reasonable (£45) each. As it was my birthday we went out to supper in local hotel, which proved to be a poor choice with a shutdown about nine o clock as the last of the diners were shooed from the restaurant. Our hotel proved to equally dismal. The bedrooms were reasonable with particularly good baths, but all the public areas were very run-down. Dirty peeling paint, frayed carpets and lack of decoration made it all very grim. Originally the hotel was on the gateway to Skye, but the new road bridge had reduced the custom and it showed.
Boat Notes: The VHF aerial fell off somewhere. The relentless shaking had snapped it from its base and it vanished overboard.
18th July. Lockalsh
We woke to find strong winds and rain and no prospect of it clearing up much. We also found that the Harbour Master did not work on Sunday so could not get any diesel. Spent most of the morning chatting to the crew on the service boat Omaha which worked mostly on transferring crew on and off the nuclear submarines. Also had drinks on board a Grand Banks with two jolly Irishmen from Bangor. Went for lunch in truly awfull place in Kylarkin on Skye. This, like Lochalsh, was also in economic decline due to the new bridge.
Afternoon cleared a bit so went for wildlife trip to small Islands in the Loch. Only saw one seal and a lot of cormorants. Had evening meal in delightful village of Plockton. We drove the 7 miles around the coast in the boat and had excellent supper in an up-market bistro. Certainly one of the best meals we had had so far. Finished day with more drinks on the Grand Banks where we were joined by rather irritating scrounger who was a lone yachtsman who spend the summer cruising on his small sailing boat.
Boat Notes: Gratefully purchased emergency VHF aerial from Grand Banks owner. Funny how a shared interest brings out the best in people. Not really needed as the VHF actually seemed to work reasonably without aerial - at short range anyway.
19th July. Lochalsh to Scrabster: 140miles
Got diesel from the friendly harbour master in Lochalsh. Pouring with rain as usual. We then had a very good run north in almost flat water. The scenary was lovely and the Summer Isles and Bad Isles looked interesting if the weather had been better. Saw seals and dolphins on the trip as well as the uncommon puffins gannets and guillemots.
The original plan was to go to Stornaway but we decided instead to go to Loch Bervie which looked to be conveniently placed just south of Cape Wrath. In fact it turned out to be little more than a fish processing plant. So we just had lunch there and kept going. Round Cape Wrath (impressive) and on to Scrabster - the fishing village and ferry terminal port near Thurso.
This also meant we missed the Orkneys, but no one seemed to have a good word for them and the forecast was again dodgy. Night in Harbour Inn (£45 each) and surprisingly good meal in restaurant attached to pub. Scrabster was a very well run little port with a lot of effort (and money) having been invested in general infrastructure. It was home to a crab fishing fleet which sent eight trucks full of crabs a week to Spain and Portugal. The previous evening we were there one of the larger boats had caught 16 tons of crabs in one night. One wonders how long the local waters can sustain that attrition rate.
Boat Notes: The SeeMee radar reflector broke its mounting and had to be taped up. The trim tabs controls seem to have stopped working, but that did not prove such a problem as we did not meet any head seas on this leg.
20th July. Scrabster to Inverness: 100 miles.
This leg involved going through the notorious Pentland Firth. This route has the fastest tides in Europe and at springs can run up to 14kts over an uneven sea bed. Really big overfalls and eddies. The almanac is full of detailed instructions on how to get through and it is all based on the premise that you will avoid the area if at all possible.
We agonized over what to do and even, at an early stage, thought that the Caledonian Canal would be a safer option. This was rejected, however, as a real cop-out. Anyway on the day we asked the fisherman who advised us it "will be a wee bit bumpy make sure you go at the start of flood". The harbourmaster (&no problem") me ("slightly anxious") Dave ("perhaps we ought to take advice of fisherman and go at start of flood"). In the event we went on what we thought was the end of the flood. It proved an easy passage! There were some small areas of over-falls but the slack tide and favourable wind made it all a non-event as far as we were concerned. To add insult to injury … as were transversing the worst part, we met two canoeists coming in the opposite direction!
Saw some Arctic Skua´s fighting with Gannets as we came out of the Firth and around Duncansby Head. Passed Fraseborough with its very large trawlers. Stopped for lunch in Wick for lunch (not very interesting) and went on to Nairn, which we thought we could enter but proved to have too little water at the entrance.
Many dolphins in the Moray Firth. Decided to go into Inverness which was 50 miles in the wrong direction but had a good marina and easy travel options back home. Found a good, safe marina and we packed up the boat in heavy rain. Went to the airport to get a flight out but discovered we were too late. So decided to get train from Inverness to London. Went into town which was very nice although full of tourists, had supper and caught the night sleeper. All very interesting with lovely views of mountains in the late evening.
Boat Notes: It was not until later we discovered that the almanac we had been consulting was for 2009! Accounted for easy Penland trip and lack of access to Nairn. We should have realised at the time. Boat performed very well on this leg with never a worry. The limited range is its major problem for this type of trip. Diesel fuel is generally difficult to obtain from these small fishing ports and we really needed to fill-up every day.
Tuesday, 27th July. Inverness to Arbroth: 160 miles
We both got to Inverness after easy trip on overnight train. Left at 0940 from marina in relatively calm water and again saw the dolphins as we came through the Moray Firth. We had a near escape just off Lossiemouth where we nearly hit some submerged rocks. It was only the seabirds sitting on them they gave their position away. Near accident due entirely to our bad habit of using chart view in large scale!
Went to Peterhead for lunch and refuel.( Raining again). A commercial fishing port with no facilities but had good fresh fish and chip lunch in the commercial Dolphin Cafe. Port had several tame seals that obviously lived on pickings from the fisherman. We then had an easy run down the coast to Arbroath by which time sun had actually appeared. We snagged a lobster pot on the way but managed to remove it by raising engine and cutting it free with a knife.
Arbroth was a nice harbour but the town was fairly quiet with no hotels or a good B&B. Caught taxi to hotel called Roseary Country House Hotel. This was a great Edwardian pile with a very amusing lady (Carola) owner. Supper of steak and stuff. Room was very comfortable. The place depended on custom from either golfers at Carnoustie or Italian shooters who came to shoot pigeons. The hotel was by far the most entertaining we had stayed in and only cost us £55 each.
At this stage we were making good progress in mostly dull wet weather with very kindly seas and we made the decision to try and get home on this leg.
Boat Notes: The navigation instruments and the VHF failed again due to the relay failing. We decided it must be due to water getting in through the console window we often left open. Used iPad for this leg, which worked well with no repeat of the problems we had before.
Wednesday, 28th July. Arbroath to Amble: 80 miles
We had a wander around Arbroth and got some smoakies to take home. Had an early lunch in harbor and left as soon as the harbor gates opened. Bumpy ride across Firth of Forth to Eyemouth with beam wind that took two hours. Fuelled up and wandered around town which was still a busy fishing port. Had tame seals in the harbour which were a popular tourist attraction. Discovered, rather late in the day, that boredom of the journey could be helped by listening to music on the iPhone. As soon as it got rough, however, I discovered the track changed with every wave. I later discovered I had the iPhone set to ‘shake to shuffle’.
Excellent run in calm water to Amble via the Farne Islands. We actually took the opportunity to stop for a while and look at the scenary at close quarters. A relatively rare event this, as my co-pilot was not one for ‘smelling the daisies&rs. Amble had nowhere to stay, so we took a taxi to a place called Alnwick Lodge just outside the town on the A1. This turned out to be, in essence, a large antique shop which had turned to B&B as a way of supplementing its dwindling income. Run by a charming couple who had created the place from a dilapidated farmhouse. The owner cooked us a good omelet supper which we shared with some other, congenial, guests. Hotel cost only £45 each, which was possibly too little. They could have charged £65 and we would not have felt cheated. The area did in fact have other places to stay and we could have tried either Alnmouth or Warkworth two delightfull villages near Amble. Worth coming back to visit the area again.
Boat Notes: Mended relay without much trouble and shut windows!
Thursday, 29th July Amble to Wells by the Sea: 170 miles
Easy run down to Whitby for our lunch and fuel stop - nearly calm all the way. We had Fish and chips (again) in Headleys famous restaurant (tea, bread and butter with every order). Whitby very touristy and the broken swing bridge had split the town in two and was causing a lot of disruption.
Our original plan was to go into Grimsby, but conditions were so good we decided to press on to Wells in North Norfolk. Progress was again halted momentarily as we ran over another Lobster pot just outside Whitby. We saw the first of the large wind farms on the way. The Wash itself was very bumpy and full of eddies in the rather shallow water. The actual entry to Wells is very long and convoluted and we had arrived just before there was enough water to get up to the town.
We eventually tied up at the town quay at about 1900hrs after record days run of six and a half hours.
Wells is a town of two halves. There is a rather touristy waterfront with ice cream parlours and slot machines and, just up the road in the old village … A very cute/smart town with trendy old shops and art galleries. We secured very nice room in the Crown Hotel (£120 each) and enjoyed a lavish supper. This was by far our most expensive evening´s stay, but we felt we deserved it.
Boat Notes: We lost the loudhailer in transit. The gantry is now beginning to look rather bare.
Friday, 30th July. Wells to Walton on the Naze: 100 miles
Had walk around Wells old town and looked at rather lovely church which we were disappointed to discover was only 120 years old. A very nice place though and worth coming back to for a weekend. We left Wells Harbour at 1100hrs and had an uneventful trip around to Southwold in Suffolk. It was generally dull with a slight sea and we kept about half a mile off shore. Passed close by Cromer and Happisburgh which I remembered as a teenager when I lived in Norfolk.
A roller coaster entry through the harbour entrance and lunch in the Harbour Inn - again a place remembered from youth. At this stage we discovered that we could not find anywhere to stay in Burnham, which was to have been our preferred destination that evening. We found a Marina at Walton that looked suitable and a place to stay in nearby Walton on the Naze.
We had an exciting exit from Southwold harbour with big waves across the entrance. Glad we were not in a sailing boat.
The run down the coast was rather miserable. The sea was dull, gray and devoid of seabirds. Quickly passed by the attractive seafront of Aldeburgh, Dungeness atomic power station and Orfordness.
The last couple of hours was rather horrible in Force 4/5 nearly on the nose and wind against tide. We eventually got to Tittisham Marina in Essex at about 1730 hours.
We took taxi to the Regency guest house (£50) and had an indifferent supper in local Chinese. Walton on Naze is truly awful; very rough looking population, a lot of obesity, tattoos and overt drug dealing in the street. Visited the bowling alley on the pier after supper and noticed the pier and amusements were exactly as I remembered Yarmouth about fifty years ago.
Our hotel was full of bikers and although clean, was not very good. I was woken by a fight in the street behind the hotel at about 3 a.m.
Saturday, 31st July. Walton to Dover: 56 miles
We Left in light rain at about 0915 having filled up with the most expensive diesel on the trip. Slow exit to the bay through the moorings. All very drab and I was glad I did not have to sail from there every weekend. Then followed a very uncomfortable trip to Dover. We had to criss-cross the sandbanks in the Thames Estuary and there were very bumpy seas off North and South Foreland´s and the Goodwin Sands. So we made a big effort to keep very close to the shore out of the tide. The weather did not clear all day and by the time we got to Dover (lunchtime) we had had enough. The forecast was for Force 6/7 on the nose so we abandoned our leg to Eastbourne and decided to stay in Dover for the rest of the day.
Spent a genial afternoon chatting to other marina users and trying to find somewhere to stay. We ended up in the Beulah House B&B. Cost a relatively expensive £78 each (we were becoming cheapskates) but it proved to be very nice with clean and tasteful surroundings.
Sunday, 31 July. Dover to Christchurch: 130 miles
Had an early start and we were out of the marina by 0830 hrs. Had good run for the first hour or so and then it started to get choppy. Experienced a very uncomfortable run to Cowes which took five and a half hours.
A spot of drama off Beach Head when we found the radar dome was about to fall off. This was the last piece of equipment on the gantry and it too had begun to shed its retaining bolts. We bound it all up with the ever useful duct tape. We also lost our food box which strangely vanished! Presumably it just bounced out of the back as we hit some large wave or other.
Got to Cowes with the fuel alarm going and rather than hang about to look at the boats in for Cowes Week, we set off for the dash back to Christchurch to meet the last of the tide. We saw the first bit of sun for the day as we went down the Solent. Had great fun dodging the Extreme 40 catamarans, which were almost as fast as we were.
Got back to our Christchurch berth at 1530 hrs and was met by Geraldine to record our return.
Ironically, the last home leg in familiar waters was our hardest day of the trip, with all the windward work in very choppy seas.
Finished! And already started planning next year´s Big Adventure.
We are already making plans for a return trip in 2012 to the Scilly Isles and two out of the eight available places have already been reserved. For further information about our Big Adventure 2012, click here.