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To Beaulieu River entrance (~32nm)

3rd June 2014...

Click on Thumbnail On the previous evening with a forecast of SW winds force 3 to 4 becoming 2 to 4, I decided to try sailing to the Beaulieu River entrance - although wind and tide would be against me in the Solent. Neapish tides so left jetty at 0435 and anchored Chessel Bay 0510 for breakfast. Forecast now S-SW 3 to 4, occasionally 5, veering NW later. 0545 continued down river under motor. An enclosed car carrier "Tiger" was swinging at Dock Head so I motored a little way along Weston Shore before starting to set sail (forgot to shake plaits out of reefing lines so took a bit of time to sort out!).

Click on Thumbnail Broad reach and favourable current gave me around 4kts despite lightish wind. Dodged across shipping channel near Fawly chimney since there was a break in the ferry traffic. In the Solent I was making poor progress tacking against current in the drizzle. With a rain squall approaching at 0900 I anchored in Stanswood Bay, got the sails down and at 0917 continued under motor have made a cup of tea. The weather had cleared by the time I reached the Beaulieu River and I motored a little way up it before returning to Gull Island where I anchored for lunch. The weather forecast for the next day was bad, otherwise I would have gone further up the river and come back to Gull Island to spend the night. Since it would be a run/reach out of the river I tried sailing from the anchor under mizzen and main but found I couldn't bear away till I broke out the jib - bit embarrassing because there was not much room between the mud banks.

Click on Thumbnail Out of the river and running goose-winged I started to pump out the ballast tanks; however the wind began to increase and knowing I'd be on a close reach up Southampton Water I re-flooded them. I was soon up at around 6 kts at Calshot and, with a favourable current, this continued as I came onto the reach (the speed v distance plot shows when I was sailing in blue). By the time I was off Netley there was a couple of fishing boats plus two of the smaller dredgers ahead, it's hard to tell which way they are going - they tend to go forwards and backwards without turning! With the wind still strengthening I decided to get the sails off early before I got amongst them and motored the rest of the way home. I anchored in Chessel Bay to get the mast down since there was a reasonable wind and current. Arrived at jetty at 1500 and had all secure by 1554. It seemed like I'd made my first real "passage"! The photo shows a lovely gaff cutter in Beaulieu River entrance. [Duration:11hrs 20 mins; track: 32nm]

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