We awoke on Sunday to a windless and very warm morning. Thinking we had a plod back to Northney on the engine, I was keen to set out as soon as possible to avoid the worst of the foul tide. So it was we motored out of Haslar and made our way down the small vessel channel, waiting for the big boys (ie ferries and hovercraft) to go on their way, before “crossing the road” to the Eastern side of the channel and around the point towards Southsea pier. There were distinct puffs of breeze and, by the time we had crossed the channel in the submarine barrier, we were able to give Mr. Honda a rest and sail close hauled with main, staysail and Yankee on a course which took us just outside the East Winner bank at the mouth of Langstone Harbour.
You may be able to see from our track that Niki is rather better than me at helming in light airs, but even she could not eke more than a knot sog out of the gentle breeze, so we woke Mr. Honda up again in order to pass into Chichester harbour. The scene was rather like the M3 motorway had been on our journey down on Friday night, with strings of boats entering and leaving the harbour. Avoiding most of the motorboat wakes, we joined a convoy inbound.
There then followed a race to the seriously crowded anchorage at East Head. Even with our miniscule draught, there was no space at the anchorage proper, but there was so little wind, it was easy to find a spot further W. we dropped the pin next to a family in a Cornish Shrimper and the girls enjoyed jumping off aurora and swimming ashore. As the tide turned, this became more challenging and, much to their disgust, we recalled the girls from the water. This proved to be the rot choice, as we watched no less than 3 boats discharge occupants into the water, who could then not swim back to their boat again! In one case, a tender was dispatched but then it’s engine could not be started and they had to be helped by the harbour master.
Eventually, we reluctantly pulled the anchor and motored back to Northney. The recovery was not too painful and everyone was polite and good natured, helping each other out (in contrast to the shenanigans last weekend!). We towed Aurora home tired but very happy, a classic weekend. Roll on our Falmouth trip….
Haslar to Northney 9.7nm, 3hr 30, avg speed 2.7 kts (not bad against the tide!)