After some wonderful sun and fair winds, the weather took its toll on plans today. The northerly wind had piped up strongly and was forecast to get stronger still tomorrow. Our plan was a leisurely cruise to Emsworth, with a lunch/swim stop at East Head.
The wind was brisk to say the least and we set out later than intended, on staysail and double-reefed main. The stretch through Itchenor was challenging (almost head-to-wind) and, when we reached East Head, it clearly too rough for a comfortable stop.
With the wind from the North and not enough water to reach the top of the Emsworth channel, we picked up a spare mooring near Hayling Island yacht club and put the kettle on. Fraoch had had a similar idea and we had a hot drink and watched a yacht trying to get off a sand bank. Fraoch slipped her anchor and shortly after, we followed her.
The wind was strong, on the nose and quite gusty, so we did not beat far before giving up and using Henry Honda to push us through the choppy waters. Henry has been earning fresh confidence from us after his mishaps last season and we soon reached the channel’s branch for Emsworth.
We were quite early and there was little water; Ladybird and Vedette were at anchor outside Emsworth and Whistling Rufus, Sapphire and Mary Ann were motoring up too.
Emsworth is a pretty village fronting a large mud flat, through which a narrow channel is marked by withies and a leading line. Deploying our trusty bean pole, we picked our way through and were soon on the pontoon, rafted to Vedette.
Unfortunately Irene caught a rope around her prop, but was towed in adroitly (astern) by Dipper.
The girls enjoyed swimming and paddling with Erin and Joshua from Ladybird, in their inflatable canoe.
We had a lovely meal in Emsworth SC, after which we returned to the boats which were by this time resting on the mud. It felt a little odd to sleep aboard the boat without the customary gentle rocking, but we were soon asleep nonetheless.