Sailing in the Solent

22:20 Paul Robinson 0 Comments

Despite the aches and tiredness, the sounds of people around me getting dressed persuaded me that it was probably the morning. I wasn't quite ready to give in to the day, so I kept my eyes closed. Around me footsteps moved back and forth. It wasn't until I felt the rock of the waves that I remembered where I was. I was suddenly eager to burrow from my sleeping bag out into the light.
I was staying on a small yacht with my best friend and his parents. And small means small. The three guys in the crew were crammed into the main bedroom/kitchen/living area. We had sailed from Hayling Island on the south coast of England to the Isle of Wight over the previous day and spent the night moored up in the natural harbour of Newton river.
our neighbours
I peeled away my sleeping bag and struggled into a pair of jeans. Up on deck there was enough room to stretch my arms and legs, so I clambered up and out of the hatch. Ben, my friend and second in command was busy helping his Dad, and Captain, prepare the sail. Ben's Mum, third in command, passed the lowest member of the the crew, ie me, a brew. The tea was warm and sweet and the only sound I could hear was the water lapping against the yacht's hull. The view surrounding me more than made up for the hot shower I'd wasn't able to have. To the north was woodland and to the south there were fields and meadows. The sun had risen but was not at any great height and the skies were clear and blue. Intoxicated by the moment, I decided this was probably one of the best mornings I'd ever had. Up until then, I'd always imagined the best mornings involved a pretty girl and room service, not a small boat, my mate and his parents.
Preparations for casting off were well under way. We needed to prepare the sail and set the ropes in order to take full advantage of the wind. Secondly, charts and tide tables needed to be consulted, alongside listening to the essential shipping report. I had been a bit naïve as to how much effect the tide could have, and the timings and direction of the tide could have a huge effect on your journey. I'm a fan of maps, so I found this all quite interesting, but I didn't really have a clue what was happening. The plan was to sail north-east across the Solent and moor up in Portsmouth harbour in the evening.



View Sailing in a larger map

We were all eager to get out into the open water. To get ready, I cleaned my teeth over the side of the boat. I'd learnt the previous night that you should probably check the direction of the wind before you spit out the toothpaste. Thankfully this morning I didn't get toothpaste on myself. Freshened up, we got into our life jackets and headed out to the river mouth.


Ben checking something nautical (possibly)

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