11th December, 2016 – Winter sun

  • Start position – The Elephant Boatyard
  • Start time – 10:30
  • Start engine hrs – 628.5
  • Towards – The Elephant Boatyard
  • ETA –  16:00
  • Finish position – The Elephant Boatyard
  • Finish time – 16:20
  • Finish engine hrs – 630.4
  • Distance travelled – 27nm
  • Skipper – Richard
  • Crew – Louise, Paul M
  • Weather – WSW F2-3, sun
  • Tide – HW Portsmouth 07:50, LW – 13:10, 1.4m
    • np->sp 14%
  • New faults – None
It’s a foggy drive down to the boatyard. Everything is cold and wet when we arrive, so we leave the sodden boat cover on the pontoon for the day. The mist is clearing as we motor down a calm Hamble, meeting ‘Herme’ going the other way, complete with Christmas tree. In Southampton Water the sun is shining. We hoist the main despite the calm and head for a line of breeze off Calshot. The wind fills in and we’re making good progress towards Bramble Bank. The topsail joins the yankee jib as we skirt the bank and we’ve got perfect flat water, sunshine, a steady 10kts of wind and the Solent to ourselves.

We tack off Cowes and use the last of the ebb tide to head West. Paul is clearly an experienced sailor, chasing a little extra speed. I finally attach tell tales to the shrouds. Are we really touching 6kts through the water? Probably not, but it feels good. I must calibrate the instruments.

We see a large yacht well aground on Salt Mead Ledges. They don’t look to be in distress and have clearly been there for some hours. The tide is on the turn, so they’ll be there for a few more hours. The sea is flat, so hopefully they’ll float off without any trouble. We finish warming soup and pasties, then it’s time to turn for home. 2kts of tide kills the wind, but carries us along swiftly enough. We give up off Calshot and start the engine, racing the sunset home.

All in all a perfect Winter’s day on the water… and the SignalK logging has tracked it all for the first time.

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