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Friday, 22 June 2012

Solent Training

On the 18th I set out from Westlands, near Itchenor, Chichester Harbour for the Solent. The idea was to cross to the Isle of Wight and then back again to the Beaulieu River, with a three day trip.

As I got ready I chatted to two yachties who had landed in their inflatable dinghies. One of them was asking me about my boat. I said I had converted it from a sailing boat as a bit of fun - he told me that is what sailing should be about and it had taken him a while to realise it - he was in his 70s!

I hoisted the red ensign, my massive flag, which I use as a safety feature and set off. The boat was loaded up with two dry bags on the back.

As I headed down the estuary there was a very strong head wind and it was rough out at sea, so when I got to the entrance I decided not venture out, but row within the estuaries and worked my way round to the entrance of Langstone Harbour. I stayed the night in Southsea. The marina were very friendly and kept offering to help me, although I didn't need any help!

The next day I set off to Cowes, about a 15 miles trip. Close to Cowes I saw a fleet of Pico's being used to train children to sail. They ignored me, focusing on their own fun.

In Cowes the yachty experts were very curious about my boat and told me that the designer lived in Cowes. I was offered a sail in a large racing yacht in the evening, but reluctantly had to turn the offer down because I needed a restful evening (and England were playing Ukraine!).

I berthed  in Shepards Marina, in amongst the bigger boats.

I was  a bit worried the wind would get too strong and I would be stuck in Cowes, but the weather was kind and there was a following wind to the Beaulieu River and I was quickly near the entrance.

The river is so well managed and the row up to Bucklers Hard took me past some beautiful places. I was quite glad to reach the finish and have a good rest.

Google records my route - 36 miles in all

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