Saturday: Blue skies warm sun and not a drop of wind, so motored all the way into the Beaulieu river and up to Bucklers Hard with our guests (Buckler’s Hard was a shipbuilding village where ships for Nelson’s Navy were built, three of which took part in the Battle of Trafalgar! and was where Sir Francis Chichester began and finished his single-handed voyage around the world in Gipsy Moth IV.) A beautiful little village with a pub as its centrepiece.
We came in just over low water, which required a good lookout as parts were very shallow, even so we managed to run aground when we tried to turn round in the river and had to get the harbour master to pull the nose round (slightly embarrassing) We got berthed up, had lunch and popped across the river on the dingy to the pub, had a pint and tried to book a table for the evening, but they had a wedding so we cooked on board.
The next morning we had the obligatory fried breakfast, chilled out and then set of back home early afternoon. The wind was a westerly which mean we would have the wind up our backs all the way to Swanwick, so we pulled the boom right out to the port side and tied it back and the Genoa to the starboard side and gull-winged all the way home. Well i say all the way, Helen was downstairs with Andi and i was up on deck with Andy, extolling the virtues of downwind sailing and say how relaxed it would be sailing in the trade winds this way, i had the boat on autopilot and was standing in the cockpit saying that apart from a good lookout for other boats (which there were plenty being Cowes week) , it was easy, when all of a sudden we came to a rather abrupt and sudden halt! In my “savoir-faire” attitude to a warm sunny days downwind sailing, i hadn’t kept an eye on the chart plotter and had managed to bump into the edge of the “Bramble Bank”, a rather large and conspicuous lump of submerged sand in the middle of the Solent!
You might remember the Hoegh Osaka doing a similar thing a few months back
Well it wasnt that bad, a bit of shouting and running around and we soon had the sails in and with engine running we managed to get it turned round to face the wind, this along with a rising tide, we managed to break free from its clutches and carry on on our merry way (don’t think anyone saw us!) Anyway we unfurled the Genny and sailed the rest of the way back to Hamble. The only thing damaged was our Pride, well just mine actually.