After leaving Worbarrow Bay early the next morning after my exciting stay, I went to Christchurch for the next night , ( very placid and ideal for a welcome long sleep) and then later on to Ashlett Creek where I stayed alongside a pontoon in ‘civilised comfort” for another day and a bit… You loose the feeling of privacy when alongside a pontoon, sharing with lots of other boats and I prefer to be anchored out away from it all, but it gives me a chance to use the showers, go for a meal ashore which someone else has cooked. get rid of the rubbish, top up the water containers and get any food shopping that is needed. So I have to bite the bullet and use these facilities sometimes.
I left the drying pontoon at Ashlett Creek at 3.00 in the morning because that was when the tide was right. The pontoon itself was well lit so no problem to get going . I used the yuloh to silently glide away so that I wouldn’t wake up the sleepers on the other boats there. It was very dark in the little channel which links the Creek to Southampton Water and the buoys are unlit there, but with a rising tide and my 9 inch draught, I avoided running aground and soon got into main channel near the Esso oil terminal where it’s lit up very brightly. There wasn’t much marine traffic in Southampton Water and by the time that I’d crossed over to the other side it was getting light.
The light NE wind took me past Hillhead harbour and the Hovercraft museum at a steady rate for the tide was with me by now.. Soon I was crossing the Portsmouth entrance channel – much more traffic here – and then a stiff beat to get through the gap in the submarine barrier. There was enough N in the wind for me to make the Chichester pole beacon with only 1 extra tack and after rounding the beacon had a hard beat, mainly on the other tack to get into Chichester Harbour. I continued tacking hard on the wind up to the top of the Emsworth Channel where I dropped anchor at the side of Sweare Deep ready to cook an early dinner and to get some sleep.
Had a lazy morning next day and waited until nearly midday to get my anchor before sailing back down the Emsworth Channel and then beat up the shallower Thorney Channel for a look… I really wanted to see the many old wooden boats which were previously there – I do like to see traditional old wooden boats very much, but disappointingly, found very few there now. I learned later that the old boatyard at the top end of the channel – Paynes – had recently changed hands and the new owners had a clearout. I don’t know what happened to the oldies previously there. They must have gone somewhere..
Only found these 3 oldies in the Thorney Channel this year. There used to be many more
I went part way up the next channel – the Bosham – and picked up an empty mooring for the night as there was little room to anchor there without risking the anchor being caught up in mooring chains.. It’s remarkable how many empty moorings that there are now that we’ve into hard times. The etiquette in the UK is that it’s OK to use an empty mooring, but one has to be ready to move immediately if the owner needs it . In the morning I sculled up to the top of the channel with the flood tide to use another empty mooring for a while and took these photographs
Next was to move up beyond Dell Quay for while, where I noticed a huge number of jellyfish. I tried to take some pictures of them but they’re a difficult subject, being transparent and ghostly .
A general view of Dell Quay
The wind picked up markedly that evening (NE4-5) and I anchored in the lee of Cobnor Point for the night. I set off for Bembridge IoW next morning with a fair wind and sufficient of it. Passing this plastic gaffer near East Head on my way out of the harbour. The wind stayed with me throughout the trip and I arrived at Bembridge entrance a bit too early, before there was sufficient depth to get me into the harbour, but I slowly bumped over the gravel shoals with the rising tide to get inside. The bottom of the Paradox is 3/4 inch plywood with several layers of glass and epoxy over that, so pretty tough . I’ve been cruelly bumping it over stones and lumps for 6 years now and only the paint has been scratched a little.
General views of Bembridge harbour with the tide level low.
Held by the stern at a borrowed mooring in Bembridge. Lots of weed.
There’s a famous one design class of racing boat in Bembridge and have been there for donkey’s years. The boats are very old, made before WW2 and so are 80 odd years old, although they look so immaculate you would think that they’re brand new. The maintenance must take serious effort and money
The beautifully kept Bembridge one design racers set off for the open sea .
You don’t see many like this either.
I spent a most uncomfortable night in Bembridge. I dried out on the beach, but not where the slope is the least. I accidentally picked a spot where the slope was too steep. I reasoned that I’d be able to cope by sleeping the other way round to normal with my head at the forward end instead of aft. But that scheme didn’t work very well as my head had to stick out into the forward compartment where it was too cramped for comfort. I slept so badly that I was pleased when daylight came and was able to escape to outside the harbour once afloat again.
Next stop was to anchor in Osborne Bay, to catch up with my broken sleep and wait for the fair tide to take me onwards to the west.It was the week-end of the Round the Island Race So lots of boats had anchored there to see the racers go by. The wind had been very light so the race this year was slower than is usual and most of the competitors had had a slow drift behind the Isle of Wight. The wind that they got while in the East Solent was the best that they’d had all day, so I’m sure that they were glad to get going at last. Sadly they all had to scatter because a big car transporter ship appeared at exactly the wrong moment to demand right-of-way
The car transporter ship scatters the racing fleet. It’s an ugly thing and difficult to distinguish the front from the back.
Another plastic gaffer I like . This one anchored in Osborne Bay near me, to see the race go by.
I resisted the temptation to join in with the race as it went past. It wouldn’t have been fair on them to have a little Paradox overtake them all and show them up like that….
So, eventually onwards to the Newtown Estuary for the night .
I saw a huge flock of ducks while anchored there in Clamerkin Lake. They swam in line astern, to fro, for my entertainment. There were so many that I couldn’t get them all in the picture at once. The length of their line was astonishing and there must have been hundreds of them. There’s no oven in my little boat, BTW.
The next day I set off for Poole. I was becalmed in the Needles Channel for while in company with Edward Hooper, the JRA Hon Secretary in Amiina, his junk rigged Splinter. The two boats were only a hundred yards apart, both dead in the water, waiting for wind. I sculled over in his direction so we could have a chat while waiting. Then we both got sucked by the tide over the shoal where there was some broken water but came to no harm. When the wind returned Amiina showed me a clean pair of heels and must be a whole knot faster than my Paradox. By the time I reached the Poole Bar Buoy she was out of sight, and through the harbour entrance. And that was pretty well that for this trip. I’d had 14 nights on board this time and some interesting places seen. The last night was spent as usual, in the River Piddle so that I’d be near to the boat yard where my car and trailer had been waiting to take me home.
My old friend, waiting for me in the River Piddle .