Tuesday 11th December Ref: 2007/27
This was the first leg of a re-positioning and recovery cruise after I had parted company with my former partner Louise Busby following our last cruise together. Lady Martina had been laid up in Itchen Marine, our last port of call, with a bent propeller and lack of time and opportunity to get it back to home waters until now. I was pleased to enjoy the company of Broom Owners Club friend and engineer, David Harrison, on board as my crew so as to be better able to deal with any problems that arose. Original ideas of a cruise to Ramsgate were thwarted by further pop vibrations but we made good progress to Brighton on this first day having cleverly interpreted the calming sea conditions
The weather situation was even more in interesting to judge in the morning. Storm Force winds were due to clear the Channel from the West and we were due to follow in the calmer conditions of the aftermath. However, this morning, the storm force winds and consequent swell had been slower to clear the Channel from the west and so the further and sooner we cruised east the more we would still find it a problem. This was a typical case where the Shipping Forecast area reports were unnecessarily off-putting due to their sheer size and lack or precision. Sea conditions for us were smooth to slight as a consequence.
In essence the shipping forecasts, that covered this wider area, and even the inshore forecasts, which were not very localised, would put off most sailors from venturing out. However, I was armed with the very local forecasts and wind vectors reported by downloading the GRIB files and could see that close inshore and in the Solent area it would be calm and even sheltered as the winds had gone round to the north-west. Despite our best intentions to set off even earlier, it was just before 8.00am that we cast off as it took time to prepare the boat to leave in the absence of the specific knowledge and experience of Louise, my regular crew.
All was well as we left under the Itchen bridge and along Southampton water and it soon became apparent that the vibrations from the props and shafts were a problem at high speeds and so we had to throttle back and settle for the much lower speed of 9-10knots. This immediately meant that any idea of cruising on to Ramsgate this afternoon was out of the question and we would have to thus settle for Brighton as our destination. We had judged the weather well but our progress was limited by the propeller damage to the Port side, where vibrations built up over 10kn or 1600 rpm, However, this gave a chance of view the passing ports and settlements of Chichester, Selsey Bill, Littlehampton, Worthing and Portslade until Brighton Marina at Black Rock hove into view. We got into Brighton around 2.00pm in the sunshine, though the day was quite cold. Much of the time spent washing off the boat and then getting all of the charts and electronics set up for the next leg the following day.
By this time I had calculated that we would only manage to get to Limehouse if we did some cruising after dark and, because of the crab and lobster pots littering the coast as a hazard, the best place to do this was coming up the Thames where there were none allowed to be set. David Harrison was not keen to spend more that Tuesday on the boat, for he had an appointment in Bournemouth with his mother on the Wednesday trying to get her into the smart residential home. He went ashore and got some bread, ham, cheese and a few other chocolate biscuits and goodies for the cruise the next day and, whilst he was gone, I managed to get the rest of the boat ready for the day’s cruise ahead.
13 -18degC, 58-30%RH, 1031mb steady, smooth/slight seas in fine weather with good viz and a following tide