Saturday 20th June Ref: 2015/12
The fourth leg of our South Coast cruise and this one represented a voyage further into the heart of The Solent. Now we are in this shelter, the weather was not quite so important but it was still fine enough after a couple of days' rest in Portsmouth for us to continue our journey to a marina which would be happy to accommodate Lady Martina for a week's shore leave at reasonable rates. It was another well-planned and executed cruise taking advantage of the tide and also arriving at Itchen Marina at HW Slack to be able to manoeuvre into a very tight berth at a pontoon where tidal eddies can be a problem... We fielded complements on our skill...
This was essentially a very short cruise from Gun Wharf Quays for we had left Haslar, Portsmouth (Gosport) the day before and moored in this much more central location; close to the major shopping outlet complex and at the centre of the tourist trade. We had intended to put into Gunwharf the day before that but they had failed to read our VHF signals on 80 and it transpired that they only use hand-held sets, and work until 5.30pm weekdays, which could explain it. Also being the other side of the main channel from the small boat route, prior consent was needed from Portsmouth QHM (Queen's Harbour Master) to cross and you have to call from the Ballast Pile (beacon FlR.2.5s)
The course this day took us across the main Portsmouth shipping channel again (Ch 11 QHM) to the Ballast Pile and then back along to the 'Boat Channel' outside the port markers of the Portsmouth shipping lane, before heading west along the Solent until traversing the north side of the Bramble Bank and then heading up Southampton Water until the mouth of the Itchen. With high water planned for thr Itchen trip, we were expecting no problems as we then pass Ocean Village Marina on the left and then under the 23m Itchen Bridge to Graham's Towage yard on the left where a berth has been found for us on the inner of the second pontoon in.
The weather was forecast fine again ; light winds, smooth/slight seas, mild temperatures and fair visibility and so everything was set for a comfortable 18nm cruise
The actual weather we experienced was : 24degC-27degC; RH 45-55%; 1022-1023 mb steady; 0.3-m wave-height, smooth/slight seas, good to mod viz, slight drizzle wind 5-10 knots wind gusting 16 knots (mostly WSW) F2/3